Assessing the Grammy’s, Country Music Style

The Grammy Awards reign as music’s most important award show, but not necessarily to country music. The country genre is generally not recognized by the major awards, like Best New Artist and Song of the Year, but the awards within the the genre help to provide it with more exposure. In particular, the performances by country artists allow the genre to perform for a new audience, and show off their unique production and performance style.

Miranda Lambert’s performance of “Little Red Wagon” started witimageh her showing off an incredible and well-planned outfit. She wore a black jumpsuit which emulated a Top-40 mantra, but reflected her roots with some snazzy cowboy boots. Her set design featured neon red lights, fireworks and smoke. But the most interesting part of her performance was the censorship by CBS of some of the lyrics. I’ve listened to a lot of her songs, and while mainly on the radio, I’ve never picked up on any of her content to be remotely inappropriate. After doing some research (or just googling the lyrics), I was kind of surprised that an entire line of her song was bleeped out for the use of one common expletive. Truthfully, it took away from the end of what was a spectacular live performance by Lambert.

imageThe second country performance of the night was by Eric Church, who got the opportunity to sing “Give Me Back My Hometown” in addition to being nominated in four categories, including Best Country Album for The Outsiders. Unlike the radio edit, the instrumentation includes a banjo melody that really brings the country roots to the Grammy’s stage. The backdrop contained stop motion film of various scenes featuring destruction of many hometowns throughout the world. At the bridge, the film shows all the scenes in reverse, providing the audience hope for the end of city violence. I thought his performance, while his sunglasses added an always interesting element, was really well put together and a highlight among a lineup with many emotional performances.

Brandy Clark, in addition to being nominated for Best New Artist and Best Country Album, got to perform an acoustic version of her song “Hold Your Hand” with Dwight Yoakam. I haven’t actually heard Brandy Clark before, and didn’t know how big of a deal she was, until I noticed she was nominated for Best New Artist among big names like Iggy Azalea and Sam Smith. The performance was the most natural of the night, and the smooth alto voice of Clark drew my attention to the song.

imageOverall, I thought the country performances of the night all showcased unique aspects of country music: acoustic guitar, banjo, and an uptempo powerful confidence. In particular, I hope to hear more of Brandy Clark on country radio — I think she’s soon to be a force to be reckoned with.

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One Response to Assessing the Grammy’s, Country Music Style

  1. I appreciate your breaking down the CMAs so that I don’t actually have to watch the whole ceremony to see the parts related to country music! It is interesting that Lambert chose a song with expletives — I wonder if people listening would have expected that from a country performer, especially a female one.

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