Lee Brice, Little Big Town, B.J. Thomas Brighten Grammy Nominee Party

Nashville Chapter of the Recording Academy Celebrating 50th Anniversary

With hometown acts competing for Grammy awards in 18 categories, the Nashville chapter of the Recording Academy staged its annual party to celebrate the nominees Sunday (Jan. 12) at Loews Vanderbilt Plaza Hotel.

Among the famous folk trekking from one camera crew to another along the red carpet were Lee Brice, Little Big Town, Guy Clark, Tim O’Brien, TobyMac and Nashville stars Charles Esten, Sam Palladio and Jonathan Jackson.

Susan Stewart, regional director of the Nashville chapter, welcomed the crowd and reminded it that this is the chapter’s 50th year of operation. The 56th annual Grammy awards will be presented Jan. 26 in Los Angeles and will be televised on CBS.

Brice, the earliest celebrity to arrive, is in the running for a best country solo performance Grammy for his rendition of “I Drive Your Truck.”

The song’s co-writer, Connie Harrington, who’s up for two best country song trophies — “I Drive Your Truck” and Blake Shelton’s “Mine Would Be You” — was also on hand for congratulations.

Little Big Town received a nomination in the best country duo or group category for “Your Side of the Bed” Clark for best folk album for My Favorite Picture of You, O’Brien (along with Darrell Scott) for best Americana roots song for “Keep Your Dirty Lights On” and TobyMac for best contemporary Christian music for “Speak Life.”

Other nominees spotted at the party were Buddy Miller and Jim LauderdaleJim Lauderdale (vying for best Americana album for Buddy & Jim), Beth Nielsen Chapman (best children’s album for The Mighty Sky) and Dann Huff (album of the year for his instrumental work on Taylor Swift’s Red).

Durable singer B.J. Thomas also strode the carpet to recall his recording “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” for the 1969 movie, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The recording is being inducted this year into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

The throng of well-wishers who partook of the exotic buffet and three strategically located bars included singer-songwriters Mark Collie and Victoria Shaw, producers Tony Brown, Scott Hendricks and Garth Fundis, legendary studio guitarist Harold Bradley and radio personality, event host and Music Row raconteur Charlie Monk.

As customary, the exquisite Birdsong Trio provided a sinuous jazz soundtrack for the evening.

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to CMT.com.