Luke Bryan Says He’s “All Good” with Zac Brown Following Zac’s 2013 Diss of “That’s My Kind of Night”

Image Courtesy CMAIt’s very rare for a country act to publicly criticize another artist’s music, so it came as a shock to many when Zac Brown called Luke Bryan‘s hit, “That’s My Kind of Night,” “one of the worst songs I’ve ever heard” in a September 2013 radio interview. Zac went on to say, “When songs make me wanna throw up, it makes me ashamed to even be in the same genre as those songs.”

Luke and Zac eventually hugged it out on the CMA Awards that November as hosts Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley sang a rewritten version of the song “Why Can’t We Be Friends.” It turns out there were several phone calls between Luke and Zac before that hug took place, though.

Luke tells DigitalJournal.com, “Zac and I, when that came down, we called each other a couple of times on the phone and talked it out, as you should do, and we all get really, really busy, so I haven’t had a chance to see Zac that much.”

Luke insists he has no ill will towards Zac, though.

“We’re all good,” Luke says. “I want Zac to do good, Zac wants me to do good… Zac had an opinion of something and he said it and that’s kind of the deal. That’s what he chose to do and me and him talked it out – we’re all good.”

Luke’s new album, Spring Break…Checkin’ Out, comes out March 10.


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At Grammy Awards, Sam Smith Takes Four Trophies, Beck Stuns with Album of the Year Win

Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic“I’m having a really, really good night.”  That’s what Sam Smith said partway through Sunday night’s Grammy Awards, as he took the stage to accept his third trophy of the evening: Song of the Year, for “Stay with Me.”  It wouldn’t be his last trip to the podium, though; all in all, the soulful British singer took home four out of the six Grammys he’d been nominated for: Best New Artist, Record of the Year and Song of the Year for “Stay with Me,” and Best Pop Vocal Album for In the Lonely Hour.

After winning the final award of the night — Record of the Year — Sam said, “I want to thank the man this record is about — the one I fell in love with.  Thank you for breaking my heart, because you won me four Grammys.”  In the past, Sam, who’s gay, had revealed that his album In the Lonely Hour was inspired by his unrequited love for a straight man who didn’t return his affection.

Earlier in the evening, after winning Best Pop Vocal Album, Sam, who’ll be the first to tell you he doesn’t look like the average pop star, told the audience, “I want to say, before I made this record, I was doing everything to get my music heard. I tried to lose weight…and made awful music. It was only when I started to be myself that my music started to flow and people started to listen.”

With Smith taking home three out of the “Big Four” categories, alternative rocker Beck stunned everyone by winning Album of the Year for his critically-acclaimed disc Morning Phase.  Many had predicted a Smith sweep, or that Beyonce’s self-titled disc would win, but hardly anyone saw Beck’s win coming, including Beck himself.  In fact, in a nod to his infamous MTV VMA performance in which he stormed the stage when Beyonce lost to Taylor Swift, Kanye West walked onstage and acted like he was about to do the same thing to Beck.  However, he simply grinned and walked off, leaving Beck to call out, “Come on!  Come back!”  It turns out, Kanye WAS upset. He told E! Online after the show that “Beck needs to respect artistry and he should have given his award to Beyoncé, and at this point, we tired of it.”

At the podium, Beck said that the album was “a family affair,” saying that he recorded the album at his house. “I’d like to thank my kids for letting me keep them awake,” he added.  Of note, he was presented the award by Prince, who made headlines by saying, “Like books, and black lives, albums still matter.”

Beyonce, who went into the Grammys with six nods, only took home three trophies: Best R&B Performance, Best R&B Song for “Drunk In Love” and Best Surround Sound Album. Before coming onstage to accept Best R&B Performance, Bey kissed her husband, Jay Z, and then said in her speech, “This has been such an incredible year. I’d like to thank my beloved husband, I love you deep. My daughter, Blue Ivy, who’s watching. And [my fans], my BeyHive, thank you so much for riding so hard.”

Pharrell Williams, who also had six nominations going into the ceremony, won two: Best Urban Contemporary Album for G I R L, and Best Pop Solo Vocal Performance, for a live version of his smash “Happy.”  He seemed absolutely stunned to win that particular award, saying he fully expected any of the other nominees to take it home. “This is super-awkward,” he added. “I’m gonna moonwalk my way off the stage right now.”  Pharrell’s video for “Happy” was also named Best Music Video, but since he didn’t direct or produce it, he didn’t get the trophy.

Other winners of note: Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga won Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for their duet album Cheek to Cheek; the late Joan Rivers won her first Grammy, for Best Spoken Word performance, and Paramore won Best Rock Song for “Ain’t It Fun,” making lead singer Hayley Williams the first woman to win in that category since Alanis Morrisette in 1999.

The Grammy telecast crammed 23 performances into a bit more than three-and-a-half hours, and the show opened with AC/DC, who’d never before appeared on the Grammys. Joining the veteran rock band for its performance was their former drummer, Chris Slade, back for the first time since 1994. He’d been drafted to replace the band’s current drummer, Phil Rudd, who is now estranged from the band due to some serious legal troubles last year. 

Other music legends who performed included Madonna, Paul McCartney, ELO, Annie Lennox, Tony Bennett, Tom Jones and, briefly, Stevie Wonder.  But plenty of music’s current stars were also on hand, including Ed Sheeran, Ariana Grande, Rihanna, Kanye West, Hozier, Adam Levine, Sam Smith, Miranda Lambert, Eric Church, Jessie J, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Sia.


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Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockMiranda Lambert shared a few photos on Instagram from the video shoot for her new single, “Little Red Wagon.” The clip should premiere in the next few weeks.

 

“You only love me for my big sunglasses”…. #videoshoot #littleredwagon #bts #comingsoon

A photo posted by Miranda Lambert (@mirandalambert) on Feb 5, 2015 at 3:24pm PST

 

Country newcomer Kelleigh Bannen covers Sam Smith‘s pop hit “Stay with Me” in a new YouTube video.


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Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush” Puts a New Twist on Jealousy

Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleOn first listen, Little Big Town‘s new single, “Girl Crush,” may seem like a same-sex love song, but the lyric about is a little more complex than that. The other woman that vocalist Karen Fairchild is singing about is actually the new love of the guy she wants to be with. The song puts a new spin on good, old-fashioned jealousy.

“The lyric of ‘Girl Crush’ is written in a kind of sexy way, so some people might turn it off when they get to ‘I wanna taste your lips’ and all that,” Karen explains, “but once they get to the hook, they go, ‘Oh! It turns.’ It’s about a girl saying, ‘Why do you love her and not me?’”

She adds, “You’ve got to lean in a little bit, but the fans are really loving this one.”

The fans of “Girl Crush” include Miranda Lambert and Kelly Clarkson, who have both covered the song in recent concerts. “Girl Crush” is included on Little Big Town’s latest album, Pain Killer, available now.


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Grammys Backstage Report

The Recording AcademyHere’s what some of the winners had to say backstage at the 57th Grammy Awards, held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday night:

Sam Smith was understandably excited after winning four awards, including three in the major categories: Best New Artist, and Record of the Year and Song of the Year for “Stay with Me.”

He joked to reporters, “I feel like Kate Winslet at the Oscars right now.” Actually, he had better luck than Winslet, who didn’t win an Oscar until her sixth nomination.

He continued, “It’s a dream come true. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my life.”

When asked if anything could top the night he’d just had, Sam joked, “A boyfriend would be nice.” But, he added, “I don’t think it would top this, though. Nothing. And that’s the curse for the rest of my life, I think.”

As for the ex that inspired “Stay with Me,” Sam said they’re still friends. He said, “I’m pretty sure he’s very happy.”

– One of the most-talked-about moments of the Grammys was Kanye West showing up onstage as Beck was set to accept the Album of the Year award. It appeared to be a joke at the time, though a seemingly-upset Kanye indicated otherwise during an interview with E! later in the night.

Recording Academy President and CEO Neil Portnow downplayed the incident when he was asked about it backstage by ABC News Radio. He said, “They are all adults, more or less…I thought it wound up being playful and fun, and no harm done.”

Portnow also addressed the exclusion of Joan Rivers, who posthumously won her first Grammy earlier in the day, for best spoken word album, from the “In Memoriam” segment. Portnow explained that the tribute can only accommodate so many people from the industry, stating, “We never make everybody happy. We do the best we can to create sort of a mix of different genres and genders and generations and so on.”

Miranda Lambert called her win for best country album, for Platinum, “surreal.” Her work on the album was important to her, she said, because she felt it was the “one that was going to set up the next decade” of her career.

A Great Big World claimed the Grammy for best pop duo/group performance for their hit with Christina Aguilera, “Say Something.” They quipped that the experience felt like The Truman Show, as if it weren’t real.

– Country trio The Band Perry won their first-ever Grammy, taking the best country duo/group performance category for “Gentle On My Mind.” Kimberly Perry said it’s a “life-changing” moment for them because many years ago they’d dreamed of simply appearing at the Grammys. She added that it “raises the momentum” as they continue to develop their third album.

“Weird Al” Yankovic declared that winning a Grammy never gets old. He won his fourth Grammy, for his album Mandatory Fun, but pointed out his first victory came 30 years ago. He said, “I’m not jaded about it, it’s an amazing feeling.”

He joked that when he wins a Grammy he has it screwed to his head for a week, like he’s a “Grammy unicorn.”

– The movie Frozen was honored in a couple of categories: best compilation soundtrack for visual media, and best song written for visual media for “Let It Go.” The husband-and-wife duo behind “Let It Go,” Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, is collaborating with Oscars host Neil Patrick Harris on something for that ceremony. Anderson-Lopez teased that it will consist of Harris “doing what he does best.”

– After scooping up the award for best arrangement, instrumental or a cappella, Pentatonix stated that it was the coolest thing in their career, and validates what they do.

– Prior to Katy Perry‘s performance of “By the Grace of God,” domestic violence survivor Brooke Axtell shared her story of how she sought help at a domestic violence center. Backstage, she commented that she didn’t speak onstage from a “place of pain, but a place of hope.” She said it was an honor to take part in the segment, which also included a video appearance by President Obama calling on musicians to pledge to stop domestic violence.


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Grammy Awards: The Performances

Image Courtesy The Recording AcademyThere were some actual Grammys handed out Sunday night in Los Angeles, but as usual, the Grammys telecast, which aired on CBS, was all about the musical performances — this year, there were a whopping 23.  Here’s a rundown of who sang what:

Rock legends AC/DC, in their first-ever Grammy performance, opened the show with their latest track, “Rock or Bust,” and then segued into their classic “Highway to Hell.” Many audience members donned light-up devil’s horns for the song, and Lady Gaga was seen losing her mind, rocking out in the front row.

Ariana Grande sang her ballad “Just a Little Bit of Your Heart” on a blue-lit stage, with a string section and lots of fog.

Jessie J & Tom Jones duetted on the classic “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin’,” to honor the songwriting team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, who wrote it.

A leather-clad Miranda Lambert turned in a rocking performance of her song “Little Red Wagon,” complete with smoke, fireworks, flashing lights and profanity. She left in the s-word, which is part of the song’s lyrics, but pulled the mic away; the sound also dropped out during that part.

Kanye West performed his emotional song “Only One,” which he wrote with Paul McCartney, while standing on a spotlight shining up from the floor.

Madonna sang her new song “Living for Love” in a performance inspired by the song’s video, which features her playing a sexy matador to dozens of half-men, half-bulls.  A gospel choir also joined in.  The Queen of Pop wore a revealing red-and-black leotard, did a lot of dancing, and ended the number by being hoisted up to the ceiling on a cable.

Ed Sheeran performed his hit “Thinking Out Loud” backed up by John Mayer, jazz legend Herbie Hancock and Questlove from The Roots.  Ed then introduced ELO, led by Jeff Lynne, who performed their classic “Evil Woman.”  Paul McCartney was seen standing up and clapping along, then seemed to get embarrassed when he realized the camera was on him and sat back down. As ELO segued into another classic, “Mr. Blue Sky,” Ed came out and joined Lynne in a duet, as Taylor Swift danced along in the audience.

Adam Levine and Gwen Stefani performed “My Heart Is Open,” their duet from Maroon 5‘s current album V.

Hozier performed his Grammy-nominated hit “Take Me to Church,” joined by Annie Lennox, and then the two sang the 1956 song “I Put a Spell on You,” which Annie recorded for her current album Nostalgia.

Pharrell, dressed for some reason like a bell boy, teamed with pianist Lang Lang and composer Hans Zimmer for a very unique spin on his song “Happy.”  He started out simply reciting the words to the song, which were then echoed back to him in a variety of languages.  Next, as he began singing the song, he was joined by a troupe of dancers, a group of people playing violins, a gospel choir standing in the aisles, Lang Lang on piano and Zimmer on guitar.

After an anti-domestic violence PSA starring President Obama aired, a survivor of domestic abuse named Brooke Axtell took the stage and delivered a spoken-word performance about her own experiences, noting, “Authentic love does not devalue another human being. Authentic love does not silence, shame or abuse.”  That led into a performance by Katy Perry, who sang her wrenching ballad “By the Grace of God.”  She was dressed in white from head to toe, and as she sang, shadow figures swayed and danced on a screen behind her.

Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga duetted on the standard “Cheek to Cheek,” with Gaga nearly falling out of her dress.

Usher paid tribute to Stevie Wonder by singing his song “If It’s Magic,” and Stevie walked onstage at the end to play harmonica.

Eric Church sang “Give Me Back My Hometown.”

Brandy Clark and Dwight Yoakam teamed up for a duet on Brandy’s song “Hold My Hand.”

With no introduction, Rihanna, Kanye West and Paul McCartney began performing their new acoustic collaboration “FourFiveSeconds”  — from Rihanna’s upcoming album — standing in front of a blank white screen.  All three were wearing black suits.  McCartney looked like he was singing and playing guitar, but it was impossible to hear him.

Sam Smith duetted with Mary J. Blige on “Stay with Me” on a stage lit by lanterns. 

Latin rocker Juanes sang the song “Juntos (Together).”

Actor Shia LaBeouf, who stars in Sia‘s video for “Elastic Heart,” gave a bizarre introduction — what else? — for her performance of “Chandelier.”  It took place on a set that looked like a series of completely trashed, interconnected rooms.  Sia sang with her back to the camera as little Maddie Ziegler, who starred in the “Chandelier” and “Elastic Heart” videos, performed a modern dance number along with, strangely, Kristen Wiig.  Both wore blonde bob wigs and jumpsuits, which they later removed to reveal flesh-colored leotards.

Beck and Coldplay‘s Chris Martin teamed up for a low-key duet of Beck’s song “Heart Is a Drum”

Beyonce, clad in a white outfit that made her look like an angel, belted out “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” mostly a cappella, backed by a male choir. Then, she introduced John Legend and Common, who performed their Oscar-nominated hit “Glory,” from the movie Selma.  When that was over, Sam Smith and Mary J. Blige returned to the stage to close the show with a bit more of the night’s big winning song, “Stay with Me.”



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Miranda Lambert, Eric Church and Brandy Clark Bring Country to the Grammy Awards

Image Courtesy The Recording AcademyCountry music got a bit of screen time at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards Sunday night on CBS. Dierks Bentley introduced his friend Miranda Lambert for her fiery performance of “Little Red Wagon.” She went on to win Best Country Album for Platinum. Keith Urban took the stage to introduce Eric Church‘s performance of the Grammy-nominated hit, “Give Me Back My Hometown.” Best New Artist nominee Brandy Clark teamed up with Dwight Yoakam for an acoustic performance of “Hold My Hand” from her album, 12 Stories.

A few country stars walked away with awards presented during the pre-telecast ceremony Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles.

Carrie Underwood won the Best Country Solo Performance award for “Something in the Water,” and The Band Perry took the Best Country Duo/Group Performance category for “Gentle on My Mind.” That song is featured on the soundtrack of the Glen Campbell documentary, I’ll Be Me. Glen shared the Best Country Song Grammy with his co-writer Julian Raymond for “I’m Not Gonna Miss You.” The song was also featured in I’ll Be Me and is the last song Glen ever recorded. That song is nominated for the Best Original Song award at the Oscars coming up February 22.

Hunter Hayes and Rosanne Cash were among the presenters in the pre-telecast ceremony.



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Grammy Winners List

NARASHere’s a list of winners in the major categories at the 57th Grammy Awards, held in Los Angeles on Sunday night:

Record of the Year
“Stay with Me (Darkchild Version),” Sam Smith

Best New Artist
Sam Smith

Song of the Year
“Stay with Me,” Sam Smith, songwriters Sam Smith, James Napier & William Phillips

Album of the Year
Morning Phase, Beck

Best Pop Solo Performance
“Happy (Live),” Pharrell Williams

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
“Say Something,” A Great Big World feat. Christina Aguilera

Best Pop Vocal Album
In the Lonely Hour, Sam Smith

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album
Cheek to Cheek, Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga

Best Country Album
Platinum, Miranda Lambert

Best Rock Album
Morning Phase, Beck

Best Rock Song
“Ain’t It Fun,” Paramore, songwriters Hayley Williams and Taylor York

Best Rock Performance
“Lazaretto,” Jack White

Best Metal Performance
“The Last In Line,” Tenacious D

Best Alternative Music Album
St. Vincent, St. Vincent

Best Urban Contemporary Album
G I R L, Pharrell Williams

Best R&B Performance
“Drunk In Love,” Beyoncé Featuring Jay Z

Best Traditional R&B Performance
“Jesus Children,” Robert Glasper Experiment Featuring Lalah Hathaway & Malcolm Jamal Warner

Best R&B Album
Love, Marriage & Divorce, Toni Braxton & Babyface

Best R&B Song
“Drunk In Love,” Beyonce & Jay Z, songwriters Shawn Carter, Rasool Diaz, Noel Fisher, Jerome Harmon, Beyoncé Knowles, Timothy Mosely, Andre Eric Proctor & Brian Soko

Best Rap Album
The Marshall Mathers LP2, Eminem

Best Rap Song
“I,” Kendrick Lamar, songwriters K. Duckworth & C. Smith

Best Rap Performance
“I,” Kendrick Lamar

Best Rap/Sung Collaboration
“The Monster,” Eminem Featuring Rihanna

Best Country Song
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” Glen Campbell, songwriters Glen Campbell, Julian Raymond

Best Country Solo Performance
“Something in the Water,” Carrie Underwood

Best Country Duo or Group Performance
“Gentle on My Mind,” The Band Perry

Best Music Video
“Happy,” Pharrell Williams; We Are From LA, video director; Kathleen Heffernan, Roman Pichon Herrera, Jett Steiger & Cedric Troadec, video producers

Best Music Film
20 Feet From Stardom, Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer & Judith Hill; Morgan Neville, video director; Gil Friesen & Caitrin Rogers, video producers

Best Spoken Word Album (Includes Poetry, Audio Books & Storytelling)
Diary Of A Mad Diva, Joan Rivers

Best Comedy Album
Mandatory Fun, “Weird Al” Yankovic


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Carrie Underwood, The Band Perry and Glen Campbell Among Early Grammy Award Winners

Image Courtesy The Recording AcademyA few country stars walked away with Grammy Awards presented during the pre-telecast ceremony Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles.

Carrie Underwood won the Best Country Solo Performance award for “Something in the Water,” and The Band Perry won their first Grammy ever in  the Best Country Duo/Group Performance category for “Gentle on My Mind.” That song is featured on the soundtrack of the Glen Campbell documentary, I’ll Be Me. Glen’s song from that documentary, “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” won the Best Country Song Grammy. Glen co-wrote the song with Julian Raymond, and it was the last song Glen ever recorded. That song is nominated for the Best Original Song award at the Oscars coming up February 22.

Hunter Hayes and Rosanne Cash were among the presenters in the pre-telecast ceremony. The 57th Annual Grammy Awards broadcast live at 8 p.m. ET Sunday night on CBS.


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Merle Haggard Responds to Bob Dylan’s MusiCares Person of the Year Diss

Image Courtesy Capitol RecordsBob Dylan‘s 35-minute speech as the guest of honor at Friday night’s MusiCares Person of the Year event included a mention of his 2005 touring partner, Merle Haggard. Bob said “Merle Haggard didn’t even think much of my songs. I know he didn’t. He didn’t say that to me, but I know way back when he didn’t.”

Merle took to his Facebook page to disagree with Bob’s statement. The post says, “Bob Dylan I’ve admired your songs since 1964. ‘Don’t Think Twice’ Bob, Willie [Nelson] and I just recorded it on our new album.”

Bob said Merle’s Bakersfield, California contemporary Buck Owens did like Dylan’s songs, and he’d rather have Buck’s blessing than Merle’s anyway.



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