Many longtime awards-show observers have expressed surprise that former Grammy queen Sheryl Crow didn’t get even a single nomination this year for what she’s said will be her final studio album release, “Threads.” Among them is Crow herself, who tweeted her dismay about the lack of recognition for the all-star duets album in a post Thursday night, the day after nominations were announced.
“Hey @RecordingAcad didya even read my album notes?” she wrote. “Greatest story ever about a girl listening to her heroes’ records & dreaming of going off into the world to play music… then making a record with all of them, for cryin out loud!” The message was followed with a couple of comically chagrined emoticons and a hashtag: “#grammysforoldpeople.”
Brandi Carlile, who picked up three more nominations this year without putting an album out, was quick to reply the lament. “You made an absolutely once in a lifetime album and I love you,” wrote Carlile, who appeared as of Crow’s duet partners on the album’s cover of George Harrison’s “Beware of Darkness.”
As of Friday morning, though, the tweet appeared to have been deleted.
Crow, 57, was referring with her hashtag to the charge that the Grammys have gone ageist or just seem disinclined toward allowing veterans into the major categories, as they once regularly did. The singer was hardly alone in being shut out: Bruce Springsteen, who got his best reviews since 2002’s “The Rising” for his recent album “Western Stars,” did not receive a single nomination, either.
Although these artists might have had a hard time competing with more youthfully zeitgeist-y contenders like Lizzo and Billie Eilish for album of the year, it didn’t seem impossible to imagine that one of them might have gotten the slot that went to, say, Lil Nas X’s debut, “7,” which wasn’t even a full-length album but an EP. And it definitely was not a stretch to imagine that Crow or Springsteen would receive some kind of recognition in the rock categories — where, let’s face it, the competition is not that formidable these days.
If you’re wondering what even greater or more relevant works beat out the Springsteen or Crow records for a nod in the best rock album category, it was the latest releases by these bands: Bring Me the Horizon, Cage the Elephant, the Cranberries, I Prevail and Rival Sons. In the best rock performance category, it was Bones UK, Gary Clark Jr., Brittany Howard, Karen O & Danger Mouse, and, once again, the apparently ubiquitous Rival Sons.
Other omissions seemed glaring, as well. The Black Keys and the Raconteurs both achieved the now-rare feat of debuting at No. 1 on the sales chart with a rock record; neither band got a nomination. Another major contemporary group, the 1975, had previously been shunned by the Grammys, but they earned their first nomination this year, for best rock song.
Crow won three awards her first time at bat, getting record of the year, best new artist and best female pop vocal performance in 1994. In the years 1996-2003, she won five more, all in the rock categories. But she has not received a nomination in 11 years.
The singer-songwriter has taken on the Recording Academy on social media before. In early 2018, when the public focus was on a lack of female representation, Crow tweeted: “I wish the #Grammys would return to female/male categories. Who will young girls be inspired by to pick up a guitar and rock when most every category is filled with men? I’m not sure it is about women needing to ‘step up’ (as said by the male in charge). #GrammysSoMale”
Crow’s “Threads” album is the sort of thing that once would have been obvious Grammy bait, finding her collaborating with Keith Richards, Chuck D., Don Henley, Willie Nelson, Maren Morris (another big Grammy snub-ee this year, with just one nod), St. Vincent, Chris Stapleton, Lucius, Emmylou Harris, Sting, Eric Clapton and others.
Critical support was generally high. In an August review, Variety wrote: “It’s a heck of a retirement banquet… The album finally settles into something a lot more personal than you’d expect: It’s got some of the best writing she’s done. And in the lighter moments, or the ones where you can’t escape thinking about the sheer amount of talent-wrangling that went into it… well, what’s the musical equivalent of people-watching? ‘Threads’ is never less than a great excuse to people-listen as she runs through her A-list of Facebook friends.” Referring to her promise to retire from album-making, the review said, “‘Threads’ is strong enough that we should probably all agree now not to shame her if she goes back on her word.”
She may have to renege on it, if she’d hoped to go out with any recognition from her former champions at the Academy.