Take Me to the Water receives Grammy nomination for Best Historical Album
"Best Historical Album is a Grammy category that never attracts much attention, but the nominees are usually excellent. This year is no exception: Among them are the Little Walter Chess recordings and a Sophie Tucker collection from the folks at Champaign-Urbana’s great Archeophone label. The excellent Dust-to-Digital label is a regular presence among the nominees, and this year it’s up for a fascinating package called Take Me to the Water: Immersion Baptism in Vintage Music and Photography 1890-1950.
The 8.75" x 6" hardbound book includes a gorgeous collection of rare photos of riverside baptisms by both white and black congregations, taken from the collection of Jim Linderman; there’s also a terrific essay by Luc Sante. Accompanying the images is a wonderful CD featuring black gospel, blues, and old-timey country songs that touch on baptism—including tracks by ubiquitous preacher Reverend J.M. Gates, quirky gospel singer Washington Phillips (who also played a fretless zither he built himself and called a Dolceola), the Carter Family, and J.E. Mainer’s Mountaineers. I don’t really think that baptism songs comprise a truly important genre, but the practice itself is obviously a huge part of religious life, and immersion baptism is still practiced today in the U.S. So while this may seem like a rather esoteric subject for a Grammy bid, that doesn’t make the music (or the photos) any less compelling." — Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader