Brandi Carlile spent Tuesday morning watching the Grammy Award nominations unfold on her computer and working her phone, offering congratulations to other nominees and receiving them in turn.
Not only was it another great day for the Maple Valley singer-songwriter, who garnered two nominations for the Jan. 31 gala, it offered a little bit of sunshine in what has been a very bleak year for the music industry.
“I really today just wasn’t thinking about myself,” Carlile said in an interview Tuesday afternoon. “I was thinking about the community, how hard of a year we’ve had and how much women in general in this industry just needed a win.
“All of my friends, a lot of queers, a lot of misfits, got recognized this year, and a lot of women. I’m loving it.”
Carlile was among a number of current and former Western Washington artists recognized with Grammy nominations, including “Jeopardy!” interim guest host Ken Jennings and singer-songwriter Brandy Clark, who hails from Morton, Lewis County.
Carlile was nominated, along with Natalie Hemby and Lori McKenna, for best country song for “Crowded Table” for The Highwomen project. She also was nominated with songwriting collaborators Tim and Phil Hanseroth for “Carried Me With You,” from the film “Onward,” in the best song written for visual media category.
Carlile also worked as a producer on The Secret Sisters’ “Saturn Return,” which was nominated for best folk album. Though she does not receive a formal nomination, she’ll get a trophy if the Sisters win.
Her friendship web extended even further with her producer Dave Cobb and recent collaborator Clark also receiving nominations.
“It’s fun watching each other get recognized and be genuinely happy for your friends,” Carlile said. “It’s been a pretty rad day in that respect. I talked to Dave for a long time today. He called me about one minute after his nomination came over the computer. And he started calling me about a recording on my album, what I’m now working on at home. And he was beatboxing in the phone to me, how he wanted the drum beat to sound. And I was like, ‘Dave, this is why you deserve this nomination because they’re still calling out the categories and you’re beatboxing in my ear because you want me to go and do something on this record right now!’”
Meanwhile, an amazing week just kept getting better for Seattle’s Jennings. A day after it was announced he’ll become the first interim guest host in the post-Alex Trebek era of “Jeopardy!,” he was nominated for a Grammy Award for his narration and contributions to “Alex Trebek — The Answer Is …,” Trebek’s memoir.
“Wait, what??” Jennings posted on Twitter, alongside a photo of the nominees in his category of best spoken word album.
“This should 100% be Alex’s Grammy nomination,” Jennings continued to tweet. “He wrote the book and reads much of the audiobook!”
Trebek had said in a news release in June that “I wanted to narrate as much of the book as I could, especially certain parts, but I was worried my voice would give out, so I asked if Ken Jennings would help me out. He graciously agreed, and now you can hear the stories as read by both of us.”
Clark, who’s among country music’s most respected voices and one of the songwriters behind the success of Kacey Musgraves, earned two nominations — for best country album for “Your Life is a Record” and for best country solo performance for “Who You Thought I Was.”
The former is “the crown jewel for an artist,” Clark said in an interview Tuesday afternoon, and the latter came in a very crowded field of country pop stars.
“I’m really proud of that category,” she said. “And part of why I’m really proud is this album has had really no support from country radio. And so many of the other nominees do — not that there’s anything wrong with that. But to me, it tells me that that song in particular transcended that. And it did get a lot of love at Americana radio. So clearly people heard it. And I think the production on that song in particular stands out. So I think all those things added up.”
Others with Western Washington ties who were nominated include Sara Gazarek, Amanda Taylor and Johnaye Kendrick (along with Erin Bentlage) for best arrangement — instruments and vocals, for work on Säje’s “Desert Song”; Bill Frisell (with Grégoire Maret and Romain Collin) for best contemporary instrumental album, for “Americana”; Danny Barnes for best bluegrass album, for “Man On Fire”; the Robert Cray Band for best traditional blues album, for “That’s What I Heard”; and Courtney Marie Andrews for best Americana album, for “Old Flowers.” In addition, Terri Lyne Carrington and Social Science — which includes former Seattle residents Kassa Overall and Aaron Parks — is up for best jazz instrumental album, for “Waiting Game.”
The awards ceremony will air starting at 5 p.m. Jan. 31 on CBS.
Seattle Times music writer Michael Rietmulder contributed to this report.