A peculiar matchup surfaced in the list of Grammy nominees announced last night: Eddie Vedder’s “Ukulele Songs” and Fleet Foxes’ “Helplessness Blues” will square off in the best folk album category come Feb. 12.
I have to admit I’m a sucker for Fleet Foxes’ surging harmonies. They leave me “tongue tied and dizzy,” to borrow a phrase from “Helplessness Blues”:
But then there’s Vedder, a master performer, wielding what he calls the “happy instrument” — on which even sad songs sound uplifting:
Who has your vote for best folk album? Or would you look beyond the locally connected nominees to others on the list: “Barton Hollow” by The Civil Wars; “I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive” by Steve Earle or “The Harrow & The Harvest” by Gillian Welch? Leave a comment here or vote in the EdVed vs. Fleet Foxes poll on Andrew Matson’s music blog.
Update, 2 p.m. Dec. 1: An earlier version of this post included a different, random YouTube video illustrating Fleet Foxes’ “Helplessness Blues.” I got an email from Greg Pecknold of the “Foxes Fellowship” asking me to use an official FF video instead, which I’m happy to do because why not listen to another FF song every time you get the chance? The video above is the official video version of “Grown Ocean,” taken from Sub Pop’s site.