Call it a calculated move or a happy coincidence, but when Macklemore & Ryan Lewis kicked off Friday’s Grammy Nominations Live concert, they were mere moments from having their most celebrated night ever.
The Seattle rap duo opened the show, which was televised live on CBS from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, with a performance of “Thrift Shop,” one of their biggest hits from this year. Later in the evening they scored seven nominations (trailing Jay Z, who got nine, the most of any artist) for album of the year, best new artist, song of the year, and best rap album, among others.
As in recent years, heritage acts (think Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney) were shut out of the major awards. Younger artists who ruled the charts dominated most of this year’s various fields.
In the category of song of the year — which honors the songwriter, as opposed to the performer — the nominations went to “Just Give Me a Reason” (Pink), “Roar” (Katy Perry), “Locked Out of Heaven” (Bruno Mars), “Royals” (Lorde), and “Same Love” (Macklemore & Ryan Lewis).
For best new artist, the Recording Academy typically casts a broad net across genres. This year was no different, honoring British indie electronic artist James Blake, rap superstar Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, country newcomer Kacey Musgraves, and British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran.
The nominees for album of the year were just as eclectic and surprising: “The Blessed Unrest” (Sara Bareilles), “Random Access Memories” (Daft Punk), “Good Kid, M.A.A.D.” (Kendrick Lamar), “The Heist” (Macklemore & Ryan Lewis), and “Red” (Taylor Swift).
Interestingly, Swift didn’t pick up as many nominations as she seemed destined to. In addition to album of the year, “Red,” her fourth studio album, picked up a nomination for best country album, but she was locked out of the categories for song and record of the year. She is the likely victor for country album, which also saluted Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw, Musgraves, and Blake Shelton.
Notable snubs included Justin Timberlake, whose multiplatinum-selling “The 20/20 Experience” (parts I and II) was shut out of the album field. But “Suit & Tie,” a duet with Jay Z, was recognized for best pop duo/group performance. Kanye West’s “Yeezus,” one of the year’s most acclaimed releases, was relegated to best rap album and best rap song.
Of local interest, Burlington’s Rounder Records picked up seven nominations, including for artists based in the Boston area. Della Mae, a folk favorite around town, was nominated for best bluegrass album for “This World Oft Can Be.” (In fact, three of the five nominated albums in that category were released on Rounder.)
Sarah Jarosz, the New England Conservatory-educated mandolin player and songwriter, scored up a nomination for best American roots song for “Build Me Up From Bones,” the title track from her latest record, which was also nominated for best folk album.
At press time, the full list of nominations had been posted at www.grammy.com. To be eligible for the awards ceremony, which takes place on Jan. 26 in Los Angeles, the music had to be released between Oct. 1, 2012 and Sept. 30.
James Reed can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.