The Grammy’s happened last Sunday night, though few people noticed it. Ratings improved slightly over last year but still lag far behind the numbers posted pre-Trump. There are several reasons that the ratings improved. The field largely boasted more family-friendly content, with more Taylor Swift and less WAP, so parents could have the broadcast on without risking uncomfortable questions from their children.
There has also been a shift in popular music in recent years away from shock and sex back towards a more conservative singer/songwriter vibe. Perhaps it is a mirror to the face of America, or folks were just tired of every song being edited or inappropriate for little ears; either way, it made for a much better version of the program.
Certainly, some of the rating bumps can be attributed to Swift. She is a cultural phenomenon, and her fans have spilled over into the NFL as well. Wherever she goes, curious eyeballs tend to follow. However, there were also reasons for non-Swifties to tune in. There were numerous great performances, including the first new music from Billy Joel in 17 years.
Days before the telecast, news broke of a special guest collaboration that many consider the highlight of the evening. Luke Combs, who held the No. 1 spot with the Tracy Chapman classic “Fast Car” for several months, hit the stage with the reclusive Chapman, marking just her fourth stage appearance since 2009. Chapman won CMA Song of the Year for the tune after Combs’ cover set the Summer of 2023 on fire.
The performance by the two stars and the connection they seemed to make despite never actually meeting in person has sent the Tracy Chapman version skyrocketing back up the charts. A grateful Luke Combs took to social media to talk about the experience. He wrote: “What an unreal Grammy week to say the least. There were so many laughs, tears, hugs, and cheers that it almost doesn’t seem real. When it comes to the performance it’s still hard to process how amazing it really was to be up there on that stage. No doubt a defining moment of my career.”
Part of the appeal of Combs’ version is the authenticity with which he sang the song. Combs kept the song lyrically intact and stayed true to the melody and the tone of the song. While making it his, he also left it hers, and the result was a stunning duet on the Grammy stage. Long considered one of the best people in Nashville, Combs wasn’t done showing his gratitude to the legendary songstress.
Combs continued: “Tracy, I want to send my sincerest thanks to you for allowing me to be a part of your moment. Thank you for the impact you have had on my musical journey, and the musical journeys of countless other singers, songwriters, musicians, and fans alike. I hope you felt how much you mean to the world that night. We were all in awe of you up there and I was just the guy lucky enough to have the best seat in the house.” It’s clear why Combs is so well-loved in the industry.
There isn’t much to love about American pop culture recently. There is an obvious lack of morality and rampant wokeness thrust down folks’ throats, but artists like Luke Combs give us hope that a cultural shift is possible, and maybe things are looking up a bit.
Featured image credit: Luke Combs Instagram
"*" indicates required fields