ACL Radio News
Chris Mosser Talks GRAMMY Changes and Predictions on CBS Austin
The GRAMMY Awards are this Sunday and we can't wait to see a few of our favorite Austin City Limits Radio artists take the stage! This morning, Chris Mosser stepped out of the studio and onto the set at CBS Austin to talk with the We Are Austin team about some things that music lovers should look out for during the broadcast and who he thinks will take home a gold gramophone this year.
1 - The ladies are having a big year. After last year's kerfluffle that contributed to the end of the road for Neil Portnow, the Recording Academy has pivoted noticeably in favor of female artists, and what an amazing moment to have done so: a big night could be in store for Cardi B, Janelle Monae, Kacey Musgraves and Brandi Carlile, all of whom are super deserving. It's also a good bet we'll see a fair amount of political expression from the women onstage, as we've seen with the recent midterm election and large islands of white outfits in the State of the Union audience the other night.
2 - Rock & Roll just might be dead. There is very little representation of traditional, straight up rock music in the big four categories - the closest we generally get is Brandi Carlile, and the duo Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. The only real rock purist in the pile is Greta Van Fleet for Best New Artist, and I mean no unreasonable degree of besmirchment when I stick to the tired, tired line that we already have a Led Zeppelin - is this really the best Rock has to offer? (I ask this, frankly, a bit short of a new rock band I'd nominate in their place.)
3 - That said, genre matters less than ever, in a way. The Big Four categories (Record, Album and Song of the Year, plus Best New Artist) have been expanded from 5 noms to 8, in order to accommodate the wide variety of music forms that Americans are listening to these days, and what's more, a bunch of these artists and recordings represent a blending of those forms. Some artists who still occupy distinct stylistic lanes may find themselves divvying votes, and thus underperforming.
Record Of The Year - "All The Stars" - Kendrick Lamar and SZA. Both are overdue, and Grammy is in reactionary mode. Cardi B's "I Like It" is the popular favorite here, and it's also her only Big Four nomination, but Kendrick and SZA will pull it out as the Academy pulls a trademark "not so fast" play.
Album of the Year - Black Panther: The Album, spearheaded by Kendrick Lamar. Again, he's due personally, and it's notable that this category has not been won by an African-American artist since 2008 - which went to Herbie Hancock (who beat out Kanye!). I'd be very pleased to see Janelle Monae's Dirty Computer win, as I find her the most original and entertaining of all the female nominees, and this is her only Big Four nod. Brandi Carlile and Kacey Musgraves will prevent each other from winning here.
Song Of The Year - "Shallow". Given its popular profile in a movie ABOUT songwriters, and being about the only shot anything resembling rock has this year in the general categories, this seems likely. This is also the one Brandi Carlile's "The Joke" could steal, as it's the stylistic outlier and its pro-outlier message could be helpful. That said, if we're really looking at songcraft in this category, I find "In My Blood", performed by Shawn Mendes, to be the most emotionally evocative song in the pile.
Best New Artist - Luke Combs. He's the most genre-pure of the country-leaning artists in the entire shebang and thus will not be splitting votes amid a field of mostly-similar newcomers who have yet to really distinguish themselves. (Why isn't Cardi B on this list again, while Dua Lipa is?) Best New Artist occasionally goes to a head-scratcher who quickly fades from the radar, so this could also be Greta Van Fleet's big chance.
And there are four Austin-based nominees or nominated teams
Willie Nelson - Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for My Way, Best American Roots Performance for "Last Man Standing"
Chris Athens, mastering engineer - Record of the Year for Drake "God’s Plan", Album of the Year for Drake Scorpion
Wood and Wire - Best Bluegrass Album for North of Despair
Sarah & Shauna Dodds - Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package for Johnny Nicholas Too Many Bad Habits
Photo Credit: We Are Austin!