Some Texas Surprises at the Grammys

There were lots of Lone Star nominees at the music world's biggest night—and lots of winners, including one that R&B fans probably didn't expect.
Mon February 11, 2013 6:45 pm
Robert Glasper, center, accepts the award for best R&B album for "Black Radio" during the pre-telecast at the 55th annual Grammy Awards Feb. 10 in Los Angeles.
John Shearer/Invision/AP)

There was a whole lot of Texas on board for last night’s Grammys telecast. Here’s a list of Texans who were nominated for an award, or associated with projects that were nominated:

  • Kelly Clarkson (who performed a tribute to Patti Page and Carole King)
  • Robert Glasper
  • Beyonce 
  • The Eli Young Band
  • Don Williams
  • Miranda Lambert (who sang a duet with Dierks Bentley)
  • Esperanza Spalding
  • Ruthie Foster
  • T Bone Burnett
  • Ben Kweller
  • St. Vincent
  • Hacienda 
  • and the late Janis Joplin and Arizona Dranes

 

That’s a pretty impressive list, and a diverse one, too, ranging from glossy pop to red dirt country to traditional gospel to a couple of savvy jazz-R&B hybrids. Even more impressive is how many Texans won. Fort Worth native Clarkson pulled in a Best Pop Vocal Album win for Stronger; Beyoncé won Best Traditional R&B Performance For “Love On Top”; Esperanza Spalding, a part-time Austinite and Grammy darling, took Best Jazz Vocal Album for Radio Music Society and Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) for “City of Roses”; Fort Worth-raised T Bone Burnett was awarded Best Song Written For Visual Media (a category in which he was nominated twice, once along with Woodlands-raised Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler) for “Safe & Sound,” from the Hunger Games soundtrack; and two albums by San Antonio’s Hacienda were among the four albums for which Dan Auerbach received his Producer of the Year, Non-Classical honor.

Grapevine’s favorite daughter Norah Jones also showed up with half sister Anoushka Shankar to accept the Best World Music Album award on behalf of their late father, Ravi Shankar.

The biggest surprise, though, was the Robert Glasper Experiment’s win in the Best R&B Album category for Black Radio. The Grammy committee doesn’t usually reward adventurous work over the tried and true, but here was a Houston-born-and-trained jazz pianist walking away with the prize for a weird, drifty album (which we gave  a mixed review) over work by R&B mainstays like R. Kelly, Anthony Hamilton, Tamia, and Tyrese. (Glasper’s single, “Gonna Be Alright,” lost in the Best R&B Performance category to R&B mainstay Usher’s “Climax.”)

It was particularly surprising given that Black Radio (which includes a guest turn from Dallas’s Erykah Badu) was a hard-to-categorize piece of work that could have landed alongside Spalding’s

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