Digging Into A Tuneful New Year

January 6, 2011 by

intro-Jay-ZAlthough this past year ended with everyone digging out of the snow, we prefer to remember the great variety of home-grown music Brooklynites were digging all year long. In that spirit, we’re eager to start the new decade in the burgeoning musical capital of the East Coast. We usher in 2011 with glad tidings for our readers and kudos for an array of the borough’s best and brightest artists.

We start by sending out huge congratulations to a pair of Erasmus Hall High School alumni, Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand, whose accomplishments will be recognized at upcoming ceremonies. After years of incomprehensible snubs by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Neil will take his rightful place among its inductees in March. Though categorized as a performer, Neil also joins an extensive list of Brooklyn songwriters in the Hall, including Jeff Barry, Gerry Goffin, Ellie Greenwich, Woody Guthrie, Carole King, Barry Mann, Doc Pomus, Mort Shuman and Cynthia Weill.

Barbra Streisand is being honored by The Recording Academy  as its MusiCares Person of the Year in conjunction with the 2011 Grammy Awards. Her musical and philanthropic achievements will be saluted on Feb. 11th with an all-star fundraising dinner and concert featuring Tony Bennett, Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, Diana Krall, Kristin Chenoweth, Donna Summer and fellow Brooklynite Barry Manilow.

Going for the Grammy

Two nights later Barbra and Barry go head to head (or should we say throat to throat) in the Grammy competition for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album. Her Love Is the Answer and his The Greatest Love Songs of All Time are two of the five nominees.

Jay-Z, whose autobiography Decoded begins the New Year in the top 10 on the New York Times Best Sellers List, is up for several Grammys including Record Of The Year and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, both for his duet with Alicia Keys on Empire State of Mind; Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group, On To The Next One (with Swizz Beatz); and Best Rap Album, The Blueprint 3.

In the category of Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, Halo (Live) by Jay-Z’s wife Beyonce competes with Norah Jones’ Chasing Pirates (from her album The Fall). Vampire Weekend hopes Contra will take home the Best Alternative Music Album trophy while Laurie Anderson could walk away with Best Pop Instrumental Performance honors for Flow (from Homeland).

More Kudos and Congratulations

On the radio front, Neil Diamond and Vampire Weekend were among the  Brooklyn artists whose CDs got an enthusiastic shout-out from staffers at WFUV-FM in their annual “Best of 2010” top 10 lists. The National’s High Violet was far away the most popular album, being represented on 10 such lists. Others garnering kudos for their work include Citizen Cope (The Rainwater LP), The Hold Steady (Heaven Is Whenever), Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings (I Learned the Hard Way),  Matt & Kim (Sidewalks) and Sleigh Bells (Treats).

Brooklyn Roads would like to bestow kudos on our loyal readers who enjoy this newsletter and share it with their friends. We are so grateful to all of you for helping us to grow our network and allowing us to bring you more music news in 2011.

Brooklyn is truly one of the nation’s number one music hubs and we welcome your feedback on stories you’d like to see.