Nashville’s Annual Grammy Block Party Spotlights Local Music Culture

Jason Isbell and Kelsea Ballerini Represent Country at All-Genre Concert

In case anyone forgot the difference between cats and Grammys, Jason Isbell offered an easy explanation at Nashville’s 18th annual Grammy Block Party on Tuesday night (May 10).

“Thanks to the Grammy people for having us out here to play this,” Isbell said onstage. “I don’t know who the Grammy people are, but I like them all each and every one. That’s not a bad thing being a Grammy person. That’s a lot better than being a cat person, in my opinion. I don’t mind cats, but I love Grammys. They don’t shed.”

The sun was setting on Cumberland Park just as Isbell closed his six-song set, which featured selections from 2013’s Southeastern and his Grammy-winning album Something More Than Free. A fit of dueling guitar solos on Isbell’s Drive By Truckers song “Never Gonna Change” closed his portion of the show.

Isbell’s set was part of nearly four hours of live entertainment hosted by the Nashville chapter of the Recording Academy to celebrate the local diverse music culture. On the bill were Kelsea Ballerini, local rock guitar gods Diarrhea Planet, the Grammy-nominated gospel singer Jonathan McReynolds, the Grammy-nominated pedal steel guitarist Robert Randolph and the night’s emcees the Warren Brothers.

Surprise guests included Nashville songstress Ruby Amanfu and Pentatonix. The acapella group were booked for a headlining show across the river at the Bridgestone Arena and showed up unannounced to introduce Ballerini, who mixed in a sample of “My Love” by Justin Timberlake with “XO.”

attends the 18th Annual GRAMMY Block Party at Cumberland Park on May 10, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee. Frederick Breedon
Kelsea Ballerini crowd - photog Rode
Lauren Tingle is a Tennessean and storyteller who eats music for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When she’s not writing or rocking out, she enjoys yoga and getting lost in the great outdoors.