Nashville Celebrates Its Grammy Nominees With Lavish Party

Carrie Underwood, Dierks Bentley, Hunter Hayes Among Those Walking Red Carpet

It was a grand opportunity for stargazing and buffet-grazing Tuesday night (Jan. 22) as key players from Nashville's music industry convened at Loews Vanderbilt Plaza Hotel to celebrate the town's current crop of Grammy nominees.

By now, the event has become ritualized: arriving nominees inch from one TV crew to another along the red carpet as their managers and publicists hover solicitously nearby. While this is going on, most of the partygoers head directly to an adjacent room where plentiful food and drink await them.

Four members from the 11-member band the Time Jumpers were among the earliest arrivals. That delegation included Vince Gill, fiddler Kenny Sears, vocalist Dawn Sears and guitarist Andy Reiss. Not far behind them came the bluegrass duo Dailey & Vincent.

Then the traffic heated up as Dierks Bentley, Ronnie Dunn, Janis Ian, gospel artist Toby Mac, Hunter Hayes, Carrie Underwood, Little Big Town and the Grascals' Terry Eldredge and Jamie Johnson all took their turn before the cameras.

Several nominated songwriters also made appearances, including Eric Paslay ("Even if It Breaks Your Heart") and Josh Kear ("Blown Away").

Nashville boasts nominees in 23 different Grammy categories.

The food was as noteworthy as the musical talent: One table alone featured pimento cheese beef sliders, brie-and-fig grilled cheese, pickled fried chicken biscuits, smoked beef tenderloin with poached quail egg and kale slaw, duck "tater tots" with peach ketchup, smoked bacon deviled eggs with tarragon oil, white bean hummus on crusted corn bread and a variety of "Southern cured" meats.

Those with heartier appetites could sashay over to a grill and avail themselves of Jack Daniel's hanger steak with charred asparagus, sweet potato fries and raspberry jalapeno jam.

The dessert table groaned under the alluring weight of crème brulee, custard fruit pie, sweet potato mousse cake, strawberry shortcake, cheesecake, banana pudding, peanut butter and chocolate mousse pie, chess pie and chocolate bread pudding.

And there were two industrial-strength bars at which one could linger and gossip as the Birdsong jazz trio spun out such ageless melodies as "All the Things You Are" and "Take the A Train."

Self-congratulation never felt better.

The Grammy awards show will be broadcast Feb. 10 from the Staples Center in Los Angeles on CBS-TV.

View photos from the Grammy nominees party.

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