When country music meets the GRAMMY Awards, it’s always interesting to see the "family" commingled with artists of other popular genres. Even when you drop Taylor Swift into the mix, it seems to bring the best "country girl" out of her. While the country performances might not have had the dripping water like Pink or worn outfits like Lady Gaga, all in all, the genre still walked away with some of the evening's most prestigious awards and introduced "today's" country to the world.
On the award front, Swift, after missing out on Song Of The Year for and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for "You Belong With Me," the country crossover artist picked up Album Of The Year for her sophomore release, Fearless. Overall, Swift won four GRAMMY awards out of her eight nominations. Only R&B artist Beyoncé left with more hardware (six awards out of her 10 nominations). In addition to her Album Of The Year award, Swift garnered Best Female Country Vocal Performance and Best Country Song for "White Horse," and Best Country Album for Fearless.
The Zac Brown Band grabbed the Best New Artist award, a seemingly surprise win for the band and for country music. The moment was all the sweeter since country superstars Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert announced the band's win.
On the performance side, the country showcase offered an excellent taste of some of Nashville's hottest new faces. First to the stage was Lady Antebellum for a performance of their latest hit, "Need You Now." Aside from a minor curtain snafu, the trio really exemplified awesome harmonies. Prior to the televised awards show, the trio picked up their first GRAMMY for Best Country Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals for "I Run To You."
The Zac Brown Band performed snippets of "America The Beautiful," their debut single "Chicken Fried," and "Dixie Lullaby," a collaboration with legendary artist Leon Russell. Brown, donning his signature beanie cap, concluded the performance with some aggressive nylon guitar-picking.
One of the most sought-after performances of the evening was, of course, Swift. After singing "Today Was A Fairytale," Swift joined Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks for a duet of the classic "Rhiannon." The two ended with a banjo-infused version of Swift's "You Belong With Me."
Carrie Underwood took the stage when she joined in on the 3-D tribute to Michael Jackson and Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles joined New Jersey rockers Bon Jovi to perform "Who Says You Can't Go Home" and then back him on the classic, "Living On A Prayer."
In the Country Field, Urban picked up his third Best Male Country Vocal Performance award for "Sweet Thing." Underwood and Randy Travis won for Best Country Collaboration With Vocals for "I Told You So."
During the show, The Recording Academy honored country legends Loretta Lynn and Harold Bradley with Special Merit Awards.
All in all, country music had a pretty good night "kickin' up its heels" at the 52nd Annual GRAMMY Awards, proving that country's still cool.