I predict that when the Grammy nominations are announced, one of the names you’ll hear the most is Rick Rubin. I recently listened to his posthumous project with Johnny Cash, American V: A Hundred Highways. It’s possibly the strongest entry in that series, clearly a man with something to say before his time ended. I liked American IV the least of the previous four, though it certainly had high points. This new release is a brilliant eulogy by Cash for himself.
That album is a lock for the Best Contemporary Folk Album category, and might make it for the general Album of the Year category, where it would be no surprise to see two other Rubin-produced projects: Dixie Chicks’ Taking The Long Way, a certain nominee for Best Country Album, and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Stadium Arcadium, an opus that is certain to land a Best Rock Album nod. Whether or not all six of those six nominations come through, Rubin can expect a Best Producer, Non-Classical nomination as well. If any of those three acts surface in the Record of the Year category, he’ll be nominated along with them.
Rick may end up being the most nominated producer since Babyface, and given that he was also recording at the time, that’s no small feat.
UPDATE: I just remembered that Rick also produced the comeback album for Neil Diamond, 12 Songs, which also came out during the Grammy eligibility period. Add another major Album of the Year contender to the list; I imagine Best Pop Album will be the genre category.