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John Prine Wins Two More Grammys, After A Melancholy Year In Music


Nearly a year after he died from Covid-19 and just over a year after he was granted a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award, the late John Prine hovered angelically over this year’s American Roots field with two Grammy wins on Sunday. His posthumously released single “I Remember Everything” was named Best American Roots Performance and Best American Roots Song, a songwriter trophy shared with Nashville’s Pat McLaughlin. Prine now has four career Grammys.

“The music community in Nashville and beyond, your love and encouragement has meant the world to us this past year,” said Fiona Prine, John’s widow, via live video link after the first win. “And to the fans, you span several generations now. Thank you for supporting and continuing to promote John’s words and music in the world.” The Prine sons Jack, Tommy and Jody had a brief chance to make remarks after the second award was announced.

Brandi Carlile performed "I Remember Everything" on the televised portion of the 63rd Grammys on CBS.

In key roots album categories, the winners came from a younger generation. Sarah Jarosz captured the Best Americana Album trophy for World On The Ground, produced in the New York home studio of John Leventhal. She sounded as giddy as a first-time winner as she thanked the veteran producer for being “the most amazing collaborator,” but this was in fact her fourth Grammy in five years. For 28-year-old Billy Strings, arguably the biggest new act on the live acoustic circuit in years, his Grammy for Home as Best Bluegrass Album was a first-time win on a first-time nomination. His immediate reaction was legal for the YouTube stream but would have been problematic on the television broadcast.

Americana veterans Gillian Welch and David Rawlings earned Best Folk Album for their 2020 covers album All The Good Times. Remarkably, while Welch has a Grammy Award for being part of the big O Brother, Where Art Thou? triumph in 2002, this is the first award for the stalwart and much-admired duo. The blues album categories were taken by high-style showmen from different generations. Icon Bobby Rush, 87 years young, won Best Traditional Blues Album for Rawer Than Raw. While the flamboyant Fantastic Negrito won in the Contemporary Blues category. “I’m just thankful to be alive,” the artist said over his video feed. “This has been a rough, rough time for everyone out there and I want to give a moment of silence to the half a million people that have perished in this country and the 2.6 million across the world.”

The Highwomen found themselves in the spotlight yet again, winning Best Country Song for “Crowded Table,” an honor shared by its writers Brandi Carlile, Natalie Hemby and Lori McKenna (who is not in the band). Rounded out by Maren Morris and Amanda Shires, the Highwomen supergroup won the same category with the song at last Fall’s Americana Awards, plus two other categories besides.

In other Americana and Nashville news, Station Inn owner J.T. Gray was featured on the national broadcast offering a profile of his landmark venue before announcing the nominees for Best Country Album, a trophy won by Miranda Lambert. Also, the Fisk Jubilee Singers won the first Grammy in the history of the institution for Celebrating Fisk! (The 150th Anniversary Album). While the must-see documentary Linda Ronstadt: The Sound Of My Voice won Best Music Film.

Find a complete list of winners and nominees here at Grammy.com.

Craig Havighurst is WMOT's editorial director and host of The String, a weekly interview show airing Mondays at 8 pm, repeating Sundays at 7 am. He also co-hosts The Old Fashioned on Saturdays at 9 am and Tuesdays at 8 pm. Threads and Instagram: @chavighurst. Email: craig@wmot.org
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