Bruno Mars and Kendrick Lamar were the big winners at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards, with Mars taking home six statues and Lamar earning five awards. While their victories didn’t come as that big of a shock, there were a few first-time winners that caught our eye.Festival favorites The Infamous Stringdusters picked up their first Grammy last night when their 2017 release Laws of Gravity was named Best Bluegrass Album. Founded in 2007, the band—Andy Hall (dobro), Andy Falco (guitar), Chris Pandolfi (banjo), Jeremy Garrett (fiddle), and Travis Book (upright bass)—has put out eight studio albums and recently announced the launch of their new record label. “Cannot thank you all enough for being along for this ride!,” The Infamous Stringdusters said in a statement. “Winning this award was made even better by sharing the honor with Rhonda Vincent.” (In a rare tie, Vincent’s’ All The Rage – In Concert Volume One also won a Best Bluegrass Album award). After a handful of past nominations, LCD Soundsystem earned their first-ever Grammy for their 2017 single “Tonite”, which took home Best Dance Recording. Their comeback album American Dreams was nominated for Best Alternative Music Album, though it lost to The National‘s Sleep Well Beast.Interestingly, electronic music legends Kraftwerk earned their first in-competition Grammy at last night’s show, despite having already been honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award and a spot in the Grammy Hall of Fame. The pioneering German outfit beat out a much younger field to win Best Electronic/Dance Album for their 2017 release 3-D The Catalogue, a record that was borne out of a retrospective project the band showcased at museums and music venues.In a less surprising move, the winners in the blues categories were decidedly on the older side as well. Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’ picked up Best Contemporary Blues Album for their collaborative release TajMo, while rock icons The Rolling Stones won Best Traditional Blues Album for Blue & Lonesome, their first studio release in 11 years.Portugal. The Man beat out rising pop stars The Chainsmokers and Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee to win their first Grammy, an award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for their single “Feel It Still”. Evidently, the group didn’t take the honor very seriously, as their acceptance speech saw frontman John Gourley pretend to wipe his butt with the trophy while bassist Zach Carothers declared “Hail Satan!”.Other winners at last night’s ceremony included John McLaughlin (Best Improvised Jazz Solo), Alabama Shakes (Best American Roots Performance), Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit (Best Americana Album and Best American Roots Song), The War on Drugs (Best Rock Album), and many more. You can check out the full list of winners here.
Some states are making dramatic improvements in their Recovery Act websites but others are still failing to make effective use of online technology to educate taxpayers about the impact of the stimulus. Vermont was cited as fifth worst in the nation. So finds Good Jobs First in Show Us the Stimulus (Again), a report released today which updates GJF’s July findings; text plus state appendices at: www.goodjobsfirst.org/stimulusweb.cfm(link is external).”Some states are striving to deliver on President Obama’s promise that the Recovery Act would bring unprecedented transparency and accountability,” said Good Jobs First executive director Greg LeRoy. “Led by Maryland, which again receives our highest score, these states’ Recovery Act websites help taxpayers understand and evaluate how the Recovery Act benefits their state.”On a scale of 0 to 100, the study rates the disclosure on more than $200 billion in ARRA funds flowing through state governments to communities, organizations and individuals. It grades information on programs and on specific grants and contracts, with special emphasis on jobs data and the geographic distribution of spending. “Cinderella states such as Kentucky and Illinois swept from the bottom in our previous assessment to the top tier in our new ranking,” said Philip Mattera, GJF’s research director and principal author of both reports. “Many others have improved their sites and are effectively incorporating the data states transmit to the federal Recovery.gov website. The state sites and Recovery.gov are both vital to public understanding of the Recovery Act’s performance.”Top-rated states are: Maryland (87), Kentucky (85), Connecticut (80), Colorado (72), Minnesota (72), Wisconsin (72),California (69), Illinois (69), Oregon (67), Massachusetts (65), Georgia (64), West Virginia (64), New Mexico (62), New York(62), Pennsylvania (62), Montana (61) and Arkansas (60).Worst-rated, from the bottom, are: North Dakota (5), District of Columbia (6), Missouri (10), Alaska (13), Vermont (13), Louisiana (16), Mississippi (17), Idaho (18), Oklahoma (18), Texas (18) and South Carolina (19).The biggest Cinderella stories are Kentucky, which soared from 47th place to 2nd; Illinois (50th to 7th); Minnesota (34th to 4th); and Utah (50th to 24th).The study includes state-specific scoring sheets and recommendations for improvement based on best practices. Good Jobs First is a non-profit, non-partisan research center based in Washington, DC.SOURCE: Good Jobs First. WASHINGTON, Jan. 26, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ —