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Brandi Carlile thanks ‘everybody in Seattle’ after winning rock Grammys

Feb. 5, 2023 Updated Sun., Feb. 5, 2023 at 9:49 p.m.

Brandi Carlile accepts the award for best rock song for “Broken Horses” during the pre-telecast show of the 65th Annual Grammy Awards at Arena in Los Angeles on Sunday.  (Tribune News Service)
Brandi Carlile accepts the award for best rock song for “Broken Horses” during the pre-telecast show of the 65th Annual Grammy Awards at Arena in Los Angeles on Sunday. (Tribune News Service)
By Michael Rietmulder Seattle Times

Brandi Carlile came out of the gates blazing when the 65th annual Grammy Awards got underway Sunday. Hours before the televised main event, the Recording Academy’s favorite Maple Valley songsmith began adding to her trophy case.

It should come as no surprise to anyone who’s followed the homegrown folk rocker’s immaculate midcareer run and considering that Carlile’s seven total nominations (tied with Adele) made her one of the year’s top nominees, trailing only Beyoncé (nine) and Kendrick Lamer (eight). But Carlile’s day started off with a celebratory head-bang, picking up her first wins for best rock song and performance for “Broken Horses.” A highlight from 2021’s “In These Silent Days,” the dusty canyon rocker was Carlile’s first to be nominated in the rock categories.

“Rock ‘n’ roll!” Carlile hollered after she and the Hanseroth twins made their way to the podium to accept the best rock performance award as the house band played Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing in the Name.”

“Oh, I cannot tell you how much this means to us. We were born and raised in Seattle and when I met these guys 22 years ago, we decided to get in a van and be a band together, and I met them and they were covered in Ramones tattoos, they had never even played an acoustic guitar. And then this happened.”

Among the usual acknowledgments to her team, bandmates, etc., Carlile added a thank you to “everybody in Seattle that made us want to strive for this incredible accolade.”

A minute later, the trio returned to accept the best rock song honor, where they faced competition from legacy artists Ozzy Osbourne and Red Hot Chili Peppers and indie heavyweights The War on Drugs and Turnstile.

“Oh my God, this is amaaaazing!” a floored Carlile exclaimed. “Oh, I’ll never be the same. My mom’s out there, Teresa Carlile. Mom, I gotta thank you for telling me to stop singing so angry because I obviously ignored that like I ignored everything you ever told me to do. But I cut my hair and I learned how to scream and I just won a Grammy for a rock ‘n’ roll song that I wrote with all my heart.”

Three of Carlile’s seven nominations this year came in her Americana/roots home base. After losing out to “my hero” Bonnie Raitt for best Americana performance and best American roots song, Carlile’s name was called again, with “In These Silent Days” winning best Americana album.

“Damn, I thought Bonnie was about to sweep!” a still-giddy Carlile exclaimed, having walked through another gauntlet of hugs en route to the stage.

“We recorded this album in one room, one place, live,” she said. “We kept first or second takes, we kept our hearts right on our sleeve. And it means everything to me to win this in Americana, which is my community that I love so much.”

Other artists with local ties weren’t as fortunate during the daytime ceremony where most of the trophies were dealt out. Singer-songwriter Zach Bryan, a Navy vet who was stationed in Washington when his career exploded, lost best country solo performance to one of the genre’s true legends, Willie Nelson.

Recorded at Woodinville’s fabled Bear Creek Studio, Bryan’s heartwrenching “Something in the Orange” became a streaming monster with little support from traditional country radio. Bryan, who doesn’t consider himself a country singer, has been one of music’s coolest breakout stories since being honorably discharged in 2021, immediately playing to throngs of fervent fans across the country. The Oklahoma native and former Whidbey Island resident was a blatant snub in the best new artist category, likely because he’s shown no interest in cozying up to the Nashville establishment.

Perfume Genius, the creative vehicle of Seattle/L.A. art-pop vet Mike Hadreas, was up for best alternative music performance for his cameo on Yeah Yeah Yeahs comeback single “Spitting Off the Edge of the World.” Instead, the prize went to buzzy U.K. band Wet Leg, one of the highlights at last summer’s THING festival, with their quirky indie-rock hit “Chaise Longue.”

Elsewhere, “Chloe and the 20th Century,” the latest album from former Seattleite and current Sub Pop star Father John Misty, was up for an engineering award, losing out to the crew that worked on Harry Styles’ “Harry’s House.” And Shawn Okpebholo’s “Lord, How Come Me Here?” featuring Lakewood-reared opera singer J’Nai Bridges, was unable to bring home the award for best classical solo vocal album.

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