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Linda Chorney revisits Grammy nod in book

Shelley Welander

This should be a victory tour for Linda Chorney, who became a first-time Grammy nominee last year at the age of 51.

When Chorney pulls into town for appearances May 23 at the Goodnow Library in her native Sudbury and May 28 at Porter Square Books, she should be all smiles, encouraged that her years playing ski resorts, sports bars, and house concerts finally paid off.

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But the Grammy nod for Chorney’s CD “Emotional Jukebox” didn’t make her feel good, and not because she lost to Levon Helm in the best Americana album category. The backlash was so severe against Chorney — a virtual unknown before her nomination — that she’s changed her tune.

“This experience hasn’t soured me on the music,” she told us. “But it has soured me on the music business.”

Chorney tells her story in an entertaining new book, “Who the [expletive] is Linda Chorney?,” which she’ll be reading from on this tour.

“I think people will find it very enlightening,” she says.

As the book title suggests, Chorney’s unexpected nomination didn’t sit well with some music industry types, who accused her of gaming the system by signing up for Grammy365, a $100-a-year social networking service that lets indie artists directly connect with Recording Academy voters.

Chorney and her husband, Scott Fadynich, did indeed lobby voters; despite meager sales of her CD they succeeded in scoring a nomination alongside Helm, Lucinda Williams, and Ry Cooder.

Not bad.

Or maybe it is. The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences has since changed the rules so that an Americana act receiving the most votes is no longer guaranteed a Grammy nomination. A new committee has been created to come up with the list of nominees.

“Their panties were in such a wad about one of their own not getting in that they’ve changed the rules,” she says. “Who’s gaming the system now?”

While Chorney’s lost faith in the business, she’s still making music.

“If I sucked, I would understand all this,” she says. “But I don’t.”

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