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2012 Grammy Winners - Folk and Americana

The nominees and winners in folk categories, and folk artists listed elsewhere

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Mumford & Sons received four Grammy nominations in 2012

Mumford & Sons received four Grammy nominations

photo: Simone Joyner/Getty Images
The 2011 Grammy Awards were presented in ceremonies televised on CBS on February 12, 2012. While little of the folk or Americana categories were represented on the show, folk and Americana artists were nominated in a number of different categories, and the folk category winners - the Civil Wars - were granted one minute to play an excerpt of one of their songs before introducing Taylor Swift. Mumford and Sons - one of the most mainstream-friendly folk bands in 2011 - earned a nomination for one of the monster awards of the mainstream: Record of the Year.

Now, a few years into the recategorization of folk awards into the American Roots category - under which there's now an award for Americana, one for folk, one for bluegrass, and one for regional roots - some of these classifications are starting to take shape. The nominees for Americana Album in 2012 were all solidly Americana artists, for example. But, the Folk Album category is still a little shaky - combining more mainstream palatable artists like the Fleet Foxes and the Civil Wars with true folkies like Steve Earle and Gillian Welch. Where the recording academy is going with this classification seems a bit muddled still, and leaves the impression there might be a lack of understanding of what folk music is these days. Then again, it could also mean we're at the helm of - if not in the middle of - another mainstream "folk boom," like what happened in the 1960s. Certainly the socio-political climate is ripe for such a thing.

At any rate, the musicological debate about what type of music belongs in which category is perhaps one for another time. Without further ado, I give you the nominees in folk and Americana categories for the 2011 Grammy Awards, with the winners noted in bold. This is followed by a list of folk and Americana artists nominated in other categories, followed by a place for you to vote on who should have won.

BEST AMERICANA ALBUM

BEST BLUEGRASS ALBUM

  • WINNER: Alison Krauss & Union Station - Paper Airplane (review)
  • Jim Lauderdale - Reason And Rhyme: Bluegrass Songs By Robert Hunter & Jim Lauderdale (compare prices)
  • Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers - Rare Bird Alert (compare prices)
  • The Del McCoury Band - Old Memories: The Songs Of Bill Monroe (compare prices)
  • Ralph Stanley - A Mother's Prayer (compare prices)
  • Chris Thile & Michael Daves - Sleep With One Eye Open (compare prices)

BEST FOLK ALBUM

BEST REGIONAL ROOTS MUSIC ALBUM

FOLK/AMERICANA ARTISTS NOMINATED IN OTHER CATEGORIES

  • Mumford & Sons (Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Rock Performance, Best Rock Song for "The Cave")
  • The Decemberists (Best Rock Performance, Best Rock Song for "Down By the Water")
  • Wilco (Best Rock Album for The Whole Love)
  • WINNER: The Civil Wars (Best Country Duo/Group Performance for "Barton Hollow")
  • Eric Brace & Peter Cooper (Best Children's Album for I Love: Tom T. Hall's Songs of Fox Hollow)
  • WINNER: Bela Fleck & the Flecktones (Best Instrumental Composition for "Life in Eleven")
  • Reckless Kelly (Best Recording Package for Good Luck & True Love)
  • Bruce Springsteen (Best Boxed or Limited Edition Package for The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story)
  • Sarah Jarosz (Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical for Follow Me Down)
  • Gillian Welch (Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical for The Harrow & the Harvest)
  • Alison Krauss & Union Station (Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical for Paper Airplane)
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