Grammy Awards 2013: Staff Picks and Predictions

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February 8, 2013

Grammy 2013We’re only two days away from the annual event billed as Music’s Biggest Night – the 55th Grammy Awards.  Among the live performances scheduled for the night, the country music genre will be represented by the likes of Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert, and Carrie Underwood.  In addition, genre favorite Zac Brown is scheduled to participate in a star-studded tribute to the late Levon Helm along with Elton John, Mumford & Sons, Mavis Staples, and Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes, while T. Bone Burnett will as musical director for the tribute performance.

We at Country Universe have busily pored over the list of this year’s nominees, and now we’re pleased to share our picks and predictions for the all-genre, country, and country-adjacent award categories.  Do you agree?  Do you disagree?  Share your thoughts in the comments section, and tell us who you think will emerge victorious.  Tune in for the live broadcast on Sunday, February 10 at 8:00 pm Eastern on CBS.  We will be live blogging the show here at Country Universe, and we hope you will drop by and join in the fun.

Album of the Year:mumford and sons babel

Should Win:

  • The Black Keys, El Camino Sam
  • fun., Some Nights - Kevin
  • Mumford & Sons, Babel
  • Frank Ocean, Channel Orange - Dan
  • Jack White, Blunderbuss

Will Win:

  • The Black Keys, El Camino
  • fun., Some Nights
  • Mumford & Sons, Babel - Kevin, Dan, Sam, Ben
  • Frank Ocean, Channel Orage
  • Jack White, Blunderbuss

Kevin:  I think that Mumford & Sons hit the Grammy sweet spot, and would already have a pair of general category trophies if they hadn’t been nominated during the year of Adele.   I like the point of view presented on the fun. album.

Ben:  I have no rationale for who should win, but I can’t see this going to anyone but Mumford & Sons.

Dan:  I’d love to see Ocean take it for his zeitgeister, and wouldn’t count out his and fun.’s chances.  But Mumford have the broadest appeal in a fairly niche-y pool.

Sam:  It’s more of an award for Sigh No More, which was really good, than it is for Babel, which was good but seemed like a holding pattern.  But I think Mumford & Sons take it.

Record of the Year:Gotye_featuring_Kimbra_-_Somebody_That_I_Used_to_Know

Should Win:

  • The Black Keys, “Lonely Boy”
  • Kelly Clarkson, “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)”
  • fun., “We Are Young” - Kevin
  • Gotye featuring Kimbra, “Somebody That I Used to Know” - Dan, Sam, Ben, Tara
  • Frank Ocean, “Thinkin’ ‘Bout You”
  • Taylor Swift, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”

Will Win:

  • The Black Keys, “Lonely Boy”
  • Kelly Clarkson, “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” - Kevin
  • fun., “We Are Young”
  • Gotye featuring Kimbra – “Somebody That I Used to Know” - Dan, Sam, Ben, Tara
  • Frank Ocean, “Thinkin’ ‘Bout You”
  • Taylor Swift, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”

Kevin:  This is a hard year to handicap, so I’m assuming that Kelly Clarkson’s name recognition with a wide number of voters will put her over the top.

Ben:  Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger” is the one that I enjoy listening to the most, but “Somebody That I Used to Know” is the one that strikes me as having the most staying power.

Dan:  “We Are Young” could spoil, but Gotye’s hit is already a classic.

Sam:  I couldn’t turn on a Top 40 station

and not hear the Goyte song, even more so than the fun. and Swift songs.  A song that’s unique compared to the rest of the pop universe seems tailor-made for Grammy success.

Tara:  “Somebody That I Used to Know” is one of those rare hits that captures an emotion so uniquely yet so universally.  I think it’ll nab the award based on memorability.

Song of the Year:Carly_Rae_Jepsen_-_Call_Me_Maybe

Should Win:

  • “The A Team” – Ed Sheeran
  • “Adorn” – Miguel Pimentel
  • “Call Me Maybe” – Tavish Crowe, Carly Rae Jepsen, & Josh Ramsay - Kevin, Dan, Ben, Tara
  • “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” – Jörgen Elofsson, David Gamson, Greg Kurstin & Ali Tamposi
  • “We Are Young” – Jack Antonoff, Jeff Bhasker, Andrew Dost, and Nate Ruess – Sam

Will Win:

  • “The A Team” – Ed Sheeran - Kevin, Tara
  • “Adorn” – Miguel Pimentel
  • “Call Me Maybe” – Tavish Crowe, Carly Rae Jepsen, & Josh Ramsay - Ben
  • “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” - Jörgen Elofsson, David Gamson, Greg Kurstin & Ali Tamposi
  • “We Are Young” – Jack Antonoff, Jeff Bhasker, Andrew Dost, & Nate Ruess - Dan, Sam

Kevin:  “The A Team” seems like Grammy catnip.  I don’t think there’s a truly great song nominated, but I do think that teenybopper pop anthems are more  difficult to craft than is usually acknowledged.

Ben:  From a purely fannish perspective, there’s nothing that can topple my undying love for “Call Me Maybe.”  But even with that tempered, I still consider Jepsen’s ubiquitous summer smash to be a well-written, memorable, and deceptively creative song with a hook that’s pure pop magic, so… Grammy maybe?

Dan:  Though Carly Rae doesn’t command the same level of respect as Beyoncé, I think “Call Me Maybe” could win for the same reason “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” did a few years ago.  It’s a universally liked song that really should be up for Record, but strangely isn’t – so voters could turn here to reward it instead. But fun.’s anthem is a little easier to take seriously, so…

Tara:  What the boys said.  Confused that it’s nominated for “Song,” but nonetheless impressed by Jepsen’s smart, shameless approach to pop music.

Best New Artist:frank ocean

Should Win:

  • Alabama Shakes
  • fun.
  • Hunter Hayes
  • The Lumineers - Sam
  • Frank Ocean - Kevin, Dan

Will Win:

  • Alabama Shakes
  • fun.
  • Hunter Hayes
  • The Lumineers - Kevin, Sam
  • Frank Ocean - Dan

Kevin:  Voting has been going on while the Lumineers are peaking  with “Ho Hey”, so I’ll give them the edge.  But Ocean seems to be the talent built best for long-term success.

Dan:  As Bon Iver and pre-21 Adele proved, It helps to have nominations in the general fields when you’re up for New Artist but not yet universally known.  I think that makes it a battle between fun. and Ocean – and I’d wager the latter will rally more support.

Sam:  Unless 10 million teenage girls infiltrated the Grammy voter ranks this year, I don’t see Hunter Hayes winning this one.  Considering the Best New Artist award has been going to the most obscure artist nominated, I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Alabama Shakes win.

Best Country Solo Performance:Carrie Underwood Blown Away Single

Should Win:

  • Dierks Bentley, “Home” - Leeann
  • Eric Church, “Springsteen”
  • Ronnie Dunn, “Cost of Livin’” - Dan, Sam, Jonathan
  • Hunter Hayes, “Wanted”
  • Blake Shelton, “Over”
  • Carrie Underwood, “Blown Away” - Kevin, Ben, Tara

Will Win:

  • Dierks Bentley, “Home”
  • Eric Church, “Springsteen” - Leeann
  • Ronnie Dunn, “Cost of Livin’”
  • Hunter Hayes, “Wanted”
  • Blake Shelton, “Over”
  • Carrie Underwood, “Blown Away” - Kevin, Dan, Sam, Jonathan, Ben, Tara

Kevin: I don’t think it’s even close.  Underwood’s performance blows all the competition away.

Ben:  It’s hard to choose between Dunn and Underwood, but for me the latter has the edge.  Underwood has always had a strong, powerful voice, but “Blown Away” finds her using it more effectively than ever before.  It’s as if she’s finally realized that she’s capable of more than just power notes – that she can use her voice to imbue added layers of emotion and complexity to an already striking song.  At any rate, I think she’s the most likely winner – with Underwood’s Grammy record, this category is her turf.

Dan:  In my dreams, Dunn takes it for a terrific single that flew sadly under the radar.  But Underwood’s performance is one of the best of her career so far, and this will be her most deserved win in this category.

Jonathan:  Ignoring the fact (as the voters did) that it should’ve been eligible last year, Dunn’s graceful, understated turn on the best-written song here is easily the class of this field.  But if Underwood could beat far more deserving competition to win for “Last Name,” there’s no reason to think she can’t win again for something significantly better, especially when she stands out even further as the only woman nominated against five men.  Any other outcome would be a huge surprise.

Leeann:  I’d be happy with a win for Dierks Bentley, Ronnie Dunn or Eric Church, but I feel Church has had a great year, though I wouldn’t be surprised if young Hunter Hayes took this one in the end.

Sam:  Sorry Blake, but the Grammy Awards doesn’t have the same incentive to heap awards on you as half of country music’s top power duo that the CMAs and ACMs have.  I don’t think any of the other nominees have the same visibility as Carrie Underwood.

Tara:  “Cost of Livin’” is far and away the best song in this category, but Underwood’s performance is the most intriguing.  I’m not as convinced as the others that Underwood’s a shoo-in, but she’s my best guess.

Best Country Duo/Group Performance:Don Williams Alison Krauss I Just Came Here for the Music

Should Win:

  • Eli Young Band, “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” - Sam
  • Little Big Town, “Pontoon”
  • Taylor Swift featuring The Civil Wars, “Safe & Sound” - Leeann
  • The Time Jumpers, “On the Outskirts of Town”
  • Don Williams featuring Alison Krauss, “I Just Come Here for the Music” - Kevin, Dan, Jonathan, Ben, Tara

Will Win:

  • Eli Young Band, “Even If It Breaks Your Heart”
  • Little Big Town, “Pontoon”
  • Taylor Swift featuring The Civil Wars, “Safe & Sound” - Leeann
  • The Time Jumpers, “On the Outskirts of Town” - Sam
  • Don Williams featuring Alison Krauss, “I Just Come Here for the Music” - Kevin, Dan, Jonathan, Ben, Tara

Kevin:  Because it’s Alison Krauss, who has seven wins already in the history of the two categories that have been combined into this one for the past two years.  Great performances by two legends of the genre.

Ben:  A formidable lineup indeed, but my favorite record of this lot is “I Just Come Here for the Music,” which is nothing short of a classic performance.  That aside, Alison Krauss is one of the biggest Grammy magnets in history, so I imagine the voters would gravitate toward her name anyway.

Dan: Can’t count out Little Big Town’s commercial breakthrough or the Swift-Wars combo.  But I’m still voting with the pack.

Jonathan:  Top-to-bottom, this may be the strongest set of nominees in any of the 5,749 categories this year, and it’s a great example of how and why the ACMs and CMAs should combine their duo and group categories to trim the fat.  But that also makes for a tough prediction, with two big commercial hits from Eli Young Band and Little Big Town squaring off against two of Grammy-voters’ all-time favorite artists (Krauss, Vince Gill as part of The Time Jumpers), leaving the lovely collaboration between Swift and the Civil Wars, both of whom have solid Grammy track records.  This really could go to any of the five – and none would be an outright terrible choice – but it’s foolhardy to bet against Krauss.

Leeann:  The popularity of The Hunger Games movie paired with the continued popularity of Taylor Swift, not to mention the cool factor of The Civil Wars, makes this a sure win.

Sam:  It’s a Grammy favorite (Alison Krauss) and a veteran singer who may not get another nomination (Don Williams).  That’s like heroin to voters.

Tara:  Strong set.  I’ll put my vote and money behind the most charming of the collaborations.

Best Country Song:Springsteen_single Eric Church

Should Win:

  • “Blown Away” – Josh Kear & Chris Tompkins
  • “Cost of Livin’” – Phillip Coleman & Ronnie Dunn - Leeann
  • Even If It Breaks Your Heart” – Will Hoge & Eric Paslay - Dan
  • “So You Don’t Have to Love Me Anymore” – Jay Knowles & Adam Wright - Kevin, Jonathan, Ben, Tara
  • “Springsteen” – Eric Church, Jeff Hyde, & Ryan Tyndell

Will Win:

  • “Blown Away” – Josh Kear & Chris Tompkins - Kevin, Dan
  • “Cost of Livin’” – Phillip Coleman & Ronnie Dunn
  • “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” – Will Hoge & Eric Paslay
  • “So You Don’t Have to Love Me Anymore” – Jay Knowles & Adam Wright
  • “Springsteen” – Eric Church, Jeff Hyde, & Ryan Tyndell - Sam, Jonathan, Ben, Tara, Leeann

Kevin:  I think “Blown Away” will win because it’s topical and it’s performed by Carrie Underwood.  The recent history of the category has been winning by writing a big  thematic number and/or writing for a crossover star.  My personal favorite is  “So You Don’t Have to Love Me Anymore,” which is my favorite country single from the past few years.

Ben:  I believe any one of these nominees would make a worthy winner for Best Country Song, but “So You Don’t Have to Love Me Anymore” is easily the one that impacts me the hardest.

Dan:  Another category stacked with five legitimately strong nominees, two of which weren’t hits; it reminds you why the Grammys were once the class of the country music awards, and makes you hope they can be again.  The Will Hoge/Eric Paslay co-write is my personal favorite, but I’ll be content with any winner here.

Jonathan:  Though it would be my choice here without reservation, “So You Don’t Have to Love Me Anymore” isn’t nominated elsewhere, which the other four songs all have in their favor, so it’s probably the longest-shot to win.  Based on the broad crossover appeal that, as Kevin said, usually wins in this category, this one likely comes down to “Blown Away” and “Springsteen.”  Grammy voters have never been shy about showing their love for The Boss, a fact that works in Church’s favor.  That Church is both the songwriter and performer on his track will likely give “Springsteen” the edge with enough voters who get hung up about whether or not that kind of thing matters over the Underwood hit.

Leeann:  I just can’t fight the feeling that Eric Church will continue his good run.

Tara:  I’d be happy with any of these, but the quietly potent “So You Don’t Have to Love Me Anymore” has my heart.  I think Church may take this based on both his rising star and the strength of The Boss.

Best Country Album:jamey johnson living for a song

Should Win:

  • Zac Brown Band, Uncaged - Jonathan
  • Hunter Hayes, Hunter Hayes
  • Jamey Johnson, Living for a Song:  A Tribute to Hank Cochran - Kevin, Dan, Sam, Ben, Tara, Leeann
  • Miranda Lambert, Four the Record
  • The Time Jumpers, The Time Jumpers

Will Win:

  • Zac Brown Band, Uncaged
  • Hunter Hayes, Hunter Hayes - Kevin
  • Jamey Johnson, Living for a Song:  A Tribute to Hank Cochran
  • Miranda Lambert, Four the Record - Dan, Jonathan, Ben, Tara
  • The Time Jumpers, The Time Jumpers - Sam, Leeann

Kevin:  I only find the Johnson and Hayes sets interesting.  I think Hayes’ higher profile will help him win.  Underwood’s lack of a nomination is a shame, but also makes the competition a bit more unpredictable.

Ben:  The Time Jumpers album is a hard one for me to pass over, but between the tracklist of Hank Cochran classics, and the who’s who of legendary talent behind the mic, Living for a Song is just too much to resist.  There’s no clear frontrunner for who will win, but my gut says that voters will seize the opportunity to recognize Lambert.

Jonathan:  I was glad to see the voters’ restraint and good taste in passing over Lambert in the Solo Performance and Song categories for either of the two worst singles of her entire career, but I think she’s still likely the favorite to win in this category.  There’s some sentiment that she’s due here, after Crazy Ex-Girlfriend failed to score a nomination and Revolution indefensibly lost to Lady Antebellum.  Though it’s by far her weakest album by several orders of magnitude, Four the Record would still trump some of the recent winners in this category in terms of quality, even if it’s only the fourth-best album nominated this year.

Leeann:  I’d be very happy if either Johnson or The Time Jumpers won, but I’m thinking Vince Gill will help The Time Jumpers have an edge, since Grammy voters have been historically supportive of him.

Sam:  I think enough Grammy voters will have figured out that Vince Gill is in The Time Jumpers, which is almost as compelling to them as an Alison Krauss nomination.  I love the Jamey Johnson but can’t see it getting enough support.

Tara:  I’m enamored by the Johnson album, but agree with the rest that Lambert is likely the voters’ favorite.  Four the Record is an odd one for me; what was once my favorite album of the year is now somewhat unlistenable.  I can’t figure it out.

Best Americana Album:bonnie raitt slipstream

Should Win:

  • The Avett Brothers, The Carpenter
  • John Fullbright, From the Ground Up
  • The Lumineers, The Lumineers - Sam
  • Mumford & Sons, Babel
  • Bonnie Raitt, Slipstream - Jonathan, Leeann, Ben

Will Win:

  • The Avett Brothers, The Carpenter
  • John Fullbright, From the Ground Up
  • The Lumineers, The Lumineers - Leeann
  • Mumford & Sons, Babel - Sam, Jonathan, Dan, Ben
  • Bonnie Raitt, Slipstream

Ben:  Slipstream is my favorite of this lot, but is it any match for the red-hot momentum of Mumford & Sons?  I doubt it.

Jonathan:  The Raitt album is uneven (and not a particularly good fit for this category), but its spectacular opening run of four songs is still far, far stronger than anything on any of the other four albums combined.  Given the Album of the Year nod in the general field, though, there’s no way Babel loses this one.

Leeann:  I wouldn’t be surprised if either the Lumineers or Mumford and Sons took this considering the big buzz around them, but Bonnie Raitt’s quality, though more under the radar, album seems most deserving to me.

Sam:  Not a super-strong category, as there are a few albums that are good, not great.  The Lumineers is probably the best of the bunch with catchy tune after catchy tune, but Mumford & Sons gets the name recognition.

Best Bluegrass Album:Noam Pikelny Beat the Devil and Carry a Rail

Should Win:

  • Dailey & Vincent, The Gospel Side Of
  • The Grascals, Life Finds a Way
  • Noam Pikelny, Beat the Devel and Carry a Rail - Jonathan
  • Special Consensus, Scratch Gravel Road
  • Steep Canyon Rangers, Nobody Knows You

Will Win:

  • Dailey & Vincent, The Gospel Side Of
  • The Grascals, Life Finds a Way - Jonathan
  • Noam Pikelny, Beat the Devil and Carry a Rail
  • Special Consensus, Scratch Gravel Road
  • Steep Canyon Rangers, Nobody Knows You

Jonathan:  Pikelny’s album was one of my favorites from 2011, so its nomination is one of the most pleasant surprises on the Grammy ballot.  A win isn’t out of the question, either:  This category can go anywhere in a Krauss-less year.  The Grascals and Dailey & Vincent are the two biggest “names” in the field, but it’s questionable whether or not there’s a huge amount of overlap between the Grammy voters and the diners at Cracker Barrel, where the Dailey & Vincent set was an in-store exclusive album.

Best Folk Album:220px-The_goat_rodeo_sessions

Should Win:

  • Carolina Chocolate Drops, Leaving Eden
  • Ry Cooder, Election Special
  • Luther Dickinson, HamboneG’s Meditations
  • Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, & Chris Thile, The Goat Rodeo Sessions – Sam, Jonathan, Leeann
  • Various Artists, This One’s for Him:  A Tribute to Guy Clark

Will Win:

  • Carolina Chocolate Drops, Leaving Eden
  • Ry Cooder, Election Special
  • Luther Dickinson, HamboneG’s Meditations
  • Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, & Chris Thile, The Goat Rodeo Sessions - Sam, Jonathan
  • Various Artists, This One’s for Him:  A Tribute to Guy Clark

Jonathan:  The Goat Rodeo album seems like Grammy-bait that’s almost too good to be true.  Even if the album weren’t as impressive as it is, the pedigree alone would make it the presumptive frontrunner here.  Still, this is a very strong line-up overall:  Dickinson, though he’s a terrific guitarist, is the only nominee out of the five who would be a surprising (though not undeserving) winner, based upon his comparatively lower profile.

Leeann:   I can’t even venture a guess on who will win this category.  I’d be happy for The Guy Clark tribute album or the Carolina Chocolate Drops to win, but my personal favorite is the crisp, bright Goat Rodeo Sessions album.

Sam:  It would be a toss-up between the Carolina Chocolate Drops and the Guy Clark tribute, as both were just excellent.  The tribute album probably gets the nod just because the songs were matched so perfectly to the singers, which is no small feat.  However, the star power on Goat Rodeo Sessions is tough to beat.

 

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Category: Grammys

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  1. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    Looks like I’m alone on a lot of these, but I easily concede to my more knowledgeable cohorts when it comes to Grammy Awards.

    I have to say that the Lambert album has actually grown on me over time, though it’s still her least quality album.

  2. JoJoNo Gravatar says:

    ok Leeann I gotta ask…what is about Carrie Underwood you’re not crazy about??

  3. bobNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t plan on watching the show but there are a few artists I would like to see win:

    Country Solo – Ronnie Dunn
    Duo/group performance – Don Williams w AK
    Best Country Song – Cost of Livin’
    Country album – Uncaged

  4. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    JoJo, I knew you’d say something about Carrie Underwood as soon as I saw that you’d commented.:)Ironically, I just bought two Underwood songs today. I think she’s a great person (I appreciate her open minded stance on gay rights and she seems very genuine) and very talented. Also, I think she does a great job of hosting the CMAs and puts Brad Paisley to shame there (and I’m not quick to praise a CMA host since Vince Gill.). But pop country generally isn’t my taste. I know she does it well though. I do love “Do You Think About Me”, because it’s quite stripped down. With that being said, I’ve grown to appreciate “Blown Away” and “Two Cadillacs”, which are the two songs that I bought today. In fact, I think her performance of “BlownAway” at the CMAs was one of the best of the night. So, there’s hope for me yet. I’m coming around.

  5. Michael A.No Gravatar says:

    I don’t dislike Carrie Underwood, but really… she doesn’t do it for me either. Her songs seem too safe, too polished, too calculated and, frankly, they bore me. For me, they lack real personality and grit and I’m not sure what all the fuss is about. Her best singles, to me, are the equivalent of forgotten album tracks on one of my favorite 90s diva’s albums.

  6. WyattNo Gravatar says:

    They keep mentioning how people’s love of the boss will win Eric Church the award, but the song really has little to do with him. If he wins, it’ll be due to the great song craft rather than the bruce mention.

  7. JakeNo Gravatar says:

    I want “Four The Record” to win to make up for “Need You Know Winning”. What I don’t get is how an Album like “Own The Night” can win but “Blown Away” doesn’t even get a nomination? Oh well. I’d love to see “So You Don’t Have To Love Me Anymore” when song of the year though.

  8. WyattNo Gravatar says:

    Why all the praise for “Call Me Maybe”? CU keeps on complimenting it on its “smart, shameless approach to pop.” Since when do we reward calculated mediocrity? Why is it when country artists emulate pop, you guys all decry them, but when a pop artist shovels out garbage, you can’t get enough of it?

  9. GatorNo Gravatar says:

    @Wyatt What is so mediocre about “Call Me Maybe” it is actually quite excellent. It is a level of catchiness that is hard to obtain, a sonic approach that is sugary sweet like bubblegum pop is supposed to be without becoming a blatant attempt at that, and above all else actually captures an emotion in an unfiltered emotional manner. That song sums up falling head over heels spontaneously with every fiber of it’s being.

  10. WyattNo Gravatar says:

    The song is mediocre due to a number of reasons. First I’ll concede the fact that the song is catchy, but then again so is yellow fever. A song is much more than just a hook. I guess what most annoys me about the song is that it inspires nothing more than to be universally consumed, then forgotten. A song can be fun, a song can be lighthearted, but don’t serve me blandness. Lastly, she rhymes “crazy” with “maybe.” But you know what does rhyme with “Crazy”? “Lazy”, as in “lazy songwriting.”

  11. Martin Hyatt in NYNo Gravatar says:

    I find the shift in mainstream music towards folk/Americana fascinating. I think this will be evident in tonight’s show with such artists highly represented. When I went home to visit my family at Christmas, I was channel flipping and it all sounded so different than say, a couple of years ago. It sounded much less dance pop, teen beat influenced music. It was all Mumford and Sons, and Lumineers, and other folk-tinged music, including that Phillip Phillips song. I am a total pop culture watcher, and I think it’s such an interesting shift. Williamsburg-esque looking, bearded hipster, country-folk influenced musicians influenced by Lucinda Williams and Steve Earle will be all over the place at the awards tonight. Even though their music isn’t loud, Americana acts have been cutting the edge and have much more punch than many.

  12. Paul W DennisNo Gravatar says:

    I doubt that I’ll watch the show, and some of the songs in the pop categories I’m not to familiar with (and if I never hear the treacly “Call Me Maybe” again, that will be fine with me).

    I have all the albums in the Country Albums category – the Lambert and Hayes albums are mediocre at best (Lambert’s Pistol Annies project was much better than her solo album, and the only people I know who really like the Hayes album seem to be adolescent girls)and the Zac Brown album, while good, isn’t great. Either the Time Jumpers or Jamey Johnson would be a worth winner, and both albums are much better albums than recent Grammy winners in this category

    I agree with Leann that Dierks Bentley’s home was the outstanding Solo Country Performance this year but Ronnie Dunn’s “Cost of Livin’ ” would also be a worthy winner.

    The Bluegrass Album should go to The Gospel Side of Dailey & Vincent. It’s a very strong album. Dailey & Vincent have pulled alongside of Rhonda Vincent as the best act in the genre

    I think the Folk is easily the strongest category this year (among the ones discussed here). I didn’t think Cooder’s album was as good as some of his prior efforts but the other four are all service aces. I think I’d go with the CCD’s Leaving Eden, but it’s a close call.

  13. KentNo Gravatar says:

    I’ve noticed the same thing Martin Hyatt. There always seems to be a few folk/Americana songs doing well these days, whether it’s the Lumineers, Imagine Dragons, etc.

    It becomes really clear when you look at Billboard’s top 5 songs of 2012:
    1. Somebody I Used to Know
    2. Call Me Maybe
    3. We Are Young
    4. Payphone
    5. Lights

    I’m bad at slotting things into genres, but I would argue that “Somebody”, “Young”, and “Lights” are not the usual pop fare and are a sign of change.

  14. Ben FosterNo Gravatar says:

    Why is it when country artists emulate pop, you guys all decry them, but when a pop artist shovels out garbage, you can’t get enough of it?

    I won’t try to continue building a case for “Call Me Maybe,” since it’s clear that we fundamentally disagree on it, but I don’t believe the above statement truly applies to the Country Universe staff. ‘Decrying’ country artists for emulating pop is not our approach, but rather we have a long history of recognizing and praising great pop-country records. You will note that our lists of Top Singles and Albums of 2012 includes many pop-oriented efforts such as “Cruise,” “Good Girl,” “Springsteen,” “Beer Money,” and several others.

  15. JoJoNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks for the explanation Leeann! :) What do you think of songs like Someday When I Stop Loving You and Wine After Whiskey?

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