2016 Grammy Awards – Live Results & Analysis

58th Grammys

The biggest music awards show of the year is here. The 58th Grammy Awards hits the air live on CBS at 8 pm ET tonight. If you’re a chord cutter or don’t have CBS, no worries. You can stream the Grammys legally online while it’s happening live: Just click right here. In fact many of the awards in American Roots and country categories will be a given out pre-telecast, which will start online at 3 pm ET. If you are unable to watch this, just keep checking this page as I will be updating all the winners throughout the day and night.

The host of the show will once again be LL Cool J. For the first time ever it’s taking place on a Monday night to take advantage of President’s Day weekend. There will be several performers on the show. The country acts performing are Little Big Town, Luke Bryan (part of Lionel Richie homage with Demi Lovato, Meghan Trainor and John Legend), Carrie Underwood & Sam Hunt (performing together, most likely “Heartbeat”) and Chris Stapleton (part of tribute to B.B. King with Gary Clark Jr. and Bonnie Raitt). Not quite as many or as good as last year’s country performances. Alabama Shakes is also performing and Don Henley will be performing with the remaining members of the Eagles along with Jackson Browne in a tribute to the late Glenn Frey. To see the full list of performers, click here.

I’m sure there will be many embarrassing and proud moments throughout the show. Awards show are always a mixed bag of emotions. So let’s experience it all together! I’ll be posting live results, with some possible analysis here. And not just country, but all of the important categories too. As for my live commentary and full analysis of the show, I’ll be live tweeting on Twitter. You can follow me at @realcountryview or twitter.com/realcountryview. For those not on Twitter you can simply go to the Twitter link I just listed and hit refresh throughout the night.

To see my predictions for the country categories, as well as the American Roots album category, click here. Don’t expect my predictions to be perfect! I’m usually terrible as these awards shows’ predictions. They’re a giant crapshoot and I have no idea how much politicking is taking place behind-the-scenes. Be sure to throw in your own predictions and thoughts too!

So without further ado let’s watch The Grammys together! And be sure to keep hitting refresh.

Live Results

Overall

Record of the Year – Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars

Album of the Year – Taylor Swift – 1989

Song of the Year – Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud”

Best New Artist – Meghan Trainor

American Roots

Best American Roots Song – Jason Isbell – “24 Frames”

Best American Roots Performance – Mavis Staples – “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean”

Best Americana Album – Jason Isbell – Something More Than Free

Best Bluegrass Album – The Steeldrivers – The Muscle Shoals Recordings

Best Folk Album – Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn – Self-Titled

Country 

Best Country Solo Performance – Chris Stapleton – “Traveller”

Best Country Duo/Group Performance – Little Big Town – “Girl Crush”

Best Country Song – Little Big Town – “Girl Crush” – Writers: Hillary Lindsey, Liz Rose & Lori McKenna 

Best Country Album – Chris Stapleton – Traveller

Big night for Stapleton and Little Big Town!

Pop

Best Pop Solo Performance – Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud” 

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance – Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk”

Best Pop Vocal Album – Taylor Swift – 1989

Rap

Best Rap Performance – Kendrick Lamar – “Alright” 

Best Rap Collaboration – Kendrick Lamar (feat. Bilal, Anna Wise & Thundercat) – “These Walls”

Best Rap Song – Kendrick Lamar – “Alright” 

Best Rap Album – Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly

Kendrick! Kendrick! Kendrick! One of my favorite albums of 2015 rightly getting showered in awards.

Rock 

Best Rock Performance – Alabama Shakes – “Don’t Wanna Fight”

Best Rock Song – Alabama Shakes – “Don’t Wanna Fight”

Best Rock Album – Muse – Drones

Best Alternative Music Album – Alabama Shakes – Sound & Color

To see nominations for every single category and every single genre, click here.

Predictions for Country & American Roots Categories at the 2016 Grammy Awards

Grammy

On Monday we celebrate the biggest music awards show of the years. I’m of course referring to the 58th Grammy Awards, set to air Monday night at 8 pm ET on CBS. With it being a holiday and football season being over, it should pull even more eyes than usual. It’s an even bigger deal for country and Americana acts this year, as many deserving names are up for the top awards in both. Not only this, but Chris Stapleton is set up to have another huge awards night. This could be another big step forward in mainstream country improving its quality of music and Americana continuing to rise in stature. Now let’s get to the predictions! Keep in mind I’m not the best at this prediction game, but I feel like I do a little better each year. The award shows can be unpredictable. And be sure to make your own predictions in the comments.

Album of the Year

  • Alabama Shakes – Sound & Color
  • Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly
  • Chris Stapleton – Traveller
  • Taylor Swift – 1989
  • The Weeknd – Beauty Behind The Madness 

What I Would Pick To Win: Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly or Chris Stapleton’s Traveller

What I Predict Will Win: Chris Stapleton’s Traveller – After the 2015 CMA Awards I learned something important: do not bet against Chris Stapleton. This man will prove you wrong. He continues to have monster sales in the fallout of that impressive night. There will be enough vote splitting amongst Lamar and Swift to open it right up for Stapleton to pull off the “upset.” Alabama Shakes have almost no chance and The Weeknd had a breakout 2015, but I don’t think they have enough momentum to win. Beck shocked the world winning this award last year and Stapleton will do it this year.

Song of the Year 

  • Kendrick Lamar – “Alright”
  • Taylor Swift – “Blank Space”
  • Little Big Town – “Girl Crush”
  • Wiz Khalifa & Charlie Puth – “See You Again”
  • Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud”

What I Would Pick To Win: Kendrick Lamar – “Alright”

What I Predict Will Win: Wiz Khalifa & Charlie Puth’s “See You Again” – This song was one of the biggest emotional hit songs of 2015 and had a monster run on the charts. I give “Alright” and “Blank Space” decent shots at winning. Little Big Town had one of the biggest hits in country music in 2015 with “Girl Crush,” but they stand no chance against these huge names.

Best New Artist

  • Courtney Barnett
  • James Bay
  • Sam Hunt
  • Tori Kelly
  • Meghan Trainor

Who I Would Pick To Win: Courtney Barnett

Who I Predict Will Win: Meghan Trainor – Trainor should win this in an absolute walk. She’s the biggest name of the five by far. Sam Hunt is shockingly the only other artist I could see winning here, but he just doesn’t compare to Trainor’s stardom and impact. For once I’m glad to see Trainor’s name, as it will block Hunt from winning something at an actual awards show.

Best Country Solo Performance 

  • Cam – “Burning House”
  • Chris Stapleton – “Traveller”
  • Carrie Underwood – “Little Toy Guns”
  • Keith Urban – “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16”
  • Lee Ann Womack – “Chances Are”

What I Would Pick To Win: Chris Stapleton – “Traveller” (Anything but Urban’s song)

What I Predict Will Win: Chris Stapleton’s “Traveller” – Remember: Do not bet against Stapleton. Nice to see Cam getting some attention and Carrie continuing to get noticed by the Grammys, unlike the CMA and ACM Award shows. It’s really cool to see LeeAnn Womack’s name here too.

Best Country Duo/Group Performance

  • Brothers Osborne – “Stay A Little Longer”
  • Joey + Rory – “If I Needed You”
  • Charles Kelley, Dierks Bentley & Eric Paslay – “The Driver”
  • Little Big Town – “Girl Crush”
  • Blake Shelton & Ashley Monroe – “Lonely Tonight”

 

What I Would Pick To Win: Joey + Rory – “If I Needed You” (Really I would be fine with any of these)

What I Predict Will Win: Joey + Rory’s “If I Needed You” – I believe this will undoubtedly get the sympathy vote, just like Glen Campbell in the Best Country Song category last year. It would be a great sight to see such a loving and talented couple like Joey and Rory to get this honor.

Best Country Song

  • Lee Ann Womack – “Chances Are”
  • Tim McGraw – “Diamond Rings & Old Barstools”
  • Little Big Town – “Girl Crush”
  • Brandy Clark – “Hold My Hand”
  • Chris Stapleton – “Traveller”

What I Would Pick To Win: Brandy Clark – “Hold My Hand” (But again I would be fine with any of these)

What I Predict Will Win: Chris Stapleton’s “Traveller” – Once again I believe Stapleton will have another huge night. The Grammys did a really great job with this category and all five are certainly deserving. Tim McGraw continues to get nominations for the Grammys, but shut out from country awards shows like Carrie. Brandy Clark is set up to have a bigger year at the Grammys next year, but it’s nice to see a quality song like “Hold My Hand” get recognized.

Best Country Album

  • Sam Hunt – Montevallo
  • Little Big Town – Pain Killer 
  • Ashley Monroe – The Blade
  • Kacey Musgraves – Pageant Material
  • Chris Stapleton – Traveller

What I Would Pick To Win: Pageant Material or Traveller

What I Predict Will Win: Chris Stapleton’s Traveller – Need I say it again? Also it’s an absolute joke to see Hunt’s name here.

Best American Roots Performance 

  • Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn – “And Am I Born To Die”
  • Buddy Guy – “Born To Play Guitar”
  • The Milk Carton Kids – “City of Our Lady”
  • Punch Brothers – “Julep”
  • Mavis Staples – “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean”

What I Would Pick To Win: Punch Brothers – “Julep”

What I Predict Will Win: Punch Brothers – “Julep” – The Grammys seem to really love this group, so I’ll go with it.

Best American Roots Song

  • The Mavericks – “All Night Long”
  • Don Henley & Merle Haggard – “The Cost of Living”
  • Punch Brothers – “Julep”
  • Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell – “The Traveling Kind”
  • Jason Isbell – “24 Frames”

What I Would Pick To Win: Only one? But they’re all fantastic!

What I Predict Will Win: Jason Isbell – “24 Frames” – After getting screwed over by the Grammys a few years ago, they finally make amends. With the #1 album in country, folk, rock and Americana, Isbell by far had the biggest 2015. But then again I could conceivably see Henley and Haggard get the nod, along with The Mavericks who seem to do well when nominated for something on the awards circuit. But really what a class of songs to choose from!

Best Americana Album

  • Brandi Carlile – The Firewatcher’s Daughter
  • Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell – The Traveling Kind
  • Jason Isbell – Something More Than Free
  • The Mavericks – Mono
  • Punch Brothers – The Phosphorescent Blues

What I Would Pick To Win: Jason Isbell – Something More Than Free (Because why would I pick against our own 2015 Album of the Year winner?)

What I Predict Will Win: Jason Isbell – Something More Than Free – See the reasons I cited above. I have to say it’s great to see Brandi Carlile’s name here, as she is an underrated artist more people need to know about.

Album Review – Charles Kelley’s ‘The Driver’

Charles Kelley The Driver Album

Lady Antebellum was one of the toasts of country music throughout the 2000s. They racked up numerous #1 hits, including one mega hit in “Need You Now” that crossed over to pop radio, and collected their fair share of awards at the CMA Awards, ACM Awards and even a couple of Grammys. They were a pretty hot group at one point near the top of the country music food chain. Then bro country came along and derailed this soccer mom friendly act. They simply couldn’t keep up with the likes of Florida Georgia Line. Of course they tried with a terrible song like “Bartender,” one of the first songs I outright hated from the group. Now they’re on a hiatus, probably the best thing for a group that has gotten lost in the shuffle.

This leads us to one of three members of Lady A, Charles Kelley. It felt he had gotten lost in the shuffle within the group in recent years, as more songs from the group were centered around Hillary Scott. In the earlier days of the group, it seemed like Scott and Kelley would shift back and forth between being the lead in songs. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Kelley has now set out to make music as a solo artist. With Lady Antebellum on hiatus, this is a perfect opportunity to do something different. It’s already off to a great start, as the lead single from it, “The Driver,” has been nominated for Best Country Duo/Group Performance at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards. Not bad, huh? It also gave him the much-needed momentum to release his debut album of the same name, which was rumored to be delayed indefinitely after the single stalled at radio at first. So does The Driver deliver as well as the lead single? Well it’s a mixed bag.

The upbeat “Your Love” kicks The Driver off. It’s your standard pop country love song, complete with the electric guitar riffs. Kelley sings about how he compares his love for his woman to the sun and other typical tropes. It’s not a bad song, but there’s nothing that stands out about it either. Next is the album’s title track and lead single. I’ve already covered the Grammy-nominated song when it first came out. From my original review of “The Driver”: I have to say this song is a real pleasant surprise. In fact after my first listen I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. “The Driver” is pretty good and has real sincerity about it. This starts with the acoustic guitar that opens the song and maintains a presence throughout the album. An electric guitar also joins it and gives the song an earthy, singer-songwriter vibe about it. It feels and sounds like something that belongs on country radio. The song itself (written by Kelley, Eric Paslay and Abe Stoklasa) is a feel good sing-a-long about traveling around on the road and making music. So it’s only appropriate that Kelley is also joined on the song by Eric Paslay and Dierks Bentley. They harmonize in the chorus and it’s just fantastic.

“Dancing Around It” is Kelley’s attempt at the R&B/metro country sound that is popular right now. The drum machines and synth make this pretty evident. Overall everything about this song sounds weak, from the lifeless production to Kelley’s falsetto. It’s the perfect song to play in the lines at DMVs across America. The great Stevie Nicks joins Kelley on “Southern Accents,” one of two duets on the album. The song is about being a proud southerner and his southern accent. While the song could have gone about this better, it does a solid job of getting the point across. Nicks works well with the song and sounds great in her older age. The production is the best part of the song, as it’s softer with a combination of a piano, electric guitar and surprising amount of steel guitar.

Kelley embraces the R&B/metro country sound again on “Lonely Girl.” The song of course is about a guy professing that this girl is the only one for him and how she should never be lonely. It’s all just quite fascinating. The production is straight up weird, as its Bruno Mars meets Ed Sheeran. Considering how so many mainstream acts are ripping off these two pop artists, it’s no surprise we finally get a song that rips off both of their styles. As a country song, it’s terrible. As a pop song, it’s catchy and mindless fun, so expect this to be Kelley’s next single. The love ballad “The Only One Who Gets Me” is next. It’s the kind of roots-influence rock song that is easy to get behind. The production is subtle enough to let Kelley’s voice shine, but also strong enough to catch your attention and add to the song. The songwriting is solid, even if a little unspectacular. “Round in Circles” is another pop country with too much pop and not enough country from Kelley. It’s basically a more hook-up-y version of Brothers Osborne’s “Stay A Little Longer” with worse production and vocals. I don’t really have much of a feeling on this song because it puts me to sleep. Of course it’s this cookie-cutter, neutral music that just dazzles label executives and car commercial makers.

The second duet of the album is “I Wish You Were Here,” where Kelley is joined by Miranda Lambert. It’s arguably the best song of the album, as the song is about a man travelling on the road all the time for work and wishing every step of the way his woman was there with him. This is another song that surprises me with the amount of pedal steel guitar in it. Lambert sounds great and goes perfect with Kelley. This song represents the best Kelley can offer and something that I wish I could say about every song on this album. The Driver ends with “Leaving Nashville,” a piano-driven ballad about living in Nashville as an artist and the struggles that come with it. These struggles can be things like everyone wanting to be your friend and wanting a favor to struggling to pay your bills. But despite all of this, Kelley vows to never leave Nashville and give up on living the dream of being an artist. It’s nice to hear a song like this from a bigger name highlighting the struggles a musician goes through when you’re not one of the biggest names. As Kelley sings in the final line, “One day you’re the king and the next you’re not.”

The Driver is an album where you take the good with the bad. When Charles Kelley is at his best on this album, you can really enjoy it and marvel at his singing voice. He shows he has talent and can stand out as a solo artist. But at Kelley’s worst on The Driver, he sounds just like another artist and another song. It’s pretty easy to pinpoint where exactly Kelley is pandering on this album. So I guess it makes it quite easy what you should avoid. I’ve heard debut albums much worse and much better than this one. It’s worth at least one listen through for yourself and definitely would suit you if you’re a fan of Lady Antebellum. The Driver is the true definition of a 50/50 album.

Grade: 5/10

The Good:

The Bad:

The 58th Grammy Awards: Reactions to Country & Americana Nominations

Grammy

This morning (Dec. 12) the nominations for The 58th Grammy Awards taking place on February 15, 2016 were announced. A lot of country and Americana acts we’ve covered right here on Country Perspective were nominated. And I have to say my overall reaction is pretty positive. So enough pleasantries and let’s get to the nominations!

Album of the Year

  • Alabama Shakes – Sound & Color
  • Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly
  • Chris Stapleton – Traveller
  • Taylor Swift – 1989
  • The Weeknd – Beauty Behind The Madness 

Reaction: You’re reading that correctly: Chris Stapleton has indeed been nominated for Album of the Year, which after his sweep at the CMA Awards isn’t really surprising. I think he has a decent chance to win too. Remember at the 57th Grammy Awards Beck’s Morning Phase won Album of the Year against stiff competition, benefitting from votes being split amongst heavy hitters. But these heavy hitters this year are even more tough than last year. Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly is considered by many the best album of the year and even I can say that it’s better than Traveller. Then you have the most popular artist in all of music in Taylor Swift and The Weeknd who has been one of the most successful acts commercially and critically this year. Alabama Shakes is a true underdog here and would be the biggest upset.

Song of the Year 

  • Kendrick Lamar – “Alright”
  • Taylor Swift – “Blank Space”
  • Little Big Town – “Girl Crush”
  • Wiz Khalifa & Charlie Puth – “See You Again”
  • Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud”

Reaction: The success of “Girl Crush” continues to take Little Big Town to new heights. Radio was forced to embrace it after being accused of homophobia and the fact that this song has been huge commercially. But like Stapleton above this song faces really stiff competition and I would say at this moment it’s not going to win.

Best Country Solo Performance 

  • Cam – “Burning House”
  • Chris Stapleton – “Traveller”
  • Carrie Underwood – “Little Toy Guns”
  • Keith Urban – “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16”
  • Lee Ann Womack – “Chances Are”

Reaction: A very good group of nominations here, with the exception being Urban’s terrible song, which I give little chance of winning. I’m glad Womack continues to get recognition on the awards circuit, as she continues to make great music. Carrie may get snubbed on the country awards shows, but the Grammys love her and could win this. “Burning House” has been one of the hottest songs alongside “Girl Crush” and has a great chance to win this too.

Best Country Duo/Group Performance

  • Brothers Osborne – “Stay A Little Longer”
  • Joey + Rory – “If I Needed You”
  • Charles Kelley, Dierks Bentley & Eric Paslay – “The Driver”
  • Little Big Town – “Girl Crush”
  • Blake Shelton & Ashley Monroe – “Lonely Tonight”

Reaction: The sentimental favorite is hands down Joey + Rory’s “If I Needed You,” as Joey Feek revealed in October her cervical cancer is terminal and that she’s now living as long as she can. It’s a heartbreaking story and I have to admit I’m definitely pulling for them to win here. Although more importantly I hope Joey lives long enough to reach her goals of reaching Christmas 2015 and her daughter’s second birthday in February.

As for the other nominees, I’m surprised to see “The Driver” be nominated, as the song came out not too long ago. I guess they were that desperate for nominees here?

Best Country Song

  • Lee Ann Womack – “Chances Are”
  • Tim McGraw – “Diamond Rings & Old Barstools”
  • Little Big Town – “Girl Crush”
  • Brandy Clark – “Hold My Hand”
  • Chris Stapleton – “Traveller”

Reaction: I’d be happy with any of these songs winning, as they’re all quality in my eyes. It’d be cool to see the Hayes Carll-penned “Chances Are” to win and Brandy Clark’s “Hold My Hand” is a really underrated song that I’m glad is getting deserved recognition. “Diamond Rings & Old Barstools” was one of the best mainstream country songs of the past year. Like Carrie Underwood, Tim McGraw does better at the Grammys than the country awards shows.

Best Country Album

  • Sam Hunt – Montevallo
  • Little Big Town – Pain Killer 
  • Ashley Monroe – The Blade
  • Kacey Musgraves – Pageant Material
  • Chris Stapleton – Traveller

Reaction: For those worried about Sam Hunt and Little Big Town winning here, I’m going ease your fears: this is Stapleton’s award to lose. Really he could feasibly win most or all of the awards he’s nominated for (four in total). Glad to see The Blade get some love, but I don’t give it much of a chance of winning. The Grammys love Kacey Musgraves, so if Traveller doesn’t win I think Pageant Material does.

Best American Roots Performance 

  • Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn – “And Am I Born To Die”
  • Buddy Guy – “Born To Play Guitar”
  • The Milk Carton Kids – “City of Our Lady”
  • Punch Brothers – “Julep”
  • Mavis Staples – “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean”

Best American Roots Song

  • The Mavericks – “All Night Long”
  • Don Henley & Merle Haggard – “The Cost of Living”
  • Punch Brothers – “Julep”
  • Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell – “The Traveling Kind”
  • Jason Isbell – “24 Frames”

Reaction: Wow! What a group of songs. You have a little bit of everything here, from the Caribbean-flavored “All Night Long” to the poignant “24 Frames.” One of the best songs from Don Henley’s Cass County gets nominated in “The Cost of Living” and gives Merle a chance of a win. It’ll be interesting to see who wins this one, as I could see any of them winning.

Best Americana Album

  • Brandi Carlile – The Firewatcher’s Daughter
  • Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell – The Traveling Kind
  • Jason Isbell – Something More Than Free
  • The Mavericks – Mono
  • Punch Brothers – The Phosphorescent Blues

Reaction: Jason Isbell didn’t get screwed this time! For those unaware, his 2013 album Southeastern was snubbed by The Grammys and was one of the biggest gaffes in my opinion by The Grammys in recent memory. This time they didn’t forget him and he should be the favorite to win here.

What do you think of the nominations? Be sure to weigh in below.