At that point I had crises of ballot and logic. I was running out of time and could only vote for one of them in each category. I was also fenced in by the idea the Acoustic Album of The Year would be made by the Acoustic Artist of The Year. I went back and forth. I have a gut feeling Louisiana Red is going to win, so I thought about going ahead and voting for him. Then I thought if he's going to win anyway, I might as well throw my support behind James. I wasn't satisfied with either of those outcomes, so I started looking for a way to reconcile defying "logic" and splitting my ticket.
The first break came when I realized there were no rules beyond one person, one vote per category. The only person following this imaginary rule was me. I don't like following actual rules. Why the hell should I follow fake ones? With that barrier removed, I spent a little more time considering both artists and albums and found a new paradigm that helped me resolve my conflict.
I chose For Rosa, Maeve and Noreen as my Acoustic Album of The Year because of my admiration for Samuel James as a songwriter. What is an album if not a collection of songs? James' writing is sharp and sophisticated. He is versatile as an instrumentalist but the main vehicle for his expression is his command of language.
I selected Louisiana Red as my Acoustic Artist of The Year. The songs on You Got To Move are great examples of the traditional mold but what makes them and the album special is Red himself. It's his inimitable vocal delivery and his charismatic touch as a guitarist that are special.
Not every category was as difficult as these two were for me. And that's why I'll be more interested in these two than I will some of the others on May 6 when the awards are presented.