(Editor’s note: CMT.com editorial director Chet Flippo was backstage at Staples Center in Los Angeles to provide information on the winners at the 48th annual Grammy Awards.)
Alison Krauss walked into the 48th annual Grammy Awards show already owning more of the trophies than any other woman in history and went home with three more Grammys to bring her career total to 20 wins.
Keith Urban showed up at Staples Center in Los Angeles with girlfriend Nicole Kidman and soon picked up his first-ever Grammy when his recording of “You’ll Think of Me” was named best male country vocal performance. Urban and Kidman sat beside actor Tom Hanks and his wife, actress Rita Wilson, during the show.
Other country-related Grammy winners at Wednesday night’s (Feb. 8) award show included Emmylou Harris, the Del McCoury Band and a duet by Faith Hill and Tim McGraw.
In addition to winning the country album Grammy for Lonely Runs Both Ways, Krauss and her bandmates also won for country performance by a duo or group with vocal for “Restless” and in the country instrumental performance field for “Unionhouse Branch.” The album award was the only country category featured during the CBS telecast. All other country-related awards were presented prior to the broadcast that ran three and a-half hours.
“Bless the Broken Road” netted a best country song win for songwriters Bobby Boyd, Jeff Hanna and Marcus Hummon. The Rascal Flatts hit was also nominated for overall song of the year, a category ultimately won by U2’s “Sometimes You Can’t Make It on Your Own.”
Harris collected the 12th Grammy of her career when her recording of “The Connection” was named best female country vocal performance. Hill and McGraw shared the country collaboration with vocals prize for “Like We Never Loved at All,” a track from her Fireflies album.
The bluegrass album nod went to the Del McCoury Band’s The Company We Keep, and the contemporary blues album winner was Delbert McClinton’s Cost of Living. Amy Grant’s Rock of Ages … Hymns & Faith was named best southern, country or bluegrass gospel album. In the folk category, John Prine’s Fair & Square took contemporary honors, and Tim O’Brien’s Fiddler’s Green won in the traditional division.
Sugarland, bested by John Legend as the all-genre best new artist, were placed at a disadvantage when audio problems plagued their performance of “Something More.” Now a duo, Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush nonetheless displayed their undeniable professionalism and ability to work under pressure by smiling and trudging through a spirited version of the hit.
Urban, who has been fighting a cold for several days, sounded somewhat raspy but turned in an inspired version of the Grammy-winning “You’ll Think of Me.” After his vocal performance, Urban swapped his acoustic guitar for an electric instrument to back Hill on “The Lucky One.”
With Gorillaz and Madonna opening the show, others showcased in music segments included Bruce Springsteen, U2, Mary J. Blige, Kanye West, John Legend, Coldplay, Christina Aguilera and Herbie Hancock. An all-star tribute to Sly & the Family Stone featured Maroon 5, Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas, Robert Randolph, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Joss Stone, Ciara and others. The suspense level was heightened with anticipation of a rare appearance by the reclusive Sly Stone, who showed up with a bleached blond Mohawk haircut and an apparent reluctance to complete his first public performance in almost two decades.
The show ended with a tribute to New Orleans with Allen Toussaint, Dr. John, Bonnie Raitt, the Edge, Elvis Costello, Irma Thomas and others before Springsteen and Sam Moore (formerly of Sam & Dave) steered it into a musical memorial to the late Wilson Pickett. But let’s hope Charles Manson wasn’t watching when Paul McCartney performed “Helter Skelter.” Let’s face it: The track from the Beatles’ White Album is one of those songs that once drove Charlie a little crazy.
During the show, the Recording Academy acknowledged Merle Haggard and the late Owen Bradley among this year’s recipients of its Lifetime Achievement awards that were formally presented Tuesday night (Feb. 7) at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre. Haggard did not attend the ceremony, but Bradley’s grandson, Clay Bradley, accepted the award on behalf of the pioneering record producer and Nashville label executive.
After Wednesday’s awards show, Big & Rich and Cowboy Troy were scheduled to perform at a Grammy party at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Others on the bill for the private event included Earth, Wind & Fire, Floetry, Brian McKnight and Kelly Rowland.