By winning Best New Artist in the Grammy Awards, you’re invariably linked to a few other artists who were one-year wonders. Christopher Cross, Bruce Hornsby, Paula Cole, Marc Cohn, Arrested Development and Hootie and the Blowfish are among the musicians or groups who exploded onto the pop scene with huge-selling debut albums and were duly honored in the Grammys, but weren’t able to follow up the sudden success.
Alicia Keys and Norah Jones, the two most recent winners leading up to Sunday’s Grammy Awards, haven’t had enough time to join the list. Then there are such artists as Sheryl Crow, LeAnn Rimes or Christina Aguilera who belie this so-called Best New Artist “jinx.”
So, after Sunday, everyone will watch Evanescence to see if the Little Rock artists can follow up the success of their debut major-label album “Fallen,” even with half of the core duo now off on his own.
It was quite a sight to see Amy Lee, dressed like a wiccan, accepting the award while ex-group member Ben Moody, looking spooky troll-like with gruff red beard and long hair hanging down, stood behind her, walking stick in hand. Best New Artist nominee 50 Cent even joined in the group celebration for a moment, and Evanescence guitarist John LeCompt, standing by the podium, was the only normal-looking one on stage.
From the quotes Lee offered before and after the Grammys, she’s still none to pleased about Moody’s departure, telling one reporter that Sunday in Los Angeles was the first time Moody has spoken to her since leaving the group in October.
Arkansas’s first rock-era group to ever win a Grammy garnered another with Best Hard Rock Performance for the single “Bring Me to Life.”
No surprise, either, that the late Johnny Cash, born near Kingsland, would be awarded Grammy for Best Short-Form Video, or that late wife June Carter would win for best country performance with “Keep on the Sunny Side.” The Grammys are great for honoring artists after they’re gone; it would be nice to appreciate more their efforts while they’re still kicking. Ditto the Grammy given posthumously to George Harrison for Best Pop Instrumental Performance or Warren Zevon, who deserved many during a lifetime cut short by lung cancer, for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and Best Contemporary Folk Album. Oh, the sentimentality.
Other Grammy thoughts:
Lee, you may have noticed, was sitting two rows ahead of Moody with Seether frontman Shaun Morgan, her beau of the past several months.
It was nice to see Bill Clinton get part of a Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album for Children, and even better to see Al Franken get one for Best Spoken Word Album for “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them,” which is a great book, too.
Joining my short list of concerts I wish now I had seen is the Christina Aguilera-Justin Timberlake show at Alltel Arena on July 6, mainly because the opener that night was the Black Eyed Peas. That L.A. hip-hop act, which seemingly has taken a quantum leap simply by adding Fergie, the almost-Beyonce-looking singer, to the trio of guys, offered one of the night’s best performances with their “Where Is the Love.” Of course, Timberlake, who was seen all night, had to join in with the band.
Aguilera has looked better – she resembled Claudette Colbert resurrected from the grave – but deserves praise for her voice, if not her garb and hair style.
Surprising, the “Justified and Stripped” tour last summer didn’t sell nearly as well as many had hoped, and yet Timberlake and Aguilera were chosen by their peers for a Grammy or two.
Outkast dominated the night, and the good news is that the Atlanta R&B and hip-hop group plans to tour this summer. Expect Alltel Arena folks to make a big pitch – Outkast now replaces the Dave Matthews Band, who played here July 13 for the first time ever, as the must-see band locally. Others might say Jimmy Buffett, and rumors keep swirling that Buffett will be playing here in conjunction with the opening of the Clinton Presidential Center in November. We’ll see. At least Buffett has played Arkansas before.
Alltel Arena can proudly boast of a number of Grammy winners and nominees who have played there in its four-year history. So can the Riverfest Amphitheatre, whose many concerts in recent summers have included one with Alison Krauss. The Nashville fiddler and singer, who was terrific accompanying Sarah McLachlan in her performance, took home three more Grammys to had to her amazing 18 previous awards. Word is that North Little Rock is wanting to bring in Krauss and her band Union Station for its centennial celebration on the riverfront in May.
In last week’s Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase, the hip-hop group “J” featured a backing band packed with talent. One of those, drummer Clifford Aaron, just recently finished up a tour in the band backing Beyonce, another star of the Grammy show.