Let's be honest; great music isn't defined by awards nominations. There are a huge number of amazingly influential and respected guitar and bass players who never get any kind of official recognition for their songwriting, performance, or recording creations, and yet are still some of the world's favorite musicians . Nevertheless, when the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS) puts out their annual list of nominees for the GRAMMY® awards, it's a pretty big deal, and when we see that some of our ESP family has been honored by their inclusion on that list, we want to be sure we offer them all the congratulations they all deserve.
It's pretty obvious that ESP players have been mentioned nearly every year that the "Best Metal Performance" category has existed. For 2018, the nominees include Code Orange, the Pittsburgh-based metal hardcore band featuring badass ESP player Reba Meyers, who rocks her LTD Viper-1000 on the nominated song "Forever". Also nominated in this category, unsurprisingly: Mastodon, featuring ESP player Bill Kelliher, for the song "Sultan’s Curse". Bill used two of his Signature Series models in the creation of the album: the LTD BK-600 and the LTD Sparrowhawk.
In the "Best Rock Song" category, one of the nominees is perhaps the most honored and recognized bands in the world. Metallica got the nod for the song "Atlas, Rise!", which written by ESP icon James Hetfield along with drummer Lars Ulrich, and performed with fellow ESP legend Kirk Hammett. As you're well aware, James and Kirk both turn to their respective ESP Signature Series guitars in the studio and onstage (though James has recently also taken a liking to the ESP E-II Viper Baritone).
It's going to be a tough choice to pick which ESP-playing band merits the award in the "Best Rock Album" category. Both Emperor Of Sand (by Mastodon) and Hardwired... To Self-Destruct (by Metallica) are terrific collections of heavy music. We'd pick both, if we could (and if the GRAMMY awards cared who we chose, which they don't).
In a completely different area of music, we're always proud that Ron Wood of The Rolling Stones has been an ESP player going back to the 1980s. His Signature Series collection of traditionally-styled but high-performance guitars from ESP are seen onstage at most Stones shows. This year, the band is not nominated in the rock or pop categories; instead they're up for "Best Traditional Blues Album" for Blue & Lonesome. Congrats to Ron, as well as Keith, Mick, and Charlie. Finally, many people don't know that ESP and LTD have a strong spot in the world of reggae music, but this year's nominee for "Best Reggae Album" is Stony Hill by Damian "Jr. Gong” Marley, who regularly turns to ESP-playing bass man Shiah Coore.
The GRAMMYs will air live on Sunday January 28 on CBS.