On Thursday, December 6, the final nominees for the 50th Annual Grammy Awards will be announced. This show can be difficult to handicap, given the wide breadth of music that is in the running. The country categories in particular always hold surprises, with mainstream acts nominated along with legends that have been off the radio for a generation, not to mention bluegrass, Americana and alternative country acts.
There are usually some country nominees in some of the big four categories as well: Album, Record, Song and Best New Artist. One thing’s for certain: country music is unlikely to have a night like last year again, where genre acts swept the big four for the first time in history.
Here’s a look at some of the country artists who might be invited to the party this year. Feel free to comment on anyone you think I’ve missed!
Last year’s Best New Artist also took home Best Country Vocal Performance, Female for “Jesus, Take the Wheel.” This year, she’s a contender in that category again for “Before He Cheats”, which has a shot at a Record of the Year nomination, too.
Many are predicting that she will score a Best New Artist nomination. She would be the fourth consecutive country act to score a nod in that race, following Carrie Underwood, Sugarland and Gretchen Wilson. She’s also a contender for Best Country Album, Best Country Female and Best Country Song.
He won his eighteenth Grammy last year for “The Reasons Why,” the lead single from his ambitious These Days. That set is eligible for Best Country Album. Depending on where he submitted it, he’s also likely to get a nod for “What You Give Away” in the Male or Collaboration race.
This twenty-time winner may pop up all over the ballot this year. Her collaboration with John Waite could score a nod, and so could the lead single from her album with Robert Plant, though the album itself won’t be eligible until the 2009 Grammys. “Simple Love” should also score a nod for either Best Female or Best Duo/Group, again depending on how it was submitted.
His 2005 album Love, Pain and the Whole Crazy Thing should score him a Best Country Album nomination. I’d expect him in the Male race as well, for either “Stupid Boy” or “I Told You So.”
The lead singles from her last six albums have scored a Best Country Female nod, so I expect her to be nominated in that race for the title track from her new album, Heaven, Heartache and the Power of Love. That album missed the deadline, so it will have to wait until next year. All seven of Trisha’s eligible albums have scored Best Country Album nods, so don’t be surprised if she’s up for that award again in 2009.
Brad’s been nominated for Best Country Album in the past, and might be in the running again this year. It’s conceivable that one of his novelty singles (“Ticks”, “Online”) could also score a nod or two.
The country shows have been overlooking him lately, but he’s likely to score nods in the genre races for Best Male, Best Album and Best Collaboration (“I Need You.”)
The downside to sweeping the Grammys is that you’re ineligible next year for anything from the same album. However, last year’s belles of the ball put out a limited release digital single in February for “The Neighbor”, a track newly recorded for the documentary Shut Up & Sing. In 2006, the Chicks scored two nods for their digital release “I Hope”, so it wouldn’t be shocking to find “The Neighbor” nominated this year for Best Country Duo/Group.
So there’s my list. Who’s missing?