The Grammy category you probably didn't know about: Best Album Notes

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There are big acts up for Grammys tonight  — Taylor Swift, the Black Keys , Maroon 5 — but if you go further down the list of nominees, you’ll find the name Holly George-Warren. 

She’s up for one of the lesser known categories: Best Album Notes. She worked on Janis Joplin’s “The Pearl Sessions,” a recent release that included studio conversations and outtakes from the album that came out following Joplin’s death in 1970. 

She said she had no idea her liner notes were up for consideration, but that they're a big part of music distribution and the category will probably stick around.

"I have a feeling they are going to keep the category going because they like that part of music distribution," she said.

Liner notes allow you to look into an album deeply, not just as part of an artist's work, George-Warren said. In some cases, you find out surprising things.

"It was so exciting to find out that there was never-before-heard chatter from the studio and different, alternate versions of the song," she said. "[It] was so surprising to find out how active of a role she took in the studio, in the making of the album."

"She really should have been credited as a co-producer."

The Pearl Sessions were one of the last glimpses into where Janis Joplin was headed as an artist. George-Warren said there were plenty of indications as to where Joplin may have landed.

"That's the thing about Pearl that is a really so tragic, because more than any of her other recordings she uses her voice in several different ways on the album," she said "You could see that she was moving more into a kind of countryish direction.  So who knows whats she could have done?"

George-Warren has competition from several other strong album notes writers: 

  • Stephen Wade, "Banjo Diary: Lessons from Tradition" (Stephen Wade)
  • Hans Olof Gottfridsson, " First Recordings: 50th Anniversary Edition" (The Beatles With Tony Sheridan) 
  • Fernando Gonzalez, "Piazzola in Brooklyn" (Pablo Aslan Quintet)
  • Billy Vera, "Singular Genius: The Complete ABC Singles" (Ray Charles)

She's the only woman nominated.

"Hopefully the gals will get it this year," she said.

With contributions by Kim Bui

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