The nominations for the 56th Annual Grammy Awards have been announced. Taylor Swift has the top nomination connected to country music, earning her second nomination for Album of the Year. She took home the award four years ago for Fearless.
Here are the general category nominees, along with all country and country-related categories:
- Sara Bareilles, The Blessed Unrest
- Daft Punk, Random Access Memories
- Kendrick Lamar, good kid m.A.A.d. city
- Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, The Heist
- Taylor Swift, Red
If Taylor Swift wins, she will be the first country-related artist in history to win the category twice with individual projects. Alison Krauss also has two victories, one for her collaboration with Robert Plant (Raising Sand, 2009), and another for her contributions to the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack (2002.) The award has only been won by country artists in two other years: Glen Campbell for By the Time I Get to Phoenix (1968), and the Dixie Chicks for Taking the Long Way (2007).
- “Blurred Lines” – Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell Williams
- “Get Lucky” – Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams
- “Locked Out of Heaven” – Bruno Mars
- “Radioactive” – Imagine Dragons
- “Royals” – Lorde
For the third time in the last eight years, no country or country-related records make the cut. Only four country-related winners have triumphed in this category, but three of them have been in the last few years. Olivia Newton-John won for “I Honestly Love You” in 1975, followed much later by the Dixie Chicks for “Not Ready to Make Nice” in 2006; Robert Plant & Alison Krauss for “Please Read the Letter” in 2009; and Lady Antebellum for “Need You Now” in 2011.
- “Just Give Me a Reason” – Jeff Bhasker, P!nk, and Nate Reuss
- “Locked out of Heaven” – Phillip Lawrence, Ari Levine, and Bruno Mars
- “Roar” – Lukasz Gottwald, Max Martin, Bonnie McKee, Katy Perry, and Henry Walter
- “Royals” – Joel Little and Lorde
- “Same Love” – Ben Haggerty, Mary Lambert, Ryan Lewis, and Curtis Mayfield
For the third straight year, country is shut out of the top songwriting category, a streak that began after the writers of Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now” won in 2011.
- James Blake
- Kendrick Lamar
- Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
- Kacey Musgraves
- Ed Sheeran
Kacey Musgraves is the latest new artist to represent country music in this category, which has become a nearly annual occurrence since LeAnn Rimes was nominated and won back in 1997. Previous country winners also include Bobbie Gentry (1968), Carrie Underwood (2007) and Zac Brown Band (2010).
- Jason Aldean, Night Train
- Tim McGraw, Two Lanes of Freedom
- Kacey Musgraves, Same Trailer Different Park
- Blake Shelton, Based on a True Story
- Taylor Swift, Red
Despite the presence of four big, established stars, only Taylor Swift has actually earned a victory in this category. She won in 2010 for Fearless. She contended again in 2012 with Speak Now, which lost to repeating victors Lady Antebellum, who won two years in a row for Need You Now (2011) and Own the Night (2012). Kacey Musgraves earns a nomination for her debut album, the first artist do so since 2005, when Gretchen Wilson contended with Here For the Party.
- Lee Brice, “I Drive Your Truck”
- Hunter Hayes, “I Want Crazy”
- Miranda Lambert, “Mama’s Broken Heart”
- Darius Rucker, “Wagon Wheel”
- Blake Shelton, “Mine Would Be You”
Since this category combined the solo categories into one, this award has been one by Taylor Swift (“Mean”) and Carrie Underwood (“Blown Away.”) Lambert is the only previous winner in a predecessor of this category.
- The Civil Wars, “From This Valley”
- Kelly Clarkson featuring Vince Gill, “Don’t Rush”
- Little Big Town, “Your Side of the Bed”
- Tim McGraw with Taylor Swift and Keith Urban, “Highway Don’t Care”
- Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, “You Can’t Make Old Friends”
There’s really only one hit here, but there are plenty of former Grammy winners scattered among this category. In case you’re wondering, the answer is no, they didn’t win a Grammy for “Islands in the Stream.”
- “Begin Again” – Taylor Swift
- “I Drive Your Truck” – Jessi Alexander, Connie Harrington, and Jimmy Yeary
- “Mama’s Broken Heart” – Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally, and Kacey Musgraves
- “Merry Go ‘Round” – Shane McAnally, Kacey Musgraves, and Josh Osborne
- “Mine Would Be You” – Jessi Alexander, Connie Harrington and Deric Ruttan
It’s not too common for people to receive double nominations, but here there are four songwriters competing against themselves: Jessi Alexander, Connie Harrington, Shane McAnally, and Kacey Musgraves.
- “Build Me Up From Bones” – Sarah Jarosz
- “Invisible” – Steve Earle
- “Keep Your Dirty Lights On” – Tim O’Brien and Darrell Scott
- “Love Has Come From You” – Edie Brickell and Steve Martin
- “Shrimp Po-Boy, Dressed” – Allen Touissant
This category is brand new this year, encompassing songs from all of the subcategories in the American Roots field: Americana, bluegrass, blues, folk, and regional roots music.
- Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, Old Yellow Moon
- Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, Love Has Come For You
- Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale, Buddy and Jim
- Mavis Staples, One True Vine
- Allen Touissant, Songbook
Collaborations dominate this category, which is populated with many previous Grammy winners. Emmylou Harris won this award twice, back when it was called Best Contemporary Folk Album.
- The Boxcars, It’s Just a Road
- Dailey & Vincent, Brothers of the Highway
- Della Mae, This World Oft Can Be
- James King, Three Chords and the Truth
- Del McCoury Band, The Streets of Baltimore
Del McCoury Band are the only returning victors in this category, winning back in 2006 for The Company We Keep. Perhaps because of the broad voter base, this category has been dominated by acts with explicit ties to country music, including multiple wins by Ricky Skaggs, Jim Lauderdale, and Alison Krauss & Union Station, and one-off victories by Patty Loveless and Dolly Parton. This year is the second in a row without crossover contenders; last year’s winner was the Steep Canyon Rangers for Nobody Knows You.
- Guy Clark, My Favorite Picture of You
- The Greencards, Sweetheart of the Sun
- Sarah Jarosz, Build Me Up From Bones
- The Milk Carton Kids, The Ash & Clay
- Various Artists, They all Played for Us: Arhoolie Records 50th Anniversary Celebration
A tribute to Guy Clark earned a nomination in this category last year, and now Clark himself is in contention for the prize. None of the acts in contention have won in the folk fields before.
Also of note, the Pistol Annies set Annie Up earned nominations for engineer Chuck Ainlay and mastering engineer Bob Ludwig in the Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical category. It competes against Daft Punk, another album mastered by Ludwig, along with sets by Alice in Chains, Queens of the Stone Age, Andrew Duhon, and Madeline Payroux.