There are precious few occasions when Nashville’s music community can come together as a whole, and they dwindled to zero during the past two years of pandemic.
And, lo it came to pass that the gathering of the tribes returned with Thursday’s Grammy Nominee Party (March 10). And, yea verily, it was manna from heaven.
The rock, gospel, bluegrass, Americana and country tribes assembled in divine harmony. The Recording Academy chose a new venue, the Analog nightclub in the Hutton Hotel. Because there was no party last year, the 2020 nominees and winners were invited. For the first time, the party featured musical performances.
“Welcome, welcome, welcome,” greeted Recording Academy chapter executive director Alicia Warwick. “We’re here, in person!”
“We’re excited to see so many of those who are passionate and committed to music with us here tonight,” added Nashville chapter president Ruby Amanfu. She is among the songwriters nominated for 2021 Song of the Year (for the Alicia Keys/Brandi Carlile recording “A Beautiful Noise”). Ruby emphasized the Academy’s dedication to diversity and inclusion, noting that this is reflected in the Nashville chapter’s nominees in 32 different categories. “We cover it: We’re good.”
Shannon Sanders introduced the performances with rousing enthusiasm. “Tonight is a celebration of music,” he proclaimed. The Fisk Jubilee Singers, Billy Ray Cyrus, Nashville rapper Tim Gent, Sierra Hull, Matt Maher, Devon Gilfillian, Daisha McBride and Mr. Talkbox were booked to entertain the fabulons in attendance.
Mingling in the throng were many 2021 Grammy nominees. These included gospel’s CeCe Winans, Americana’s Yola, bluegrass music’s Rhonda Vincent, reggae star Gramps Morgan, folk music’s Sarah Jarosz and — goddess-alert — country’s Brandy Clark. Not to mention Grammy nominated songwriters Josh Jenkins, Jimmy Robbins, Laura Veltz, Shane Stevens, Parker Welling, R&B Song co-writer Audra Mae Butts and Ruby’s hubby Sam Ashworth, who is nominated for Best Song Written For Visual Media (“Speak Now” from One Night in Miami).
Cody Fry is nominated for his arrangement of “Eleanor Rigby.” Dave Aude is nominated for remixing Demi Lovato & Ariana Grande. They circulated among the Gospel Music Association’s Jackie Patillo, the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame’s Mark Ford, MTSU’s Beverly Keel, BMI’S Clay Bradley, SESAC’s ET Brown, Belmont’s Doug Howard and the AFM’s Dave Pomeroy.
The Hutton folks brought out the good stuff for their cocktail-supper menu. Fabulons snacked on bacon-wrapped figs, tomato caprese, Thai shrimp & lime, chicken skewers, smoked salmon pinwheels, flatbread with balsamic fig & cheese, steak skewers, Broadway hot-chicken sliders, fried mozzarella cheese balls, pulled pork sliders with slaw and cheesy mini potatoes. At least that’s what I sampled. There might have been more on those trays the kindly staff was circulating with.
Rejoicing in the community get-together reunion were Leslie DiPiero, Chandra LaPlume, Garth Fundis, LB Cantrell, Jon Loba, Pat McMakin, Paul Kwame, Kris Wilkinson, Regina McCrary, Fletcher Foster, Ronna Rubin, Jay Jones, Tom Roland, Caroline Davis, Earle Simmons, Carol Ann Etheridge, Dan Hill & Katie Gustafson, Casie Mason, George Achaves, Matt Leimkuehler, Josh Ewers, Chris Keaton, Joanna Carter, Ben Kline, Jennifer Hanson, James Elliott, Sherod Robertson and Julie Boos.