Churchill’s Tim Bruns had quite the Christmas Eve. His best present wasn’t under the tree, it was a phone call from producer Brendan O’Brien, who had heard the band’s music and wanted to work with them.
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Churchill’s Tim Bruns had quite the Christmas Eve. His best present wasn’t under the tree, it was a phone call from producer Brendan O’Brien, who had heard the band’s music and wanted to work with them.
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When Blake Shelton released new single “Sure Be Cool If You Did” late last year, it seemed sure that a new album was to follow. And, sure enough, on March 26, “The Voice” mentor will release “Based On A True Story.”
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Justin Timberlake’s grown up. On new track “Mirrors,” released today as the follow-up single to “Suit & Tie,” he is completely and utterly in love, but he admits it took him some time to get there.
[More after the jump...]
LOS ANGELES - By the time the presentation for album of the year came around at the end of the Grammy Awards, Mumford & Sons had long given up any notion that they might win, despite the fact that most critics had predicted “Babel” would take home the prize.
LOS ANGELES - Unlike last year when it was clear that Adele would sweep the Grammys, deservedly so, this year's race was much harder to call. Even so, as the night unfurled, it seems clear that some calls were a little off base. Here are five categories where the Grammy voters picked a worthy candidate, but not the best one. There were no major gaffes this year, but there was certainly room for improvement.
We may have to wait for a new Adele’s follow-up to the multi-Grammy winning “21,” but she’s at least thinking about it.
“I’m not very far along at all,” she said backstage at the Grammys after winning best pop solo performance for “Set Fire To The Rain (Live).” “I’m having lots of meetings, I’ve been in L.A. the whole time since the [Golden] Globes and I will be until the Oscars. I’ve been having lots of meetings. I’ve been out of the loop for a year and a half. I’ve been singing my baby nursery rhymes, so I don’t really know what’s cool and what’s not. I'm definitely going to visit Paul Epworth and stuff like that.”
7:55 p.m.: We've already blogged about the 3-hour pre-telecast during which 70 of the awards were handed out. But now comes the big show. Taylor Swift is rumored to be opening. She already won one of the two trophies she's up for tonight for "Safe & Sound." The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach has already won three of the six awards for which he's nominated. Does that suddenly make "El Camino" the favorite for album of the year? Instead of sitting on my couch, like I usually am, I'm backstage, so the blog will be a combo of watching along with you on TV and bringing you the absolute latest that the winners and presenters are telling us in the press room.
7:58: What you didn't see was producer Ken Ehrlich recruiting Justin Timberlake, in a suit and tie, naturally, to get everyone to sit down as the start approaches.Ehrlich says the strings of lights festooning the stage were inspired by his seeing Mumford & Sons at The Hollywood Bowl this summer. They turned the Bowl into a tent revival with lights strung up throughout the venue.
8:00: Taylor Swift kicks off the show with "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" in a performance that includes acrobats, a stalking white rabbit, and a spinning wheel of death. It's Cirque du Soleil meets Alice In Wonderland. In the spoken part, where the boyfriend calls to get back together, she switches the lyric to "I'm sorry, i'm busy opening the Grammys." And no, the boy on the wheel of death does not look like One Direction's Harry Styles. It's colorful and flamboyant and a good visual. Plus, it plays well to the younger demo that the Grammys are trying to make sure tune it, but what will keep them tuned in now?
8:09: Host LL Cool J says he polishes his Grammy regularly. Is that code for something? Otherwise, his earnest opening speech falls rather flat.
8:11: Ed Sheeran, who's nominated for song of the year for "The A Team" is performing the song with Elton John. John is becoming the go-to guy to duet with on the Grammys: a few years ago, he and Lady Gaga opened up the show with their back-to-back grand pianos. More than a decade ago, he and Eminem performed together. After Swift's spectacle, it's a nice contrast to have a relatively low-key performance, and given that Sheeran is not well known by the vast majority of the viewers without teenage daughters, John added some needed star power.
8:19: Jennifer Lopez comes out in a sexy one-shoulder, leg-baring outfit, but jokes, "as you can see, I got the memo." Earlier this week, a CBS memo leaked asking on-air talent to not let their breasts and buttocks show. Lopez is pulling a bit of an Angelique Jolie, sticking her leg out impossibly far to get maximum exposure. Pop solo performance, the first award of the night, goes to Adele for "Set Fire To The Rain," the live version. I just wanted to come and by part of the night, i loved it last year, obviously," she says. Yes, she's great, but as I said in my pre-telecast blog, live albums shouldn't be included in the regular categories. They should have their own category. It's a bit of a cheat for them to win, to me.
8:25 p.m.: Fun., who are up for six awards, including the big four: best new artist, song, record, and album of the year, are performing "Carry On." It's clearly live because Nat Ruess, who sounds great otherwise, hits such a clunker in the beginning that the person behind me in the press room lets out an "Ow!" In a trope that needs to be retired, it then begins to rain on the band. Couldn't we have retired that with "Flashdance?" I worry about the guitarist, who's wiping the water out of his eyes, getting electrocuted. The only person to give them a standing O is Janelle Monae, who, as you know, is featured on fun.'s "We Are Young." Last artist to win all four big categories was Amy Winehouse.
8:31: Adele is back in the press room for two questions. Asked how she balances motherhood, she says "I've been up since 6 a.m. so I'm a bit tired." As far as the next album, she says, "I'm not very far along at all, I'm having a lot of meetings. I've been out in LA since the Golden Globes and will be here through the Oscars." She adds that she'll also meet with producer Paul Epworth, who produced much of "21." As she was being rushed offstage, someone asked how she felt about the Oscars, for which she's nominated for best original song. She replied in true Adele fashion, "I'm shi**ing myself."
8:35: Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley are duetting on her hit "Over You," co-written with her husband Blake Shelton, and his hit, "Home," for which he is up for best country solo performance. She's got her trademark pink microphone and pink in-ear monitors, but she left her trademark voice at home. On the monitor in the press room, she sounds a bit off. Bentley sounds appropriately husky as always. The two are on tour together, so the pairing makes sense. Blake Shelton and Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman.
8:41: Miguel and Wiz Khalifa are performing their remix of Miguel's "Adorn." Miguel, who is up for five Grammys, is a star. He sounds amazing and is hitting amazing notes. If they'd let him sing the whole song instead of just going to introduce best country solo performance, it could have been the breakout performance of the night. The Grammy for best country solo performance goes to Carrie Underwood for "Blown Away."
8:44: Bonnie Raitt, who won Best Americana album, says winning felt like "hyperspace. I was not expecting to win," comparing it to 1989 when "Nick Of Time" won three awards, including album of the year. "There's a tremendous bounty of new talent that's broken through. For me to eke through it this year, I wasn't expecting it." The record that had the greatest impact on her life, "The Times They Are A Changin" by Bob Dylan. She tells us she'd buy us all a drink if she could.
8:51: Song of the Year, the first of the big four awards, goes to fun. for "We Are Young" featuring Janelle Monae. They've dried off from their performance. "Oh God, I don't know what I was thinking writing the chorus for this song," says Nate Ruess. "If this is in HD, everyone can see our faces and we are not very young." He thanks his fans, who have kept them the best kept secret for the last 12 years. Looks like they can finally move out of their parents' home.
8:55: Some hobo has wandered in front of the camera. Oh, wait... that's Johnny Depp. Oh, please, Johnny. I love you, but the gypsy/Jack Sparrow look is wearing a bit thin. He's introducing Mumford & Sons, who are performing "I Will Wait," which should have been nominated for record and song of the year. I love them, but I'm a little biased because I was dancing and singing beside banjo player Winston Chambers to Springsteen at MusiCares on Friday night. Oh, did I just write that out loud? Not that he has any clue who the crazy woman going nuts singing "Thunder Road" beside him was.
9:05: Justin Timberlake is on and he may not be bringing sexy back, but he's certainly bringing back a certain elegance. No dress code worries with him. Dressed in a suit and tie and backed by a a full orchestra and band dubbed "JT and the Tennessee Kids" he goes through "Suit & Tie" before seguing into the languid, soulful, retro "Little Pusher Lover Girl," another new song from the upcoming "The 20/20 Experience." It's not a barnburner, but it's classy and fun and it's really good to have him back. He's also getting about twice as much as time as any other artist. Expect to see more of him at the 2014 Grammys as a nominee. Wife Jessica Biel was digging it.
9:12: Kelly Rowland, on the other hand, ignored the memo since she's showing quite a lot of boobage in a dress with strategic cutout. Frank Ocean wins the Grammys for best urban contemporary album, a new category. "They say to keep from being nervous, you should look at the audience like they're naked, but I don't that. I want to look at you as kids in tuxedos," he says. "I want to say thank you to my mother for being the best." It's a short acceptance speech, but we have a hunch he'll be back to accept more awards before the evening is over.
9:21: And so the Black Keys' streak continues. They just won best rock performance. Presenter Kelly Rowland is backstage. When asked if he she thought about the dress code when she picked her revealing outfit, she says, "I thought about the dress code and thought about it again. I respect it. See, I wore clothes." As far as a potential Destiny's Child outing, "I can't say anything about a possible tour," she says. "If something like that comes up in conversation— it hasn't—We'll see what happens." Regarding the Super Bowl, she says, "Oh my God, I can't begin to tell you how cool that was." Rowland loved Justin Timberlake's performance. "That boy just has too much soul. I'm happy he's back."
9:25: I missed most of Maroon 5/Alicia Keys' combo performance of "Daylight/Girl on Fire," which go better together than I would have thought. Oh Kelly Cuoco, It's not the Oscars or Emmys, but a white t-shirt? Really? She and Keith Urban are presenting the Grammy for pop vocal album, which goes to Kelly Clarkson. She is second only to Adele when it comes to giving great acceptance speeches that seem so spontaneous and funny. She thanks everyone else in her category including fun., who are seated next to Lena Dunham, and then says to Miguel, "Miguel, I don't know who the hell you are, but we need to do something together. That was the sexiest performance I've ever seen." Looks like that sexyback title has been officially passed.
9:35: Oh, LL Cool J, give it a rest with the pimping for the social media and the hashtags. The Grammys are trying to set some record, but I'm going to stop using #grammys in protest. Rihanna is singing "Stay" a beautiful ballad from "Unapologetic." She has more clothes on than I've ever seen her and way more than Kelly Rowland and Alicia Keys. She's joined by Mikky Ekko, who doesn't get his own bow. That'll come soon enough.
9:42: "No Church in the Wild" wins for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. Frank Ocean speaks first, then The-Dream, but Jay-Z steals the night by saying "I would like to thank the swap meet for his hat," pointing to whatever weirdness it is that The-Dream is wearing on his head. Kanye West, who is also on the track, does not appear to be there.
9:45: We're going to post a separate item on Hitfix about it shortly, but Malik Yusef, who works with Kanye West just came backstage and described working with West as "brutal." Even though they often record in Hawaii, it sounds like it may as well be in an underground bunker in Peoria for how much they get to enjoy the climate. And yes, West is working on a new album. Yusef declined to get too specific, but said "think about the history of R&B." Did we mention he declined to get specific?
9:50: The Black Keys are performing "Lonely Boy" with Dr. John and the Preservation Jazz Hall Band. First off, Dr. John's head dress is threatening to steal the show. I wish I could insert a photo right here. Fantastic. Best performance of the night. You don't need dancers, you don't need fancy outfits, you don't need any of that when you have really great musicians and a really great song.
9:54: Kelly Clarkson has changed to an elegant black velvet dress and is singing "Tennessee Waltz" in a salute to Patti Page and "Natural Woman" in honor of Carole King. Why?, you may ask? They are among the artists receiving Special Merit Awards this year. Hey, she could have tackled something by the late Ravi Shankar, who also received one this year. Now I can't get the image of her playing a sitar out of my head...
9:58: Best country album goes to Zach Braff! No, the actor does actually have a Grammy for the "Garden State" soundtrack, but Clarkson misspoke, it's Zac Brown Band for "Uncaged." Brown gets a little choked up as he thanks everyone who's always believed in him. I had Miranda Lambert pegged to win that one, even though ZBB won Best New Artist a few years ago, so I shouldn't have been so surprised.
10:05: Here comes a tribute to Bob Marley. I'm not really sure why this is happening this year. He would have turned 68, but I'm not aware of some other milestone. It starts with Bruno Mars singing a speeded up "Locked Out Of Heaven," which was inspired by the Police, who were, to state the obvious, very influenced by Bob Marley. I have absolutely nothing but good things to say about Mars, who's performance two years ago was one of the highlights of the show. I think we're only beginning to see his talent. Sting has now joined him for "Locked." if you never heard the Police influence before, you do now, though Sting singing the line "Your sex takes me to paradise" feels creepy to me. Everyone in the audience seems to be singing along, or doing that awkward thing where they known some words, but are having to guess at the rest. Yeah, we've all been there. "Heaven" segues into "Walking On the Moon." Sting sound great, which is a relief. When he sang "Lonesome Day" at MusiCares on Friday night, his voice was really spotty. The song sounds great with horns.
10:11: Yes, the Marley tribute is still going on. When Rihanna comes out, the camera flashes to Chris Brown. That's subtle. Rihanna and various Marley family members, including Ziggy, are singing Bob Marley's "Could You Be Loved." The audience is on their feet. I guess there's no one who doesn't love Bob Marley or if they don't, they're smart enough to keep their mouth shut. How long before Rihanna posts a selfie on Instagram of her smoking a big one in honor of Marley (like she needs a reason). She makes Cheech & Chong look like amateurs.
10:16: Here's something else you won't see on the broadcast: Director Ken Ehrlich is coaching the audience on "Ho Hey," so they can sing along when the Lumineers play next. Honestly, if they haven't all heard the ubiquitous song by now, it's too late.
10:20: As you can see, the singing lessons didn't work. Melissa Etheridge was the only one singing along. Oh, and, of course, Taylor Swift, who, clearly, knows how to take instruction, unlike the rest of jaded industry folks in the audience. The Lumineers, who are up for best new artist, which will be presented next, introduce Jack White, whose singing "Love Interruption." He's got his all female band with him. He and Beyonce could share bandmates. They're all gathered around a grand piano. Now he walks over to his all boy band (he's been touring with both) and starts to rock out on "Freedom At 21." The second is the far superior, energetic performance. You know who i'd like to have Jack White work with? Prince. I can't imagine their egos would let that happen, but that could be one of the best things ever.
10:25: Katie Perry, who really didn't get the memo about showing off cleavage, presents best new artist. She says not to worry if you don't win: "I was never nominated in this category and I have my own eyelash line. Take that, Bon Iver." One Direction takes comfort in that, we're sure. This is a tough race between Frank Ocean and fun. It goes to fun. Nate Ruess says "I have to pee so bad."
10:34: Hunter Hayes is singing a snippet of "Wanted" before he introduces Carrie Underwood. He's got talent, but that short performance didn't make anyone feel like he got robbed for best new artist. The former "American Idol," who looks like she's about 16 feet tall from this camera angle in a long white dress with a huge skirt,, is singing "Blown Away" which won for best country song. Oh, it's gone dark-- and not in a bad, unexpected Super Bowl kind of way. Something big is about to happen. She switches to "Two Black Cadillacs and takes a few step back and designs start showing up on her dress. Wow. She's her own projection screen...a combination Lite Brite and Etch-A-Sketch. We've gone from red roses to blue inkblots to a monarch butterfly and now the butterflies are flying off of her dress onto a big screen. That was fashion forward. Although I was so focused on the changing images on her dress that I couldn't focus on performance.
10:41: Gotye wins Record of the Year for "Somebody That I Used To Know," from Prince, who's dressed like a Druid. This does not come as that much of a surprise, given the song's two earlier wins this evening. "We're at a loss for words to accept an award from the man standing behind me with a cane," Gotye says. No, I don't know why Prince has a cane either. "I just want to say thank you to everybody who puts good energy into the world making music. Kimbra thanks Gotye for thanking her to be on the song. They would clearly trade in the award in order to get an hour hanging with Prince. Who wouldn't? The-Dream is backstage, the first artist who's come back since Kelly Rowland, but I completely missed whatever he was saying since I was listening to Goyte. Man, he had on a lot of bling. By the way, "Somebody That I Used To Know" has been downloaded more than 7 million times in the U.S. alone. Kah-ching...
10:49: Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke and Kenny Garrett just played a lovely tribute to Dave Brubeck, playing "Take Five." The Recording Academy head Neil Portnow brings on Ryan Seacrest, who joined the Grammy Foundation board because has some spare time between 3:45 a.m. and 4 a.m. They've been joined by Justin Timberlake to announce a new award, The Music Educator Award. I don't think that one will be presented on air. Segue into the In Memoriam segment. As always, it seems like we lost so many people this year. Everyone from Kitty Wells and Donna Summer to Adam Yauch. The salute also includes label executives, attorneys, session players. They end with Levon Helm to go into the Levon Helm tribute, which has to be good.
10:58: Gotye and Kimbra just came backstage so I'm missing the Levon Helm tribute, but it looks really incredible with Elton John, Zac Brown, Mumford & Sons, T Bone Burnett, Mavis Staples and Brittany Howard. I have a feeling I'm missing something really cool. In the meantime, Gotye and Kimbra are still buzzing over getting the award from Prince. Gotye says Prince uttering "I love this song" under his breath was incredible to him. Kimbra says they really have no idea what they said in their acceptance speeches because THEY WERE STANDING ON STAGE WITH PRINCE. Kimbra sang on the new John Legend album, by the way. Gotye thinks he's written better songs than "Somebody," but he's very exited about the life it's hard, even though he knows he probably can't ever replicate it. Songs in his head are "Locked Out Of Heaven," even though he says in much nicer words that it's derivative. Recognition is still coming slowly. Gotye says he got stopped by some people who asked him to take their picture and then as he walked away, the mom screamed after him, "Are you Guy-ote?"
11:05: "I just like to stand still and sing sometimes" says Carrie Underwood, explaining the decision to have her projection dress steal the show so she could get a break from dancing. As far as her favorite performance so far, she liked the Levon Helm tribute/performance of "The Weight" the best. She called it "Take A Load Off, Annie," which is a little like calling "Baba O'Reily" "Teenage Wasteland," but I know I sound like a music snob when I say that.
11:12: Frank Ocean is performing "Forrest Gump." In a trick almost as cool as Underwood's dress, he's performing with projection behind him him, but as he stands at a keyboard, the front of the piano serves as a projection screen from the waist down that looks as if he's running the whole time. Run, Frank, run!! The song is lovely and but i'm not sure if you're aware of all the buzz about Frank Ocean but haven't heard him, this performance will make you understand what all the excitement is about. In fact, I'm sure it won't. His "Channel Orange" was my No. 1 album of 2012, by the way.
11:15: Adele is presenting album of the year. As she notes, winners usually go on to have huge tours or "get knocked up," as she does. Mumford & Sons, after getting locked out of every other award, takes home the big one. "We figured we weren't going to win anything because the Black Keys have won everything an deservedly so," says Marcus Mumford. Did he say the F word, by the way. They look like they are three sheets to the wind. Did they start drinking when it seemed like he wasn't going to win.
11:20: We have only one performance left: LL Cool J. So in the meantime, if you're wondering how the Black Keys swept so many genre awards and then were locked out of any general award:—they were nominated for record and album of the year—that's because all of the eligible voting membership can vote for the four main categories. Though there are some exceptions, in general, voting in the genre-specific awards is limited to members who make music in that field, so artists who are getting more mainstream recognition tend to win in the general categories.
11:25: Juanes is backstage, so we're not hearing LL Cool J's performance, but it looks loud even with the sound turned off. "Now I can sing in English easier than before, may do some tracks in English, maybe four, but now a full album," he says. He's recording his new album in Los Angeles with Steve Lilywhite, which will have English and Spanish songs. It's been a big weekend for Juanes, who, in addition to winning a Grammy earlier tonight, feted Elton John on the telecast and Bruce Springsteen at MusiCares. He says he grew up listening to both of them, but as his English has improved, he has gained a greater understanding for the music.
11:30: The Grammys are over, but the fun in the press room continues. As you may have noticed, not that many winners come back during the actual show, especially if they are up for an award still to be presented, so now we get deluged. First up Zac Brown Band:Brown says he got choked up on stage because "I was in shock," adding. "It doesn't take a lot to get me in tears when I talk about my folks," he says. "This weekend has been like a dream. It's like I was hanging out with my entire CD collection," Brown says of getting to sing with Mavis Staples at Bruce Springsteen's MusiCares tribute Friday night and singing "The Weight" in the Levon Helm salute tonight. Another band member jokes that they've been up for around 60 awards in Nashville and don't win because they aren't really part of the community. "We're here to prove that the New Artist curse" isn't true," Brown says.
11:42: As we wait to see if any more artists are coming backstage, a few thoughts on the awards. While it's not totally fair to evaluate the performances from backstage since we've got lots of distractions, the ones that stand out are Miguel (again, if he'd gotten to do a full performance, he would have stolen the show), Justin TImberlake, the Black Keys, the Bob Marley Tribute and the Levon Helm salute (what little I caught). Frank Ocean failed to capitalize on a really good opportunity to introduce himself to folks. Other than Taylor Swift's extravaganza, there were few spectaculars along the lines of Pink's spellbinding performance a few years ago.
11:48: Mumford & Sons are backstage. I can almost smell the liquor from here. They're all holding drinks in their hands. "I can tell you definitely, we were sitting in the pre-tel, we had six nominations, [we thought] 'oh cool,' then one after the other it was 'The Black Keys, the Black Keys'," says Marcus Mumford. "I think we resigned ourselves to last year was Adele's year, this year was Black Keys' year, which is awesome. But then when asked how it feels to win, they shouted out, "It's fucking awesome." The band remains based in London, "We're always on tour, so it doesn't matter where we live." says Winston Chambers. Having fans like Eddie Vedder and Johnny Depp is "amazing" he continues." It's fucking weird when your heroes have heard of you."
11:54: The Recording Academy CEO/president Neil Portnow is now backstage. As you know, the Grammys are the last really big awards show not televised live on the west coast. Portnow says he thinks that plays to the Grammys' advantage because social media from people watching in the east coast and central time zones help build excitement for folks tuning in on the west coast. I'm not sure I buy that.
12:05: Nate Ruess is the only one who 30, the rest are 29. Jack Antonoff says instead of spending their money on drugs, they spend it on having a yoga instructor with them on tour. Ruess says we were "thinking we'd never have this chance and then the last year everything went topsy turvy." "We want to work with people like that. She's so inspiring," says Andrew Dost of working with Janelle Monae, who is featured on "We Are Young." Winning came as a surprise,"Doing this for 12 years, you don't think you're going to win Grammys," says Ruess as the power goes out. No kidding. The lights are still on, but we've lost any power to the microphones on stage and our computers. Maybe it's time for the evening to end.
What did you think of this year's show?
They may be superstars, but the members of One Direction are also mama’s boys if the trailer for “1D 3D” is any indication. And, guess what, they really feel like brothers.
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4 p.m.: We're enhancing out Grammy coverage this year to bring you all the action. Instead of blogging only the televised portion, we're backstage now and will cover the pre-telecast and the winners who come back to the print press room. All the action happens before the TV show starts at 8: roughly 70 of the 80 or so Grammy Awards will be handed out during the pre-telecast. We'll then be back with a new live blog for the television portion.
4:08: The Grammy for music video short form goes to Rihanna's "We Found Love." Shockingly (yes that is sarcasm), Rihanna is not at the pre-tel to accept. The Grammy for long form music video goes to "Big Easy Express," with Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes and the Old Crow Medicine Show." Two down, about 80 to go.
4:12 p.m. Host David Alan Grier must wonder what he has to do to get to host the big show. Krishna Das is now performing. It's a lovely fusion of new age and world music, though the dude in the flannel shirt clearly didn't get the dress code memo. This is the Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time version of the Grammys (though in all seriousness some major awards in pop, rock, alternative, rap, country and R&B will be given out over the next few hours since only 10 or so awards are handed out during the televised broadcast. They are performing the Yardbirds' "For Your Love," which actually lends itself surprisingly well to chanting.
4:19: Contemporary Christian artist Britt Nicole is presenting several awards. How many times in her life have people thought her name was Brittney Cole? Chick Corea wins best instrumental composition for "Mozart Goes Dancing." The jazz great is here and gives a full-on thank you speech and looking upward, thanks the late Dave Brubeck among others. Gil Evans wins best instrumental arrangement. The producer accepts the award because Evans is, well, dead. The best Instrumental arrangement with vocalists Grammy goes to former best new artist winner Esperanza Spalding and Thera Memory. I saw her this summer in concert. She is absolutely incredible. Made a believer out of me. Memory, Spalding's teacher, is probably in his 70s and they were sitting in the back, so it took about five minutes for them to reach the stage. Very sweet. I wonder if he's the oldest person to ever win a Grammy? Probably not by a long shot when you add in classical.
4:28: Best recording package goes to Bjork's "Biophilia," while best boxed or special limited edition package goes to "Woody At 100: The Woody Guthrie Centennial Collection." Art director Fritz Klaetke put in a plug for, in this day of downloads, the importance of packaging for the rapidly decreasing physical goods market. Some of those packages are gorgeous. Billy Vera just took the award for "Singular Genius: The Complete ABC Singles" for best album notes. He says, "Holy shit," as he takes the podium. If the name sounds familiar, Vera has a massive hit in the '80s with "At This Moment." He still performs, but his first Grammy is for liner notes. "Singular Genius" is a series of singles from Ray Charles. Best Historical Album goes to Brian Wilson, among others for "The Smile Sessions." Wilson says, "I'd like to thank the Academy for this reward. Van Dyke [Parks] and I knew we were ahead of our time in 1965 and in 2004 we released it. Good."
4:37: Best remixed recording Skrillex, Joseph Ray, and Daniel Stephans for "Promises," and best surround sound album goes to Patricia Barber's "Modern Cool." Engineers are Jim Anderson, Darcy Proper and Michael Friedman.
4:44: The winners for best long form video are backstage. Producer Mike Luba says "you can hardly count on the four members of a band getting together for a day, for all of [these musicians] to have gotten along is remarkable." They modeled the movie, somewhat, on The Band's documentary that chronicled their road trip, although this outing was much less fractious. Shooting on the train is clearly not for the faint of heart, it sounds like. Easter morning everyone was far from home and was missing home. The dad of one of the members of the Old Crow Show led everyone in an Easter ritual and coloring Easter eggs. That's the one scene they decided to keep out.
4:48: Billy Vera is now back stage. First question was did he mind that his first win was for liner notes as opposed to being a singer/performer. He appropriately says, "I'll take it however I can get it." Vera recorded produced four Lou Rawls albums for Blue Note and he brought in Ray Charles for a duet. Jerry Wexler advised him "you don't produce Ray Charles, you just get out of his way." Vera considers Charles the most important artist of the second half of the 21st century, Duke Ellington for the first.
4:51: "Woody At 100: The Woody Guthrie Centennial Collection" winning art director Fritz Klaetke is now backstage. Yes, he was well aware of Guthrie before he did the 150-page booklet. I'll catch you up on winners we've missed in a minute. Best gospel/contemporary christian music performance goes to "10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord). Best gospel song goes to Mary Mary for "Go Get It." There's a tie for Best Contemporary Christian Music Song (a songwriters award) for "10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)", written by Jonas Myrin and Matt Redman, and "Your Presence Is Heaven," written by Isreal Houghton & Micah Massey. I missed the winner of best engineered album, non-classical, but will add that in when I can. Best Gospel Album goes to "Gravity" by Lecrea.
4:58: Brian Wilson is backstage. "We knew we were ahead of our time," he say. When he went back to record "Smile" in 2004 with his new band, he says he learned "They were much better musicians than we were." He was asked what kind of advice he gave Paul Tanner, who played the theremin on "Good Vibrations," and who died earlier this week. "We called him down to RCA Victor and said, can you play "wha...wha.. uh," and he did it." Coming up, Wilson is going into the studio, "we're starting for scratch." On another Beach Boys reunion: "I doubt it." Favorite song he wrote, "California Girls," followed by "God Only Knows." A little tip from having interviewed Wilson a number of times: his answer changes every time you ask him.
5:04: Best Latin rock, urban or alternative album goes to "Imaginaries" by Quetzal, best Latin pop album to Juanes for "MTV Unplugged Deluxe Edition" (I love Juanes, but hate it when a live album wins. Doesn't seem fair. The Grammys should start a Live Album category and put them all there. Best gospel album goes to "Gravity" from Leecrae. Best Regional Mexican Music Album (including Tejano) goes to "Pecados y Milagros" by Lila Downs. She says, "Thanks mama for feeding me through my belly button the love and strength to communicate through music." Best tropical Latin album goes to "Retro," Marlow Rosado y La Riquena."
5:10: Newly learned info: Eighth Blackbird, a chamber music outfit, took its name from the Wallace Stevens' poem, "Thirteen Ways of Looking At a Blackbird." The only bit of that information that I knew before five minutes ago was who Wallace Stevens was. Feeling much smarter now. Eighth Blackbird, who are performing now, are nerdy cool.
5:15: Winners of Best Contemporary Christian Music Song for "10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)", Jonas Myrin and Matt Redman, are backstage. Redman, who was primarily influenced by U2 and the Beatles, says it really is an honor just to be nominated. Yeah, right. I don't see him offering to give back the Grammy. Myrin is talking about hearing his song in Bangalore and how thrilled that was.Janis Ian is presenting awards right now. Love her. No one has written anything that has ever captured the pain of being a teenage girl better than "At Seventeen." Best engineered album, classical, goes to "Life & Breath-Choral Works By Rene Clausen. Classical Producer of the Year is Blanton Alspaugh, and Best Orchestral Performance goes to "Adams: Harmonielehre & Short Ride in a Fast Machine.
5:21: Mary Mary's Erica Campbell on how best gospel song winner "Go Get It" came about. She and act-mate Tina Campbell are both moms and the song came out of frustration. " A lot of times when you're a mom in this industry, they tell you it's not easy to succeed, so we wrote 'Go Get It.'" You go girl! Isreal Houghton, backstage now, is celebrating his 5th win out of 17 nominations. He's the Meryl Streep of the Grammys. On the Grammy bump that mainstream albums get, not so much for Inspirational: "My mom goes out and buys a few more for her friends, we get a bump there," Houghton says with a laugh.
5:25: Leecrae, who was on the red carpet and missed getting to accept his award for best gospel album, says: "I do honest hip/hop, kind of ironic that my album has been embraced by the gospel community. It goes against the grain. It's not misygogistic. I'm not killing anybody."
5:29: Next trend in surround sound: adding height instead of five on the floor and a subwoofer, according to surround sound winner Darcy Proper. If you understood of that, please explain it to me (just kidding, kind of).
5:36: Catching up a little: best spoken word album goes to Janis Ian, who beat Bill Clinton, Rachel Maddow, and Ellen DeGeneres. Grammy voters clearly wanted to award one of their own for her honesty and art. Best children's album goes to "Can You Canoe" by The Okee Dokee Brothers. I'm leaving out some of the best classical winners, but if you want a complete list, go here, , where we also running a tally. Chick Corea just won best improvised jazz solo with Gary Burton. They are the big winners so far with two Grammys. Esperanza Spalding just nabbed Best Jazz Vocal Album for "Radio Music Society." That makes two for her too. Pat Metheny Unity Band stops Chick Corea's winning streak by winning Best Jazz Instrumental Album. Corea was competing with himself in that category with "Further Exploration" and "Hot House," so he probably split the vote for himself there.
5:46: The lovely, gracious Arturo Sandoval just won his ninth Grammy for Best Lazz Jazz Ensemble Album for "Dear Diz (Every Day I Think Of You)," says from the stage that winning gets more precious as he gets older. His co-producer Gregg Field just thanked Chick Corea for not making a large jazz ensemble record this year. The trio from Nero are backstage. They say they wrote "Promises" with Skrillex in 2 hours. "He put a heavier drop on it," says either Daniel Stephens or Joseph Ray (sorry, I missed which was which) "We are becoming more and more of an electronic band." Alana Watson vocalist adds they will be incorporating more of a live feel into their concerts.
5:58: Best score soundtrack goes to Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." Best song written for visual media goes to "Safe & Sound" from "The Hunger Games" Taylor Swift, T Bone Burnett, John Paul White and Joy Williams of the Civil Wars. Swift says she can't believe it. White jokes that they are tired of carrying Swift. and White says the Civil Wars will be touring! Williams says Burnett is one of the producers you always pick up the phone when he calls because you know "something fun" is going to happen. Williams thanks her 7-month old boy, Miles, who was with her on the stage in utero last year. Janis Ian is now backstage. She says music means more to her now. "Music is the great leveler, cuts across class, nation." We're missing Bonnie Raitt's acceptance speech for best Americana album--she beat Avett Bros., Mumford & Sons an the Lumineers, but she's sure to come backstage. "It was harder narrating" her spoken word book than writing it. To talk about my ex-husband's abuse or being nominated, or the good things, it put everything in a different perspective...the only thing I did better than my contemporaries" was talk about the things that scare us. Best quote of the night so far: Ian: "I assume God knows what he's doing, though I seldom agree." Dr. John wins best blues album for "Locked Down," produced by Black Keys' Dan Auerbach. Pat Metheny is backstage. This is his 20th Grammy. "This is one of the best bands," he says of the Unity Band. "We're going to do 2014 together and make another album."
6:12: It's getting really wild and wooly backstage (as opposed to when the televised show starts and it slows to a trickle until the end, so I'm going to concentrate on what folks are saying backstage. OK, I lied. Best Rap Performance goes to "Ni**as In Paris" by Jay-Z and Kanye West. I wish I'd heard how they announced that in the hall. Best Rap Song also goes to "Ni**as" in Paris. Miguel's "Adorn" wins Best R&B Song. Usher's "Climax" wins for best R&B performance. Arturo Sandoval, who is now backstage, met Dizzy Gillespie in 1977 when Gillespie came to Cuba for two days. He says be-bop is the hardest subset of jazz to play.
6:25: Chick Corea, who's now backstage, first heard Miles Davis play on an album when he was six. "He was a real icon, inspiration and mentor to me." Corea, of course, played with Davis from 1968-1971. "Still to this day, it was an important period for me." Robert Glasper Experiment's "Black Radio" wins Best R&B Album. That's a bit of an upset. Though the album was critically lauded, I would have thought either Anthony Hamilton or R. Kelly would have won. Corea released six records this year and will release 10 albums this year. "It just feels right to make a lot of music." Skrillex, who just won for Best Dance Recording for "Bangarang" (take that, Al Walser) says he was on tour and has a track, "it was pretty raw" and he thanks Sirah who turned it into a song. He doesn't get far before he's called back to the stage for another Grammy for best dance/electronica album for "Bangarang." That makes three Grammys for Skrillex so far. He leads all winners. There are about 25 people with him on stage. "To all the producers out there who want to be up here, you have the opportunity. We're a big community...let's keep it going."
6:34: We've got dueling music happening. The legendary South African artist Hugh Masekela is up on stage dancing around like a man 1/3 his age (he's 73) and the Stone Canyon Rangers, winners of best bluegrass album are singing a capella to us in the press room. Both absolutely great. It's one of those things that only happens at the Grammys. One of the Rangers credits their popularity to the fake that there's "no faking it" in their music. They credit Mumford & Sons and Avett Brothers to popularizing the banjo on radio right now. "In all the ways the world is going crazy, that's the one way we know we're on the right track." The group acknowledges that some folks may come first to see Steve Martin, who made their last album with them, "but leave fans of bluegrass." Ravi Shankar just won best world music album posthumously for "The Living Room Sessions Part 1." Little Big Town's incredible year continues: they just won the Grammy for best country duo/group performance. Best Country song goes to "Blown Away," recorded by Carrie Underwood and written by Josh Kear and Chris Tompkins.
6:45: Paul McCartney wins best traditional pop vocal album for "Kisses On The Bottom." He is not here. Halestorm beats vets like Megadeth, Anthrax, and Iron Maiden, not to mention Lamb of God, for Best Hard rock/Metal Performance. The first people they thank are their parents. They dedicate their award to "all the Halestorm freaks." Best rock song goes to "Lonely Boy" by the Black Keys, beating Jack White, Mumford & Sons, Muse, and Bruce Springsteen. Pay attention: That may be a sign of things to come for the rest of the evening. AND is: The Black Keys just won Best Rock Album for "El Camino." Gotye wins best alternative music album, beating Fiona Apple, Bjork (who remains Grammy free) M83 and Tom Waits.
6:50: Robert Glasper is now backstage. He says a lot of the album's music was composed in the studio. "That's how I wanted to be. Every song was a first take." Among their inspirations, EW&F, Faith Evans, Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Shuggie Otis. "We're one band who plays everything authentically and the best," he says of the group's ability to embrace so many different styles in its music. Hey, it's no time to be modest after winning a Grammy.
6:59: The pre-telecast just ended. Dan Auerbach just won producer of the year. He's three for three (oddly, he doesn't get a Grammy for producing best blues album for Dr. John. i'm trying to get some clarity, but unlike for album of the year, that may only go to the artist). Is is too late to change my prediction for album of the year to "El Camino." Also, Goyte and Kimbra also captured best pop/duo group performance for "Somebody That I Used To Know," which bodes well for it winning Record of the Year.
7:02: Little Big Town just came backstage. Though it's been a long road, finally winning a Grammy "feels like the beginning of something," says Phillip Sweet. Adds Karen Fairchild, the band has lost four times before, "When you're in a category with Taylor Swift, you're often not going to hear your name." Josh Kear, winner of best country song, says "we sat down that day to write a song for Carrie Underwood, which is something we never do. We were talking drama. We started messing around with sound effects, which normally I would tell him to stop doing." Tompkins says, "we just were pulling out all the tricks and then it takes on all this darkness and it sounds like something's going down. It led us into thunderstorm-type atmosphere." He adds they didn't realize they were going to kill the dad until they were working on the song for the second day.
7:17: Up next for Halestorm is a cover EP, but when I asked them to spill at least one song they are covering, they deferred. Perhaps Lamb of God will be on there, though. They said they wrote their winning song, "Love Bites (So Do I)," after listening to Lamb of God. The band, in its current line-up, is celebrating its 10th year together. Nothing says 10th anniversary like a Grammy.
7:25 p.m. Skrillex is in the press room, talking about himself. "I don't really do much press and I don't like to talk about my music too much before it's out... With 'Bangarang,' i just put it on my Facebook. I've always kept it organic. Electronic came up out of the underground." On winning again after last year, he says, "I thought I would get used to it, but i tripped over every word with my acceptance speech. I felt like I fell into a pool of ice water." Skrillex loved working with Harmony Korrine on "Spring Breakers," especially for the fact that the movie twists the image of several former Disney stars. He also wants to continue to keep outside influence way from his music. "It can take one A&R exec to say one thing about your song to uninspire you, and you feel like you're not doing the right thing, so I keep my team very tight." Electronic and hip-hop are so similar, he says, noting he's going to Rio de Janeiro next week to shoot a video for his collaboration, "Wild For The Night," with A$AP Rocky. "It's a beautiful place to shoot a crazy video." Chris Robinson will direct the video.
7:32: Gotye says he's tinkered on some tracks for years, but that "Somebody That I Used To Know" was written quite quickly in 3 different sessions, but it took six-to-eight months to find the right singer. He tried with two other vocalists, a third vocalist, whom Gotye felt was right, and then it took a few months to find Kimbra. He admits everything that's happened since he finished the track "feels disconnected" from. Given all the remakes of the song on YouTube, Goyte says a solo guitar version by UK guitarist Mark Dawes is his favorite. He's also done a mash-up of more than 150 different versions of the song. The song's inspiration came from a sample of "Seville" a 1967 track by Luiz Bonfa that Gotye discovered in a record shop. Kimbra says Gotye's direction was to be "very raw" and not attempt her usual acrobatics. They recorded her part in his bedroom. "It's crazy to think it happened in such a casual place," she says. "The emotion was so genuine."
7:50. We're getting ready to change to a new live blog for the live telecast. Thanks for reading.
1. Beyonce: She shows everyone, including her Destiny’s Child band mates, how its done during the Super Bowl half time show. Sales of Beyonce and Destiny’s Child music up 197%. Sales of black lingerie up 587%. estimated 104 million
2. Justin Bieber: The boy wonder scores a record-setting five No. 1 albums before he turns 19. Maybe he is the Prince of Pop after all.
3. Britney Spears: Caesars Entertainment confirms it is in talks with Britney Spears to bring her show to Planet Hollywood. Wouldn’t Circus Circus be more appropriate?
4. Tim McGraw: His new album “Two Lanes of Freedom,” puts him back in the driver’s seat after years of fighting with former label, Curb.
5. Bruce Springsteen: He was honored as MusiCares Person of the Year by his buddies Sting, Elton, Faith, Tim, etc... If you have to ask for last names, your invite got lost in the mail.
6. Fall Out Boy: Five years after their last album, the Pete Wentz-led group returns. Will the music be as entertaining as the song titles?
7. The Wanted: The U.K. boy band lands its own reality TV show. Radio may not be interested in them, but E! is.
8. Gloria Estefan: She and her husband plan are Broadway show based on her music and their lives. Rhythm is gonna get you.
9. Warner Music: The third remaining major label group buys Parlophone for more than $700 million from UMG-owned EMI. That’s a lot of Coldplay and David Guetta records.
10. Skrillex: He pairs with Cirque du Soleil for a Las Vegas residency. From the Beatles to dubstep? Really, Cirque?