In he four years that I’ve participated in the GRAMMYs (yes, that a brand thing) community of bloggers program I always have someone ask me. “Why do it?”
I have a simple answer, exposure. Not just for me. – even if, as T Bone might suggest, I eschewed the spotlight, the blogger community program shines a brighter light on me and I in turn point that light toward great music and evets that most people aren’t aware of outside of the televised GRAMMY awards program showed for several hours in late Fall every year.
Events like the the Grammy Foundation’s “A Song is Born” program that took place at the classically elagant Wilshire Ebell Theater celebrating the alchemy of sound, emotion and words that is songwriting. Seventeen artists, most of them writers rather than the original interpreters, provided the audience with a live glimpse behind the creative curtain.
Singer/songwriter and actor and country-rock pioneer JD Souther, brought Dan Wilson (Grammy winner for his songs for Dixie Chicks and Adele), Joy Williams (Grammy winner for Civil Wars) for a wonderfully sweet rendition of his co-written hit with the Eagles, “New Kid in Town.”
Kris Kristofferson, who alluded to his recent disclosure of memory loss when he mentioned that “77 is a tough age.” He the enraptured the crowd with a rousing version of “Me and Bobby McGee” and a gut-wrenching rendition of “For the Good Times.”
Legendary songwriter Jimmy Webb took to piano to tell stories of his career. Like when the record company shows wariness of his song by the Fifth Dimension “Up, Up, and Away,” partly because they “they thought it was about drugs. It was just an ironic moment because of all the songs that year , 1967, were on radio that week, “Up Up and Away” was the only song that was not about drugs.”
perform a passionate “Wichita Lineman” in honor of “my friend” Glenn Campbell.
The GRAMMY pre-telecast is where the majority of the awards are given. The MC for the event was 80’s singing star, and current Broadway composer, Cyndi Lauper was charmingly bumbling iin her Queens kind of way.
Winners for the night (and if you followed my Twitter account you already know this) were:
Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell for “Old Yellow Moon,” Crowell accepted the award as he mentioned that Harris was “being a good sister” and tending to her ill brother.
Edie Brickell & Steve Martin were awards the GRAMMY for Best American Roots Song for their collaboration “Love Has Come For You.” “ Edie if the finest lyricist I’ve ever worked with.” Martin quipped.
Guy Clark was awarded a long overdue first GRAMMY for “My Favorite Picture Of You,” which took home Best Folk Album. Best Bluegrass Album went to that genre’s stalwart Del McCoury and his band.
The two biggest Americana and roots surprises came in the mainstream country categories.
The 25-year-old pop-folk upstart Kacey Musgraves took the gold, along with co-writers Shane McNally And Josh Osborne, for Country Song of the Year for “Merry Go ‘Round.” The surprise came when Musgraves won the big prize, Country Album of the Year for “Same Trailer Different Park.” against the old guard of Taylor Swift, Lee Brice, Miranda Lambert, and Blake Shelton.
When The Civil Wars were announced for their fourth Grammy for best country duo/group performance for “From This Valley” all eyes were searching to see if they currently at odds duo would appear. John Paul White ambled to the stage in typical formal attire alone and proceeded to jokingly apologize to fellow nominee Dolly Parton. “I’d like to apologize to Dolly Parton for depriving her of anything at all,” White joked. “She’s one of my biggest heroes.
He then went on to thank his wife, his four children and plumber who was currently fixing the water system.
There was no mention of producer Charlie Peacock or band’s other half, Joy Williams, who had been in attendance during of other events during Grammy Week.
The Civil Wars Facebook page was flooded with long-suffering fan’s outrage and disappointment and White later broke his more than year-long Twitter silence to apologize and thank Peacock and Williams.
On the main telecast I was delighted to see original Highwaymen, Willie Nelson and recipient of the 2014 Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award Kris Kristofferson shared the stage with Bakersfield legend Merle Haggard and newcomer (and contrite trad-country basher) Blake Shelton do a medley of classic country hits like “The Highwayman,” “Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys” and “Okie From Muskogee.”
A great year of surprises, long-deserved recognition and lifted boats.