Music News & Reviews

Kentucky's Chris Stapleton wins two Grammys

When a musician wins his or her first Grammy Award, it changes the artist’s biography.

And that’s what happened to Kentucky’s breakout country star Monday when he became "Grammy Award winner Chris Stapleton."

Stapleton took home two out of the four Grammy Awards he was nominated for Monday: country solo performance for the title song from his hit album Traveller, in a ceremony before the prime time awards on CBS, and best country album for Traveller, during the big show.

"This is something you never, ever, ever dream of," Stapleton said in his typically understated awards show fashion, accepting the latter award before turning the the microphone over to equally understated producer Dave Cobb.

The Lexington-born, Paintsville-raised musician, was also up for best country song, which went to the Little Big Town phenomenon Girl Crush, and album of the year, which was won by Taylor Swift's 1989.

The honors top a dizzying few months for Stapleton, whose solo debut was released to critical acclaim but modest sales last spring. He stunned the country music world in November when he took home three Country Music Association Awards, sending his album sales skyrocketing and earning choice gigs such as musical guest on Saturday Night Live in January.

The Grammy audience got to see Stapleton perform as he returned to the stage late in the program to perform The Thrill is Gone in tribute to late blues icon B.B. King with Gary Clark Jr. and Bonnie Raitt.

Also in the winner’s circle Monday was Stapleton’s former band, The Steeldrivers, who won best bluegrass album for The Muscle Shoals Recordings.

In performances, there was a subtly cool Kentucky moment as Owensboro's Kevin Olusola, as a member of the a capella group Pentatonix, stood next to Stevie Wonder as they performed a tribute to Earth, Wind and Fire's Maurice White and presented the song of the year Grammy to Ed Sheeran for Thinking Out Loud.

Another Kentuckian getting to perform with some music legends was movie star Johnny Depp with Alice Cooper and Aerosmith’s Joe Perry in the supergroup Hollywood Vampires. They gave the show its rock centerpiece with Depp’s As Bad as I Am and a tribute to late Motörhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister with the band's classic Ace of Spades, in an appropriately theatrical performance.

Follow Rich Copley on Facebook and Twitter @copiousnotes.

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