Billy Strauss Nominated for Grammy Award

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(Host) A music producer from Putney has been nominated for a Grammy Award.

VPR’s Neal Charnoff has more.


(Charnoff) Billy Strauss would love to hear this music fill the Staples Center in Los Angeles later this month. Strauss, along with his collaborator David Yazbek, will be in the audience for the Grammy Awards. They’ve been nominated for their Original Cast Album to the Broadway show, The Full Monty.

(Music, “Man”)

(Charnoff) David Yazbek wrote the music and lyrics for this Americanized version of the British film, Strauss produced the album. He says he enjoyed the challenge of producing a Broadway cast album:

(Strauss) “In terms of the project itself, it was unusual in that we approached it much more the way you’d approach recording a rock album than the way cast albums are typically recorded, where everybody’s in the studio at once¿. Which means that we recorded the rhythm section first and added the layers, string section horn section and vocalists piecemeal.” (Music, “Breeze off the River”)

(Charnoff) Strauss has plenty of experience with rock albums. As a producer, he’s worked with artists ranging from Bruce Springsteen and AC/DC, to Joni Mitchell and Miles Davis. He and Yazbek have been working together on and off since forming a seventh grade rock band in 1972. In 1991, Strauss and Yazbek rejoined to write and produce music for the PBS series “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?,” for which Strauss won an Emmy Award. When Yazbek called on Strauss to help him create “The Full Monty”, they decided they wanted their first-ever Broadway cast album to be unique:

(Strauss) “There’s been a lot of Andrew Lloyd Weber-esque type musicals, and this show has a completely different feel from any of those musicals and even from Rent, which has been sort of the prototypical rock musical of the last few years. ‘The Full Monty’ by comparison is much more accessible, and it’s really upbeat.” (Music)

(Charnoff) Strauss says he knows “The Full Monty” is the underdog in the same category as “The Producers,” but he’s looking forward to attending the Grammy ceremony.

(Strauss) “The Emmy Awards, as fun as they may be, are not really the same as the Grammy Awards in that it’s, you know, the TV business vs. the music business. And for a musician and anyone involved in making records, the Grammy Awards is, as awards go, I think is sort of the Holy Grail.”

(Charnoff) While Strauss says he would value receiving a Grammy Award, he’s maintaining a sense of humor about the surreal nature of the event:

(Strauss) “We don’t know what we’ll be invited to, but there’s been some amusing projections about being at parties with Puff Daddy and Bono.”

(Charnoff) The Grammy Awards will be held February 27.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Neal Charnoff.

(Host) Also nominated this year is Dan Tyminski, a native of West Rutland, who has already won two Country Music Awards for his soundtrack to the film “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”

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