By Richard Skanse
In case you missed last night’s Grammy Awards — and by “missed” we mean not just the telecast, but the inevitable Grammy takeover of all social media in the form of countless friends sharing their thoughts on every red carpet arrival, presenter gag, tribute performance, and win via an endless stream of “live blogging” tweets and posts — here’s all you really need to know as an Americana music fan: Sturgill Simpson won!
No, not Album of the Year, silly; that went to Adele for 25. Hell, even Beyonce fans coulda or at least shoulda seen that one coming from a mile away. What Simpson won was Best Country Album, which was still a pretty big coup, considering his critically acclaimed A Sailor’s Guide to Earth didn’t exactly break a lot of (or rather, any) waves on mainstream country radio.
One of the considerably more mainstream albums Simpson’s Sailor beat out in that category was Maren Morris’ major label debut, Hero. The native Texan didn’t go home empty handed though, as her breakthrough single “My Church” won Best Country Solo Performance. Other country winners included Lori McKenna, whose “Humble and Kind” (as recorded by Tim McGraw) won Best Country Song, and the new recording of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” (by Pentatonix featuring Parton herself) for Best Country Duo/Group Performance.
Over on the rootsier side of the music spectrum, Wimberley, Texas native Sarah Jarosz picked up two Grammys, for Best Folk Album (Undercurrent) and Best American Roots Performance (for the Undercurrent track “House of Mercy.”) “Kid Sister,” written by Vince Gill and recorded by the Time Jumpers, won Best American Roots Song, and William Bell won Best Americana Album for This Is Where I Live (beating McKenna, the Time Jumpers, the Avett Brothers, and Kris Kristofferson). Kristofferson’s old Highwaymen buddy Willie Nelson won in his category, though, with Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin honored as Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.