Texans enjoyed an unusually high profile at last Sunday's Grammy awards, starting with Los Lonely Boys participating in the opening five-act round-robin. Though no one thought to mention their name as they launched into "Heaven," Steven Tyler did when he announced the winner of Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals; the visibly kvelling Boys remembered to thank God, their dad, and manager Kevin Womack.

Tyler also saluted Lifetime Achievement Award recipient and recent South Austin immigrant Pinetop Perkins, who lost Traditional Blues Album to Etta James but looked dapper as ever in the audience. Bongo virtuoso Matthew McConaughey introduced the tribute to Southern rock by quoting Ronnie Van Zandt; Kris Kristofferson did likewise for the fiery Janis Joplin segment starring a shorn Melissa Etheridge and barefoot Joss Stone that, if not for Kanye West, would have stolen the show. Canary-clad fashion victim Sheryl Crow and "roadie" Lance Armstrong presented Record of the Year, for "Here We Go Again," to a passel of the late Ray Charles' associates and Grapevine's Norah Jones, who looked almost as out of it as Brian Wilson during the "Across the Universe" tsunami-relief embarrassment.

Texas' other, fairly predictable, winners were honored during the nontelevised portion: Steve Earle for Contemporary Folk Album, Brave Combo for Polka Album, the Dixie Chicks (remember them?) for Country Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals, and David Lee Garza, Joel Guzman, and Sunny Sauceda for Tejano Album.

Because Spoon didn't have a record out last year and ... Trail of Dead's came out too late, Lone Stars didn't fare quite as well in the Village Voice's 2004 Pazz & Jop poll, released last week. Dallas expats the Secret Machines placed highest at No. 49, with Earle at No. 62 and Houston-born Jolie Holland at No. 67. Actual Austinites placed lower still: Patty Griffin barely cracked the Top 100 at No. 98; Jon Dee Graham, who's currently without a record deal, placed The Great Battle at No. 123; and his Continental Club cohort James McMurtry landed at No. 195 with Live in Aught-Three.

Much closer to home, acts have begun confirming for March 16's Austin Music Awards at the Austin Music Hall: Lubbock old-timers the Crickets with youngster Nanci Griffith on lead vox; the Hardcore Country All-Stars with Alvin Crow, Pete Mitchell, James White, and Neil Flanz; and forthcoming rock opera author Daniel Johnston. Expect a special guest or two (dozen)

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    Strong new albums from Milton Mapes and the Action Is, and the Eighties still won't go away.


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Christopher Gray, June 29, 2007


Christopher Gray, June 22, 2007

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