Long after I began to ignore the Grammys, which usually eschews quality music in favor commercial success, I awoke this morning to hear that Alison Krauss and Robert Plant swept the place clean last night.
It was unexpected enough when former Led Zeppelin singer Plant and bluegrass diva Krauss collaborated on the rootsy "Raising Sand" (Rounder) last year. The record won critical acclaim, even if it admittedly took this writer some time to crack it open.
But against competition like Coldplay, Lil Wayne and Radiohead, "Raising Sand" won album of the year and nabbed four more awards at the 51st annual Grammy schmooze-fest in Los Angeles on Sunday.
I know that the Grammys have long presented awards for non-commercial genres like reggae, bluegrass and spoken word and in technical categories, but let's face it, the event isn't really about that stuff.
Look at the hoopla; there's more talk about who designed the swanky gowns worn to the event than the actual music, except in a few cases (album of the year, new artist, etc.).
And this year we got to hear lots about a guitarist threatening a legal proceeding at the awards and about the two expected attendees who were noticibly absent. But, quick, who won for best mastering engineer? How about best traditional folk album?
This year, however, in at least five categories -- and I'm sure quite a few others -- the Grammys actually got it right, choosing an unexpected record from an unexpected duo of unbridled and bona fide talent.
Sure, it wasn't a major leap since both have name recognition and the record got great reviews -- and was certainly a hearty seller -- but the urge to pick "glitzier" winners is usually hard for the Grammy voters to resist.
This time they did.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.