Monday, February 11, 2008

The Grammys Are Still The Grammys When It Comes To Country

A&O buddy Los Angelino Neil Haislop was there all weekend, starting with Friday night's pre-party:

ImageFriday night at Hollywood's Knitting Factory on Hollywood Boulevard, Dierks Bentley put on a pre-awards party that will likely rank high among the various pre-shows this weekend ahead of the milestone Sunday's 50th Annual Grammy Awards show. Bentley is up for 3 Grammys, Best Male Country Vocal Performance, Best Country Song for "Long Trip Alone," and, Best Country Album for Long Trip Alone.

Billed as Dierks Bentley and Friends the show lived up to its name, as Dierks was joined on stage by country and pop luminaries, including Miranda Lambert, Brad Paisley, and Dwight Yoakam, as well as Pearl Jam lead guitarist, Mike McCready and Haley Williams, lead singer for New Artist nominee Paramore.

After Dierks tore into his high-energy opening set, Miranda Lambert, Grammy nominated for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for "Famous in a Small Town," was first to join him on stage. The crowd welcomed Miranda like a big star and were jumping up and down through the high energy set between two artists that are friends and singing on the same musical page.

After Miranda departed, Dierks told the crowd that he wanted Brad Paisley to join him for the a few songs, "But he's too big a star now to do something like that." Of course, that
Imagewas Brad's cue to jump on stage, strap on a guitar and fire up the crowd with his guitar licks, humor and vocals. Paisley is also Grammy-nominated 3 times for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals, along with Carrie Underwood, for "Oh, Love," Best Country Instrumental Performance for "Throttleneck" off of his Grammy-nominated album, 5th Gear.

The next surprise guest was Pearl Jam's lead guitarist, Mike McCready. Dierks pretty much laid back on his acoustic and let Mike do his thing. Would've been fun to have kept Paisley out there and let them engage in a friendly dual.

Also, guesting with Dierks was the Tennessee-bred, 18 year-old lead singer for Paramore, Haley Williams. Paramore is up for the overall New Artist Grammy.

Although Paramore ain't country, Haley proved that the country she grew with hadn't left her as she and Dierks traded vocals on some big country standards.

ImageAfter Dierks finished the show the Hollywood crowd in the trendy club wanted an encore and got it plus the final guest star to help Dierks deliver it, Dwight Yoakam.
Dierks had a ball trading vocals on several cool versions Buck Owens songs. It was a fitting finale to a great show served up one of country's hottest young traditionalists and a few of his friends.

Can't say too much about Dierks' band, especially lead guitarist, Rod Janzen, who held his own with both Brad and Mike McCready Friday night.

The Grammys being the Grammys, nearly all of the Country awards were handed out in the pre-telecast awards presentations where Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley were on hand to accept their awards. Carrie picked up Best Female Country Vocal Performance for "Before He Cheats," which also earned Best Country Song honors.

"You couldn't keep me from actually getting this myself — it's not the same when someone else gets this on your behalf," said Underwood.

After an amazing duet of "Learnin' the Blues" between Alicia Keys and Frank Sinatra (appearing on an old film clip), CARRIE'S BIg performance was the second number of the night, where she delivered a revved up, huge production of "Before He Cheats."


BRAD PAISLEY ALSO PERFORMED...Brad Paisley, who won for Best Country Instrumental Performance on "Throttleneck," turned in a rousing performance of his quirky hit, "Ticks."

And, the Grammys being the Grammys, VINCE GILL won Country Album of the year for his brilliant, multiple disc, These Days, and was presented his Grammy by Beatle, Ringo Star.


Best Female Country Vocal Performance
(For a solo vocal performance. Singles or Tracks only.)
Before He Cheats
Carrie Underwood
Track from: Some Hearts
[19 Recordings/Arista Nashville]

Best Male Country Vocal Performance
Stupid Boy - Keith Urban
Track from: Love, Pain & The Whole Crazy Thing

Best Country Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals
How Long - Eagles

Best Country Collaboration With Vocals
Lost Highway Willie Nelson & Ray Price

Best Country Instrumental Performance
"Throttleneck Brad Paisley"
Track from: 5th Gear

Best Country Song "Before He Cheats"
Josh Kear & Chris Tompkins, songwriters (Carrie Underwood)

Best Country Album
These Days - Vince Gill

The Grammys being the Grammys, the list of "little" country winners is too long for this post.

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