Gary Clark Jr. Triumphs at Grammys

Patty Griffin and Willie Nelson also collect honors

Gary Clark Jr. and Questlove
Gary Clark Jr. and Questlove

Gary Clark Jr. took home three Grammys on Sunday. The Austin native won Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song statuettes for heated single “This Land,” plus Best Contemporary Blues Album honors for his third major label studio LP of the same title.

The singer/guitarist topped off his triumphant night with a primetime performance of “This Land,” reinforced by the gold standard of backing bands the Roots, plus Austin keyboardist John Deas. Amidst the stage set of a rustic house with a fire burning in the front yard, the 35-year-old Clark delivered an incendiary version of the track that rivaled Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” opener as the Sunday television broadcast’s best-sounding performance. He reappeared minutes later to lay down a guitar solo for a star-studded take on “I Sing the Body Electric,” honoring departing Grammys producer Ken Ehrlich.

Last night’s winnings bring Clark’s career Grammy haul to four. Meanwhile, Austin songwriting genius Patty Griffin gained her second Grammy on Sunday for last year’s eponymous four-star effort, winning Best Folk Album. Willie Nelson racked his 10th Grammy with the Best Country Solo Performance award for “Ride Me Back Home.”

Part-time Austin resident Delbert McClinton scored a Best Traditional Blues Album win for his Tall, Dark & Handsome LP, beating out friend Jimmie Vaughan. The Americana trio I’m With Her won in the Best American Roots Performance category for the song “Call My Name,” which features lead vocals by Wimberley-raised virtuoso Sarah Jarosz.

Austinites sat on the edges of their seats during the marquee category of Best New Artist, rooting for local phenoms the Black Pumas. Alas, the 62nd annual Grammys proved a coronation for 2019 ACL Fest stopover and Austin City Limits debut taping guest Billie Eilish, who took home that award in addition to Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Pop Vocal Album.

The telecast’s In Memoriam segment featured tributes to three recently departed Austinites: Roky Erickson, Daniel Johnston, and Theresa Jenkins.

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