The 2009 Grammys

For me, the Grammys have always been a great concert performance opportunity rather than an awards show. Of course, the big winners are usually scheduled to perform anyway, in an act of prescient pre-Grammy fortitude. This year’s show had some truly memorable moments, as well as some that are better forgotten.

Kick-starting the show were the behemoths of rock, the everlasting U2. The performance was a lackluster way to begin the evening, between the somewhat boring song and the eyebrow raising oddity of Bono’s dancing. You put your right foot in, you pull your right foot out…

Anyway I enjoyed the no host format, leaving the cricket chirp inducing jokes to the presenters, and giving us some time to breath between attempts to choke down the bile. Whitney Houston in particular was good to see, although she sounded like she was riding high on more than just Grammy gagas. She presented Jennifer Hudson with her very first Grammy, for R&B album of the year. Hudson performed with her usual strength and emotion, receiving a standing ovation after her powerhouse recital of “You Pulled Me Through.” She has really become a pro.

Jennifer Hudson

Jennifer Hudson

Coldplay won rock album and song of the year, but gave a mediocre performance. They won out over Kid Rock, but his performance, though hackneyed, was much more high energy and crowd pleasing.

Kenny Chesney sang his no.1 country hit “Better has a memory,” making me long for amnesia.

We also had two major, major musical bomb-outs for the evening. The first was the mind numbing duet performed by Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift. Cyrus seemed like she didn’t even know where she was, and her horrible pitch caused Swift to bow out of some parts of the song in order to avoid clashing with Miley’s inharmonious caterwauling. The second was bi-curious bawler Katy Perry. Her song makes no sense, her stage show was awkward and confusing, and SHE CAN’T SING AT ALL! Not. One. Little. Bit.

The man with the most nominations was a big winner of the night; Lil Wayne went home with four Grammys, most notably best rap album for ‘Tha Carter III’. But the greatest success story belonged to Robert Plant and Alison Kraus. The hard rock superstar teamed up with the bluegrass legend to pick up 5 awards for their collaboration album, ‘Raising Sand.’ Among these awards was the much coveted “grand prize” of the Grammys, Best Album of the Year. Delicate, intelligent vocal arrangements won the day, and their sweet, sultry performance proved that bombastic bands and flashy stage craft makes for a poor comparison to true soul and musicality.

Robert Plant and Alison Kraus took home 5 Grammys

Robert Plant and Alison Kraus took home 5 Grammys

After cringing through another Neil Diamond horror show, I was excited to see BB King and John Mayer on stage together, performing a tribute to the late blues and rock man, Bo Diddley. I was not disappointed, and for me these guitar masters put on one of the top 2 performances of the evening. Talent, charisma, and the blues, what a winning combination! Unfortunately someone let Keith Urban up there with them. Seriously, why is he even allowed in?

Noticeably absent were troubled crooner Chris Brown and his diva girlfriend Rihanna. Turns out he is under investigation, allegedly for abusing his curvy mistress. Rihanna identified Brown as her antagonist after showing up at a hospital with bruises and bite marks. She will move on to another series of no.1 hits, I’m sure, and in all likelihood Brown’s career may be over (fingers crossed).

George Carlin

George Carlin

All in all the evening went as expected, with the usual ups and downs. With more than 100 categories, only a handful were presented on the show. Among the winners not televised on the broadcast was best comedy album, which went to the late George Carlin for “It’s Bad for Ya.” It was his fifth Grammy. Man I miss George Carlin. However I look forward to the music and comedy of 2009 with my usual optimism. I hope to see a continued emergence of classic blues, rock, and folk concepts in modern music.

A complete list of the winners for Sunday’s show:

Record of the year Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, “Please Read The Letter”

Album of the year Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, “Raising Sand”

Song of the year Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, Will Champion & Chris Martin, songwriters (Coldplay), “Viva La Vida”

Best new artist Adele

Best female pop vocal performance Adele, “Chasing Pavements”

Best male pop vocal performance John Mayer, “Say”

Best pop performance by a duo or group with vocals Coldplay, “Viva La Vida”

Best pop collaboration with vocals Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, “Rich Woman”

Best pop instrumental performance Eagles, “I Dreamed There Was No War”

Best pop instrumental album Béla Fleck & The Flecktones, “Jingle All The Way”

Best pop vocal album Duffy, “Rockferry”

Best dance recording Daft Punk, “Harder Better Faster Stronger”

Best electronic/dance album Daft Punk, “Alive 2007″

Best traditional pop vocal album Natalie Cole, “Still Unforgettable”

Best solo rock vocal performance John Mayer, “Gravity”

Best rock performance by a duo or group with vocals Kings Of Leon, “Sex On Fire”

Best hard rock performance The Mars Volta, “Wax Simulacra”

Best metal performance Metallica, “My Apocalypse”

Best rock instrumental performance Zappa Plays Zappa, featuring Steve Vai & Napoleon Murphy Brock, “Peaches En Regalia”

Best rock song Bruce Springsteen, “Girls In Their Summer Clothes”

Best rock album Coldplay, “Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends”

Best alternative music album Radiohead, “In Rainbows”

Best female R&B vocal performance Alicia Keys, “Superwoman”

Best male R&B vocal performance Ne-Yo, “Miss Independent”

Best R&B performance by a duo or group with vocals Al Green, featuring John Legend, “Stay With Me (By The Sea)”

Best traditional R&B vocal performance Al Green, featuring Anthony Hamilton, “You’ve Got The Love I Need”

Best urban/alternative performance Chrisette Michele, featuring, “Be OK”

Best R&B song Mikkel S. Eriksen, T.E. Hermansen & S. Smith, songwriters (Ne-Yo), “Miss Independent”

Best R&B album Jennifer Hudson, “Jennifer Hudson”

Best contemporary R&B album Mary J. Blige, “Growing Pains”

Best rap solo performance Lil Wayne, “A Milli”

Best rap performance by a duo or group Jay-Z & T.I., featuring Kanye West & Lil Wayne, “Swagga Like Us”

Best rap/sung collaboration Estelle, featuring Kanye West, “American Boy”

Best rap song D. Carter, S. Garrett, D. Harrison, J. Scheffer & R. Zamor, songwriters (Lil Wayne, featuring Static Major), “Lollipop”

Best rap album Lil Wayne, “A Milli”

Best female country vocal performance Carrie Underwood, “Last Name”

Best male country vocal performance Brad Paisley, “Letter To Me”

Best country performance by a duo or group with vocals Sugarland, “Stay”

Best country collaboration with vocals Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, “Killing The Blues”

Best country instrumental performance Brad Paisley, James Burton, Vince Gill, John Jorgenson, Albert Lee, Brent Mason, Redd Volkaert & Steve Wariner, “Cluster Pluck”

Best country song Jennifer Nettles, songwriter (Sugarland), “Stay”

Best country album George Strait, “Troubadour”

Best bluegrass album Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, “Honoring The Fathers Of Bluegrass: Tribute To 1946 And 1947″

Best new age album Jack DeJohnette, “Peace Time”

Best contemporary jazz album Randy Brecker, “Randy In Brasil”

Best jazz vocal album Cassandra Wilson, “Loverly”

Best jazz instrumental solo Gary Burton & Chick Corea, soloists, “Waltz For Debby”

Best jazz instrumental album, individual or group The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, “Monday Night Live At The Village Vanguard”

Best Latin jazz album Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, “Song For Chico”

Best gospel performance Mary Mary, “Get Up”

Best gospel song Kirk Franklin, songwriter (Kirk Franklin), “Help Me Believe”

Best rock or rap gospel album TobyMac, “Alive And Transported”

Best pop/contemporary gospel album CeCe Winans, “Thy Kingdom Come”

Best southern, country, or bluegrass gospel album Gaither Vocal Band, “Lovin’ Life”

Best traditional gospel album The Blind Boys Of Alabama, “Down In New Orleans”

Best contemporary R&B gospel album Kirk Franklin, “The Fight Of My Life”

Best Latin pop album Juanes, “La Vida…Es Un Ratico”

Best Latin rock or alternative album Jaguares, “45″

Best Latin urban album Wisin y Yandel, “Los Extraterrestres”

Best tropical Latin album José Feliciano, “Senor Bachata”

Best regional Mexican album TIE: Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano, “Amor, Dolor Y Lagrimas: Musica Ranchera” and Mariachi Divas, “Canciones De Amor”

Best Tejano album Ruben Ramos & The Mexican Revolution, “Viva La Revolucion”

Best Norteno album Los Tigres Del Norte, “Raices”

Best Banda album Joan Sebastian, “No Es De Madera”

Best traditional blues album B.B. King, “One Kind Favor”

Best contemporary blues album Dr. John And The Lower 911, “City That Care Forgot”

Best traditional folk album Pete Seeger, “At 89″

Best contemporary folk/Americana album Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, “Raising Sand”

Best Native American music album Various artists, “Come To Me Great Mystery — Native American Healing Songs”

Best Hawaiian music album Tia Carrere & Daniel Ho, “‘Ikena”

Best Zydeco or Cajun music album BeauSoleil & Michael Doucet, “Live At The 2008 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival”

Best reggae album Burning Spear, “Jah Is Real”

Best traditional world music album Ladysmith Black Mambazo, “Ilembe: Honoring Shaka Zulu”

Best contemporary world music album Mickey Hart, Zakir Hussain, Sikiru Adepoju & Giovanni Hidalgo, “Global Drum Project”

Best polka album Jimmy Sturr And His Orchestra, “Let The Whole World Sing”

Best musical album for children They Might Be Giants, “Here Come The 123s”

Best spoken word album for children Bill Harley, “Yes To Running! Bill Harley Live”

Best spoken word album (includes poetry, audio books & story telling) Beau Bridges, Cynthia Nixon & Blair Underwood, “An Inconvenient Truth (Al Gore)”

Best comedy album George Carlin, “It’s Bad For Ya”

Best musical show album “In The Heights,” Kurt Deutsch, Alex Lacamoire, Andrés Levin, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Joel Moss & Bill Sherman, producers; Lin-Manuel Miranda, composer/lyricist (Original Broadway Cast With Lin-Manuel Miranda And Others)

Best compilation soundtrack album for motion picture, television or other visual media “Juno,” various artists

Best score soundtrack album for motion picture, television or other visual media “The Dark Knight,” James Newton Howard & Hans Zimmer, composers

Best song written for motion picture, television or other visual media “Down To Earth” (From “WALL-E”), Peter Gabriel & Thomas Newman, songwriters (Peter Gabriel)

Best instrumental composition John Williams, composer (John Williams, “The Adventures Of Mutt” (from “Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull”)

Best instrumental arrangment Peter Gabriel & Thomas Newman, arrangers (Thomas Newman), “Define Dancing (from WALL-E)”

Best instrumental arrangement accompanying vocalist(s) Nan Schwartz, arranger (Natalie Cole), “Here’s That Rainy Day”

Best recording package “Death Magnetic,” Bruce Duckworth, Sarah Moffat & David Turner, art directors (Metallica)

Best boxed or special limited edition package “In Rainbows,” Stanley Donwood, Mel Maxwell & Christiaan Munro, art directors (Radiohead)

Best album notes “Kind Of Blue: 50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition,” Francis Davis, album notes writer (Miles Davis)

Best historical album “Art Of Field Recording Volume I: Fifty Years Of Traditional American Music Documented By Art Rosenbaum,” Steven Lance Ledbetter & Art Rosenbaum, compilation producers; Michael Graves, mastering engineer (Various Artists)

Best engineered album, non-classical “Consolers Of The Lonely,” Joe Chiccarelli, Vance Powell & Jack White III, engineers (The Raconteurs)

Producer of the year, non-classical Rick Rubin

“Death Magnetic” (Metallica)

“Home Before Dark” (Neil Diamond)

“Mercy (Dancing For The Death Of An Imaginary Enemy” (Ours)

“Seeing Things” (Jakob Dylan)

“Weezer (Red Album)” (Weezer)

Best remixed recording, non-classical “Electric Feel (Justice Remix),” Justice, remixers (MGMT)

Best surround sound album “Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition; Night On Bald Mountain; Prelude To Khovanshchina,” Michael Bishop, surround mix engineer; Michael Bishop, surround mastering engineer; Robert Woods, surround producer (Paavo Jrvi & Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra)

Best engineered album, classical “Traditions And Transformations: Sounds Of Silk Road Chicago,” David Frost, Tom Lazarus & Christopher Willis, engineers (Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Alan Gilbert, Silk Road Ensemble, Wu Man, Yo-Yo Ma & Chicago Symphony Orchestra)

Producer of the year, classical David Frost

“Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique” (Gustavo Dudamel & Los Angeles Philharmonic)

“Right Through The Bone — Julius Rntgen Chamber Music” (ARC Ensemble)

“Schubert: Sonata In D Maj.; Liszt: Don Juan Fantasy” (Min Kwon)

“Traditions And Transformations: Sounds Of Silk Road Chicago” (Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Alan Gilbert, Yo-Yo Ma, Silk Road Ensemble, Wu Man & Chicago Symphony Orchestra)

Best classical album “Weill: Rise And Fall Of The City Of Mahagonny,” James Conlon, conductor; Anthony Dean Griffey, Patti LuPone & Audra McDonald; Fred Vogler, producer (Donnie Ray Albert, John Easterlin, Steven Humes, Mel Ulrich & Robert Worle; Los Angeles Opera Chorus; Los Angeles Opera Orchestra)

Best orchestral performance “Shostakovich: Symphony No. 4,” Bernard Haitink, conductor (Chicago Symphony Orchestra)

Best opera recording “Weill: Rise And Fall Of The City Of Mahagonny,” James Conlon, conductor; Anthony Dean Griffey, Patti LuPone & Audra McDonald; Fred Vogler, producer (Donnie Ray Albert, John Easterlin, Steven Humes, Mel Ulrich & Robert Worle; Los Angeles Opera Orchestra; Los Angeles Opera Chorus)

Best choral performance “Symphony Of Psalms,” Sir Simon Rattle, conductor; Simon Halsey, chorus master (Berliner Philharmoniker; Rundfunkchor Berlin)

Best instrumental soloist(s) performance (with orchestra) “Schoenberg/Sibelius: Violin Concertos,” Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor; Hilary Hahn (Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra)

Best instrumental soloist performance (without orchestra) “Piano Music Of Salonen, Stucky, And Lutoslawski,” Gloria Cheng

Best chamber music performance “Carter, Elliott: String Quartets Nos. 1 And 5,” Pacifica Quartet

Best small ensemble performance “Spotless Rose: Hymns To The Virgin Mary,” Charles Bruffy, conductor; Phoenix Chorale

Best classical vocal performance “Corigliano: Mr. Tambourine Man: Seven Poems Of Bob Dylan,” Hila Plitmann (JoAnn Falletta; Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra)

Best classical contemporary composition “Mr. Tambourine Man: Seven Poems Of Bob Dylan,” John Corigliano (JoAnn Falletta)

Best classical crossover album “Simple Gifts,” The King’s Singers

About Alex

Alex is in his first year at NRCC. He recently moved to the area from Florida where he studied music at Florida Atlantic University from 2004 to 2006. Also, Alex has been working as a professional musician in the Miami and Fort Lauderdale areas for nearly eight years. He has taught band and jazz music in the Florida school system, as well as teaching woodwinds (Sax, Clarinet, and Flute) privately for many years.
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One Response to The 2009 Grammys

  1. BABY GIRL says: