Ramblin: Joni Mitchell, Tracy Chapman to perform at 66th Grammy Awards

Feb. 4—Classic rockers, along with a sprinkling of classic country artists are among those nominated for 2024 Grammy Awards — although they are spread across a number of categories.

This year's 2024 awards, or the 66th Grammy Awards as they are officially called, is set for broadcast on CBS on Sunday, Feb. 4, from 7 p.m. until 10:30 p.m. and will also be available on Paramount+.

I'm especially looking forward to two performances that have been announced for the Grammy Awards, including another return to the stage by the great Joni Mitchell, whose live album "Joni Mitchell At Newport" is nominated for Best Folk Album.

Mitchell's many fans feared they might never see her perform again after a brain aneurysm in 2015 left her unable to walk or talk, much less to play guitar, piano or sing.

Her indomitable spirit though, resulted in Mitchell fighting her way back, leading to a surprise appearance and performance at the Newport Folk Festival on June 24, 2022, as part of a loose ensemble billed only as Brandi Carlile and Friends.

A live recording of that Newport performance was released in the album that's up for a Grammy Award on Sunday night. Mitchell has since made a few more concert appearances, and now has two October shows booked at the Hollywood Bowl.

I haven't seen any release regarding Mitchell's billed Grammy Awards show performance. On the "Live at Newport" album, Mitchell was often accompanied by a group of singers and musicians which included Carlile, Marcus Mumford and Wynonna Judd.

However, she did perform a solo of George Gershwin's "Summertime" and even played guitar on an instrumental version of her own song "Just Like This Train."

It will be interesting to see if she again performs as part of a singing ensemble Sunday night, or does a solo vocal.

That's only one of the performances I'm looking forward to Sunday night.

Another anticipated performance is a duet of country singer Luke Combs and Tracy Chapman coming together on the song "Fast Car" — the song first written and recorded by Chapman in 1988 and then taken to the top of the country charts by Combs in a 2023 cover version, which also hit #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Combs' version won the Single of the Year and the Song of the Year awards from the Country Music Association, making Chapman the first Black female artist to win a major county music songwriting award.

Chapman did not accept the award in-person and instead sent a written message.

"I'm sorry I couldn't join you all tonight," Chapman said in her written statement to the CMA." She said it was truly an honor for her song to be recognized 35 years after its debut. "Thank you to the CMAs and a special thanks to Luke and all of the fans of 'Fast Car.'"

Combs told the CMA audience that "Fast Car" has been his favorite song since he was 4 years old.

Some of Chapman's other hits include "Give Me One Reason," Crossroads" and "Baby Can I Hold You."

She's won four previous Grammy Awards, with 13 total nominations.

Classic rockers aren't among nominees for Album of the Year honors this time around — that's a category dominated by younger female artists this year.

Instead, classic rockers are nominated in all sorts of places among the 94 (94!) categories set to be recognized by the Grammy Awards this year.

That doesn't even include all of the extra awards such as the Lifetime Achievement Award that's going to Gladys Knight this year. I didn't see any mention of the Pips, though, who accompanied Knight on many of her biggest hits.

Album of the Year nominees are:

—Miley Cyrus, for "Endless Summer Vacation"

—boygenius — the all-female group consisting of Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus — for "The Record"

—Lana Del Rey, for "Did You Know There's A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd."

—Olivio Rodrigo for "Guts"

—Taylor Swift (of course), for "Midnights"

—John Batiste is the lone male artist nominated for Album of the Year, for "World Music Radio."

While the Album of the Year winner will no doubt be elated with the Grammy Award, I'll best contestants in the other categories will be pleased when they win as well.

Simply because the Grammy Awards are being telecast Sunday night doesn't necessarily mean everyone will see their favorite artists. With so many categories being honored, some awards will be distributed in advance.

Others will not be deemed worthy of the prime time telecast by television executives, with more time in recent years set aside for live performances.

As long as they include artists such as Mitchell, Chapman and Combs, that's fine with me.