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Grammy Nominations Go to Ry Cooder, Emmylou Harris, Pat Metheny, Chris Thile, Michael Daves, AfroCubism

Grammy Nominees 2011: Cooder, Harris, Metheny, Thile, Daves, AfroCubism

Congratulations to all the Nonesuch artists who were nominated for the 54th Annual Grammy Awards, announced last night by The Recording Academy: Ry Cooder, Emmylou Harris, Pat Metheny, Chris Thile & Michael Daves, and World Circuit / Nonesuch Records artists AfroCubism. Together, these artists' 2011 releases garnered five nominations. You can hear music from all the nominated albums on the new Nonesuch Radio channel "2011 Grammy Nominees."

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"The quality of the 'Best Americana Album' is extraordinary," exclaims the Daily Telegraph, in its Grammy nomination recap. We could hardly disagree, with two Nonesuch releases nominated in the category.

Ry Cooder's latest album, Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down, which the Telegraph calls "spectacular," was released in August on Perro Verde / Nonesuch Records and has been nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Americana Album. Inspired by a news headline about the Wall Street bailout, Cooder began work on Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down with the track “No Banker Left Behind,” an ode to the corrupt few spared from the financial crisis while most were left to fend for themselves. Uncut calls this "one of his best albums ever ... an impassioned portrait of 21st century America and its injustices" in which Cooder is "remade as a modern-day Woody Guthrie, fearless and funny, for like Guthrie he nails his targets with droll humour while empathising with society's underdogs." The magazine recently named it to its list of the Top 50 Albums of the 2011 and, presaging the Grammy nomination, one of the year's Best of Americana.

Emmylou Harris's latest, Hard Bargain, has also been nominated for Best Americana Album. The album, which was released on Nonesuch in April, comprises 13 tracks, featuring 11 original songs by Harris, all "suffused with kindly intimacy," says the New York Times. Two songs look back at relationships that were central to Harris’ creative life—with Kate McGarrigle and Gram Parsons. A deluxe edition includes a DVD featuring six performances interspersed with interviews. USA Today calls the album "exquisite."

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What's It All About, Pat Metheny's sequel to his Grammy-winning first solo baritone-guitar effort, One Quiet Night, has been nominated for the 2011 Grammy Award for Best New Age Album. What's It All About features classic tunes from songwriters like Paul Simon, Lennon & McCartney, Burt Bacharach, and Henry Mancini. The Boston Herald says: "Metheny’s thoughtful, loving approach elevates every tune he tackles to a realm of beauty." The Telegraph, calling attention to the album in its Grammy nomination article, calls Metheny "wonderful."

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Sleep with One Eye Open, the debut album from Punch Brothers' mandolinist Chris Thile and guitar maven Michael Daves, has been nominated for the Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album. Sleep with One Eye Open, recorded live to tape at Jack White’s Third Man studio in Nashville, is a collection of 16 traditional tunes by bluegrass legends like The Monroe Brothers, The Louvin Brothers, Jimmy Martin, and Flatt & Scruggs. The duo makes for "a rip-roaring partnership," says the New York Times. "Bluegrass, in their hands, gets roughed up in the best possible way, with skill and fervor, and a touch of abandon."

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AfroCubism, the long-awaited collaboration between Cuban and Malian musicians meant to take place when the Buena Vista Social Club was born, has been nominated for Best World Music Album. The album, a World Music / Nonesuch Records release, features performances from Toumani Diabaté, Eliades Ochoa, Djelimady Tounkara, Bassekou Kouyate, and Kasse Mady Diabaté, and proves a "collaboration well worth the wait," says The New Yorker. The New York Times describes it as "a rich yet subtle fusion of African and Cuban sounds." The Guardian calls it "an elegant, gently exquisite album"; the Observer says it's "a delight."

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Producer Judith Sherman, a frequent contributor to many a Nonesuch Records release over the past many years, has been nominated for Producer of the Year in the Classical field, an award given out based on the collected output of a producer in a given year. Sherman has won the award in 2007 and 1993 and is nominated this year for work including two Nonesuch albums: John Adams's Son of Chamber Symphony and Steve Reich's WTC 9/11. Further congratulations go to Adams, whose opera, Doctor Atomic, recorded on Sony Classical, was nominated for Best Opera Recording.

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Finally, congratulations to The Black Keys, who were nominated for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for "Dearest," their contribution to the album Rave On Buddy Holly, released on Fantasy records. The band's latest Nonesuch album, El Camino, is due out on Tuesday.

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To pick up a copy of any of the Grammy-nominated Nonesuch albums, head to the Nonesuch Store, where CDs are 34% off SRP as part of the store's fourth-anniversary sale, and CD orders include high-quality, 320 kbps MP3s at checkout.

The 54th Annual Grammy Awards will be held on Sunday, February 12, 2012, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and will be broadcast live on CBS starting at 8 PM ET/PT. For a complete nominations list, visit grammy.com.

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