Bobby Karl Works The Grammy Nominee Party

Pictured (l-r:) George Flanigen, chair of the board of trustees, The Recording Academy; Susan Stewart, south regional director, The Recording Academy; nominee Chris Young and Gary Overton, Sony Music Nashville chairman.

All photos courtesy of The Recording Academy® /Wireimage.com © 2011. Photographed by: Frederick Breedon

Chapter 356

Talk about your star gazing—this year’s Grammy nominee party was the place to be.

And what a triumph for Nashville’s music community: “I’m proud to say that this year there were more Grammy entries than ever before,” said Recording Academy chapter board president Dan Hill. “We are extremely diverse,” added South Regional Director Susan Stewart. “We have more nominees in more categories than I can name. We have six Nashville songwriters up for Song of the Year, alone.”

“Our national Chairman of the Board didn’t have to fly in, because he lives right here,” Dan continued. “Welcome George Flanigen.” George pointed out that the number of Nashville nominees spans 35 different categories. In addition to country, bluegrass and gospel, they include folk, pop, world music, rock, historical, liner notes, Americana, movie music and classical.

“The Nashville Symphony, with one record, is nominated for five awards,” boasted George. “From now on, all of you will have attached to your name, ‘Grammy nominated,’ like ‘Grammy nominated Rivers Rutherford’ or ‘Grammy nominated Chris Young.’”

Nashville Symphony Conductor Giancarlo Guerrero. The Symphony garnered five Grammy nominations.

Chris and Rivers were most definitely in the house. The gala, staged yesterday evening at the Loews Vanderbilt Plaza (1/18), also featured appearances by triple nominee Dierks Bentley, jazz great Larry Carlton and rockers Paramore, plus Sam Bush, Cherryholmes, Tom Douglas, Ty Herndon, Ricky Skaggs, Gordon Kennedy, Karen Peck, Dailey & Vincent, David Nail, The Band Perry, The SteelDrivers, Gretchen Wilson, Little Big Town, Allen Shamblin, Jeff & Sheri Easter, FireFight, Austin’s Bridge and conductor Giancarlo Guerrero.

“What a great turnout,” editorialized Wes Vause.

“When they called me [to attend], I said, ‘You want me to park cars?’” quipped Sam Tate, who is nominated alongside Rivers and Annie Tate for writing “I’d Love to Be Your Last” for Gretchen. “The song wasn’t even a single!” he exclaimed. “But that’s what’s great about the country Grammys,” I replied. “They’re weird, and in this case, weird in a good way.”

“After all I’ve been through, I finally get to show, ‘This is what I can do,’” said Jett Williams. “I’m moving the legacy forward,” with a massive reissue set of daddy Hank’s works.

“I’ve been nominated 11 times, but never won,” said Connie Smith. “I don’t care. I’m just glad to be nominated….again.” Hubbie and vocal collaborator Marty Stuart defended fellow nominee Skaggs’ much maligned long locks. “I think it’s cool,” said Marty. “He looks like Benjamin Franklin.”

The most nominated Nashville act is Lady Antebellum. “It’s a pretty awesome feeling, especially to be honored in the all-genre categories,” said Lady A’s Charles Kelley. The group is in the studio, but still felt the responsibility to drop by the party. I love those kids.

Seeing conductor Guerrero, Del McCoury was reminded of a gig his band played at the Schermerhorn with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band last year. Afterward, the McCourys took the New Orleans legends with them to appear on the Opry. According to Pete Fisher, this is the first time a tuba has been on the show. The collaboration will result in a joint album, out in April. It looks like the Grammys might need yet another category – Bluegrass/Dixieland or Dixieland/Bluegrass.

The crowd of hundreds was packed with industry fabulons. Among those working the room were Gary Overton, Gary Paczosa, Ben Vaughn, Ben Fowler, Mary Ann McCready, Mary Hilliard Harrington, Mary Martin, Alan Valentine, Allen Brown, Tony Brown, Tom Lord, Tim DuBois, Tracy Gershon, Tree Paine, Tamara Saviano, Hunter Davis, Hunter Kelly, Scott & Sandi Borchetta, Scott Robinson, Sherod Robertson, Jeff Walker, Jeff Hanna & Matraca Berg, Jimmy Carter, Joe Palmaccio, Jon Freeman and Jon Randall Stewart & Jessi Alexander. Jon and Jessi spent the holidays, by the way, having a seven-day blast on Delbert’s Blues Cruise.

Meanwhile, back at the Grammy schmoozathon, we noshed on roast beef sandwiches, tiny rock shrimp on toast points, roasted and glazed veggies on flat breads, crab cake sandwiches, Mediterranean dips, filo dessert rolls and more. We said, “Happy New Year” to Gilles Godard, Fletcher Foster, Ronna Rubin, Luke Lewis, Chris Keaton, Ron & Regina Stuve, Rod Essig, Ree Guyer Buchanan, Jackie Marushka Luttrell, Janet Bozeman, Paul Barnabee, Pat Higdon, Peter Cooper, Karen Byrd, Ken Robold, Kira Florita, Kay West, Andrew Kintz, Shelby Kennedy, Beverly Keel, Denise Stiff, Dan Harrell, David Preston, Don Light, Bob Doyle and Frank Myers, not to mention Mayor Karl Dean and Nashville first lady Anne Davis.

“That’s Karl with a ‘K,’” said hizzhonor. “Of course,” sez I. “Bobby Karl is always with a ‘K,’ as all correct Karl spellers are.”

The awards show airs Sunday, February 13, 8:00 p.m./Eastern on CBS.

Nashville mayor Karl Dean, Nashville first lady, Anne Davis and GRAMMY nominees Marty Stuart and Connie Smith.

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