If there was one thing the country music artists who performed at the recent Grammy Awards proved through their performances, it is the fact that country music remains as a vital part of the American music industry through all these years. Performers such as Lady Antebellum and The Zac Brown Brand joined onstage by the legendary Leon Russell, as well as country singers Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, and Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles all represented the past, present, and future of country music, showing the world how much it has grown over the years.
First to take the stage was fast-rising band Lady Antebellum, known for their well written country love songs, who earlier won the award for Best Country Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals, establishing their hold on the group category by wresting the award from fan favorites Brooks & Dunn and Rascal Flatts. Their rendition of their latest single “Need You Now,” from their latest album of the same title, wowed the audience because of their great vocal harmonies—one trademark country music is known for.
Next to perform were The Zac Brown Band who also won the Best New Artist Award over peers from other genres. It was such a great moment for the band especially since their win was announced by country singers Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert who were both heavyweights in the industry. In their performance, a mix of country, blues, rock and even reggae, the band announced their surprise guest, and out came Russell in front of the piano singing “Dixie Lullaby”, a collaboration he did with the band. The band also performed parts of their hit songs “America The Beautiful” and ended with “Chicken Fried.”
Underwood later took to the stage as part of the ensemble of singers who joined the 3D tribute to Michael Jackson. Another highlight of the awards show was when Sugarland’s Nettles came out on stage to do a duet with Jon Bon Jovi with the song “Who Says You Can’t Go Home.” Of course, the night would not have been complete if America’s reigning country sweetheart did not perform her latest country love songs. Swift also took to the stage and did her songs “Today Was A Fairytale,” “You Belong With Me,” and was later joined by Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks for a duet of the band’s “Rhiannon.” Although Swift’s off-key singing was widely panned by critics the next day, her haul of four Grammy awards (Album Of The Year, Best Female Country Vocal Performance, Best Country Song, and Best Country Album) still validated this young country singer’s undeniable talent and panache.
Apart from the performers, other country singers also graced the event. Underwood and country great Randy Travis’ duet of Travis’ hit song “I Told You So” won an award as the Best Country Collaboration with Vocals. In addition, bluegrass veteran Alison Krauss also made history by winning her 27th Grammy for her participation in the album “Yo Yo Ma & Friends: Songs of Joy & Peace.”
All in all, Nashville’s legends, superstars, and upcoming talents did the music community proud proving that country music is a genre to reckon with in next year’s Grammy Awards.