After what seems like months of ever-louder hype, Sturgill Simpson’s latest album finally arrived.
The death of Merle Haggard, a legend among legends, casts a pall over this week.
Tonight’s ACM Awards will be hosted by Dierks Bentley and Luke Bryan. Slated performances include a collaboration between Dolly Parton and Katy Perry, and Miranda Lambert joining up with Billy Gibbons and Keith Urban to cover the ZZ Top song, “Tush.”
Country music in 2016, y’all.
This week is all about that country grammar. And the Grammys.
The good folks at NARAS know how to keep things interesting, producing yet another diverse crop of nominees in the general, country, and country-adjacent fields.
Here are the personal picks from some of our contributing staff, along with who we predict will take home the gold tomorrow.
The final week of January was a big one for Aubrie Sellers, who gave her first television performance, released her first album, and appears poised for an outstanding 2016. Elsewhere a fairly light news week which includes a short but solid list of new releases as well as troubles for Jamey Johnson, Tyler Farr and Katie Armiger.
Combining the absolute worst lyrical tropes of peak bro-country with the faux R&B production Sam Hunt and Thomas Rhett have popularized, Chris Lane’s “Fix” is the harbinger of another dreadful year at country radio.
… And we’re back!
The most obvious points of comparison for singer-songwriter Maren Morris and her single “My Church” are to Sheryl Crow’s self-titled masterpiece and its follow-up, The Globe Sessions. Though Crow spent the 1990s as a pop star, her ties to the country genre were clear. “If It Makes You Happy” was always a honky-tonk anthem waiting to happen, while “The Difficult Kind,” “Home,” and “Mississippi” all sound more recognizably country than do current chart-topping hits by Sam Hunt, Kelsea Ballerini, and Thomas Rhett.
Country music is well represented in the major categories – numerically, at least – and the overall nominee list proves once again that NARAS voters have the widest, most diverse, and yes, best taste of all industry award voters.
Here are this year’s nominees in the big four and all country and country-related categories. It’s worth noting that because Miranda Lambert won Best Country Album last year for Platinum, nothing from that set was eligible in any of the Country categories.