Hear 'World Cafe' interviews with 20 of the 2023 Grammy nominees
Nominees for the 65th Grammy Awards were announced Tuesday morning. Out of all the nominations, the category World Cafe is watching most closely is Best Americana Album; those nominees are Bonnie Raitt, Brandi Carlile, Dr. John, Keb' Mo' and Robert Plant & Alison Krauss.
But we have favorites nominated in many other categories too. Among them are The War on Drugs, Wet Leg, Spoon, Anaïs Mitchell, Tank and the Bangas and more. Below, listen to sessions with Grammy nominees who've been recent guests on World Cafe.
A complete list of nominees is available on the Grammys website. The telecast, which will be hosted by Trevor Noah, airs Sunday, Feb. 5, on CBS and can be streamed on Paramount+.
Nominations: Song of the Year, Best American Roots Song, Best Americana Performance, Best Americana Album
Bonnie Raitt has been releasing albums for over half a century. But thanks to something she learned from her father, who was a famous theater actor and singer, when Bonnie's onstage, she never performs like she's been doing it for 50 years. But whether she's singing stories she wrote herself or ones written by other people, Bonnie is a brilliant storyteller. Her new album, Just Like That, is a combination of both. Read more.
Nominations: Best Rock Song
When I sat down with Adam Granduciel of The War on Drugs, I casually asked him to tell me the most takes he'd ever done working on a song. The answer was 60! It highlights his meticulous approach to recording, not to mention his patience. When you hear the latest War on Drugs album, I Don't Live Here Anymore, it's evident that the work of Granduciel and co-producer Shawn Everett has paid off in a big way. It's a gorgeous album, with everything in its right place. Read more.
Nominations: Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Best Rock Performance, Best Rock Song, Best Americana Performance, Best American Roots Song, Best Americana Album
Warmth. That's the word that keeps popping up when I try to decide how to describe Brandi Carlile. Warmth is what she treats you with in conversation, always ready with a laugh, a thoughtful answer or a curious question. You can see how her warmth draws people to her, in her personal life (she lives on a big compound full of family and friends) and her professional life (see her countless side projects). And, of course, the warmth of Carlile's voice and songwriting, which is on full display on her new album, In These Silent Days. Read more.
Nominations: Best New Artist, Best Alternative Music Album, Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical, Best Remixed Recording, Best Alternative Music Performance
Wet Leg is the kind of band that people like to say "came out of nowhere." The duo of Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers hail from the Isle of Wight, and that's about as much as most people really knew about them when they released their debut single, "Chaise Longue," back in June 2021. That song became a viral and — for them — unexpected hit that catapulted them into the public eye and onto late night TV shows and festival line-ups. Read more.
Nominations: Best Rock Album
The phrase "young at heart" is a cliché at this point, but when it comes to Elvis Costello, it really does apply. His latest album with the Imposters, The Boy Named If (And Other Children's Stories), is a trip through the inner life of a young male, growing up full of imagination and self-discovery. Appropriately, for someone who really is young at heart, Costello also wrote an entire picture book to go along with the album that includes 13 illustrated short stories. Read more.
Nominations: Best Rock Album
Machine Gun Kelly is a real person. That sentence, at first, might seem so self-evident as to feel ludicrous — of course he's a real person! But when you get to the level of fame that Machine Gun Kelly has reached, it can start to feel like people don't see you as a real person. Machine Gun Kelly, who's real name is Colson Baker, has been making albums for over a decade, and now, as he embarks on his 30s, selling out stadiums with two No. 1 rock albums (and several rap albums) under his leather-studded belt, he's a true celebrity. Read more.
Nominations: Best Rock Album
Spoon has earned a reputation as one of the most consistently solid rock bands over its almost three decades together. And for a band so dependable, finding your groove means you can experiment endlessly without ever losing the essence of what makes your music so great. Read more.
Nominations: Best Alternative Music Performance, Best Alternative Music Album
Picture this: You're walking alone on a cold and blustery night; the wind is whipping your hair back, your cheeks are frozen and when you finally get to your destination, you open the door, and inside ... there's a fireplace glowing, it's warm, it's cozy, and you're greeted with a hug from your partner or your family or your closest friends — you're home. Or ... maybe you're inside the new Big Thief album. That feeling of home, of safety, of being surrounded by people who give you space to be your truest self — you can hear it in the warmth and creativity of Big Thief's music, and you can hear it and see it when you speak to them. Read more.
Nominations: Best Country Duo/Group Performance
Peanut butter and pickles, fries dipped in a milkshake, melted cheese on apple pie ... Sometimes, when you combine very different things, the result is surprisingly wonderful.
Robert Plant, whom you likely know as the former frontman for Led Zeppelin, and bluegrass singer Alison Krauss may have seemed like an odd pairing when they first teamed up in 2007. But any doubts about their compatibility quickly evaporated once people heard their album, Raising Sand — going on to be both critically acclaimed and to win several Grammys. But then, Plant and Krauss went their separate ways. Read more.
Nominations: Best American Roots Song
Anaïs Mitchell took Broadway by storm in 2018 after a decade spent working on her successful folk opera, Hadestown. After several grueling years on the theater circuit (and after winning eight Tony awards), Mitchell has released a new self-titled album that takes her back to her roots as a songwriter. It's a confessional, intimate album a world away from Midtown Manhattan. Read more.
Nominations: Best Americana Album
Keb' Mo' has been ubiquitous in the blues scene for decades. Along the way, the 70-year-old has picked up a bunch of musical accolades that might impress folks: multiple Grammys, a handful of lifetime achievement awards — most recently from the Americana Music Association — playing the White House, being on "Sesame Street," even being sampled by BTS. For 50 years, Keb's made music that's resonated deeply with people — and he's nowhere close to calling it a career. His latest album is Good to Be. Read more.
Nominations: Best Bluegrass Album
Del McCoury is the patriarch of the musical McCoury family and has been one of the most respected musicians on the Bluegrass scene for decades. In this session, we explore Del's reflections about Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs and Lester Flatt, as McCoury was there at the beginning of the bluegrass movement. For this new album, Almost Proud, quarantine gave McCoury time and space to dig through a box of collected music to find some gems to record. We talk about that — the present, plus the past and the future, which, of course, includes his sons Ronnie and Rob, aka The Travelin' McCourys, in this spirited session. Read more.
Nominations: Best Folk Album
Janis Ian recently released her final album — her first album of new material in 15 years. It's called The Light at the End of the Line, and with it, she puts a bow on a long, prolific career as a singer-songwriter that began when she was just 14 years old. Read more.
Nominations: Best Folk Album
Judy Collins has made a lot of other songwriters famous. She began her career singing other peoples' songs, turning American audiences onto artists like Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell with her hit interpretations. But over the years, she's also developed her own songwriting voice — and now, for the first time, every single song on her latest album is an original. The album is called Spellbound and the songs on it tell stories from Collins' life. Read more.
Nominations: Best Folk Album
The word "legend" gets thrown around a lot when people talk about music, but I really mean it when I say that Tony Rice is a legend in the bluegrass world. Fans describe his music and its influence with a reverence bordering on religious. And the members of Punch Brothers are fans — but they were also Rice's friends. Read more.
Nominations: Best Album Notes, Best Historical Album
A band that's resisted the country label for a majority of their career just went and made their version of a country record. Wilco, born out of alt-country band Uncle Tupelo, released their 12th studio album, Cruel Country, this spring. It is, by their admission, their first true country album. It's also a meditation on the current state of affairs in America, one that is complicated and flawed, as Jeff Tweedy tells it. Read more.
Nominations: Best Country Solo Performance, Best Country Song, Best Country Album
Believe in yourself! Follow your dreams! You can be anything you want to be! Those are all beautiful sentiments, but let's face it — they can sound a bit cliché. Until, however, you talk to someone like Maren Morris. Since she released her debut album in 2016 after spending a few years as a songwriter in Nashville, Morris' star has been rising quickly — she's had a bunch of chart hits, taken home a slew of awards, including a Grammy, she's part of the country supergroup The Highwomen — but it didn't all happen overnight. Read more.
Nonimations:Best Global Music Performance
When I spoke to Arooj Aftab, it was just over a week since she'd won the Grammy for Best Global Performance for her beautiful, moving song "Mohabbat." That victory represented a lot of "firsts." It was a new category, so she was the first artist to ever win it. It was her first Grammy. And she was the first Pakistani woman not only to win a Grammy, but to even be nominated for one. Her life, as you might imagine, was in a bit of a whirlwind. But she was able to take a moment between packing and catching flights to talk about the album that winning song came from — called Vulture Prince — and about her life. Read more.
Nominations: Best Progressive R&B Album
Tank and the Bangas' latest album, Red Balloon, is full of energy and information. With lyrics spanning everything from going out dancing to watching The Simpsons to being Black in America to the Jan. 6 riots to the politics of dating, it's an album experience that feels almost like channel flipping or scrolling through social media or scanning a radio dial — which is what Tarriona "Tank" Ball envisioned. Read more.
Nominations: Best New Artist, Best Bluegrass Album
This past September, the 20th annual Americana Music Festival & Conference featured a broad range of showcases from diverse musicians across alt-country, roots-rock, bluegrass, R&B, blues, folk and the singer-songwriter genre. The 2019 AmericanaFest Day Stage at the War Memorial Auditorium, produced jointly by WMOT Roots Radio, NPR Music and World Cafe, presented more than 20 showcasing artists, including The Wood Brothers, Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley, Maggie Rose, The Mavericks, Molly Tuttle and more. Read more.
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