February 9, 2009
As soon as tonight’s awesome Country Universe Live Blog finished, I had the opportunity to watch the Grammy Awards (which were recorded on my DVR – the best and only way to really watch an awards show) out here on the West Coast. Since I couldn’t comment on the country performances earlier, here are a few random musings:
Carrie Underwood (“Last Name”): Thanks to the song and the outfit, I’ve read it a lot in the last few hours: What happened to little miss “Jesus Take The Wheel?” The answer to that question is front and center in the primer on how to turn an American Idol into a country music star, so I’ll just leave you with a tip: If you’ve ever wondered what the Underwood concert experience is like, take her ’09 Grammy Awards performance, multiply it by 14 (or however many songs she sings, minus the first verse of JTTW) and you have it in a nutshell. Loud and rockin’, with tiny nearly non-existent flourishes of country, a powerful overwrought vocal straining, but ultimately failing, to overcome the band, and virtually incomprehensible lyrics.
Taylor Swift/Miley Cyrus (“Fifteen”): I must say that Taylor Swift’s best performances occur when she is seated. Anyone else notice that? Truthfully, I don’t have the heart to trash her vocal tonight (I’d reserve that for Miley if she were a country singer. My ears are still bleeding!). But, if you are over a certain age, you know what I’m talking about. My only question is: Will that ever change? Probably not. Therefore, when her audience grows up, and her songwriting grows up, what is going to happen to Swift? Will her audience stick with her and continue not to care about her horrible vocals? Or, like my generation, will they graduate to classic acts and more talented newcomers?
Kenny Chesney (“Better As A Memory”): Sweet intro by Morgan Freeman. I’m neither here nor there about Kenny Chesney’s performance. Nicely understated. Solid vocals for Chesney. However, the song does nothing for me, and I’m not sure it did anything for those seated in the audience or those watching from home either.
Sugarland (“Stay”): Jennifer Nettles can S I N G. The facial gestures and the accent aside, she knocked it out of the park. Unlike Chesney, there are more than a few people in the audience and at home wondering why they don’t own a Sugarland album. That’s how you earn a Grammy and how you sell albums and concert tickets. And that’s from someone who doesn’t even like this song … or Sugarland, to be honest.
Alison Krauss and Robert Plant (Medley): When I get the volume on my television fixed, I’ll get back to you on this performance. Both artists sounded like they were singing underwater. Maybe I’m just going deaf, but I could barely hear them. However, I did enjoy this superficial observation from EW’s live Grammys blog: “I like that Krauss has her own gentle-wind machine, which fails to rustle nary a curl on Plant.” So true.
What did you think of the country performances on tonight’s Grammy Awards?