Last month, Durham's Alice Gerrard made the trip out to Los Angeles to attend the 57th Annual Grammy Awards. Her Follow The Music, which came out via Tompkins Square in September, was nominated for Best Folk Album, but Old Crow Medicine Show took the prize for Remedy. Still, Gerrard says she had a great time and talked about the once-in-a-lifetime experience in an email conversation.
Just days after the nomination announcement in December, Gerrard met with her old friend and former Blue Grass Boy Peter Rowan to play a few tunes at the Monroe House in Raleigh. The two worked through "What Does The Deep Sea Say?" and "Sitting Alone in the Moonlight," with Gerrard strumming the guitar and Rowan on the ukulele. Special thanks to Julianna Thomas and Alysse Campbell for their help shooting those videos.
You can catch Gerrard and the Melody Makers on Saturday in Fountain, NC.
INDY:Talk us through the day of the ceremony—what was that like? ALICE GERRARD: We were staying near the arena so we could walk, which was nice. Had our passes, got there a bit early, since it wasn’t reserve seating for the Premiere Ceremony (for all the lesser lights). We were advised to get seats up close so if they called your name, you wouldn’t have far to go. We managed to do that. There were 50-plus categories and mine was number 50, so we sat through everyone else before they got to mine. It was pretty rushed since they were trying to get done before the “main” televised event, so they kind of rushed through things, especially toward the end. I kept wondering how so many women could spend so much time in 6-inch heels and survive!! Amazing.
You said that you were looking forward to seeing some friends there. Who were you most excited to see? Some of the folks who I knew were going to be there, having been nominated in other categories: Regional roots or something like that: From Louisiana: Joel Savoy, Bonsoir Catin and The Magnolia Sisters. It’s such a zoo that it’s amazing that we ran into one another at all, but we did at one of the smaller after-parties. That was fun. One thing that was fun was while you were standing in endless lines, you would get to talking with persons near you and I met several other nominees that way and got to hear their stories. I loved meeting Eliza Gilkyson. She’s a lovely person. Great music, too.
What did you enjoy most about the whole experience? Was there anything you didn't like?
It’s kind of hard to judge. It’s so not my scene, but it was kind of mind boggling and a lot of fun to take in. My favorite event—there was the merit awards show where they honored a bunch of deserving people including Flaco Jimenez, The Louvin Brothers, Barry Gibb and several other musicians and producers and technicians. It was in a smaller venue, the honorees got to talk and not be music-ed off after one minute. They all had wonderful things to say, spoke from the heart, and I felt like that was what it was all about. I can’t say there was anything I hated—but it’s so not my scene that I felt a bit removed and like I should just enjoy it for what it was: eat the good food, drink the free drinks and take it all in.
What about the whole Grammy hoopla surprised you most?
Nothing much. I expected it to be big, over the top and expensive. I was pleasantly surprised by the Saturday Merit Awards show.
Did you get to attend the "main" big, televised ceremony later? If so, what did you think about that?
Yes. The main award show was really theater more than music. But lots of good showstoppers, vocal pyrotechnics and some nice moments. I particularly liked Sam Smith, who won a pile of Grammys. It was definitely over the top, but it was fun getting to see Gaga and Tony Bennett and others up close. Paris Hilton walked by our seat. Wow!!!
Peter Rowan and Alice Gerrard, "What Does The Deep Sea Say?"
Peter Rowan and Alice Gerrard, "Sitting Alone in the Moonlight