On the Beat

It’s a banner year for North Carolina Grammy nominees; who made the cut?

Rhiannon Giddens jams with Giri and Uma Peters

Rhiannon Giddens plays "Pretty Little Girl" with Giri and Uma Peters, two kids of Indian descent from Nashville who were one of the hits of last week's World of Bluegrass festival in Raleigh. After reading that Carolina Chocolate Drops had inspire
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Rhiannon Giddens plays "Pretty Little Girl" with Giri and Uma Peters, two kids of Indian descent from Nashville who were one of the hits of last week's World of Bluegrass festival in Raleigh. After reading that Carolina Chocolate Drops had inspire

Rhiannon Giddens, Avett Brothers, Shirley Caesar and Robbie Fulks all picked up multiple Grammy nominations on Tuesday, making 2016 the biggest bumper crop of North Carolina-related nominations in recent memory.

Greensboro native and Carolina Chocolate Drops co-founder Giddens has already been on a roll this year, winning the Steve Martin Banjo Prize back in September. Her roll continues with two nominations for the late-2015 mini-album “Factory Girl,” for folk album and American roots performance.

Rhiannon Giddens plays "Pretty Little Girl" with Giri and Uma Peters, two kids of Indian descent from Nashville who were one of the hits of last week's World of Bluegrass festival in Raleigh. After reading that Carolina Chocolate Drops had inspire

Also nominated for folk album is Fulks, the onetime Creedmoor resident whose latest album, “Upland Stories,” is filled with songs set around these parts. In addition to the folk-album nod, the album’s leadoff track “Alabama at Night” is up for American roots song.

Concord’s Avett Brothers also scored twice with their latest album “True Sadness,” including Americana album. Its kickoff track “Ain’t No Man” is nominated for American roots performance.

Local gospel icon Caesar, who has won 11 Grammys over the years, looks to add to her total with two nominations – gospel album for “Fill This House” and gospel performance for “It’s Alright, It’s Ok.” She shares the latter nomination with Charlotte native Anthony Hamilton, a featured guest on the song.

High Point native and 2004 “American Idol” champ Fantasia was also nominated for the 12th time overall, in the category of traditional r&b performance for “Sleeping With the One I Love.” She won female r&b vocal performance in 2011.

Another frequent Grammy nominee is Durham resident Branford Marsalis, who is back in the running again this year. The saxophonist’s “Upward Spiral” is up for jazz vocal album.

This year’s loftiest North Carolina-connected nomination belongs to Mike Posner, a onetime Duke University student from Detroit. His ‘I Took a Pill in Ibiza,’ a smash hit across the globe, is nominated for song of the year.

This year’s loftiest North Carolina-connected nomination belongs to Mike Posner, a onetime Duke University student from Detroit. Posner’s “I Took a Pill in Ibiza,” a smash hit across the globe, is nominated for song of the year – which puts it up against Adele and Beyonce, among others.

Former Raleigh local (and leader of the late great DeYarmond Edison) Justin Vernon’s Bon Iver has an alternative-album nomination for “22, A Million.” Bon Iver won two Grammys back in 2012, including best new artist.

Virtuoso fiddler Mark O’Connor relocated his O’Connor Band to Charlotte this year -- just in time to pick up a bluegrass-album nomination for “Coming Home.”

Mountain Home Music Company, a label based in Arden, also has a nomination this year. Doyle Lawson’s “Burden Bearer,” which is up for bluegrass album, carries the Mountain Home imprint.

More tangentially, Texas soul singer Leon Bridges’ “River” picked up a nomination for best music video. Bridges is co-managed by Zeke Hutchins, onetime drummer for local acts including Tift Merritt and Queen Sarah Saturday.

In the best-engineered/non-classical category, we have “Are You Serious” by Andrew Bird – sideman fiddler for Chapel Hill’s Squirrel Nut Zippers two decades ago.

Finally, the cast album for “Bright Star,” a musical set in North Carolina and penned by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, is nominated for musical theater album.

David Menconi: 919-829-4759, @NCDavidMenconi

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