The nominations for the 49th Annual Grammy Awards were released today and, as always, they included two children's-related fields.
Regular readers of the site will have a "one of these things is not like the other" moment.
First off, the lists...
Best Musical Album For Children
(For albums consisting of predominantly music or song vs. spoken word.)
Baby Einstein Meet The Orchestra - Various Artists (Ted Kryczko & Ed Mitchell, producers) [Walt Disney Records]
Beethoven's Wig 3: Many More Sing Along Symphonies - Beethoven's Wig [Rounder] (my review)
Catch That Train! - Dan Zanes And Friends [Festival Five Records] (my review)
My Best Day - Trout Fishing In America [Trout Records] (my review)
The Sunny Side Of The Street - John Lithgow [Razor & Tie] (my review)
Best Spoken Word Album For Children
(For albums consisting of predominantly spoken word vs. music or song.)
Blah Blah Blah: Stories About Clams, Swamp Monsters, Pirates & Dogs - Bill Harley [Round River Records/Empyrean Records]
Christmas In The Trenches - John McCutcheon [Peachtree Press]
Disney's Little Einsteins Musical Missions - Various Artists (Ted Kryczko & Ed Mitchell, producers)[Walt Disney Records]
Peter Pan - Jim Dale [Listening Library]
The Witches - Lynn Redgrave [Harper Children's Audio]
Now, the spoken word I can't speak coherently to (though it's always nice to see Bill Harley get recognized).
The musical album category, well, that's something different. Four of the albums I (obviously) recognize and while I have a clear favorite (hint: rhymes with "fan lanes"), I can't say that the Academy would clearly embarrass themselves by selecting any of those four.
Now, as for Baby Einstein... Look, I actually kinda like Baby Einstein music products -- we have a CD or two of theirs around the house, and I don't find it annoying like others do. But its presence here in this category (making clear I have not heard this album) just seems wrong. Like putting a straight-to-video movie in the category for Best Picture. It might be really good, it just seems wrong.
Its presence actually highlights a drawback with the Grammy process, and that's the fact that you typically need strong distribution or familiarity in order to be nominated. Three of the five nominated albums are on actual labels that could probably afford some distribution to a broader set of voters. More importantly, all of the names are familiar ones -- sure, Dan Zanes and Trout Fishing in America are actually self-distributed, but they've both been around the music industry long enough to make enough people check 'em off on their nominating ballots.
If you're looking for another list of the year's best kids and family CDs, check out the Fids & Kamily website...