Saving Country Music’s 2019 Grammy Awards LIVE Blog

Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the 2019 installment of the Saving Country Music LIVE blog covering the 61st Annual Gammy Awards. This could shape up as an important year in country music, with Brandi Carlie, Kacey Musgraves, Margo Price, Luke Combs, and others up for big awards over the evening, not to mention a big tribute to Dolly Parton.

As the night goes on, the blank space below will fill with observations and rolling commentary as we all watch along together. Please understand this is all off-the-cuff, so there will be occasional swear words and syntax errors. So get your little refresh finger ready, and let’s have a fun night.

To see the performers, presenters, and nominees, and big things to watch for, check out the 2019 Grammy Awards Complete Preview

(All times CENTRAL time)


11:03 – The story of the 2019 Grammy Awards in country and roots music is Kacey Musgraves and Brandi Carlile. And even though Brandi won her three awards before the telecast, she delivered the evening’s marquee performance that many will be talking about around water coolers on Monday, while Musgraves walks away with the evening’s top award, and the top award in country for Album of the Year.

Yes, without the attention to inclusiveness, and without the Grammy’s Neil Portnow putting his foot in his mouth last year, Carlile and Musgraves may have never even been nominated, or at least not as heavily, and their chances may have not been as good to win. But none of this matters. Both Brandi Carlie and Kacey Musgraves are such better options and worthy recipients when it comes who country and roots should put forward as representatives than the vast majority of others who could have been nominated, or won.

This is a big win for quality and substance in country music, from artists who respect the roots, even if they don’t embody them 100% of the time in their songs. Of course you can name more worthy winners, but that’s not the point. This was also big moment for Americana, which was showcased on the biggest of stages. And now we get to watch what the repercussions of these wins might be, which is hopefully a step in the right direction to returning realness to the country format, and helping to save country music.

10:48 – THANK YOU to everyone for following along, commenting, liking, tweeting, retweeting, sharing, and everything else. I will be composing some final thoughts on the evening overall for here, and leave the rest for tomorrow.

10:45 – Obviously this is a huge moment for Kacey Musgraves, and a big moment for country music to take home the all-genre Album of the Year. I personally though that as an album, it was mild, but it had some monster songs, and those monster songs shined through, including “High Horse,” which won Best Country Song, and “Rainbow,” which Musgraves performed tonight, and will now test radio to see if they will play it. Awards shows have always loved Musgraves, but this is different. This is the biggest prize in all of music, and Kacey Musgraves now owns it.

10:42 – Not to toot my own horn, but I called it at 11:13 a.m. today:

10:39 – The Grammy Award for Album of the Year goes to Kacey Musgraves for “Golden Hour.”

10:38 – “This Is America” is definitely politics playing into the winner.

10:37 – The Grammy Award for Record of the Year goes to ‘This Is America,” Childish Gambino.

10:35 – Now on to the final two categories.

10:30 – Roy Clark, Harold Bradley, Kenny O’Dell, Bonnie Guitar, Ray Sawyer, Ed King, Tony Joe White, Clarence Fountain, Daryle Singletary, Lari White, Reggie Young, Dave Rowland, and others from the country world just paid tribute in the Grammy Award’s In Memoriam. Compare this with the CMAs and ACMs, who don’t dig nearly that deep, if they mention artists who’ve passed on at all.

10:27 – Neil Portnow, the head boss of the Grammys, pulling his golden parachute after being forced out for telling women to do better if they want more awards and nominations.

10:23 – Yeah yeah, the Grammys are awesome and do a bunch of great stuff. Let’s get to Album of the Year. I got stuff to do.

10:20 – Unimpressed with this Dua Lipa woman. Margo Price and even Luke Combs were big long shots. H.E.R. would have been a better choice from what I’ve seen.

10:18 – The 2019 Grammy for New Artist of the Year goes to Dua Lipa.

10:17 – Bob Newhart’s still got the deadpan down. Still more entertaining than most of the performances tonight.

10:16 – lol, Bob Newhart.

10:15 –  Just make out already. Jeez.

10:12 – St. Vincent is music for masochists.

10:07 – Cardi B has to be considered the front runner for Album of the Year. I really think it’s between her and Kacey Musgraves at this point, with Brandi Carlile as the dark horse.

10:06 – Cardi B does have a good rags to riches story.

10:04 – The 2019 Grammy for Best Rap Album goes to Invasion of Privacy by Cardi B.

Congrats to her, but I’m still basking in the Brandi Carlile moment.

10:00 – I remember watching Brandi Carlile perform “The Joke” at the Mother Chruch of Country Music, the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville last September, and knew if she just believed in herself, she could rise to this Grammy opportunity and deliver a “moment,” and she did. You could tell the audience was mesmerized. Brandi Carlile has arrived.

9:56 – STUNNING performance by Brandi Carlile. Stopped typing just to soak it in. Carlile delivered as I knew she would. No trepidation, no measuredness. Just rear back and blast people away with one of the most important voices of our generation, set to a exquisitely-composed song. What a great moment for Brandi Carlile and Americana music on one of the world’s biggest stages. This moment will be insight into a new world of music for many.

9:56 – America, this is Brandi Carlie. She is a country & Americana artist, & one of the greatest singers/songwriters of our time. THIS is what people mean when they profess the importance of REAL music by REAL people, embedded with all the pain & love of the human condition.

9:50 – None of these people know who Kelsea Ballerini is.

9:47 – Oh thank God. Brandi Carlile coming up. This presentation needs some resuscitation.

9:45 – Why did they dress H.E.R. like she’ll be outside after the awards directing traffic?

9:44 – Good for H.E.R. I think she put on one of the best performances of the evening.

9:43 – The 2019 Grammy for Best R&B album goes to H.E.R.

9:42 – Oh shit, the Grammy Awards have succumb to K-pop.

9:40 – This is show tunes bullshit. Nothing about this embodies the soul and influence of Motown. Sorry.

9:38 – Love Motown, but this tribute feels like a bad Las Vegas stage show you get a ticket for with your super buffet.

9:36 – And now we’re into a Motown tribute.

9:30 – A riot motif was appropriate for that “performance.” It made me want to flip cars.

Where’s the rap that actually says something?

9:28 – Which one is Travis Scott? The guy who was singing directly into an Antares Auto-tuner, or the guy who couldn’t sing at all, and looked like a Latvian professional basketball player?

9:27 – What the fuck is going on?

9:25 – Okay Travis Scott. What you got?

9:23 – Wonder if we’ll get an In Memoriam segment, or if they canned it for 9 minutes of Post Malone.

9:21 – LOL, apparently one of the Dan + Shay guys had their fly down.

9:15 – This Lady Gaga performance and the Red Hot Chili Peppers set is the perfect example of when fake energy ruins a performance. Be real, and people will respect you more. Good song. Bad performance.

9:13 – Man, Lady Gaga’s mannerisms are all wrong in this performance. It’s supposed to start of intimate, but she’s acting like Steve Tyler trying to hump anything not tied down circa 1986.

9:08 – Less than an hour folks. We can do this!

9:05 – Brandi Carlile coming up. When she hits that note on “The Kid” (you know which one), it’s gonna stun this Grammy crowd. Glad they are leaving it to near the end when more people are liekly to be watching for the big awards.

9:02 – Diana Ross is 75 years old!

I feel older 2 hours into a live blog than she looks.

9:00 – Diana Ross is a queen. The soul version of Loretta Lynn. Stunning and eloquent.

8:59 – Diana Ross’s 4’9″ grandson has more country cred than Dan + Shay.

8:58 – “We play an opinion based sport, not a factual based sport…you already won if you have people singing your songs word for word, if they’re singing in your hometown. You’re already winning, you don’t need this right here.” -Drake

Important thing to say.

8:55 – Okay, Grohl’s speech wasn’t along the same lines, but was still really good. From 2012:

8:52 – Drake’s speech ended pretty good, important to say about the importance of all musicians. But Dave Grohl said the same thing much better a few years ago.

8:51 – The 2019 Grammy for Best Rap something goes to Drake for “God’s Plan.” He comes out looking like he’s lost in a Kohls looking for his wife. It happens to the best of us.

8:50 – Wow, Dan (or Shay, don’t know which is which), you can sing a loud note for a long time. But music isn’t a skills competition.

8:49 – Dan + Shat is two haircuts that need to be spit out of the ass end of Music Row and resort to modeling men’s underwear, or being recycled back through The Voice.

8:47 – Dan + Shat

8:44 – Also, this Kacey Musgraves win sets up well with her single “Rainbow” going to radio. Remember, she didn’t send a proper single from Golden Hour to radio when it first came out. It still probably won’t be a hit, but it will give something for Musgraves to play chicken with against the radio programmers, and could crack the Top 20. If she wins the all-genre Album of the Year, it could do even better.

8:42 – Alicia Key running through a bunch of cover songs. Kinda cool.

8:40 – Alicia Keys is pretty badass, playing two pianos at the same time. She’s also been a good host. Loose, conversational style, and avoiding comedy, which can be such a mine field these days.

8:38 – Obviously this is a big win for Kacey Musgraves. This was a pretty obvious pick, especially with her wins earlier today. Nobody else really had a chance the way things were shaping up, even Chris Stapleton who award shows love. It also ups the ante for Musgraves to be in strong contention for the all-genre Album of the Year.

8:35 – Oh, and Kane Brown couldn’t even read his portion of the Best Country Album presentation without screwing up. So monotone. That dude could fuck up making a grilled cheese.

8:34 – Kacey Musgraves thanks her producers, and her husband Ruston Kelly, who she says the album wouldn’t have been possible without.

8:33 – And the 2019 Grammy Award for Best Country Album goes to “Mainstream Country Radio Is No Longer Relevant.” aka. KACEY MUSGRVES

8:30 – …but wait for tomorrow when all the Millennial critics call it “empowering.”

8:28 – This Cardi B performance is complete shit. Clearly lip synced, “Hey, watch me and 20 dancers making moves like we’re getting ripped up doggy style to make up for the fact that I have nothing interesting to say.”

8:27 – Whoah, I was about to say, Cardi B can play the hell out of some piano, but that was an actual musician.

8:20 – Really liking “H.E.R.” Now she’s laying down some nasty shit on her see-thru Stratocaster. One of the best performances of the night. R&B done right. I approve.

8:18 – Never heard of “H.E.R” (hardy har har), but she’s not bad. Singing live, great soulful voice, knows chords on a guitar. This is going in the right direction.

8:16 – Bras are about as endangered in popular music as steel guitars these days, apparently. Again, not necessarily complaining.

8:11 – Could have used some Kenny Rogers in that tribute. Weird face and all.

8:08 – Dolly sings a new song with Little Big Town, and the “9 to 5” with Little Big Town, Kacey Musgraves, Katy Perry, and Miley Cyrus. Fine tribute, though a little too busy for my tastes.

8:06 – If we can’t all agree on Dolly Parton, we will never be able to agree on anything.

8:04 – Love Dolly, but hate these medleys. Would rather have two great full songs than four partials where you never really get a chance to immerse in the song.

8:03 – Maren Morris almost train wrecked that early on, but pulled it out.

8:02 – Dolly, Miley Cyurs, and Maren Morris re-enacting the Trio, singing Neil Young.

8:00 – Told you, think what you want about Miley, but she she gets Dolly. Great duet here with Mrs. Parton. Not oversinging, and good little twangy warble to her voice. Best part of the tribute so far.

7:58 – Katy Perry’s WAY oversinging and Kacey Musgraves’ obvious wig is ruining this for me.

7:57 – Dolly!

7:53 – You’re old Red Hot Chili Peppers. Your pubes are grey. Embrace it with grace. Don’t gesticulate and prance around like you think you can make up for it with enthusiasm. Take some cues from Mick and the Rolling Stones.

7:52 – Well, Brandi Carlile won’t win Song of the Year. It’s the first Grammy she’s not won and been nominated for today.

7:50 – Loved the Chili Peppers when they wouldn’t resort to collaborating with SoundCloud stars with $100,000 grills and shit all over their face to make up for woefully average talent.

7:48 – Post Malone is a musical mutt. First he’s trying to be Ed Sheeran, then some hip-hopper, and a rocker. A perfect example of stick to one thing and do it well.

7:46 – My impression of Post Malone: GIVE ME ATTENTION!!!

7:44 – The 2019 Grammy for Song of the Year goes to “This Is America” by Childish Gambino.

7:41 – Alicia Keys looks like she’s getting ready to test out a sleep number bed, not host a nationally-televised awards show. Beautiful as she is, of course.

7:34 – So many tasteless jokes I could make right now involving latex, but I’m a gentleman. Janelle Monae’s performance was snappy and fun, I guess.

7:32 – Sorry folks, my TV got switched over to Dancing with the Stars for a second. Wait, what?

7:30 – Don’t know how it bodes for Musgraves that her performance came so early, and not close to the giving out of an award. But it may be an interesting note as the night unfolds.

7:28 – You can tell Kacey Musgraves is a little nervous during this performance compared to when she performed it on Late Night and the audio is a little washed. But it’s very bold and brave to perform this on the Grammy Awards in stark contrast with all the overproduction, pyrotechnics, and choreographed dancers. Good performance.

7:25 – I think Kacey Musgraves “Rainbow” is an excellent song, exquisitely written and performed. Great selection for her Grammy performance, and smart to send it to radio just in case she hits the jackpot tonight.

7:22 – Lady Gaga is much more endearing fighting back tears that tell us how awesome she is and how we’re all pieces of shit for doubting her like she did in the opening. Like Miley, Gaga got good when she finally grew up.

7:19 – Remember, “Shallow” comes from the remake of “A Star Is Born,” which has a lot of country/Americana, tie-in’s, so I’ll chalk this up as a win for the good guys. Think “Maybe It’s Time” written by Jason Isbell is the superior track from that movie, but it will get a chance next year when the entire movie soundtrack becomes eligible (it’s not this year).

7:18 – The Grammy for Best Pop/Duo Group something goes to Lady Gaga for “Shallow.”

7:16 – Now that Miley Cyrus is through with her drug-influenced, huge inflatable dildo-riding phase, I wouldn’t be completely opposed to trying to hear her fuck with some country music. She’s one of the few that can do Dolly Parton right.

7:15 – Fifteen minutes in, and we’ve yet to see a bra. (Not that I’m particularly complaining, mind you.)

7:12 – Got no beef with Michelle Obama, but how are we celebrating the unifying power of music by bringing a strictly political figure on stage to rile all the red staters?

7:09 – I’d love if a crusty ol’ Donald Rumsfeld would have sauntered out with Michelle Obama, Gaga, and JaLo, just for the culture shock.

7:07 – Dolly Parton! Whose leg I gotta hump to get to the damn Dolly tribute right now and preempt all this other crap?

7:04 – Where the hell did they unearth Ricky Martin from? This dude hasn’t been relevant since the Clinton Administration.

7:02 – There is a 0.0002% chance this Chiquita Banana woman is singing live.

7:01 – Dan + Shay blows.

That has nothing to do with this opening performance. Just need to get the snark machine greased up.

7:00 – Here we go!

6:54 – FYI The “Like” feature on the comments will be off for the duration of the LIVE blog just to avoid any excessive potential server load. It will be turned on as soon as the “All-Clear” is sounded. Everyone is encouraged to leave their comments, snark, and observations below.

6:45 – Some observations from the early awards:

It could be a big night for Brandi Carlile and Kacey Musgraves. Both of them sweeping the awards they are up for so far means there’s strength behind them in the Grammy voting community. Of course they both can’t win the all-genre album of the year, but one of them could. Musgraves may have a better shot since she benefits from greater name recognition. But either way, both are already big winners. I went on record this morning predicting a Kacey Musgraves win for Album of the Year. She also might win Country Album of the Year, which will once again be televised.

Very happy for Brandi Carlile sweeping the Americana categories, and it’s hard to say it’s not deserving. But Americana has this tendency to give all three of its awards to the same person. They have done this with Jason Isbell, with Rosanne Cash, and others recently. John Prine, or maybe Lee Ann Womack could have used one of those awards. Spread the love, and use these awards to show the breadth of quality in Americana Music.

The best news from the country awards so far is Bebe Rexha and Florida Georgia Line didn’t win, neither did Maren Morris for a Elton John cover song, or Keith Urban from his geometrically-challenged “Parallel Line.” Dan + Shay did win for “Tequila,” but generally, country has walked away mostly unscathed so far in 2019.

– – – – – –

6:40 – Country and roots winners from the Grammy Premier Ceremony this afternoon for those who missed them:

  • Best Americana Album – Brandi Carlile – By The Way, I Forgive You
  • Best American Roots Performance – Brandi Carlile – “The Joke”
  • Best American Roots Song – “The Joke,” Brandi Carlile (Brandi Carlile, Dave Cobb, Phil Hanseroth and Tim Hanseroth, songwriters)
  • Best Bluegrass Album – The Travelin’ McCourys – The Travelin’ McCourys
  • Best Folk Album – The Punch Brothers – All Ashore
  • Best Traditional Blues Album – Buddy Guy – The Blues Is Alive and Well
  • Best Contemporary Blues Album – Fantastic Negrito – Please Don’t Be Dead
  • Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album – Willie Nelson – My Way (Frank Sinatra Tribute)
  • Best Country Solo Performance – Kacey Musgraves – “Butterflies”
  • Best Country Song – Kacey Musgraves – “Space Cowboy” (Luke Laird, Shane McAnally and Kacey Musgraves, songwriters)
  • Best Country Do/Group Performance – Dan + Shay – “Tequila”