10 Grammy Favorites From Little Big Town’s Phillip Sweet

"Pontoon" Will Compete for a Grammy Award This Weekend

Little Big Town dominated the summer with the smash single “Pontoon.” And although it’s now winter, the song is still hot. In fact, it’ll compete for a Grammy this weekend in the category of best country duo/group vocal performance.

“Everything’s been such a whirlwind. I can’t believe all of this crazy stuff is happening,” the band’s Phillip Sweet tells CMT.com while chatting about the nomination. “You want that and wish for that. And when it happens, you’re elated. It’s unbelievable.”

Sweet surveyed a long list of country’s Grammy winners and chose 10 of his favorites.

“The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” Charlie Daniels Band
1979: Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group
I’ve met Charlie Daniels, and I love the guy. That song lit me up! That song lit everybody up. We’ve opened for Charlie Daniels, and every time we’ve done some sort of event with Charlie, when he hammers that song out, it’s like 1979 all over again. I saw this 15-year-old kid head-banging, and it was so cool to see the crowd moshing to “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”! It was amazing! To this day, it’s timeless. It will stand the test of time. It’s one of the coolest songs ever, ever, ever.

“Elvira,” the Oak Ridge Boys
1981: Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal
With songs like those, it sets a standard. The great thing is, we got to sing with the Oaks one time at a festival. Richard Sterban let me do that “giddyup, oom-papa” part, and I was freaking out! I love the power of the Oaks.

“The House That Built Me,” Miranda Lambert
2010: Best Female Country Vocal Performance
That song was a strong song that you’re going to hear in 20 years, and it will still slay you like that. The pure way she delivered it, you believed every word. You felt her story. It was simple and something about the way she treated it. She spoke it from her heart. That’s what drew you in. You could see the little girl and hear the little girl in her voice.

“I Still Believe in You,” Vince Gill
1992: Best Country Vocal Performance, Male; Best Country Song (with John Jarvis)
That song is still one of the most powerful songs, especially that and “Go Rest High on That Mountain.” That was an era when Vince was really coming in and being a force — and he’s still a force. Look at him today. He’s getting nominated again with another band! He’s one of those amazingly talented people.

“Mountain Music,” Alabama
1982: Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal
That’s another song you’ll hear 20 years from now. And it will still make you feel the same way. It just feels so authentic, and it obviously resonated with people in such a genuine way and a powerful way. You want your music to have that lasting effect that stays with you forever.

“My Maria,” Brooks & Dunn
1996: Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group
That was so big! Everybody knew that song. And that voice. Man, I love those guys. I miss that energy they brought. That was just fun. You still hear it, and you still find yourself singing it and doing that little flip in your voice. You couldn’t help but sing that song. And he [url id="http://www.cmt.com/artists/ronnie-dunn/"]Ronnie Dunn[/url] makes it sound so cool. And to hold that note so long, too!

“Need You Now,” Lady Antebellum
2010: Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals, Best Country Song
That was huge! That was a genre-bending song. That defied everything, and it was just a great, great song. Everyone fell in love with that band and that sound. It was fresh and new and perfect for that time. That definitely showed that country wasn’t what it used to be. It had grown and spread its wings and said “Here we are!” in a big way. I was proud of Lady Antebellum for representing the genre in such a strong and powerful way. I was so happy for them.

“Ready to Run,” Dixie Chicks
1999: Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal
I miss hearing that stuff — that fresh, edgy, in-your-face sound they had. I love that song, and I love Marcus Hummon’s writing, too. If you know songwriters in Nashville, you can hear his writing in there, but it’s got the Dixie Chicks stamp on it. It was fun, fresh and different. I’d never heard chord progressions like that before. I miss them.

“Stranger in My House,” Ronnie Milsap
1983: Best New Country Song (Mike Reid)
Man, I love that great song. Ronnie Milsap is one of those artists who defied the genre a little bit, the way he could flow in between genres and meld them together and yet be so brilliant in his voice. There’s soul in his music. I love that song.

“You’re Still the One,” Shania Twain
1998: Best Country Song, Best Female Country Vocal Performance
Our manager manages Shania, too, so we went to see her show in Las Vegas. It’s phenomenal. It’s unbelievable. She’s a megastar. It’s so hard to believe that song’s now considered a classic — that song and that album. You won’t see that kind of thing ever again — 10 million albums sold. Those powerful songs and videos and the imagery — she translated that onto the stage. Everything is big and larger than life. She made some great music.

Craig Shelburne has been writing for CMT.com since 2002. He is also a producer for CMT Edge, Concrete Country and Live @ CMT.