Saving Country Music’s 2018 Grammy Awards LIVE Blog

Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the 2018 installment of Saving Country Music’s Grammy Awards LIVE blog! As the night goes on I’ll be peppering you with my observations and rolling commentary as we all watch along together, adding some incendiary snark where possible, and showing others with accolades if they deserve it. So get your little refresh fingers ready, hope the duct-taped SCM server doesn’t crash on us, and let’s have a fun night.

WARNING: There will be misspelled words, off color humor, and occasional cussing. Deal with it.

To see the performers, presenters, and nominees, check out the 2018 Grammy Awards Complete Preview

(All times CENTRAL time)

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10:17 – In the country realm, The Grammy ended before they began. The important business was concluded in the pre-telecast, with Jason Isbell dominating the Americana categories, and Chris Stapleton doing the same to country, which pretty much assured him a Best Country Album win. The Las Vegas tribute was a stumble. Heads should roll. Stapleton and Emmylou was pretty good, but didn’t really allow either artist to be themselves and prove why they are generational talents like Lady Gaga and others did. Bruno Mars winning the biggest awards will damn us to six months of politically-charged think piece screeds from the usual suspects of how we should have done better in the Trump era. The politics in the show were more predictable than poignant, with a few exceptions. James Corden needs to be fired and never work in entertainment again. Maybe the snark machine was running on turbo tonight but the good moments felt very fleeting. I felt the 2017 CMAs did a much better job at presentations, at tributes, and even tackling difficult subjects, and that should be a big indictment of the presentation. But it had it’s moment.

Now to nurse my carpal tunnel. You be good you crazy kids.

10:08 – It’s over. THANK YOU everybody for following along, reading, sharing commenting, liking, retweeting, all of it. I will compose some final thoughts and bid adieu for the night.

10:03 –  He just said “Mars Sauce.” My point.

10:02 – Now look, I understand the appeal of Bruno Mars, and think he’s got a good style. But this dude has really unimpressed me tonight. I’m not incredibly familiar with all the nominees, but this feels like it should be going to Jay-Z or Kendrick Lamar who have a message. This guy’s a dance artist.

10:01 – The Grammy for Album of the Year goes to Bruno Mars for “24K Magic.”

10:00 – You blew your poetic introductory skills on that Sinatra intro in the 90’s Bono.

10:00 – It’s 10:00 and I’m still here. No bueno, Grammys.

9:55 – I’m all for songs with a message, but there’s something to be said for nuance and relaying messages through story. Are these type of songs actually making people feel better, or are they making the artists feel better about themselves because they think they’re doing something to enact change in the world? A good tearjerker can go a long way to helping you feel better as opposed to a song you feel is lying to you about how amazing and beautiful you are. Just my thoughts.

9:51 – LOTS of country greats in the In Memoriam segment, maybe more than any other genre. Feels a little frenetic, but it gets the job done. Would have loved to have seen Stapleton perform and original song with Emmylou by his side to make a “moment” like we saw Saturday night on SNL. He did win three Grammys.

9:50 – Emmylou Harris is a timeless, ageless angel among mortals. How blessed we are to live in an era when we’re graced with her presence, her voice, and her quiet wisdom.

9:48 – Here’s our Tom Petty tribute.

9:47 – Yes, Chris Stapleton and Emmylou Harris!

9:45 – Taylor Swift isn’t appearing on the Grammy Awards this year because she thinks next year will be her big moment. I think there is a good chance nobody will care in 365 days.

9:43– Here comes Neil Portnow, the big wig of the Grammys to say some boring stuff.

9:40 – The best moment of the Grammys so far? When Jason Isbell won for Best American Roots Song during the pre-telecast, took his sweet time getting to the stage, and said when he got to the podium, “I don’t run for the Internet.”

9:35 – Bruno Mars thinks there’s too many ballads tonight. Yes, we need even more hyper pseudo hip-hop shit. Bruno has no need for old tired Opera.

9:34 – The Grammy for Record of the Year goes to “24K Magic” – Bruno Mars.

9:33 – Dave Cobb needs to win that Producer of the Year one of these days. Past due.

9:31 – This scissor woman can sing. Just needs adult supervision near the industrial shredder and she’ll go places.

9:26 – When the music in the commercials is better than the music on the Awards show.

9:21 – Good Emmylou Harris and Chris Stapleton coming up. And U2 panting like they just beat it across town from Ellis Island when they’ve been hanging out in a penthouse across the street for the last 3 hours.

9:17 – Wow, clear the decks, an actual singer. A little saccharine, but whatever.

9:14 – Okay, he pulled it out at the end. I take it all back. Except about that shirt.

9:12 – I prefer the Tom Waits version of “Somehwere.” This guy and his dress down, short-sleeved cardigan needs to go back to his fair trade coffee shop.

9:11 – To the one true God. James Corden. You’re sucking my life force.

9:10 – Well, you just fucked off half a mil, Target.

9:09 – Is this a commercial, or am I dreaming Maren Morris got transported to a Q-bert board?

9:06 – Thought maybe Elton John was getting a Lifetime Achievement this year. Nope.

9:03 – And why are we carving out time in this telecast to perform a 45-year-old song? And Miley’s smoker’s voice doesn’t do well here.

9:01 – What do you think the prospects of a country blogger getting together with Anna Kendrick?

8:58 – Another bombing comedy segment. Whatever your feelings on Trump, it’s just not funny. Did they not focus group this stuff?

8:57 – Bruno Mars wins for Song of the Year for some song I’ve never heard before, and possibly never will.

8:56 – If a song that’s a phone number wins anything, it better be 867-5309.

8:55 – Yes, exactly what this broadcast needs. More freaking Sting.

8:48 -Meh, U2.

8:47 – U2 is also clearly playing to a backing track. Really disappointing. It’s like they’re not even trying to hide it.

8:46 – No way it’s still that light on the East Coast. This U2 performance was pre-recorded.

8:41 – Good, impassioned performance by Kesha.

8:38 – 30 seconds into this Kesha performance, and it’s already better than the Harvest Fest tribute, even with that country carpetbagger Bebe Rexha in the choir.

8:37 – I’m a fan of Kesha’s clothier.

8:34 – Both Maren Morris and Eric Church had great original songs released after the Las Vegas massacre. Why not go there?

8:30 – Sorry folks, I know we’re all supposed to come together in solidarity for these tributes, but that was pretty weak. This is country music’s opportunity to shine in front of the world, and it felt very amateurish. Didn’t help that the sound was probably bad for not just the audience, but the performers. Why not put our best singers, our best foot forward? Jason Aldean singing a Petty cover off key on SNL was arguably more poignant than that. Mild song choice as well.

8:27 – Yes, Eric Church, please save this. I root for Brothers Osborne shading out Florida Georgia Line, but they were not ready for this.

8:26 – Man, I’m sorry, but this tribute feels very, very thin.

8:25 – By the way, Chris Stapleton won Best Country Album. And water is wet.

8:25 – Wow Grammys, way to screw up the sound of this important tribute.

8:23 – Dave Cobb is on the Grammy stage. Dave Cobb is on the Grammy stage.

8:23 – The Grammy for Best Country Album does NOT go to Thomas Rhett or Lady Antebellum!

8:19 – Well it sounds like Best Country Album is coming up, so we may have a Stapleton citing.

8:16 – For the record, I find it offensive when guys grab themselves in front of an audience of millions and millions too.

8:15 – Who’s this Justin Timberlake knock off? Another boy band blow up?

8:13 – On a 1 to 10 scale, how much of a lack of self-awareness do you need to be able to scream you own name like “DJ Khalid!” and not feel self-conscious?

8:11 – Hey thanks to everyone piping up in the comments section. Reading when I can.

8:08 – Something ironic about chasing a commercial about non GMO dog food with a commercial from KFC.

8:04 – Okay we get it. The Grammy Awards are in New York this year. How ’bout doing the city proud by turning in some good segments and performances as opposed to these shoehorned in references to the city?

8:02 – Why does every performance have to be bisected by some hip-hop hype man? Such a reduction of both performers.

8:00 – Hard to hate on Sting.

…but I’m a little bored.

7:57 – Dave Chappell wins for Best Comedy Album. Yes, Best Comedy Album is being televised, and the rock categories aren’t. That tells you where we are in music right now.

7:55 – Is this the Grammys or Star Search? Bruno Mars is usually one of the best performances on these things.

7:54 – Cardi B is the biggest thing in all of music right now, and she made her outfit out of vinyl remnants from a bounce house.

7:53 – The hell is this?

7:52 – No snark. That was the dumbest skit I’ve ever seen on an awards show. Can we get Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood helicoptered in?

7:49 – The last thing this presentation needed was a James Corden vignette. Is this guy this bad all the time?

Apparently the Grammys blew their writing budget on Lady Gaga’s massive angel wings.

7:45 – Funny observation from Luke O’Neil on Twitter, “lol Ed Sheeran the one dude in a category with 4 iconic women and he wins and doesn’t show up. Music industry in a nutshell.”

7:44 – Fine performance by Pink.

7:43 – PREDICTION: Tomorrow, sales for Kendrick Lamar records and Pink-style mom jeans spike.

7:42 – I like my Pink suspended from the ceiling doing some Cirque De Solei shit, not hanging Saturday casual.

7:40 – So does Kendrick Lamar win all this stuff because he’s the rapper all the white Gammy voters vote for?

7:38 – The Grammy for Best Rap Album goes to “Damn” by Kendrick Lamar. Once again, glad he won ’cause I didn’t have time to learn the names of the other nominees. But they’re probably good too. Or probably not.

7:37 – I don’t know if Dave Chappelle is naming off rappers, or the ingredients to a bottle of purple drank.

7:36 – The next funny thing James Corden does will be the first on this presentation.

7:32 – Seriously, Rhianna is 6’8″ in this picture, or walking on cinder blocks.

7:28 – This guy is definitely a Gambino, because we’re getting swindled into believing this song is any good. Sorry, another dad joke. Would rather listen to Paulie Walnuts telling dirty jokes.

7:25 – Fall down the stairs into a wedding cake or something, Corden. You’ve got nothing.

7:24– How I feel listening to this song:

7:23 – So much great Latin music out there, and THIS is what we’re highlighting?

7:22 – Screw this. Can we call an audible and get Alan Jackson to the stage?

7:21 – Oh shit, this Desposito song? Can’t get away from this thing.

7:20 – Sarah Silverman has some really great jokes.

7:17 – These commercials are making me hate Millennials.

7:15 – Ed Sheeran is too busy guarding his pot ‘o gold to accept his award. Shit I could use a bowl of Lucky Charms about right now.

7:15 – The Grammy for Best Pop Solo Performance goes to “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran.

7:13– Good to see some Texas boys and a cowboy hat up on the stage.

7:11 – Love Gary Clark, but sometimes he feels like the Grammy’s one black guy that doesn’t rap.

7:09 – Remember, last year they moved Best Country Album to the pre-telecast when Sturgill Simpson won. This year it’s been moved back to the telecast.

7:05 – Alison Krauss cameo! Get her up on the stage. Come on people!

7:04 – Well, at least Little Big Town smells wonderful. I guess there are worse that could be representing country on the Grammys. Sam Hunt’s at home picking lint out of his belly button right now.

7:03 – I just wish this was a better song. Sorry, dad joke.

7:01 – The only reason we’re watching Little Big Town and listening to this mild song is because Taylor Swift wrote it.

7:00 – This comedian guy needs to get swept up in a groping scandal.

6:59 – Alessia Cara had a good speech. There, I said something nice.

6:58 – The Grammy for Best New Artist goes to Alessia Cara. Never heard of her, but I bet she’s great. Or not.

6:56 – Oh shit, it’s Nick Jonas, keep the guitars away from him. Or was that his brother that butchered that Kelsea Ballerini solo a couple years ago?

6:55 – Whoa, is that a falsetto, or my smoke alarm?!?

I kid. Sam Smith is pretty good. No he’s not.

6:54 – Good thing Sam Smith is dressed like a doctor. Perhaps he can write me a script for a stimulant to get me through this performance.

6:52 – James Corden is bombing. Much funnier last year with the physical comedy.

6:50 – Grammys starting at 6:30 is ruining my mojo. Folks haven’t even eaten dinner yet. Present company included. Stuff may get weird on an empty stomach.

6:48 – Meant to listen to Kendrick Lamar’s album before all of this just because everyone praises him so high. I’ll take their word that he’s probably the best thing going in rap music right now.

6:47 – What the hell? Is Kendrick Lamar a tiny person, or is Rhianna (sp?) tall enough to start at Center for the Knicks?

6:46 – “Loyalty” from Kendrick Lamar wins some rap award. It’s good he won, because he’s about the only nominee’s name I know to spell.

6:45 – Tony Bennett is a silver fox stud. At 91, he could make any frau in the building.

6:44 – Much harder to stand at center stage and sing by yourself than it is to jump around in choreographed bullshit lip syncing to a backing track. Good job, Gaga.

6:40 – Lady Gaga’s been able to perfect how to recover from being a vapid pop star after the hits stop coming. Instead of trying to chase trends, chase your own voice and flee to substance. You’ll feel better about yourself in the end, and history will judge you better.

6:38 – That’s one big ass angel who got their wings plucked for this production value.

6:36 – You know, whatever is trying to be expressed in this opening performance probably would have been more poignant without the Chappell interjections. Attempt to take the edge off, but then what’s the point of doing an edgy performance?

6:35 – Only Dave Chappelle can pull off wearing his own merch.

6:34 – Dave Chappelle, a black man white people can get behind!

6:33 – Something tells me this opening performance isn’t USO approved.

6:32 – I see lots of American flags and soldiers, but that doesn’t sound like Toby Keith!

6:30 – Here we go!

6:28 – Just a warning, usually I’m better prepared for the Grammy Awards. Since I don’t know a lot of the names or performers from other genres, I try to take some time to at least get familiar with the performers and nominees before heading in. Unfortunately with all the craziness last night with the Stapleton/Sturgill performance on SNL and writing about it this morning, I didn’t get that opportunity. So this live blog will be even more without a net than normal, which may be even more entertaining for y’all if not for me. Hold on tight.

6:25 – Some observations from the pre-telecast:

Chris Stapleton has already won twice, which makes him a pretty good contender for Best COuntry Album, which will once again be broadcast this year. If he wins, it will make him one of the bigger winners of the night, even though he’s not nominated for one of the big awards

Jason Isbell is also a big winner with two awards. He also had the best line of the pre-telecast. “I don’t run for the Internet,” he said after taking his time making his way up to the podium.

It’s a shame that Miranda Lambert’s “Tin Man” did not win for either of the awards it was up for, not just for Miranda but for Jack Ingram who is a co-writer on the song. It would have been cool to see him walk away with a Grammy.

6:22 – Early winners in (most) of the roots and country categories:

  • Best Country Song – “Broken Halos,” Mike Henderson & Chris Stapleton, songwriters
  • Best Country Solo Performance – “Either Way,” Chris Stapleton
  • Best Country Duo/Group Performance – “Better Man,” Little Big Town (written by Taylor Swift)
  • Best Americana Album – The Nashville Sound – Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
  • Best American Roots Song – “If We Were Vampires,” Jason Isbell And The 400 Unit

    Best Roots Gospel Album – Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope – Reba MecEntire 

  • Best Bluegrass Album is a TIE: Laws Of Gravity – The Infamous Stringdusters AND All The Rage In Concert Volume One [Live] – Rhonda Vincent And The Rage
  • Best Folk Album – Mental Illness – Aimee Mann
  • Best American Roots Performance – “Killer Diller Blues,” Alabama Shakes

6:20 – Some pictures from the Red Carpet and pre-telecast:

Chris Stapleton won for Best Country Song and Best Country Solo Performance. You can almost hear him saying, “Yeah!” with his fist pump.

Jason Isbell won twice as well looking dapper in an all black suit, and wearing a white rose to show solidarity with the #metoo movement.

Zac Brown came out to present and dressed to show solidarity with Willy Wonka

Reba McEntire won for Best Roots Gospel Album. I would compliment her on how she looks, but I don’t want to be labeled a “sexist!” so I’ll just say she looked better than Colonel Sanders.