Dave Matthews at a concert in Rio last month.

To me, the only valuable thing about awards—whether they're Grammys or Oscars or Nobels—is that they bring a bigger audience to deserving artists. They help us focus and explore. Undoubtedly, Kendrick Lamar's Pulitzer opened him up to a new audience. That's why Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nods always feel superfluous. The audience that pays attention to them already knows, mostly, the names. They stake a claim in the history books for people that are already in them. This year, a couple more Seattle musicians got nominations—Dave Matthews Band (er, a sort of local group) and Soundgarden—amid a pretty impressive list: Notorious B.I.G., Whitney Houston, Kraftwerk, MC5, the Doobie Brothers, Judas Priest. 

For Dave Matthews, this might actually mean something. No one is going to write Biggie or Houston or Judas Priest out of the musical history books. Likely Soundgarden is safe. Dave, though, is notable for his populism more than his music. So for him and his jam band—a crew so milquetoast that for the life of me I can't ever remember one of their songs, even though I've heard them many times over many years (strummy chords and a passable vocal?)—a win might stake him a legacy you can't wash away with a bong rip. Good luck, buddy. 

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