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Grammy wins, nominations ‘show depth, breadth’ of MTSU expertise

Lady Antebellum’s second Best Country Album Grammy in as many years means more accolades for MTSU after the 54th Grammy Awards ceremony Feb. 12.

Clarke Schleicher

“Own the Night,” the trio’s third album, garnered the win for Hillary Scott, a 2004-06 MTSU recording-industry major and member of the group, as well as for engineer Clarke Schleicher (B.S. ’80). Both were Grammy winners in 2011 for “Need You Now.”

Scott and Schleicher were two of nine MTSU alumni and/or former students nominated for their work on musical releases ranging from country to contemporary Christian to bluegrass.

Music by 14 current and former MTSU School of Music professors was included in the catalog that earned a classical Producer of the Year nomination for Blanton Alspaugh. Three-time winner Judith Sherman took home that category’s Grammy.

“What makes this most satisfying is that we’re showing a level of consistency and expanding in these categories,” said Dr. Loren Mulraine, chair of MTSU’s Department of Recording Industry. “When you start expanding into other areas of the industry, it shows a depth and breadth in your program, and that’s most exciting for us.

Former MTSU student HIllary Scott, center, joins Lady Antebellum bandmates Dave Heywood, left, and Charles Kelley in this publicity photo. (photo courtesy Miranda Penn Turin)

“Success breeds success, and we expect to see success on an ongoing basis.”

The Lady Antebellum album win bumped several MTSU nominees who had been recognized for their work on three of the other competing albums.

Those MTSU-trained nominees for their work in the Best Country Album category included:

  • Brandon Epps (recording-industry major, 1996-2001), engineer for “My Kinda Party” by Jason Aldean;
  • Jason Hall (B.S. ‘00), engineer for “Chief” by Eric Church;
  • Michael Knox (B.S. ’91), producer for Aldean’s “My Kinda Party”; and
  • Brandon Schexnayder (B.S. ’05), engineer for “Here for a Good Time” by George Strait.

Knox, a College of Mass Communication alumnus, had three other Grammy-nominated projects:

  • Best Country Duo/Group Performance: Aldean with Kelly Clarkson, “Don’t You Wanna Stay” (won by The Civil Wars for “Barton Hollow);
  • Best Country Solo Performance: Aldean’s “Dirt Road Anthem” (won by Taylor Swift’s “Mean”); and
  • Best Country Song: “Just Fishin’” by Trace Adkins (also won by Swift’s “Mean”).

Recording-industry alumnus Dave Barnes (B.S. ’00), writer of “God Gave Me You,” performed by Blake Shelton, also was nominated in the Best Country Song category.

Fellow alumnus Brandon Heath (B.U.S. ’03) earned three nominations for his contemporary Christian project “Leaving Eden,” including:

  • Best Contemporary Christian Music Album;
  • Best Contemporary Christian Music Song as co-writer for “Your Love,” the album’s second cut; and
  • Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance for “Your Love.”

Brandon Bell (B.S. ’04) was nominated in the Best Engineered Non-Classical Album category as co-engineer on “Follow Me Down” by Sarah Jarosz. Alison Krauss and Union Station’s “Paper Airplane” producer, Mike Shipley, won that Grammy.

Among his other credentials, classical nominee Alspaugh produced “Osterfield: Rocky Streams” by MTSU School of Music faculty members Paul Osterfield and Todd Waldecker.

The CD also features performances by current music professors Don Aliquo, Michael Arndt, Sandra Arndt, Deanna R. Little, David Loucky, Tim Pearson, Dewayne Pigg, Stephen Smith and William Yelverton and former School of Music faculty members James Douglass, Caleb Harris and Maya Stone.

“We’re very pleased to see that a recording by School of Music professor Paul Osterfield was included in producer Blanton Alspaugh’s Grammy nomination and that another 12 of our music faculty members helped the music come to life as performers,” said Dr. George Riordan, director of MTSU’s School of Music.

“This international recognition of the artistry of our MTSU professors as composer and performers is another milestone in the development of the School of Music as a national player, and we congratulate all of those involved, our faculty members and producer Alspaugh.”

The Grammy Awards ceremony was broadcast live from Staples Center in Los Angeles on CBS. Except for Best Country Album, the categories affecting MTSU nominees were announced in the pretelecast award ceremony.

– Gina E. Fann (Gina.Fann@mtsu.edu)

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