In 2013, Linda Chorney published a book titled “Who the F*ck Is Linda Chorney?” That was indeed the question that must have been on many people’s minds the previous year, when her Emotional Jukebox album was nominated for a Grammy in the Americana category.
Her competition was Levon Helm, Lucinda Williams, Emmylou Harris and Ry Cooder — all very well known, veteran artists. (Helm wound up winning.) Chorney, a plucky singer-songwriter from Sea Bright, had virtually no national presence and put out Emotional Jukebox independently. Her sales figures were minuscule. But she lobbied Grammy voters directly through the website, Grammy365 (which has since changed its name to GrammyPro), and garnered enough support to land a nod.
The Recording Academy, which gives out the Grammys, got some criticism for allowing her to circumvent the Grammys’ more customary routes to recognition. But its president, Neal Portnow, didn’t seem to mind. “It shows everybody has a shot,” he told the Associated Press.
“I’ve had an outcry of letters from people my age who have said what an inspiration this is. That it gave them hope,” said Chorney in the same article. “So that’s been pretty nice. I didn’t expect to hear that, which was really beautiful.”
Below is the Emotional Jukebox track, “Cherries,” so you can decide for yourself.
New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday in 2014. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we marked the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, from September 2014 to September 2015 — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. To see the entire list, click here.