Nashville’s Grammy Nominees Do the Red Carpet Walk at Their Own Party

Trace Adkins, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Robert Plant Among Familiar Faces

Even though arriving performers were channeled through a red-carpet cattle chute of TV cameras, the Grammy-nominee party held Monday night (Jan. 26) at Loews Vanderbilt Hotel in Nashville felt more like a cozy cocktail party than a glamour extravaganza.

That’s because most of the people attending were veteran music industry types –producers, publishers, musicians, songwriters — who had seen stars come and go and, thus, were more intent on grabbing an early snack and a drink than gawking at the bright lights.

While country acts were the most recognizable faces at the party, it also drew local nominees in the pop, gospel and polka categories.

To be sure, there were stars aplenty to gawk at. Country Music Hall of Famers Earl Scruggs and Brenda Lee sat head-to-head at a small table while fellow Hall member Charlie Louvin cruised the buffet table.

Trace Adkins and members of Lady Antebellum and Little Big Town ran a gauntlet of well-wishers even after they emerged from their red carpet interrogations. The ever-dapper Del McCoury stood beaming imperially as the crowd swirled around him while fellow bluegrass great Ricky Skaggs hovered deep in conversation a few feet away.

Providing the evening’s soundtrack — as has become the custom — was the Birdsong Trio, an elegant jazz assemblage that breezed through such party essentials as “Satin Doll,” “Caravan” and “Ain’t Misbehavin’.”

Three bars stayed busy dispensing first aid.

Spotted edging through the amiable throng were Jamey Johnson, Jake Owen, Steve Wariner (who’s up for a Grammy as one of the pickers on Brad Paisley’s “Cluster Pluck”), guitarist Steve Cropper, Nashville Songwriter Hall of Fame members Gary Burr and Matraca Berg, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band member Jeff Hanna, singer-songwriter Becky Hobbs and producers Tony Brown and Victoria Shaw. Also in attendance were Led Zeppelin vocalist Robert Plant and producer T Bone Burnett, who are nominated this year in several categories, including album of the year, for their work on Raising Sand, Plant’s collection of duets with Alison Krauss.

Midway during the festivities, Susan Stewart, head of the Nashville chapter of the Recording Academy (the group that awards the Grammys), and Pete Fisher, chapter president, presented Brenda Lee with a lifetime achievement award.

“I love what we do,” Lee told the crowd as she accepted her plaque. “I love what we stand for.”

This year’s Grammy awards show will be broadcast from Los Angeles Feb. 8 on CBS.

View photos from the Grammy nominees party.
Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to