BOBBY KARL WORKS THE ROOM
Here’s a choice: Spend hours cramped in an uncomfortable airplane seat, book an expensive hotel and sit in the vast Staples Center in L.A. …. or settle into a comfy Nashville bar with big-screen TVs, plus food and drinks within reach.
I’ll take the barroom. The Listening Room on 2nd Avenue North, to be specific. That’s where the Nashville Chapter of The Recording Academy held its Grammy-viewing party on Sunday night (Feb. 8).
The handsome, warm, brick-and-wood room was decked out with five TV monitors, one of them wall-sized. Two bars, each the width of the entire venue, made getting libations easy. A food station offered exotic cheeses, crab cakes, meatballs in barbecue sauce or marinara, Thai peanut chicken with noodles, fruits, crackers and melted cheesy mushroom caps. Desserts, too.
As we schmoozed before the CBS Grammy special began, word circulated in the crowd about the Nashvillians who were pre-telecast winners, such as Old Crow Medicine Show (Folk), Jack White (Rock Performance), The Band Perry (Country Group), For King & Country (CCM), Edgar Meyer & Chris Thile (Instrumental), The Earls of Leicester (Bluegrass), Mike Farris (Roots Gospel) and Carrie Underwood (Country Solo). Our own Hunter Hayes hosted the pre-tel ceremony.
At this pre-tel, now called the “Premiere,” Glen Campbell’s “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” won Country Song. Rosanne Cash picked up all three Americana honors. Jo-El Sonnier won for Regional Roots Music Album. The Hank Williams set The Garden Spot Programs 1950, co-produced by Colin Escott, took home the Historical Album Grammy. Roger Nichols phoned Hayley Williams of Paramore to congratulate her win for Best Rock Song and asked if she was in L.A. to accept it. She replied that she was here at home in her pajamas, freaking out.
She should have joined us downtown. This year’s Grammy-viewing party vibe was absolutely perfect. The Listening Room held exactly the right crowd size. Some previous viewing parties in Music City have been jam-jam packed. This year, the event was full, but you could still maneuver in the space. And we did. With four Grammys, Brit soul-pop singer Sam Smith was the big winner. But at our gala, everyone cheered whenever a Keith Urban, a Dierks Bentley, a Blake Shelton, a Taylor Swift or a Meghan Trainor appeared on screen.
Dwight Yoakam, winner Miranda Lambert (Country Album) and nominees Eric Church and Brandy Clark performed. There were 23 musical performances during this year’s Grammy telecast. All of ours did us proud.
Eric created a true Grammy moment with his videos of social-justice movements and tribulations of our times during “Give Me Back My Hometown.” It was country music taking back its populist focus, instead of representing the reactionary know-nothingness that its artists have too often espoused.
Brandy and Dwight’s performance of her “Hold My Hand” was tender and touching. Miranda’s “Little Red Wagon” was fierce and feisty.
Working the Nashville Grammy-viewing soiree at The Listening Room were the likes of Chapter vice president David Corlew, plus Ed Salamon, Bill VornDick, Ashley Ernst, Shannon Sanders, Anthony Martin, Bri Stewart, Cerrito, Kevin Edwin, 2013 Ms. Senior America Carolyn Corlew, Nathan Pyle, Randy Perkins, Raeanne Rubenstein, Roger Nichols and Courtney White.
They helped make it the best one yet. I’ll take the barroom.