On Sunday, three fast-rising, Michigan-bred acts will vie for the most prestigious music awards in the business. Local Spins recaps their amazing journeys to prominence.
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They represent disparate musical styles, have taken different paths to international stardom, but have one thing in common: Their musical journeys began in Michigan.
Bluegrass hero Billy Strings, soulful Americana duo The War & Treaty and hard-rock phenomenon Greta Van Fleet also share another notable distinction that puts them in the national spotlight this week: All three fast-rising acts are nominated for Grammy Awards.
• Billy Strings (William Apostol) — who won a Grammy for best bluegrass album in 2019 for “Home” — is up for best bluegrass album (“Me/And/Dad”), best American roots song (“California Sober,” featuring Willie Nelson) and best country duo/group performance (“High Note” with Dierks Bentley). Traverse City’s Aaron Allen also is nominated as co-writer of “California Sober,” along with Apostol and Jon Weisberger.
• The War and Treaty is nominated for best American roots song for “Blank Page” (from the duo’s “Lover’s Game” album) and for best new artist (along with Coco Jones, Gracie Abrams, Fred Again.., Ice Spice, Jelly Roll, Noah Kahan and Victoria Monét).
• Greta Van Fleet looks to repeat the band’s 2019 Grammy win with a nomination for best rock album for “Starcatcher,” competing against the Foo Fighters, Metallica, Paramore and Queens of the Stone Age.
Interestingly, West Michigan can take credit for helping push all three artists to greater exposure and acclaim. Years ago, fans cheered and hailed Ionia County guitarist William Apostol, aka Billy Strings, at cozy venues from Rockford to Traverse City, as he honed his considerable bluegrass skills with mandolinist Don Julin.
Michael and Tanya Trotter of Albion’s The War & Treaty, meanwhile, landed the band’s first feature story here at Local Spins in 2017, right after mounting their first buzz-generating performance in Grand Rapids in-studio at WYCE-FM.
And Frankenmuth’s Greta Van Fleet cut its teeth and started turning heads with its Led Zep-like vibe by opening for touring acts during raucous shows at The Intersection in Grand Rapids.
All three have since wowed legions of ardent devotees at jam-packed arenas across the country and overseas in Europe.
As fans of all three talented acts get ready to cheer them on as they vie for Grammys, Local Spins offers its readers a chance to follow their journey through our stories and reviews over the past several years — along with a special Grammy playlist featuring tracks from the nominated recordings. (Jazz artist and Missouri native Bob James, who now makes his home in Traverse City, also is nominated for best contemporary instrumental album.)
CBS will broadcast the evening Grammy Awards ceremony and performances at 8 p.m. Sunday, hosted by Trevor Noah. Performers will include Billie Eilish, Billy Joel, Burna Boy, Dua Lipa, Joni Mitchell, Luke Combs, Olivia Rodrigo, Travis Scott, SZA, U2 and others.
But actually, the bulk of Grammy Awards in 70 categories will be presented in the afternoon “pre-telecast” that starts at 4 p.m. ET and streamed live internationally at grammy.com.live View the full list of nominations at grammy.com.
As for places to catch these artists’ performances this month, Billy Strings will be featured on CBS Saturday Morning (along with Chris Thile) at 7 a.m. Saturday, The War and Treaty play Grand Ole Opry in Nashville (with Carter Faith, Old Crow Medicine Show, The Dead South) on Feb. 10, and Greta Van Fleet plays the Innings Festival in Tempe, Ariz., on Feb. 23.
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MICHIGAN’S 2024 GRAMMY NOMINEES: The Local Spins Playlist
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