Bobby Karl Works The Room: Music City’s 2019 Grammy Nominees Party

Pictured (L-R): Jimi Westbrook, Lee Ann Womack, Kimberly Schlapman, Waylon Payne, and Karen Fairchild. Photo: Ed Rode/WireImage


Chapter 611

It’s official – 2019 has begun.

I know this because the Grammy Nominee Party took place on Thursday (Jan. 24). This annual event always signifies to me that the New Year is truly underway.

“This really does mark the New Year,” agreed Dale Bobo, “So it does make sense to still say, ‘Happy New Year’ at it.”

“I guess this means I have to start keeping office hours five days a week now,” quipped Chaz Corzine in jest.

Pictured (L-R): Ian Fitchuk, Daniel Tashian. Photo: Courtesy of the Recording Academy/Ed Rode, Getty Images

Not only is it the first big music-biz bash of the year, it is the only one that brings together people from just about all the genres in this town.

“The nominees this year reflect the diversity of music in our community,” said Recording Academy Nashville chapter exec Alicia Warwick.

“Nashville is represented in 32 categories with 120 nominees,” added chapter president Trey Fanjoy. “Our diversity is something we’re incredibly proud of.”

Celebrating at the bash were such nominees as Jason Crabb (gospel), John Prine (Americana), Halestorm (rock), The Isaacs (gospel), Little Big Town (country), Sister Sadie (bluegrass), Mary Gauthier (folk), Kristin Wilkinson (arranging), Lee Ann Womack (Americana), Kenneth Pattingale (engineering), Daniel Tashian & Ian Fitchuk (Album of the Year), Michael W. Smith (CCM), The Martins (gospel), Dave Cobb (Record of the Year), Margo Price (Best New Artist), Anderson East (American Roots) and pianist Gordon Mote (gospel).

Songwriting nominees abounded, not surprising in a town built on song craftsmanship. Nicolle Galyon, David Hodges, Waylon Payne, Jon Nite, Rhett Akins, Jessie Jo Dillon (did you know she is Dean Dillon’s daughter?), Luke Laird, Ross Copperman, Ben Glover, Ben Hayslip, Chase McGill and Jordan Sapp signed up for the merriment. All have pronounced themselves thrilled to be Grammy nominated.

Pictured (L-R): Recording Academy Nashville Chapter Executive Director, Alicia Warwick, GRAMMY nominees Anderson East, Dave Cobb and Recording Academy Nashville Chapter President, Trey Fanjoy. Photo: Courtesy of the Recording Academy/Ed Rode, Getty Images

Legendary Rock n Roll, Country Music and Rockabilly Hall of Fame member Brenda Lee was there. Her classic “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” is going into the Grammy Hall of Fame this year. What took the Academy so long?

“I never thought this would happen,” said Brenda. “We cut ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’ in 1958, and we knew it was a special song. It was recorded in the Quonset Hut with Owen Bradley and the A-Team and the Anita Kerr Singers.”

Here’s a harmonic convergence. The late Hank Garland played lead guitar on the record. Waylon Payne, who is Grammy nominated this year, portrayed the musician in the movie Hank. Naturally, Waylon and Brenda had a bonding moment.

“I want to thank the Academy for not forgetting us old timers,” added Brenda. “God love you. God bless you. And keep on rockin.’”

Dolly Parton (“Coat of Many Colors”) and Jeannie C. Riley (“Harper Valley P.T.A.”) also have Grammy Hall of Fame recordings this year.

This party always seems extra schmoozy to me. Maybe that’s because it is the first community-wide bash of the year.

Halestorm. Photo: Courtesy of the Recording Academy/Ed Rode, Getty Images

Sharing the warmth and camaraderie were Leslie Fram, Lesley Roberts, Sherod Robertson, Jody Williams, Sally Williams, Lindsey Clark, Lyndsay Cruz (she’s the new ACM Lifting Lives exec), Jordan Reynolds, Jordan Sapp, Brandi Simms, Earle Simmons, Ed Morris, Eddie Perez of the Mavericks, Fletcher Foster, Ronna Rubin and Butch Baker.

Plus, Mark Bright, Mike Sirls, Lori Badgett, Lisa Harless, Dan Hill, Debbie Linn, Jimmy Wheeler, Jeff Balding, Jules Wortman, Joe Chambers, Jeremy Ivey, Terry Hemmings, Tracy Gershon, Alison Jones, Chuck Ainlay, David Corlew, Gary Kraen, George Walker IV, Pat Higdon, Beverly Keel, Nick DiFuscia, Phil Thornton, Dan Hill, Chris Keaton, Frank Liddell, Carla Wallace, Erika Wollam Nichols and just about every other fabulon you’ve ever met.

The event took place at Loew’s Vanderbilt Plaza Hotel. The catering department hit a home run with sweet & sour chicken sandwiches, beet & blue cheese salad, bourbon bacon tarts, lobster pasta, smoked-trout dip sliders, crackers, nuts and heirloom cheeses. Desserts included salted caramel brownie pudding cups, French macaroons, and chocolate truffles.

The Birdsong Trio embellished the cocktail party with lovely jazz instrumentals. I led the cheers for their efforts.

“A Grammy nomination is a true symbol of dedication to your craft,” said Fanjoy. “Please give all of these nominees a thundering round of applause. You guys have a great time!”

We did.

Pictured (L-R): Alicia Warwick, Chase McGill, Jessie Jo Dillon, Trey Fanjoy. Photo: Courtesy of the Recording Academy/Ed Rode, Getty Images


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