Tracy Chapman and Fast Car - Keep on drivin'

She did win multiple Grammys for Fast Car (and Gimme One Reason, another great tune), back in the day.

Yes, as far as I can tell. I think compulsory means Chapman can’t say no (so he has her tacit permission), but he can’t do anything fancy and she gets most of the money.

Did she? I didn’t think she did. I looked it up just now, and it looks like she won best female vocal performance.

While technically true regarding “Fast Car” specifically, she also won best New Artist and was nominated for all the other major Grammy categories that year (Album, Song, and Record of the Year) plus the album won a genre award category. The album and song were big hits back in the day (the album went to #1 and was 6x platinum in the US while the song made it to #6), were both widely acclaimed on release and still regularly show up on critic best-of lists, and she has millions of monthly streams (inflated by the increased exposure the cover version offered no doubt, but she was hardly struggling before then). She was/is well-regarded and popular as far as older artists go.

It is deeply weird that “Fast Car” won a CMA for an uninteresting cover in 2023, but it’s also not like Chapman never got her flowers until now, which I think is the point @Nightgaunt was making.

I think a bigger issue is how this is being framed in certain places, like the CMAs/country music establishment patting themselves on the back for being progressive by giving their first award to a black songwriter. . . in 2023. Except, as noted, “Fast Car” is not really a country song and the cover is so faithful to it as to not change that beyond it being released by a country artist. Chapman herself seemingly (I’ve not followed her career closely to be fair) has no real connection to country music or the country music industry and the song came out 35 years ago. All this while there are contemporary black country artists who go largely unrecognized by the country music industry.

Musically it might not be country but I think the feeling and story resonates well with the small town country audience. I was in the western part of the Poconos a couple of weeks ago and that song fit right into the small towns around there.

As noted above, Fast Car is a ballad. Its probably fits best under folk or Americana based on sparse instrumentation; many country songs also fit under the same umbrella…

But really I agree with you. It shouldn’t be a deal with the CMA. I do not even think its that great a cover (Chapman’s version is much better to me)

Ok, I just heard this for the first time at a restaurant and wow, what a bullshit cover. It just dude-ified what was already pretty much perfect.

Well, she doesn’t seem to have too much of a problem with it since they’re doing a duet on the Grammy’s. He’s singing and she’s singing and playing guitar. Her voice is still pretty great and she’s looking great too for that matter. Never was my favorite song (possibly because it was everywhere when it first came out) but I do stop down whenever I hear it. Luke’s version or Tracy’s.

I thought they sounded good. It’s such a great song that it’s pretty hard to mess up, even duded up by the country guy.

I don’t think she’s ever had anything but words of support for Combs’s cover. It’s never been particularly easy for people to make money in the music biz, so I have a feeling Tracy is very happy to cash those royalty checks and earn a much-deserved payday for a terrific song. (And more power to her!)

Yeah, I’m not really a fan of the Grammys or Twitter, but the room was getting dusty as I watched this retweet of their performance:
(I would expect that to be taken down soon.)

The country guy seemed very respectful of Tracy Chapman, and even if he probably didn’t need to be on the stage, they made a sweet duet.

The original is untouchable IMHO, but it kinda works as a live duet. Kudos to whomever set that up.

The duo tonight was pretty darn good. Unless you really don’t like the song, I’m not sure how you wouldn’t like that performance.

Yeah, great rendition. The audience was clearly hyped. Happy for Tracy Chapman and her epic tune.

This duet was so special on so many levels. We haven’t seen an official video of Tracy Chapman for 8 years and she’s famously known for not doing live shows for nearly 15 years. Seeing her perform live, now, where I’m at in my life, remembering listening to her on repeat when her first CD came out in 1988, it’s special.

This kind of puts the entire controversy around Luke Comb’s version, to rest IMO. With Chapman doing this duet, and so beautifully with him, this to me just shows that she respected his version so much, she’s willing and wanting to do this duet with him, on stage, live. See above. Huge.

It’s really a great song, and having it done as a duet is something that just plain works. Hard to compare against the original, I think this stands on its own.

The audience reactions were emotional. So much pent up respect, and admiration for a generation, singing along. To be there in that room and see it live. Wow.

Taylor Swift standing and singing along while everyone around her is sitting, like an overeager fangirl desperate to prove her fandom…

But what if her enthusiasm was sincere?

I mean, half the audience or more were standing it looked like so Taytay wasn’t alone.

Great post! I just watched it and it got me emotional too. Art is healing.

Why leap to such a negative interpretation of what was shown?

Perhaps she was swept up in the performance and was thrilled to get the opportunity to see Tracy Chapman sing and play.