Chicago's queen of soul Mavis Staples is nominated for a Grammy for best Americana album for "You Are Not Alone," the acclaimed record she made with Wilco's Jeff Tweedy.
She leads the pack of Chicago contenders among this year's Grammy nominees, announced Wednesday night.
Other Chicago-area musicians up for a variety of trophies:
• R. Kelly receives two nods, for an album ("Untitled") and for a song ("When a Woman Loves").
• Rapper Common slips in as part of "Wake Up! Everybody" with John Legend, the Roots and Melanie Fiona for best rap/sung collaboration.
• Our usual compliment of blues honorees includes Buddy Guy (best contemporary blues album, "Living Proof"), Pinetop Perkins and Willie "Big Eyes" Smith (best traditional blues album, "Joined at the Hip"), and James Cotton (best traditional blues album, "Giant," on Chicago's Alligator Records). Charlie Musselwhite, who we still like to claim, is in the best traditional blues album category too for "The Well."
• 2008 album of the year winner Herbie Hancock is up for best improvised jazz solo for "A Change Is Gonna Come" and pop collaboration with vocals ("Imagine," with Larry Klein), both from "The Imagine Project."
• VaShawn Mitchell vies for two: best gospel performance ("Nobody Greater") and best contemporary R&B gospel album ("Triumphant").
• Justin Roberts' "Jungle Gym" is among the best children's album nominees.
• Oak Park comedian Kathy Griffin loves her trophies. She's got another shot at best comedy album for "Kathy Griffin Does the Bible Belt."
• Downstater Gretchen Wilson is up for best country song ("I'd Love to Be Your Last").
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra once again rules the classical categories, popping up in four spots: best orchestral performance (Pierre Boulez conducting Stravinsky), best classical album and best choral performance (both for Ricardo Muti's conducting of Verdi's "Requiem"), and classical producer of the year (James Mallison is considered for two CSO works, among others).
UPDATE: Indeed, I knew I'd miss a few. Note these extras in the comments below (yes, Numero Group, hooray!) ...