The Garden of Love: Songs of William Blake, by the Martha Redbone Roots Project, has been named to the shorlist in the category of Best Concept Album for the 13th annual Independent Music Awards (IMA). The release is an innovative marriage of the poetry of William Blake and the Appalachian music Redbone (who is Cherokee, Shawnee, Choctaw and African American) grew up listening to.
The IMAs award two honors in each category: an official Independent Music Award, for the works selected by a panel of industry experts, and a Vox Pop award, for the works chosen by listeners from the same roster of nominees. In last year's voting, more than 40 percent of the Vox Pop winners were different than those selected by the panel.
Voting for the IMA Vox Pop awards is currently open, and will remain so through July 18th. To vote for Redbone or any other of the nominated artists, visit the online ballot at the Independent Music Awards website.
An IMA by either (or both) means would be just the latest triumph for Garden of Love, an album that has made a considerable impression on those who've heard it. Its highest honor was, arguably, its inclusion in the 2013 "Dean's List," authored by Robert Christgau, known as the "Dean of American Rock Critics." Christgau served as the lead critic for the influential Village Voice from 1974-2006 and is currently music critic for NPR's "All Things Considered." Christgau ranked Garden of Love 20th in his list of 85 titles — two spots below 18th-ranked Beyoncé's Beyoncé and significantly higher than work by such known entities as Skrillex (64th), Lil Wayne (65th), Pusha T (75th) and Arcade Fire (77th). To get the full story, visit The 2013 Dean's List at BarnesAndNoble.com.
Christgau was effusive in his praise of the record, proclaiming it "a major find" in the review on his website. "Between Redbone's lucid, subtle force and the modernized Appalachian settings she fits to the poet's stanzas, she's created a new body of folk song by a lyricist who compares favorably to, well, Bob Dylan," he wrote.
Martha Redbone is currently on tour — for a list of dates, see MarthaRedbone.com. The Garden of Love: Songs of William Blake is available at the Martha Redbone Roots Project's iTunes store; it can also be ordered on CD through MarthaRedbone.com.