Strong presence of artists from Washington at the Grammys

Just over a week after the sudden death of drummer Taylor Hawkins, Foo Fighters have won all three Grammy Awards the group was nominated for on Sunday.

The Seattle-born rock giants, who weren’t on hand to accept the awards, beat fellow hero Chris Cornell for best rock performance with their cheery “Making a Fire.” Dave Grohl and the band also won Best Rock Song with “Waiting on a War” – one of the classic Foos anthems – on last year’s “Medicine at Midnight”, which won the best rock album. Cornell was also up for Best Rock Album with “No One Sings Like You Anymore, Vol. 1,” a collection of eclectic covers.

Like the vast majority of awards, the rock categories were announced long before the televised party at a less glitzy daytime ceremony, which this year takes place at a Las Vegas ballroom near the MGM Grand Garden Arena, the main event site. Usually held in Los Angeles, the Grammys postponed their usual January date for the second year in a row amid rising coronavirus cases, eventually moving to Vegas.

Foo Fighters canceled a scheduled mainline TV performance (as well as a summer concert in Seattle), but Grohl’s wife and daughters reportedly attended a pre-Grammys event on Friday honoring Foo Fighters. Joni Mitchell. At the MusiCares tribute event, which Brandi Carlile helped organize, Grohl’s daughter Violet performed the folksinger’s 1974 song “Help Me.”

Hawkins died suddenly on March 25 while the band was in Colombia to perform at a festival in Bogotá, and throughout the ceremony there were several greetings to Hawkins, one of rock’s finest drummers. modern.

Host Trevor Noah introduced the in memoriam portion of the show with a moving highlight reel of Hawkins playing and jamming with Grohl as audio of fans singing the Foos classic “My Hero” played. (Seattle alternative rock great Mark Lanegan was also recognized in the segment.) Earlier in the night, Billie Eilish wore a T-shirt with Hawkins’ image on the front while swinging on the roof ( uh, the floor?) from an upside down house while performing his three-award-winning smash “Happier Than Ever.” The song’s crushing crescendo was just as powerful as it was on its first of two Climate Pledge Arena shows, the same night Hawkins died. (Taking the stage less than an hour after the news broke, Eilish led the Seattle crowd in a moment of silence in honor of Hawkins.)

When the Grammy nominations were revealed last fall, it was another stellar performance from the Washington artists, with some of Seattle’s usual rock heroes leading the way. Carlile, Foo Fighters and the late Cornell great earned 10 nominations between them, with Carlile accounting for half. Several behind-the-scenes producers, including Seattle hip-hop luminary Jake One, have contributed to nominated albums by J. Cole, HER and many others.

However, beyond the Foo Fighters’ three wins, it wasn’t a particularly lucky night for artists with local ties.

Leading the Washington pack with five nominations, Brandi Carlile will return to Sea-Tac empty-handed, unable to add to her six career wins Sunday night. But there was a sense of déjà vu when the Maple Valley folk rocker took the stage to perform “Right on Time,” after being introduced by two of her musical heroes, Joni Mitchell and Bonnie Raitt, who received a awards for their lifetime achievement.

Coming off the song bridge, which fell heavier than a pickup full of King County dirt, Carlile kept his biggest power note for the final chorus, flanked by Phil and Tim Hanseroth in front of a bank rainbow colored lights. It was reminiscent of the note heard across the country when she made her Grammys debut in 2019 — a performance that Raitt called “one of the most impactful performances of all time.”

‘Right on Time’ was up for song and record of the year, honors that went to soul duo Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak’s Silk Sonic, who were among the night’s biggest winners. . Carlile’s “A Beautiful Noise” duet with Alicia Keys was also up for song of the year. It was one of two joint nominations with Lewis County-raised country artist Brandy Clark. The other, Clark’s “Same Devil” — a dusty road number with Carlile backing vocals — lost top American roots performance to most lovable late-night jazzman Jon Batiste, the most nominated artist. of that year which won album of the year. Had the R&B star HER won Best Album, Lynnwood producer Mario Luciano and Seattle ace guitarist Jimmy James (of the Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio and the True Loves) would have shared the win. Along with local gospel singer Nichol Eskridge, the two contributed “Slide,” the biggest track on HER’s “Back of My Mind” LP.

In an interview last month, James said win or lose, it was an honor to have his last name included in the list of nominees for album of the year. (After the song went platinum, James’ mother wisely predicted the Grammys would call next.) James’ only regret was that his late sisters, who helped shape his musical development, weren’t there for him. to see.

“It’s not just for me, it’s for them too,” James said. “They are a big factor in who I am today.”

Carlile also lost the Grammy’s top pop solo performance to another of this year’s favorites, teen-pop meteor Olivia Rodrigo, whose hit “drivers license” became the biggest song of 2021. (Maybe that Rodrigo, best new artist winner, will still have that Grammy-winning glow when she plays a sold-out WAMU theater on Wednesday.) The whopper of a ballad Carlile’s “Right on Time” was the bizarre nominee in the pop category after the Recording Academy dragged him out of the American roots genre – a decision Carlile was not very happy about.

Hometown indie rock favorites Fleet Foxes were passed over for Best Alternative Music Album and J. Cole hit “my . life” — produced by local hip-hop great Jake One — got himself stand out in the top rap song and performance categories.

Fresh off an Oscar win last week, Questlove’s acclaimed documentary “Summer of Soul” predictably won Best Musical Picture, beating out “Music, Money, Madness…Jimi Hendrix Live in Maui.” which chronicled one of Seattle’s guitar god’s most infamous gigs.

After winning two trophies in 2019, the Seattle Symphony avoided sharing a Best Orchestral Performance award with its former conductor Thomas Dausgaard following a bitter row.

On the plus side, University of Washington artist-in-residence Steve Rodby produced the best Latin jazz album – Eliane Elias’ “Mirror Mirror” with jazz greats Chick Correa and Chucho Valdés. Rodby also co-produced pianist Lyle Mays’ EP “Eberhard”, which won Best Instrumental Composition. Mays, who died in 2020, and the bassist/producer played together for years as part of the Pat Matheny Group.

Elsewhere, Seattle-raised Christian singer Natalie Grant (Best Contemporary Christian Music Album), longtime Sub Pop band Low (Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical) and Origin Records artist Nnenna Freelon have had insufficient projects in their respective categories.

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