Lady Antebellum Proves Big Winner at 2011 Grammys

Posted by Michael Mueller on February 14, 2011 at 9:13 AM

I typically don't enjoy music awards shows much, as the awards almost always seem to reward popularity and publicity over any sort of musical talent, but the 2011 Grammys provided enough substance to begin earning back some of its credibility.

The big winner this year was country trio Lady Antebellum, who on the strength of their ubiquitous hit "Need You Now" walked away with five awards: Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Country Song, Best Country Album, and Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. 

Speaking of country music, Miranda Lambert won Best Female Country Vocal Performance for "The House That Built Me."

Biggest surprise of the evening, and perhaps the most encouraging sign that the Recording Academy is beginning to take this seriously, was jazz artist Esperanza Spalding becoming the first jazz artist to win Best New Artist category, beating out wunderkind Justin Bieber and impressive nominees Mumford & Sons and Florence & The Machine.

Competition in the rock and metal categories was strong this year, with several deserving artists in each category, and it's tough to argue the results. U.K. trio Muse's The Resistance topped Jeff Beck's Emotion & Commotion and Tom Petty's Mojo for Best Rock Album. Jeff Beck did, however, take home three Grammys for Best Pop Instrumental Performance ("Nessun Dorma"), Best Rock Instrumental Performance ("Hammerhead"), and Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals ("Imagine," with Herbie Hancock, Pink, India.Arie, Seal, Konono No 1, and Oumou Sangare).

Other rock winners included the Black Keys' "Tighten Up" for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals and their album Brothers for Best Alternative Music Album and for Best Recording Package; Arcade Fire's The Suburbs for Album of the Year; Them Crooked Vultures' New Fang for Best Hard Rock Performance; Iron Maiden's El Dorado for Best Metal Performance; and Neil Young's "Angry World" for Best Rock Song.

In other genres, Larry Carlton and Tak Matsumoto took home the hardware for Best Pop Instrumental Album; Buddy Guy's Living Proof won Best Contemporary Blues Album; and Ryan Bingham's "The Weary Kind" was named Best Song Written for Motion Picture.

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