Country’s Grammy Nominees Gather for Red Carpet Run

Jason Aldean, George Jones, Kenny Chesney Among Celebrants

Some of country music biggest stars turned out for the annual Grammy nominees party Tuesday evening (Jan. 17) at Loews Vanderbilt Hotel in Nashville.

Staged by the Nashville chapter of the Recording Academy, the organization that confers the Grammy awards, the event consisted of a red carpet walk for the nominees and a simultaneous cocktail party in an adjacent room for music industry figures.

George Jones, who will receive a lifetime achievement Grammy, strolled from reporter to reporter with his wife Nancy and his publicist in tow.

Next to run the gauntlet of TV lights and predictable questions was Jason Aldean. He’s up for best solo country performance for “Dirt Road Anthem” and, with Kelly Clarkson, for best country duo or group performance for “Don’t You Wanna Stay.”

Wearing a ski cap and doing his best to look unobtrusive, Kenny Chesney trod the carpet flanked by glamorous songwriters Matraca Berg and Deana Carter.

Chesney is also nominated for best country duo or group performance via his duet with Grace Potter on “You and Tequila.” Berg and Carter wrote the song which is in the running for best country song.

Songwriter David Lee Murphy made the rounds, as well. He, too, is nominated for best country song for “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not,” a hit for Thompson Square.

Tom T. Hall roamed the room with Peter Cooper, the co-producer with Eric Brace of I Love: Tom T. Hall’s Songs of Fox Hollow. That multi-artist collection is competing for a best children’s album Grammy.

Dennis Scott chatted with reporters about Fab Fan Memories: The Beatles Bond, a contender for the best spoken word prize.

Bluegrass leviathan Del McCoury and his sons Ronnie and Robbie came through the interview line near the end of the evening. The Del McCoury Band’s Old Memories: The Songs of Bill Monroe is nominated for best bluegrass album.

The most vivid scene of the evening occurred outside the TV lights and beyond the cocktail chatter when a photographer cornered silver-haired Del McCoury and white-haired George Jones and had them pose side by side for a photo of the two most exquisitely sculpted hairdos in the universe.

The Grammy awards show will air Feb. 12 on CBS.

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