Nonesuch Albums Nab 11 Grammy Nominations, Including Six for The Black Keys’ “Brothers”

Congratulations to all the Nonesuch artists who were nominated for the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards, announced last night by The Recording Academy: The Black Keys, Laurie Anderson, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Punch Brothers, Stephen Sondheim, and World Circuit / Nonesuch Records artists Ali Farka Touré and Toumani Diabaté.

Together, these artists’ 2010 releases garnered an impressive 11 nominations, including a remarkable six nominations for The Black Keys’ latest Nonesuch release, Brothers. You can hear music from all the nominated albums on the new Nonesuch Radio channel “2010 Grammy Nominees.”

“This year’s nominations are a true reflection of an exceptional and talented community of music makers that embody some of the highest levels of excellence and artistry in their respective fields,” said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy. “It is most gratifying to see the Grammy Awards process once again produce a broad cross-section of diverse and impressive nominees across multiple genres.”

The six Grammy nominations for The Black Keys’ Brothers came the same day NPR described the album as both “a turning point” for the band and a reaffirmation of “the duo as an important fixture in contemporary blues-rock.” Brothers was nominated for Best Alternative Music Album; its lead single, “Tighten Up,” which became the band’s first No. 1 radio hit in October, brought nominations for Best Rock Song to bandmates and songwriters Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney, and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals; the track “Black Mud” is up for Best Rock Instrumental Performance; and the work of the album’s art director, Michael Carney, was recognized with a nomination for Best Recording Package. Danger Mouse, who produced “Tighten Up” (as well as the band’s previous album, Attack & Release), has been nominated for Producer of the Year, in part for his work on Brothers.

Laurie Anderson released her first studio album in nearly a decade with Homeland, which Pitchfork described as “an exquisite state-of-the-union dispatch as only Anderson, America’s darkly comic conscience, can provide.” The haunting closing track from the album, “Flow,” was nominated last night for Best Pop Instrumental Performance.

The Carolina Chocolate Drops made their Nonesuch Records debut back in February with the release of Genuine Negro Jig, on which the multi-instrumental trio reclaims and revives a near-forgotten brand of banjo-driven string-band music from North Carolina’s Piedmont region, making it fresh and vital for right now, and doing so with “a contagious, abundant joy,” says the Boston Globe. The Grammy voters would seem to agree, as the album has been nominated for Best Traditional Folk Album.

Punch Brothers released their second Nonesuch record earlier this year with the Jon Brion-produced album Antifogmatic, which showcases the group’s growing collaborative power. “Antifogmatic brims with color, wit, flash and tenderness,” the Wall Street Journal has written, “all conveyed with remarkable musicianship and high spirits.” The band was nominated for Best Country Instrumental Performance on the tune “New Chance Blues,” the bonus track on the digital deluxe edition of the album on Amazon.com.

(In related news, Punch Brothers were also given a nod for their contribution to Dierks Bentley’s album Up on the Ridge. They join Bentley and Del McCoury in being nominated for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals for the song “Pride (In the Name of Love).”)

Stephen Sondheim’s 80th birthday, which took place in March, has been celebrated with great fanfare throughout the year, with concerts, books, TV performances, and the naming of a Broadway theater in his honor. His acclaimed 1973 musical A Little Night Music received its first-eve Broadway revival, which was captured in a Nonesuch / PS Classics cast recording featuring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury. That has now been nominated for Best Musical Show Album.

Ali and Toumani, the second and last album pairing guitar virtuoso Ali Farka Touré and kora master Toumani Diabaté, has been nominated for Best Traditional World Music Album. Recorded in 2005, with contributions from Cachaíto López on bass, this World Circuit / Nonesuch album is the successor to the Grammy-winning In the Heart of the Moon and is the last recorded by both Touré and López. Pitchfork says it’s “uncommonly beautiful.” NPR calls it “breathtaking.”

(On a related note, World Circuit / Nonesuch artist Oumou Sangare has also been nominated for her contribution to Herbie Hancock’s The Imagine Project. The album track “Imagine,” on which she performs with Hancock, Pink, India.Arie, Seal, Konono No 1, and Jeff Beck, was nominated for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals. Sanagare’s latest World Circuit / Nonesuch release, 2009’s Seya, was nominated for a Grammy last year.)

The 53rd Annual Grammy Awards will be held on “Grammy Sunday,” February 13, 2011, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and will be broadcast live on CBS from 8 to 11:30 PM (ET/PT). For more information, including a complete nominations list, visit grammy.com.

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