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Linda Chorney's Controversial Grammy Nom

A lot has been written about Linda Chorney since she became a first-time Grammy nominee at 51 years old. They say that the New Jersey native never registered a single album sale. Some contend she doesn’t deserve a best Americana album nomination because her album isn’t twangy enough to go up against the likes of Lucinda Williams and Ry Cooder (both nominated in the same category). And perhaps most notoriously, people claim she gamed the system, by signing up for Grammy365, a $100 per year social networking service that allows independent artists to actively campaign for their albums to be considered.

All of these assertions are true to a certain extent. SoundScan, which monitors retailers’ music sales, both physical and digital, hadn’t seen a single official purchase for any of her 10 albums in its database tracking albums back to 1994. And her music wasn’t the sort of Americana you might expect from an Alison Kraus or an old Whiskeytown record -- by Chorney’s own admission, she didn’t limit herself to traditional song structure; instead, for her latest album Emotional Jukebox, she took liberties with melody and even let her guitar solos go extra long. As for whether she gamed the system? A better description might be that she worked it. 

"It's my first time being a Grammy nominee after playing for 30 years in bar," Chorney says.  "I didn't expect the bullying....I was really surprised by that. I thought it wasn't very tasteful."

Hear Chorney tell her story in this fascinating case of how chutzpah beat the establishment.