Saving Country Music’s 2016 Grammy Awards LIVE Blog


Welcome ladies and gentlemen to Saving Country Music’s LIVE blog for the 58th Annual Grammy Awards broadcast live from Los Angeles. This is an annual exercise in snark, criticism, and giving kudos where kudos are due, all unfolding without a net, unscripted, and unfiltered. So be warned there will be salty language and errant syntax in spots, but it’s all in good fun. The idea is to make the Grammy Awards a little bit more bearable to watch by commiserating together, and hoping for the best for the few worthy performers and nominees who will make an appearance.

Please note that this year the LIVE blog will have a soft launch at the beginning of the pre-telecast awards, since that is when many of the most important awards in country, roots, and Americana are doled out. Then come 8 p.m. EST, 7 p.m. CEN, we’ll go hard and heavy during the televised presentation.

WARNING: Language. All times will be Central time.

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10:59 – P.S. According to Adele, what happened during her performance was the piano mic fell onto the piano strings, causing the plucking noise. “Because of it though… I’m treating myself to an in n out. So maybe it was worth it,” she says.

See Taylor Swift comment below at the beginning of the broadcast.

10:48 Well if we went into tonight hoping for a big night for Chris Stapleton, we’d have to be a little disappointed, but not totally so. He still waled away with two Grammy Awards, including Country Album during the televised portion. But I can just tell by internet traffic numbers and social network chatter, Chris Stapleton didn’t come even close to the bump he received at the CMA’s. He didn’t even really receive a bump at all. His performance was fine, but was not optimized to showcase his talents and contributions to country music.

The big winner tonight is Taylor Swift. She won two big pre-telecast awards, and the Album of the Year. After Kendrick Lamar’s performance, I felt for certain he would beat out everyone, but we forget that what Taylor Swift did with “1989” was historic in regards to sales. It was like “Titanic,” and when you have an album like that, it’s hard to deny it. We don’t think of “1989” as a blockbuster anymore because it was so long ago, and Adele has almost doubled its numbers. But when “1989” was released, it rewrote the book on modern-day music sales. It made Adele’s sales possible by showing albums still mattered. And the Grammy voters recognized that. I think it’s Swift’s weakest record, but clearly that’s a minority viewpoint.

The 2016 Grammys wasn’t big for any one artists, except maybe Taylor. They love was spread around pretty well. But what could have been a big night for country if Chris Stapleton won for Album of the Year, and Little Big Town for Song of the Year, was avoided. And that doesn’t feel completely wrong.

10:31 – Well that’s a wrap. THANKS to everyone for stopping by! Thanks to everyone who commented, liked, tweeted, shared, or just followed along. I will be composing some quick final thoughts and then we’ll be out of here. And I’m sure I will have much more to say in the coming days so stay tuned.

10:30 – The only thing that could save this final performance is the credits. Cut to the local news. NOW!

10:29 – Robin Thicke still exists? I thought he died after he broke his pecker off in Miley Cyrus’ butt at the VMA’s a couple years ago.

10:28 – This “Taxi” performance reminds us why Uber was such an invaluable invention.

10:26 – Still trying to process this Taylor Swift win. Pitbull and his big bag of nothing on my television isn’t helping.

10:25 – The Grammy for Record of the Year goes to “Uptown Funk.” Bruno Mars and some other people.

10:21 – Well, I’m not sure what to say. The commercial powerhouse won. Taylor Swift gave a great speech.

10:20 – Wow. Taylor Swift wins the Grammy for Album of the Year.

10:15 – Lynn Anderson, Billy Joe Royal, Johnny Gimble, Bill Arhos, and others featured in the tribute segment. Surprised they forgot Billy Sherrill, “Little” Jimmy Dickens, and Jim Ed Brown. But still way more respect than either the CMA’s or ACM’s show to fallen greats. [CORRECTION: Apparently Billy Sherrill was included, and “Little” Jimmy was included last year.]

10:11 – The Grammy showing here that they’re more than just an awards show. They do a ton for music advocacy.

10:08 – This Joey Alexander could build a backpack clock, kick all our asses at a spelling bee, all while exhibiting more musical talent than most of country music’s superstars combined.

10:01 – Bruno Mars had a look on his face during that Hollywood Vampires performance that was all, “Huh. White people.”

10:00 – Alright, the Hollywood Vampires winning me over a bit with this “Ace of Spades” rendition.

9:58 – Yes, impressive concentration of star power, but is this music worth anything?

I don’t know, I keep getting distracted by the fire.

9:56 – I don’t know. The Hollywood Vampires feel like a medical disclaimer away from making a Viagra commercial here.

9:55 – Factoid: Johnny Depp gave Johnny Cash his first live performance opportunity after he started working with Rick Rubin. Depp used to own The Viper Room in L.A. Depp also has played guitar in Willie Nelson’s band numerous times semi-incognito.

9:54 – Dave Grohl comes out and says some words about Lemmy “Truth is, I have an Ace of Spades tattoo.”

9:52 – The Alabama Shakes truly started in a garage, and here they are. It’s their everyday anti-star authenticity that makes them cooler than anyone else.

9:50 – As MikeO in the comments section points out, musician (and SCM commenter) Robby Turner made it onto the Grammy stage for the Chris Stapleton performance.

Sorry I’m such a wet blanket about the Chris Stapleton / B.B. King performance. I just expect more.

9:46 – We all witnessed what happened at the CMA awards in November. Why not try to make some magic on stage? Stapleton’s performance on The Tonight Show was more meaningful to his career than that will ever be. And if he does win Album of the Year, the Kendrick Lamar fans will be crying foul of why some tepid white dude stole his award. You’ve got to allow artists to shine. There’s been some great performances tonight. That one was pretty forgettable and flat. Just my honest opinion.

9:42 – Were Stapleton, Bonnie Raitt, or Gary Clark Jr. really sold to the world through that performance? Glad B.B. King gets some recognition, but that performance did little for me. The only think that more of a blues cliche than “The Thrill is Gone” is “Pork Salad Annie.”

9:42 – Rubbish. Steven Tyler has been “country” for like six months and they’re already putting him on the CMA Awards with Chris Stapleton. Oh wait, that’s Bonnie Raitt.

9:40 – B.B. King was awesome and all of that, but his licks were so cliche. This performances proves that.

9:38 – Stapleton sans the signature cowboy hat. Probably a smart choice given the context.

9:34 – Apparently this thing is going to 10:30. Someone’s gonna need to make me a sandwich.

9:32 – Chris Stapleton coming up. Thank God.

9:31 – Take a drink.


Found it on Twitter somewhere. All credit to the author.

9:30 – Did Gaga just grab her crotch. Any “class” she gained from the Tony Bennett collabs just went out the window. This is garbage. It’s diminishing the Bowie legacy to histrionics instead of deliberate performance art.

9:26 – Hate these montage performances. Just when you get into a groove, it changes. My head feels like it’s in a pinball machine.

9:25 – Lady Gaga probably is the right artists to tribute Bowie.

9:19 – Not a big fan of her music, but there’s something authentic and endearing about Meghan Trainor. She actually has written some good songs, has chosen some other good ones. Give me her over the Katy Perry’s of the world any day.

9:17 – The Grammy for Best New Artist goes to Meghan Trainor. NOT Sam Hunt.

9:16 – New and improved, rehabed, and “more-serious” Justin Bieber still sucks. Only just very, very slightly less than before.

9:15 – Hate the white hipster playing horizontal bass drums. HATE.

9:13  – Biebs, that coat is something a cougar divorcee would don to hit the singles bar.

9:12 – Aww, Bieber’s got a mustache like the one my friend Miguel did in 8th grade.

9:10 – Heavens. That Big Bang Theory girl has biceps to beat the band. She could kick all our asses while chewing bubble gum.

9:08 – I’ll still be pissed for them screwing up Adele’s performance next week. Man.

9:06 – The greatest singer of our generation, and arguably one of the greatest singers of all time, and a stupid technical difficulty screwed it up. Get Putin on it.

9:05– Flawless performance from Adele under debilitating circumstances. They should drag the sound man out by his nuts and have him publicly admonished when we come back from break.

9:03 – Adele is putting together the best Grammy performance of all time for fighting through that acoustic guitar flub. THAT is poise!

9:00 – Cut the acoustic guitar down! Feeder off. Kill it with fire!

8:59 – What the living fuck is that acoustic guitar pluck in the feed? Fired!

8:58 – Brittany Howard is the cool all the R&B chasing posers in mainstream AND Americana want to be, but will never have. The Alabama Shakes deserve recognition.

8:56 – The Grammy for Best Rock Performance goes to Alabama Shakes.

8:55 – Why are we paying tribute to Michael Jackson all of a sudden? Why don’t we pay tribute to the little boys he raped.

8:54– Hey look, another male pop singer with fruffy hair singing falsetto.

8:49 – So Best Musical Musical Theater Album gets its own televised slot, and Best Country Song doesn’t. Somebody at CBS is behind the bankrolling of that “Hamilton” production.

8:47 – The Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album goes to Hamilton.

8:46 – Not sure exactly what’s going on in this Kendrick Lamar performance. A little too busy and visibly jarring. But you can’t say it doesn’t take talent and skill. And lot more organic instrumentation than most hip-hop. Stapleton has some stiff competition.

8:42– Not a big rap fan, but rap like this that looks to empower people and speaks to struggle is something I can get behind much easier. A lot more than the bullshit that is only about materialism and ontogeny, and was the precursor to Bro-Country.

8:41 – Have not heard the Kendrick Lamar yet, but it’s the one everyone thinks will give Chris Stapleton stiff competition.

8:37 – Thanks to everyone piping up in the comments section! I’m trying to keep up.

8:33 – Dude, there’s a little part of me that wants to like this Hamilton stuff, but it’s way too much shtick, and not enough substance. It’s like when folks try to interpret Shakespeare into the modern context. Unless it’s perfect, it just falls flat.

8:32 -Am I supposed to know who the hell this guy is that stopped down the production so everyone could clap for him? P.S. the guy playing Ben Franklin raps like my racist uncle.

8:30 – So wait, the founding fathers rapping Declaration of Independence rhetoric? Someone keep an eye on Donald Trump’s Twitter feed.

8:28 – Colbert!

8:27 – See, what two mainstream country artists could do this? And if they could, would they be allowed to? Two guns up for James Bay and Tori Kelly.

8:24 – Always prefer the acoustic, stripped-down performances on these awards shows. You make a “moment” from intimacy, not production. Not bad James Bay and Tori Kelly. Not my kind of music, but it’s got heart.

8:17 – So Lionel gets half a dozen songs, and Glen Frey only gets one? Okay I guess. Don’t let anyone sell you on the idea that the Grammy’s aren’t inclusive.

8:16 – I know there’s a lot of folks who hate The Eagles and especially Glen Frey, but this is just good American music right here. Classic.

8:15 – Don Felder still getting jobbed by The Eagles though. Who wrote “Hotel California”? I can tell you it wasn’t Timothy B. Schmit.

8:14 – Wow, really cool moment. Jackson Browne taking Glen Frey’s place singing a song he wrote at the beginning of it all, “Take It Easy.”

8:13 – That Ed Sheeran song is not terrible. Could have been a worse winner.

8:12 – The Grammy for Song of the Year goes to Ed Sheeran for “Thinking Out Loud.”

8:11 – Stevie Wonder entertaining everyone with his impromptu humor. Much better than the canned stuff from everyone else.

8:09 – Yikes, who dressed Stevie Wonder, Florida Georgia Line?

8:07 – Hey, face time for Ashley Monroe. We’ll take what we can get.

8:05 – And don’t try to feed me any Jack cheese about how this song was “controversial.” It’s the product of full-frontal marketing.

8:04 – Little Big Town has played “Girl Crush” on major awards shows in the last 12 months more than they’ve played the Opry #payyourdues.

8:03 – Nice rendition of “Girl Crush.” Why all of a sudden do I want to get a chili bowl hair cut, a pair of deck shoes, and try to obtain a same sex marriage license from my Justice of the Peace?

7:57 – I stand corrected, Chris Stapleton did NOT win Best Country song earlier today. So he’s 5 for 6 in the major awards he’s been nominated for. Still pretty salty.

7:55 – Lionel’s harmless Afro pop I guess. Just stay the hell away from country. That whole country album crap a couple of years ago was nauseating.

7:53 – Shit, Michael Jordan can sing pretty good. Who knew?

7:51 – Meghan Trainor has gone brunette, and Pharell has gone blonde. I don’t know what’s real anymore. (take a drink)

7:50 – Did look Bryan really just do that bullshit crowd hook “C’mon! C’mon!”

7:49 – Wait for it . . . Luke Bryan is about to come out in the Lionel tribute and spare everyone to death.

7:48 – Commodores Lionel Richie >>>>>>> post Commodores Lionel Richie.

7:46 – James Corden is as funny as Cancer.

7:45 – That makes two out of two for Chris Stapleton. So far he hasn’t been nominated for a major award that he hasn’t won. [Correction: he did NOT win the Grammy for Best Country Song] Next up, the Grammy for Album of the Year.

7:43– Chris Stapleton: “I’d like to thank Taylor Swift for glitter bombing me…” Told you that shit sucks.


7:40 – YES YES! The Grammy for Best Country Album goes to Chris Stapleton for “Traveller”

7:39 – There’s yellow, and then there’s YELLOWWW!!!! Sheesh Cam.

7:36 – One of the things these all-genre awards shows make patently clear is what weak singers dominate country music these days. This Andra Day and Ellie Goulding performance is a good example. Not my style, but everyone can appreciate a good vocal performance.

7:34 – Leon Bridges getting some serious face time in the advertisements.

7:29 – And yes, I know the Ariana Grande joke is worn out, but I had to.

7:26 – Not that falsetto vocals aren’t an art to themselves, but that’s all male pop music is these days. No rocks.

7:24 – The Weeknd’s hair is too easy of a target. I’ll give it a pass.

P.S. The Saving Country Music LIVE blog game is to take a drink every time a hair joke is made. Or something like that.

7:23 – Wait, Ariana Grande is still around? I thought Taco Bell replaced her with the CrunchWrap Supreme?

7:16 – Don’t like the way Sam Hunt is gazing into Carrie Underwood’s eyes. Where’s her hockey-playing hubby with a well-timed cross check when you need him? Would easily be worth 2 minutes in the penalty box.

7:14 – Way to show respect to the Grammys by dressing up Sam Hunt. You can buy a five-pack of your Grammy outfit for $7.99 at Target.

7:13 – America, that guy singing with Carrie Underwood is named Sam Hunt. Despite what some will tell you, he’s not a country artist.

7:12 – Sorry Sam Hunt, I was sure you’d land Best Rap Album.

7:11 – The Grammy for Best Rap Album goes to Kendrick Lamar for “To Pimp a Butterfly”

7:09 – Yes, we see your gold rings, asshole.

7:08 – What kind of pretentious guy wears a diamond broach with his own initials?

7:06 “But these people sing for real!” says host LL Cool J. We’ll revisit that when Justin Bieber takes the stage.

7:05 – Poor bastards who got glitter on them after the Taylor Swift performance. You ever tried to get glitter off you? It’s harder to remove than DNA.

7:02 – Actually now remembering that when Swift didn’t win the Grammy for Album of the Year for “Red” a couple of years ago, she went to In-N-Out. “I remember not going to after parties. I went home and I cried a little bit and I got In-N-Out burger and ate a lot.” Thanks Max Martin.

7:01 – Man, for serious. Someone get Taylor Swift a cheeseburger. She’s one less rice patty a day from going on the Karen Carpenter watch.

7:00 – New doo for Tay Tay.

7:00 – May the Force be with us.

6:58 – Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires’ Johnny and June moment side stage at the Grammy early show.


6:45 – 15 minutes and we go full force!

6:43 – Interesting note: So I wrote two stories about some of the early Grammy winners. My story about Jason Isbell’s wins is/has gone viral from excited fans. The story about Chris Stapleton got bogged down on Facebook from people complaining about how Chris Stapleton is a phony. Pretty easy to see where sentiment is heading for Cris Stapleton among independent music fans. I’m not sure why folks just can’t be happy why someone cool is finally getting recognition. It doesn’t mean Stapleton is ideal or there’s not better artists out there. Stapleton has called into question the very legitimacy of the cause Saving Country Music has taken up in the press. But that’s not going to get in my way of enjoying his music, or the idea that country music as a whole is improving.

6:35 – Just got the old snark machine out of the shed, dusted it off, checked the oil, made sure I put stabilizer in the gas tank last time, gave it a pull and it’s purring like a kitty.

6:30 – One last note on the pre-telecast, Dave Cobb got beat out for Producer of the Year by Jeff Bhasker. But there will be other opportunities for Dave I’m sure. Sometimes it takes your first year to build up some name recognition.

6:00 – When Big Machine Records’ Scott Borchetta was accepting the award for Best Compliation Soundtrack for Visual Media for the Glen Campbell movie, he said Glen Campbell had autism, not alzheimer’s. Honest mistake, it was a nervous time on stage, but worth noting.


5:45 – The non-telecast country awards were handed out moments ago. Here’s the winners:

  • Best Country Solo Performance – Chris Stapleton for “Traveller”
  • Best Country Duo/Group Performance – Little Big Town for “Girl Crush”
  • Best Country Song – Songwriters of “Girl Crush” Hillary Lindsey, Liz Rose, and Lori McKenna
  • Alabama Shakes won for Best Rock Song “Don’t Wanna Fight”

READ: “Traveller” by Chris Stapleton Wins 2016 Grammy for Best Country Solo Performance

Below: Chris Stapleton, “Girl Crush” songwriters Hillary Lindsey, Liz Rose, and Lori McKenna, and Alabama Shakes.





4:15 – The bluegrass, folk, and Americana categories were just handed out, with Jason Isbell walking away as the big winner.

  • Best Americana Album – Jason Isbell for Something More Than Free
  • Best American Roots Song  – Jason Isbell for “24 Frames”
  • Best American Roots Performance – Mavis Staples for “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean”
  • Best Bluegrass Album – The SteelDrivers for The Muscle Shoals Recordings
  • Best Folk Album – Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn, self-titled

READ: Justice Served: Jason Isbell Wins 2016 Grammy for Best Americana Album / American Roots Song

Below: Jason Isbell, Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn, and The SteelDrivers




3:35 – Ahead of the country and roots awards being released on the pre-telecast, The Mavericks took the stage to play “All Night Long.”


3:30 – Just a reminder guys, we’re going to do a soft launch of the LIVE blog this year covering the pre-telecast awards when they happen, so entries will be few and far between at the beginning, and then will be going full force once the televised portion of the Grammys begin.

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