By Mark Kemp
From Ed Sheeran’s big win for “Thinking Out Loud” to a Jackson Browne-fronted Eagles paying tribute to the late Glenn Frey, there was plenty for fans of acoustic guitars to love at the 58th Annual Grammys Monday night.
The Song of the Year Award was well-deserved for “Thinking Out Loud” — not to mention for Sheeran himself, singing and playing it on his little Martin guitar — as it brought the spirit and soul of a younger Van Morrison back to pop radio in 2015. “That’s exactly what I wanted to capture,” Sheeran told AG in the December 2014 cover story. “I feel like everyone channels Jack Johnson, everyone channels Prince, everyone channels the Beatles, and there’s not really anyone in popular culture now that has gone and channeled a bit of Van.”
Speaking of spirit and soul, another well-deserved win came to the SteelDrivers, who took the Best Bluegrass Album Grammy for The Muscle Shoals Recordings, on which the Tennessee band deftly mixes bluegrass instrumentation with southern gospel.
Jason Isbell took home the trophy for Best Americana Album for his Something More Than Free, as well as Best American Roots Song for “24 Frames.”
Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn took home the Grammy for Best Folk Album, beating out Norman Blake’s Wood, Wire & Words, and surprising many by also winning over Rhiannon Giddens‘ spectacular Tomorrow Is My Turn.
Other notable acoustic moments included Chris Stapleton‘s win for Best Country Album, and a performance from James Bay and Tori Kelly, who were nominees for Best New Artist.
There were acoustic guitars in other categories, too, but these were the ones that pricked up our ears.
Meanwhile, take another look at AG‘s video interview with Ed Sheeran, who performed an intimate “Thinking Out Loud” for Acoustic Guitar Sessions.