February 11, 2013

Who's your Grammy favorite?

Is it Bruce? Kanye? Adele? We asked some music-biz insiders to handicap Sunday night's races.

By Ray Routhier rrouthier@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

As music fans, we all have a stake in tonight's Grammy Awards.

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Bruce Springsteen

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Steve Drown

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WHEN: 8 to 11:30 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: CBS; seen locally on Portland station WGME (Channel 13)

WHAT: The 55th Annual Grammy Awards will see music's biggest stars honored in 81 categories, from pop, rock and rap to jazz, blues, alternative and country.

We'll feel a twinge of pride if an album we bought wins album of the year or if the artist we've seen 100 times (Springsteen?) wins some appropriate and career-affirming hardware.

But there's a way to get yourself invested on an even a larger scale in the Grammy give-out: Take guesses.

Try to predict who is going to win in any of the 81 categories, even if those are categories that don't represent themselves on your iPod. Then, when the winner for "Best Rap/Sung Collaboration" is "Wild Ones" by Flo Rida and Sia, you can say "Yes, I picked Flo Rida and Sia, though I've never even heard of them.' "

That's pride.

Before you go picking all the Grammy categories, though, it might be interesting to see what other folks -- maybe some more musically-astute Mainers -- have to say about it. We went out and asked people who know a lot about music or work in the music industry to pick the winners in two to three categories each.

The folks we queried ranged from Portland club DJs El Shupacabra and Dynamo-P to Cumberland resident Dan Crewe, a professional in the music industry since the '60s who helped manage The Four Seasons.

We also gained insight from Portland sound engineer Steve Drown, who has worked on six blues albums that have been nominated for Grammy Awards. And we sought out Portland mastering engineer Adam Ayan, who worked on several recordings and with artists up for Grammys this year, including Hunter Hayes for Best New Artist, the album "Hunter Hayes" for Best Country Album, "Wanted" by Hayes and "Blown Away" by Carrie Underwood for Best Country Solo Performance, and "Blown Away" for Best Country Song.

We even gleaned a few picks from country superstar Vince Gill, who has 20 Grammy Awards on his shelf already and just happens to be playing a gig in Maine next week, on Valentine's Day at Stone Mountain Arts Center in Brownfield.

So without further ado, here are some Grammy picks from some pretty good pickers. 

STEVE DROWN, recording engineer at The Studio in Portland; has worked on six Grammy-nominated blues albums in the past, including those by The James Cotton Band and Charlie Musselwhite:

Best Blues Album: "And Still I Rise" by Heritage Blues Orchestra. "They deliver a traditional, authentic sound without sounding stale. Add that to the jazz-influenced horn arrangements, and this comes off as something very fresh."

Best Jazz Vocal Album: "The Book of Chet" by Luciana Souza. "It lets us hear the nuance of every syllable and melody."

Best Rock Song: "Lonely Boy" by The Black Keys. "The Black Keys are such a refreshing presence in music now, because they are truly a rock band."

DAN CREWE of Cumberland, co-founder of Gateway Mastering in Portland; music professional since the '60s who worked with The Four Seasons and brother of songwriting legend Bob Crewe:

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album: "A Holiday Carole" by Carole King. "I've got to go with Carole King, my contemporary. I know her quite well, and she deserves the recognition."

Best Pop Solo Performance: "Set Fire to the Rain (Live)" by Adele. "Adele leaps out in her actual talent. That doesn't mean the others aren't capable. Kelly Clarkson shocked me with her performance at the inaugural; I was quite taken with it. But I think Adele stands in a separate category."

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Additional Photos

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Mark Kurdo

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Adam Ayan

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The Black Keys

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Lamb of God

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Vince Gill

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Best Country Duo/Group Performance: Little Big Town, “Pontoon”

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Best Rock Song: Bruce Springseen, “We Take Care of Our Own”

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Best Rap Album: Nas, “Life Is Good”

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Best Rap Album: 2 Chainz, “Based on a T.R.U. Story”

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Best Blues Album: Heritage Blues Orchestra, “And Still I Rise”

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Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance: Lamb of God, “Ghost Walking”

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Best Bluegrass Album: Stone Canyon Rangers, “Nobody Knows You”

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Carole King

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Kanye West

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Fiona Apple

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Jason Mraz

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Mumford & Sons

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Ryan Adams

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Jack White


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