Little Big Town, Margo Price and John Prine Celebrate at Nashville’s Grammy Nominee Party

Brenda Lee, Lee Ann Womack and Mary Gauthier Among Attendees

It was just your standard truck stop eats. You know — lobster pasta, sweet and sour chicken sliders, goat cheese potato croquettes — simple fare like that.

Obviously, I’m kidding. The food served at the annual Grammy nominees parties in Nashville is as reliably high-toned and fancy as any of the stars strolling the red carpet.

Little Big Town

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And so it was Thursday night (Jan. 24) at Loews Vanderbilt Hotel, the venue that’s become the home for these pre-Grammy award frolics. Grammy trophies for recording excellence are presented by the Recording Academy.

As the power-brokers and pretenders of Music Row streamed in for the celebration and bee-lined to the two bars, the John Birdsong Trio charmed them with a tasteful blend of muscular jazz ramblings and breezy renditions of old-faithfuls from the Great American Songbook.

Dave Cobb and Anderson East

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The party rolled on in three separate spaces — the red carpet area lined with TV crews and other media reps (which everyone entering had to pass), the capacious dining, drinking and live music arena and a smaller space outfitted with tables, couches and an Absolut-sponsored device that enabled revelers to take pictures of themselves against a Grammy-themed background and mail them instantly to their smartphones.

John Prine

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Among the nominees who walked the red carpet were Margo Price (nominated for best new artist), Lee Ann Womack and John Prine (each nominated for best Americana song and album), Mary Gauthier (best folk album) and Sonya Isaacs of the Isaacs (best roots gospel album). Little Big Town (best country duo/group performance) also dropped by for the requisite media chats but did not linger to mingle.

Brenda Lee

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Country Music and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Brenda Lee took the stage while the jazz players took a break to express her appreciation to the Academy for inducting her 1958 recording of “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

“I never dreamed this would happen,” she said. “We knew it was a special song [when we recorded it}. We just didn’t know how special. … I want to thank the Academy for not forgetting us old-timers. God bless you, and keep on rockin’.”

Margo Price and Jeremy Ivey

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Other country records among the 25 from all musical genres being inducted into the Hall of Fame are Dolly Parton’s “Coat of Many Colors” and Jeannie C. Riley’s “Harper Valley PTA.”

Trey Fanjoy, president of the Academy’s Nashville chapter, informed the crowd that 120 chapter affiliates are nominated in 32 categories for this year’s Grammy awards.

The 61st annual Grammy Awards ceremony will be broadcast on CBS-TV Feb. 10 from the Staples Center in Los Angeles beginning at 7 p. m. Central Time.

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