A throng of Nashville’s musically best and brightest converged on Loews Vanderbilt Plaza hotel Thursday night (Jan. 21) to celebrate their nominations for upcoming Grammy awards.
The Grammys are conferred annually by the Recording Academy, and this year’s winners will be announced in Los Angeles on Jan. 31 during a CBS-TV special.
Among those walking the red carpet at Thursday’s warm-up event were pop star Colbie Caillat (whose country connection is a featured artist appearance on Taylor Swift‘s Fearless album), Trace Adkins, Dierks Bentley, Steve Wariner and Michael Martin Murphey, along with bluegrass luminaries Rhonda Vincent and Jim Lauderdale and Nitty Gritty Dirt Band co-founder Jeff Hanna. (The Dirt Band’s 1970 pop hit, “Mr. Bojangles,” is being inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.)
Also in attendance was 84-year-old Harold Bradley, reputed to be the most recorded guitar player in history, who will be presented the Recording Academy’s Trustees Award for his contributions to music in a nonperforming capacity.
Other famous faces in the crowd included banjoist Alison Brown (who’s up for best country instrumental performance), Casey Beathard (nominated in the best country song category for co-writing Trace Adkins’ “All I Ask for Anymore” ), banjo wizard Bela Fleck, Tim Nichols (who won a 2004 Grammy for co-writing Tim McGraw‘s “Live Like You Were Dying” ), songwriter-producer Victoria Shaw and producer Tony Brown.
Murphey, the former pop and country behemoth whose hits arc from “Wildfire” to “A Long Line of Love,” is, oddly enough, currently nominated for a best bluegrass album Grammy for Buckaroo Bluegrass. He has a follow-up album, Buckaroo Bluegrass II, set for release on Feb. 9.
Clad in his traditional cowboy garb, Murphey told CMT.com he will be reviving his popular WestFest performance and arts series this year after a five-year hiatus. The 2010 edition, he said, is being dubbed the Wild, Wild WestFest and will be staged May 14-17 in Pueblo, Colo., in conjunction with a Professional Bull Riders competition.
Accompanying Murphey at the party was his son, Ryan, who had a No. 4 country hit with his dad in 1988, “Talkin’ to the Wrong Man.”
Music for the event was, as customary, provided by the Birdsong jazz trio, who kept things lively with an ultra cool array of standards, ranging from “Over the Rainbow” to “Take the ‘A’ Train.”
In brief remarks to the crowd, Bradley recounted how he was selected to head the Nashville chapter of the Recording Academy (then called the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences) when it was established in 1964.
“We were having a meeting,” he recalled, “and I had to go to a funeral. When I came back, I was president.”
View photos from the Grammy nominees party.