Following opening performances by AC/DC, Ariana Grande and an unlikely duet between Tom Jones and Jessie J, Miranda Lambert gave the 2015 Grammy Awards its first dose of country twang (and pyrotechnics), ripping through her current single, “Little Red Wagon,” at highway speed.
Lambert, who launched a cross-country arena tour last month, took the stage with her beefed-up road band, whose newer members include fellow Platinum blonde (and former Top 40 country hit-maker) Carolyn Dawn Johnson on backup vocals and Steelism‘s Spencer Cullum, Jr., on pedal steel guitar. Absent from the mix — but still playing a key role in the Grammy performance — was Oklahoma-bred songwriter Audra Mae, who wrote “Little Red Wagon” and released her own version in 2012, two years before Lambert revived the song for her own Platinum.
Lambert — who released her first Grammy-nominated single, “Kerosene,” in 2005 — was up for four awards, including Best Country Duo/Group Performance for “Somethin’ Bad,” her girl powered duet with Carrie Underwood, and Best Country Album for Platinum (which she won one hour later, beating out high-profile contenders like Eric Church and Dierks Bentley). “Automatic,” Platinum‘s kickoff single, was responsible for the remaining pair of nominations, earning nods for Best Country Solo Performance and Best Country Song. “Little Red Wagon” wasn’t in the running this year… but there’s always 2016.