I think you can almost always make an argument for someone else when awards are handed out. Paisley is good and deserves it. I liked The Greencards for this one, but they will survive not getting it.
BTW, does anyone still think The Greencards are a bluegrass band?
I think the Greencards instrumental stuff is still surprisingly bluegrass - but it stands out now on the album because the other material not so much.
I dunno, I mean, like Doug said, you can make a case for just about anyone to win one award or the other, but I have to admit, that is some pretty hot picking, even coming off of a cell phone video. Especially coming off a cell phone video! I think a lot of times the award might end up in the hands of a bluegrass picker because a good bluegrass musician is just so dammed impressive. You may have the prettiest cello/piano/sax/honky tonk/etc line in the world, but if you put it side by side with Ricky Skaggs or Tony Rice or Brian Sutton flying through "Red Haired Boy", it's hard to deny their technical ability and flair.
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There are lots of hot pickers in bluegrass, but I like Kym Warner's ability to show of his virtuosity when not heating up the strings. He has perfect timing and can make the mandolin a truly beautiful instrument. I agree with Ann that they are still able to evoke bluegrass history when they play, but this is an evolving trio and they are almost a jazz band at times.
I'm a big admirer of Brad Paisley as a complete performer and a songwriter. My favorite instrumentation is what serves the song, not what showcases the pyrotechnics, so what works to my ear has much more to do with texture than with virtuosity. Paisley's playing serves the song, better than most session players' contributions can. The bluegrass players who burn a lot of rubber on their solos are impressive, they are hot, they are imitated, but they never take a good song in the direction I'd like it taken in. So which kind makes for a better record, and which kind should be singled out? I've got no heartburn with this award decision.
Hoo-kay, I hadn't seen the video, I guess Brad can burn the rubber too. Which I guess points up the restraint he uses when he plays to support his vocals, though that's apparently not what got him the award.
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