New talent draws attention at Grammy's
Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 14, 2013 22:02
As someone who generally doesn’t engage in the pop music scene, I haven’t always felt very enthusiastic about the Grammy Awards. My favorite bands always seem to come up short when faced with more mainstream contenders, and most of the performances simply aren’t my cup of tea. But after watching the 2013 Grammy Awards last Sunday night, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised.
There was definitely a bigger presence this year from rock and alternative artists. Performances by The Black Keys, Mumford & Sons and Jack White offered a refreshing contrast to the usual pop artists.
But what impressed me the most about the show this year were the performances from two new up-and-coming bands, The Lumineers and the Alabama Shakes.
I remember feeling amazed when I heard Mumford & Sons perform their song “The Cave” on last year’s Grammy Awards show, when the band was still somewhat new. Their Grammy debut was followed by explosive success, and Mumford & Sons won the Grammy for this year’s Album of the Year.
Meanwhile, a band called The Lumineers hit the Grammy stage for the first time Sunday and left me wondering if they’ll follow the same path as Mumford & Sons.
By now almost everyone has heard “Ho Hey,” which The Lumineers performed on the show. But while “Ho Hey” is catchy and cute, the rest of the band’s self-titled debut album is filled with stirring lyrics and engaging instrumentals. Nominated for Best New Artist and Best Americana Album, The Lumineers have a folk-like sound with a discernible element of indie rock. I only wish they would have performed what is in my opinion their standout track “Stubborn Love.”
At one point in the show, Elton John, Mumford & Sons, Mavis Staples and the Zac Brown Band took to the stage in a tribute the late Levon Helms, former drummer of The Band.
Also performing alongside them, and impossible to miss was Alabama Shakes singer Brittany Howard. As Howard attacked the fourth verse of “The Weight,” it became apparent that her edgy, soul-infused voice was not to be ignored.
The Alabama Shakes got their start as a not-so-typical high school band that hit it big in their hometown of Athens, Alabama and became virtually an overnight sensation. They released their debut album titled “Boys and Girls” last spring, and their song “Hold On” ranked number one on Rolling Stone magazine’s 50 Best Songs of 2012 list. The Alabama Shakes were nominated for Best New Artist, Best Rock Performance and Best Recording Package.
In the end, Fun beat out the Alabama Shakes and The Lumineers for Best New Artist, and The Black Keys took home the Grammy for Best Rock Performance. But The Black Keys are my favorite band, so I can hardly complain. I’ve always loved their distinctive blues-rock sound, and their performance of “Lonely Boy” was definitely worthy of the Grammy title.
While neither The Lumineers nor the Alabama Shakes won a Grammy this time, I think both bands have already proven themselves. Each artist is undeniably talented and dedicated to creating original music that speaks for itself. Their appearance on the Grammy Awards was just the first big step for these artists, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.
Ashcraft is a junior majoring in journalism.