51st GRAMMY Award Nominations / CMT Giants: Alan Jackson

I know I haven’t posted in a while (been busy and lazy and uninspired lol).  Since I did my afterthought review on the CMAs in November, I figured I’d do one for these two important items (as you can see from my glorious poster-like creation on the right side in this entry lol):

The 51st Grammy Award Nominations

and

CMT Giants: Alan Jackson

I decided to combine my thoughts into one post, since I’d rather not make two separate ones (I like them big posts!  Tags’R’Us).  Believe me, there are better ways of organizing these opinions, but I don’t feel like worrying about it lol.  They are placed in different sections.  Scroll down for the CMT Giants review.

The nomination for the 2009 Grammy Awards were announced a few days ago, and I’ve already commented on them already at a few sites, but here’s my more extensive analysis.

First of all, as I first read through the list, I was absolutely thrilled by their choices.  The Grammys has a respectable tendency in its history to appreciate and honor actual good music (well, in the country genre, at least.  I’m not sure about other genres.), and while they do have some questionable choices sometimes, they are definitely a lot more smarter and better judges when it comes to art and music than people are for say… country award shows (yeah, record sells always equal talent, don’t they Nashville?).  The Grammys enormously pleased me with the Dixie Chicks wins last time.  Anyway, like other people online have commented, the nominations for 2009 (or is it for 2008?  Whatever it is, for the upcoming awards) are really exciting and one of the best they’ve ever came up with.  I’m not going to list all the nominations or the categories, but I’ll give my opinion on what songs I want to.

Let’s start in the country genre (here’s an easy list to look at for country related noms from CU and here for the full noms), and let’s look at the nominations for “Best Female Country Vocal Performance”.   I thought they were pretty good, though I wouldn’t necessarily place Martina McBride‘s song in that category (it’s a decent song, but there are better choices).  I’ve never heard LeAnn Rimes‘s song until just right now: wow, very good vocals and not a bad song.  My choice (unsurprisingly) would be Lee Ann Womack‘s “Last Call”.  I wouldn’t mind if Carrie Underwood or Trisha Yearwood‘s songs won, because I love those ones too.  I’m glad Taylor Swift was left off.

Now: “Best Male Country Vocal Performance”… I’m not really blown away by any of those songs, but they’re not horrible horrible choices.  I gotta go with my man, George Strait, though.  I’ve grown quite a liking to “Troubadour”, as I heard it more as a radio single.

“Best Country Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals”.   Hmm… I’m gonna have to go with Lady Antebellum.  But wow, I just listened to The Steel Drivers‘s “Blue Side of the Mountain” and I love it… edgy mountain-sounding vocals with hard-driving bluegrass instruments.  Will definitely check them out!  Looks like Chris Stapleton sings for them… forgot about that.  I’d be fine if Sugarland‘s song or Brooks & Dunn‘s won too, but definitely don’t want Rascal Flatts to win a thing.

I really like the choices with “Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals”, except for the obvious song that stands apart from the rest: the Kenny Chesney/Strait duet (which is only saved by George, but is still not a good song).  You know I’m dig the Alison Krauss/Robert Plant song (more on them later), and the Strait/Patty Loveless duet (my two most favorite male and female artists singing and honoring Johnny and June Carter Cash?  Excellence-ness.  And I hope they win).  Oh yeah, I’m not too fond of “Life in a Northern Town”, like I mentioned in my song review months ago (I would rather hear Chesney and Strait’s tune, to be quite serious).  I enjoy Trisha Yearwood‘s (with Keith Urban‘s harmony) song, so if she won, I wouldn’t cry.  It’s very nice.

I feel embarrassed (I know, I should be), but I don’t know much about the “Best Country Instrumental Performance” songs, though anything involving The Cherryholmes, Jerry Douglas, Vince Gill, Albert Lee, Brent Mason, (and to some extent) Brad Paisley, must be good.

“Best Country Song”.  I’ll go with Strait’s “I Saw God Today”, though Jennifer Nettles could deserve more recognition for “Stay”, so whatever (but I still go with “God”).

Now, “Best Country Album”, I want either Loveless’s Sleepless Nights or Trisha’s Heaven, Heartache, and the Power of Love to win the most.  Strait’s Troubadour album is very good too, but the formers are better, overall.  I have yet to hear Jamey Johnson‘s or Randy Travis‘s albums…

“Best Bluegrass Album”… haven’t heard those yet (I’m behind on my bluegrass!), but these are all top-natch performers, all around: The Cherryholmes, The Del McCoury Band, Earl Scruggs, Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, and Dan Tyminski.

Now onto everything else… I’m so thrilled for all the Krauss/Plant nominations!  It was actually my last recommendation that I featured their work, and I’m pulling so bad for them to win “Album of the Year”, and all the other ones they’re listed in (though, there are three other songs along side their “Rich Woman” song in the “Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals” category that are good competition: Madonna‘s song, Rihanna & Maroon 5‘s, and Jordin Sparks & Chris Brown‘s duet .  I enjoyed all four of the tracks this last year.

I’m also rooting for Kathy Mattea‘s Coal (still need to get that album), Kathy Griffin for “Best Comedy Album”, and for the “Another Way to Die” 007 music video.  There are some other cool noms, but I don’t wanna get into them because it’ll take too long.
————————————————————————————————-

Now, onto CMT Giants: Alan Jackson.  This is a tribute show to Alan Jackson and I’ve been anticipating it for a while.  Here’s the page for this particular show, and you can find showtimes there too.  It premiered tonight on CMT and I had a good time ;) .  I’m going to comment on the performances, for the most part.  If you want to watch it, I’d recommend seeing the clips, and skipping the first half of performances.

Brad Paisley started up the show with “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere”, which was decent, but felt like something was missing.  Got better when Alan joined him onstage near the end.  I’m just not crazy as much about Brad as I used to be.

Taylor Swift came on stage (ack) to “perform” Alan’s “Drive (For Daddy Gene)”, and like expected, sang a lifeless, dry, version of the song.  She did smile and seemed to want to be there, but she seemed way out of place, in my honest opinion.  Guess that established that CMT only put her on there for ratings.

“Don’t Rock the Jukebox” is one of my absolutely favorite AJ songs, and it was sung next, by Dierks Bentley.  I think his vocals were nice, but I didn’t feel much spirit in his performance.  On a side note, the fact that Dierks proclaimed in a recent chat, that if he could choose anybody to tour with, he’d choose his buddies, Rascal Flatts (a statement which bothered some of his hardcore fans), which is devastating and made my interest fade away from him, once again.  Sell-out, anybody?  Nooo, I didn’t say that lol.  I did think it was cool how Dierks changed the lyrics at the end to say something like “Play me some Alan Jackson” and rhymed it with “satisfaction”.  This song is pure country.

Later, Martina McBride performed her favorite Alan song, “When Somebody Loves You”.  I gotta be honest: I never really took that song, and always found it kind of boring (Shocking to say, but I think it’s the mandolin and dobro that does it, with the slow pace).  Martina put some new life into it, and made it sound good and interesting.

My absolute favorite Jackson song is “Gone Country”, so I was stoked to finally see Lee Ann Womack and Miranda Lambert perform it.  I’m still on the fence with Miranda: I’m not crazy about her cover/remakes, but her own material is fine.  She did a decent job with this, but I think it was with Womack, that the performance really shined.  Lee Ann doesn’t sing many uptempos, and I guess this is more mid-tempo, but I think she made it really entertaining and man, I just love her voice.  When they sang “here he comes”, it really made me smile.  They sure had a good time on that stage, you could see.  I would have really really loved to have seen Womack sing “Here In the Real World” solo.  Man, what she could do with it…

The show-stopper, in my opinion, was George Strait’s version of “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)?”.  This is my second favorite of Alan’s and one of the best written songs of all time.  George really did a number on it, and at times, sounded like Alan, and  made a great tribute to him.  When Giants honors Strait, it will be quite a treat.

Alan then came on stage to sing “Remember When”, “Chattahoochee”, and then Strait, Paisley, and Bentley joined Alan sing his latest single, “Country Boy”.  All of those were exciting (that man still has the pipes), and even though the current single is just stupid, it made me like it more and perhaps I won’t change the channel when it’s on, from now on lol.

Two performers I would have loved to have seen would have been Brooks & Dunn (maybe singing “Good Time” – which is production-wise, sorta-like “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” – or sing something else, like from the ’90s) and of course, Alison Krauss, who produced his last album.  A good song for her would have been “Like Red On a Rose” – that would have been so amazing.  Also, George Jones‘s appearance was surprising (because I didn’t see him in the audience before that) and very very cool.  Would have enjoyed him singing too.  (And as far as I know, there is no online video of Alan’s cut performance of “Choices” at the award show that they refer to.  I’ve looked before and have only seen a short clip of it on TV.  Anyway, I think that’s such an amazing thing Alan did – that’s something I would do, in my frustration with today’s country market – though, they’d probably ban me for life lol.)

Overall, it was a sweet show and a great way to honor Mr. Jackson.  Wish it was longer, though it was satisfying.  The clips and videos were fun to watch and I’m glad Alan got to be appreciated in this way.  This man actually makes real country music and is a legend and musical hero to me.  Can you guess who recommendation #40 will be? ;-)

God Bless Alan Jackson.

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8 Comments

  1. Wow, I’m listening to that version of “Gone Country”, and it sounds great! I think they need to duet together more often.

  2. They blended together pretty well!

    There’s audio available on YouTube (not sure for how long, though):

  3. Hey, that is disappointing from Bentley.

  4. Yeah, that’s what prompted one of his fans to post this fake press release like a day after the official chat. I don’t know whether or not this fan is still a “fan” or not, but it is an interesting situation. I guess the “sell-out” speculation began when he released his current single (which I think is okay, to be honest, though it is pretty mainstream and kinda Jessica-Simpson-“Come On Over”-sounding, in parts, like I mentioned before. Pretty amateur lyrics, too). We’ll see how his new album sounds like.

  5. I didn’t see the show, but I’ve gotta say that I sure love Alan Jackson!! I love his voice, his songwriting and his down-to-earth personality.

  6. Sorry for the tripple post. The youtube clip is down, but CMT has the performances here:

    http://www.cmt.com/videos/misc/323090/dont-rock-the-jukebox-from-cmt-giants-alan-jackson.jhtml?&id=1600591

  7. That’s more than fine. Sweet. Thanks!

    I guess when I posted my 2nd comment, I wasn’t logged in and my post was put as spam because of my hyperlink. Then I had to approve it. Weird lol.

  8. Ha, I’m watching the show right now on cmt.com. I’m glad they have it there, because the sound is all messed up for the cmt channel with my cable provider. I’m enjoying it, for the most part.


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