“John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16” Keith Urban Written by Ross Copperman, Shane McAnally, and Josh Osborne A Keith Urban record has a natural floor. Things can only go south so much. He’s got a great voice, he’s an incredible guitar player, and he’s got enough presence on record that it doesn’t really matter what’s going on around him. He never loses control of the proceedings.
“Real Life” Jake Owen Written by Ross Copperman, Ashley Gorley, Shane McAnally, and Josh Osborne Everclear is one of the few pop bands that I liked in the late 90s/early 2000s. While a lot of their music sounded similar, their grooves were addictive and their tunes were memorable (“A.M. Radio”, Anyone?). As a result of enjoying Everclear, I’ll admit that I actually guiltily enjoy Jake Owen’s “Real Life.”
“Sangria” Blake Shelton Written by J.T. Harding, Josh Osborne, and Trevor Rosen This is Shelton’s best single an a good long while. It’s smooth and seductive, without sounding overly coy or even the least bit tacky. The Sangria angle is used well both literally and figuratively, and the lyrics are creative enough that they don’t run the concept into the ground.
“Take Your Time” Sam Hunt Written by Sam Hunt, Shane McAnally, and Josh Osborne “Take Your Time” is interesting for its combination of rapidly delivered spoken word and warmly sung melody, and for its tentative attempts to acknowledge a woman’s own agency. The structure borrows heavily from contemporary urban music, and will sound familiar to anyone who has listened to a fair amount of Drake. But Hunt keeps the proceedings grounded enough in country that it doesn’t sound nearly as reductive as it could’ve been.
“Leave the Night On” Sam Hunt Written by Sam Hunt, Shane McAnally, and Josh Osborne I feel like I’ve heard this song so many times before that the artist has to work extra hard just to even keep my attention. Sam Hunt works pretty hard to do that. Not as a vocalist, mind you. But as a songwriter, which is what’s put him on the map in the first place.
Here are the awards, in the order of presentation:
American Roots Song: Edie Brickell & Steve Martin, “Love Has Come For You”
Americana Album: Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, Old Yellow Moon
Bluegrass Album: The Del McCoury Band, The Streets of Baltimore
Folk Album: Guy Clark, My Favorite Picture of You
Country Solo Performance: Darius Rucker, “Wagon Wheel”
Country Duo/Group Performance: The Civil Wars, “From This Valley”
Country Song: Shane McAnally, Kacey Musgraves, and Josh Osborne, “Merry Go ‘Round”