Grammys

The 51st Annual Grammy Awards: Keeping It Country (Staff Favorites)

February 6, 2009 // 6 Comments

The second article in our Grammy Awards series, our personal favorites in the country categories at this year’s ceremony. Best Country Album Jamey Johnson, That Lonesome Song Patty Loveless, Sleepless Nights  (Blake, Leeann) George Strait, Troubadour Randy Travis, Around the Bend Trisha Yearwood, Heaven, Heartache and the Power of Love  (Dan, Kevin, Lynn) Blake: Strait’s collection is a mixed bag of middlebrow art with the occasional glimpse at his right-as-rain Texas style. Excepting Troubadour, these discs are highwater marks for the genre. Johnson and Loveless finished one-two on my 2008 list, but I’ll root for Loveless to win a long-awaited solo Grammy. Dan: I actually think Johnson made the best album, but Yearwood’s is my second-favorite, and she’s long overdue. Kevin: It’s a strong field overall, but Yearwood’s album is the most cohesive. She’s the greatest female album artist since Emmylou Harris, yet she’s never won an album award. It’s Read More

The 51st Annual Grammy Awards: Keeping It Country (Staff Predictions)

February 6, 2009 // 5 Comments

In a nod towards diversity, the General Field nominees for the 51st annual Grammy Awards include a shepherd’s pie of musical genres, with Brit soul ingenues (Adele, Duffy) against American pop trios (Jonas Bros., Lady A), Brit pop bands (Coldplay, Radiohead) against American rappers (Ne-Yo, Lil’ Wayne), all with a Brit rock legend (Robert Plant) lording over them. While it’s hard to argue the breadth of recent nominees in these categories, their depth is always up for discussion (see: Herbie Hancock, 2008 Album of the Year; Ray Charles, 2005 Record of the Year). The country field is filled with critical faves. George Strait enjoys the strongest across-the-board success in his estimable career, newcomer Jamey Johnson is lauded for his neo-outlaw soul, and Randy Travis, Patty Loveless and Trisha Yearwood continue Grammy’s trend of nominating veterans alongside newer artists. The staff of Country Universe have chosen their personal favorites and predictions for this year’s Grammy Read More

Grammy Flashback: Best Female Country Vocal Performance

January 25, 2009 // 23 Comments

Revised and Updated for 2009 While the Grammys have honored country music from the very first ceremony in 1959, they did not begin honoring by gender until 1965, when the country categories were expanded along with the other genre categories. This is a look back at the Best Female Country Vocal Performance category. It was first awarded in 1965, an included single competing with albums until the Best Country Album category was added in 1995. When an album is nominated, it is in italics, and a single track is in quotation marks. I’ve often made the case that female artists were making the best music in the 1990s, and the Grammys did a great job nominating songs and albums that were ignored at the CMA and ACM awards, which is not surprising, given that those shows have so few categories that are actually for songs and albums. As usual, we Read More

Grammy Flashback: Best Male Country Vocal Performance

January 19, 2009 // 10 Comments

Updated for 2009 While the Grammys have honored country music from the very first ceremony in 1959, they did not begin honoring by gender until 1965, when the country categories were expanded along with the other genre categories. This year, the 45th trophy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance will be awarded. In a continuation of our Grammy Flashback series, here is a rundown of the Best Country Vocal Performance, Male category. It was first awarded in 1965, and included singles competing with albums until the Best Country Album category was added in 1995. When an album is nominated, it is in italics, and a single track is in quotation marks. As usual, we start with a look at this year’s nominees and work our way back. Be sure to vote in My Kind of Country’s Best Male Country Vocal Performance poll and let your preference for this year’s race be known! Read More

Grammy Flashback: Best Country Album

January 17, 2009 // 23 Comments

A look back at the previous winners and nominees of the Best Country Album Grammy, updated to include the 2009 contenders. The Grammys have been doing better in the country categories since they reintroduced the Best Country Album category in 1995, which had only been in existence for two years in the 1960s. Prior to 1995, albums and singles were both eligible in the vocalist categories, so full albums would compete against single tracks in Best Male Country Vocal Performance,  for example. Looking over the history of this fairly young category, you can see trends emerge, with certain acts clearly being favorites of NARAS. You see the same trend with the CMAs, just with different people. What is clear with the Grammys is that radio and retail success will only carry you so far. For awards that are supposed to be based on artistic merit, that’s how it should be. Read More

Various Artists, Ultimate Grammy Collection: Classic Country and Contemporary Country

December 13, 2008 // 1 Comment

Various Artists Ultimate Grammy Collection: Classic Country Contemporary Country Earlier this year, the Grammys celebrated their fiftieth anniversary with a series of compilations focusing on winners in different fields.  Two of the best entries in this series focused on country music.  With five decades of winners to choose from, it’s no surprise that Ultimate Grammy Collection: Classic Country and Ultimate Grammy Collection: Contemporary Country are solid collections. The Classic Country set is particularly strong, including a diverse selection of significant artists from the sixties and seventies.   Even better, most of them are represented with their signature tracks.    Roger Miller opens the set with “King of the Road”, easily his biggest hit.   Other superstars include Tammy Wynette (“Stand By Your Man”), Johnny Cash (“A Boy Named Sue”) and Waylon & Willie (“Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys.”) As the collection moves on to the seventies and eighties, Read More

Grammy Grace and Gratitude

December 8, 2008 // 8 Comments

Eschewing the “I never wanted it one anyway” posing of one of his most prominent peers, Kenny Chesney is loudly proclaiming his joy in getting a Grammy nomination: “I’m not gonna say that I gave up or didn’t care about it,” Kenny says. “This is an award given by your peers in all genres of music … the people who make it. You get to a point where you realize you can’t force it or get them to listen if they’re not there, because that’s not how this works, and you just have to accept that. But that said, I’m really honored to finally be nominated.” GAC has some other reactions, including my favorite: Randy Travis: “It has been almost 25 years since I released my first album, and this is the first time I have been nominated for Best Country Album. I spent years going through songs with my Read More

2009 Grammy Nominees

December 3, 2008 // 76 Comments

This year’s Grammy nominees are about as good as it gets.   Multiple nominations for Alison Krauss (5), George Strait (4), Trisha Yearwood (3), Jamey Johnson, (3), Sugarland (2.5), Patty Loveless (2),  Lady Antebellum (2), James Otto (2) , Jerry Douglas (2), Brad Paisley (2), and Cherryholmes (2), plus two each for songwriters Ashley Gorley and Thomas Lee Miller.   Much-deserved acknowledgment for the latest albums by Kathy Mattea, Rodney Crowell, and Emmylou Harris.    Nominations for excellent singles by LeAnn Rimes, Trace Adkins and the Steel Drivers. There will always be minor quibbles, but overall, this is what Country Universe believes is the best of country music.   I’ve been a big champion of the Grammys for getting it right for the past fifteen years, and this is the best list I’ve ever seen from them, and by a comfortable margin. 2009 Nominees: Country Categories Best Country Album Jamey Johnson, That Lonesome Read More

Discussion: Pick the Grammy Nominees – Best Country Song

October 22, 2008 // 26 Comments

The old country music adage remains: It’s all about the song.  Grammy voters have 161 of them to choose from on this year’s Country Ballot.   Recent winners in this category have included “Before He Cheats”, “Live Like You Were Dying”, “I Hope You Dance”, “You’re Still the One” and “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere.” I found this category the most difficult to narrow down because there were so many to choose from.  Here are the five that I’d like to see nominated: “Dig Two Graves”, Ashley Goran & Bob Regan “Gunpowder & Lead”, Miranda Lambert & Heather Little “Stay”, Jennifer Nettles “Stronger Woman”, Marv Green & Jewel Kilcher “This is Me You’re Talking To”, Tommy Lee James & Karyn Rochelle What do you think should be this year’s Best Country song nominees?

Discussion: Pick the Grammy Nominees – Best Country Performance By a Duo or Group with Vocals

October 21, 2008 // 18 Comments

The next category on this year’s Country Ballot is a wide open race this year.  Usually, the award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals goes to the Dixie Chicks or Alison Krauss & Union Station.  However, for the second consecutive year, neither act is eligible. That probably means the award will go to last year’s victor, The Eagles, assuming that enough people heard their “Do Something” to get it past the first round.  In a field with such weak name recognition,  it might get through either way, especially given the tepid submissions by higher-profile acts like Big & Rich and Montgomery Gentry. My five picks are an eclectic bunch, though I will confess that I haven’t heard a good half of this ballot.  Maybe my choices would change if I knew what to seek out, so I look forward to reading everyone’s picks. I’ve narrowed Read More

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