by Andria Lisle
Much of the spectacle of the event has no effect on my daily life, and this year I didn't know most of the songs or artists that had been nominated. My fault, I guess; even though I'm a music writer, I tend to live in a bubble that consists of local artists, vintage records, and whatever I happen to hear on WEVL, WDIA, and NPR.
Several folks I know and respect were heavily involved in this year's Grammys, however — Robert Gordon was nominated for the documentary Johnny Cash's America, and Scott Bomar had a vested interest in the category of Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance, since he produced Anthony Hamilton's "Soul Men." And, of course, MGMT were up for nominations in a couple categories.
And so I braved Michael Jackson's kids and Taylor Swift's horribly flat "duet" with Stevie Nicks — but for what?
Ex-pat Booker T. Jones took home a Grammy for Potato Hole, but other than that, not one Memphian — not even Justin Timberlake — won a single award. Even the blues categories were dominated by Chicagoans, Brits, and Left Coasters.
The biggest mention Memphis got all night was in the "people who died" montage, which included Willie Mitchell, Hank Crawford, and Jim Dickinson. Depressing stuff.
My spirits lifted when up-and-coming Canadian rapper Drake (pictured above) came onstage at the end of the night, flanked by Eninem and Lil Wayne. Drake, a breakout star on Degrassi: The Next Generation, is the son of onetime Jerry Lee Lewis drummer Dennis Graham and nephew of Memphis' greatest rhythm section, Teenie, Charles, and Leroy Hodges. As tenuous as that connection is, right now, he's the only hope we've got.