Little Big Town dominated the summer with the smash single “Pontoon.”
And although it’s now winter, the song is still hot. In fact, it’ll compete for a Grammy
this weekend in the category of best country duo/group vocal performance.
“Everything’s been such a whirlwind. I can’t
believe all of this crazy stuff is happening,” the band’s Phillip Sweet tells CMT.com while chatting about the nomination.
“You want that and wish for that. And when it happens, you’re elated. It’s unbelievable.”
Sweet surveyed a long list
of country’s Grammy winners and chose 10 of his favorites.
“The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” Charlie
1979: Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group
I’ve met Charlie Daniels, and I
love the guy. That song lit me up! That song lit everybody up. We’ve opened for Charlie Daniels, and every time we’ve done
some sort of event with Charlie, when he hammers that song out, it’s like 1979 all over again. I saw this 15-year-old kid
head-banging, and it was so cool to see the crowd moshing to “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”! It was amazing! To this
day, it’s timeless. It will stand the test of time. It’s one of the coolest songs ever, ever, ever.
“Elvira,” the Oak Ridge Boys
1981: Best Country Performance by
a Duo or Group With Vocal
With songs like those, it sets a standard. The great thing is, we got to sing with the Oaks
one time at a festival. Richard Sterban let me do that “giddyup, oom-papa” part, and I was freaking out! I love the power
of the Oaks.
“The House That Built Me,”
2010: Best Female Country Vocal Performance
song was a strong song that you’re going to hear in 20 years, and it will still slay you like that. The pure way she delivered
it, you believed every word. You felt her story. It was simple and something about the way she treated it. She spoke it from
her heart. That’s what drew you in. You could see the little girl and hear the little girl in her voice.
Believe in You,” Vince Gill
1992: Best Country Vocal Performance,
Male; Best Country Song (with John Jarvis)
That song is still one of the most powerful songs, especially that and “Go
Rest High on That Mountain.” That was an era when Vince was really coming in and being a force — and he’s still a force.
Look at him today. He’s getting nominated again with another band! He’s one of those amazingly talented people.
1982: Best Country Performance by a Duo or
Group With Vocal
That’s another song you’ll hear 20 years from now. And it will still make you feel the same way. It
just feels so authentic, and it obviously resonated with people in such a genuine way and a powerful way. You want your music
to have that lasting effect that stays with you forever.
Maria,” Brooks Dunn
1996: Best Country Vocal Performance
by a Duo or Group
That was so big! Everybody knew that song. And that voice. Man, I love those guys. I miss that energy
they brought. That was just fun. You still hear it, and you still find yourself singing it and doing that little flip in your
voice. You couldn’t help but sing that song. And he [Ronnie Dunn] makes
it sound so cool. And to hold that note so long, too!
You Now,” Lady Antebellum
2010: Record of the Year,
Song of the Year, Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals, Best Country Song
That was huge! That was
a genre-bending song. That defied everything, and it was just a great, great song. Everyone fell in love with that band and
that sound. It was fresh and new and perfect for that time. That definitely showed that country wasn’t what it used to be.
It had grown and spread its wings and said “Here we are!” in a big way. I was proud of Lady Antebellum for representing the
genre in such a strong and powerful way. I was so happy for them.
“Ready to Run,” Dixie
1999: Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal
I miss hearing that stuff — that
fresh, edgy, in-your-face sound they had. I love that song, and I love Marcus Hummon’s writing, too. If you know songwriters
in Nashville, you can hear his writing in there, but it’s got the Dixie Chicks stamp on it. It was fun, fresh and different.
I’d never heard chord progressions like that before. I miss them.
“Stranger in My House,” Ronnie
1983: Best New Country Song (Mike Reid)
Man, I love that great song. Ronnie Milsap is one of those
artists who defied the genre a little bit, the way he could flow in between genres and meld them together and yet be so brilliant
in his voice. There’s soul in his music. I love that song.
Still the One,” Shania Twain
1998: Best Country Song,
Best Female Country Vocal Performance
Our manager manages Shania, too, so we went to see her show in Las Vegas. It’s
phenomenal. It’s unbelievable. She’s a megastar. It’s so hard to believe that song’s now considered a classic — that song
and that album. You won’t see that kind of thing ever again — 10 million albums sold. Those powerful songs and videos and
the imagery — she translated that onto the stage. Everything is big and larger than life. She made some great music.