Chicks Rule as 2007 Grammy Nominees Announced

As I predicted earlier this year, Rick Rubin projects dominate the 2007 Grammy Nominations, with Red Hot Chili Peppers scoring six nominations, and the Dixie Chicks with a total of five nods, more than any other country artist. Their fantastic album, Taking the Long Way, earns them their third consecutive nomination in the general Album of the Year race, which is considered the highest honor of the night. They also, for the first time, are nominated in two other major categories: Record of the Year and Song of the Year for their hit, “Not Ready To Make Nice.” Having been nominated for Best New Artist several years ago, they have now been cited in all four major categories.

Also popping up in the big categories is Carrie Underwood, who is cited in the Best New Artist race; the songwriters for her hit “Jesus, Take the Wheel” are up for Song of the Year, marking the first time in recent memory that two country songs compete for that honor.

Country artists surfaced in many other non-genre categories as well, most notably Dolly Parton, who secured a songwriting nomination for “Travelin’ Thru” in the Best Song Written for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media category; and Big & Rich, who scored a nomination for “8th of November” in the Best Short Form Music Video category.

Look for a full rundown of the country categories this weekend.


  1. The Academy, always looking to tweak the mainstream Country market,and make political statements, was destined to nominate the Dixie Chicks, even if they had produced a really horrible album. Since the actual album is fairly decent (but nothing more ) it was easy to give it a bunch of nominations. If the awful “Not Ready To Make Nice” wins in either category, it will be proof that the Grammys have little integrity. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Chicks win a slew of Grammy awards this year

    The Carrie Underwood nominations were both (1) to be expected , and (2) deserved. While I am,not in general, a Big & Rich fan, “The 8th of November” was a terrific video

    Here’s the list of Country Album nominees:

    Taking The Long Way
    Dixie Chicks
    [Open Wide/Columbia]

    Like Red On A Rose
    Alan Jackson
    [Arista Nashville/Sony BMG]

    The Road To Here
    Little Big Town
    [Equity Music Group]

    You Don’t Know Me: The Songs Of Cindy Walker
    Willie Nelson
    [Lost Highway]

    Your Man
    Josh Turner
    [MCA Nashville]

    Does anyone REALLY believe that these were the five best country albums of the year ?? Where’s the nomination for Paisley’s Time Well Wasted? Anyway, of the albums nominated, Willie Nelson should take the Grammy, but I wouldn’t bet too much money on it happening

  2. I wasn’t aware that the credibility of the Grammys rested with how much they agreed with Paul W. Dennis. Perhaps you should contact NARAS and work out some sort of veto rule? What a shame it would be for the Grammys to lose credibility because they actually like a record that you don’t! Snark aside, “NRTMN” is one of my favorite records of the year, and I agree with you that the Chicks were destined to be nominated. They made another great album, and the Grammys have always acknowledged their work.

    As far as anyone believing these were “REALLY” the five Best Country Albums of the Year: I haven’t heard the Little Big Town record, but the other four, I personally like a lot more than “Time Well Wasted.” But these are the five albums that Grammy voters have collectively chosen as the best, and I’d say that has as much credibility, and probably more, than the opinion of one person, whether it’s you or me.

  3. There have been a lot of worthy records that I didn’t like that received nominations but NARAS has a real tendency to nominate country records that are liked by people who really don’t like country music very much. I’m not sure that any music award has much real validity because of the agendas and sub-agendas involved – go up on any website that features reader reviews and you’ll see how lightly regarded is the new Alan Jackson album

    The Academy was right to nominate some of Cash’s American Recordings but do you really think they would have gathered any nominations had the producer credit read “Porter Wagoner” instead of “Rick Rubin” ? I strongly doubt it

    The best test of a recording is whether or not anyone still listens to it 5 or 10 years after it’s issued. I doubt too many of this year’s nominees (in any category) would pass that test.

    As for collective choices, remember that (1) mobs will do awful things that the individuals within the mob wouldn’t do on their own , and (2) NARAS gave Jethro Tull a Grammy in the “Heavy Metal” category

  4. _Time Well Wasted_ was deservedly nominated for Best Country Album last year, not-really-deservedly losing to Alison Krauss & Union Station’s lovely but still phoned-in _Lonely Runs Both Ways_.

    Do I think those are the five best country albums of the year? No, of course not. But NARAS, unlike most every other “awards” group this year, had the good sense not to nominate Rascal Flatts, Kenny Chesney, or Carrie Underwood based entirely on their sales figures– as credibility maneuvers go, that speaks well of them to me.

    That said, Turner’s album is pretty deeply flawed, Little Big Town’s album has at least one more decent single amongst a whole bunch of middling filler, and both Jackson and The Dixie Chicks made Adult Pop, rather than Country, albums– Jackson pretty successfully, The Dixie Chicks decidedly less so. Which leaves Nelson, nominated for one of the few things he’s done in the last five years that hasn’t actively undermined his status as a genre legend still worth taking seriously. And, as usual, the Best Contemporary Folk Album is the far richer group of “Best Country Album” nominees.

    I was pleasantly surprised by the nominations for The Duhks and the Solomon Burke / Dolly Parton duet, and absolutely thrilled that Miranda Lambert’s “Kerosene” was nominated. I also find it interesting that neither of Brad Paisley’s hit duets with proven Grammy favorites have been nominated for Best Country Collaboration– “Whiskey Lullaby” was a no-show, and now “When I Get Where I’m Going” is, as well.

  5. Again, Paul, I think this is just coming down to your opinion differing from what NARAS voters think, and that somehow leading to them not having credibility in your mind because of it. I think that borders on arrogant, as if people with opinions different than your own have no credibility because of their differences.

    The mob comparison doesn’t even make sense. It’s a friggin’ music awards organization.

  6. ” But these are the five albums that Grammy voters have collectively chosen as the best, and I’d say that has as much credibility, and probably more, than the opinion of one person, whether it’s you or me.”

    I don’t think it is arrogance to believe that collective decisions are often inferior to individual decisions. Come up with a good idea some time, then turn it over to a committee; what emerges will be unrecognizeable and of little worth. I also don’t agree that it is arrogant to contend that NARAS sometimes lets their agenda(s) get in the way of making nominations predicated on artistic merit. One of those agendas’is tweaking the Nashville establishment. Since you sidestepped the question previously : do you really think that NARAS would have nominated those Johnny Cash albums had the producer credit read “Porter Wagoner” instead of “Rick Rubin” ?

    I have noticed that people on the political left have tended to regard the Chicks CD as a masterpiece because they so desperately want it to be a masterpiece. Everyone else seems to regard it as okay to good – I’ve got the CD and while it is good, it is not as good as their previous efforts. Because NARAS seems to lean hard left politically, it reflects in their nominations.

    Ultimately, it really isn’t of much importance – good music survives and the rest is forgotten, regardless of what awards it may win or how many copies it sells on initial release

  7. The reviews of the Dixie Chicks album have been beyond good; they’ve been uniformly excellent. Perhaps you don’t like it as much as others do, but that doesn’t mean we’re wishing it to be so. We just really love it, and it has nothing to do with politics. That’s an assumption on your part. I loved “Home” just as much and I had no idea the Chicks were Democrats at the time, and nothing on the album indicated it. The idea that NARAS leans hard left is ludicrous on its face, as if politics are being chosen over musical merit. I believe Vince Gill holds the record for most Grammys by a male country artist – over a dozen – and he’s a Republican.

    You’re claiming that you can divine the intent of the Grammy voters, but you really have no way of doing so. You’re just assuming that because left-leaning artists are on the ballot, they were chosen because of their politics rather than their music. The Dixie Chicks received nominations and won Grammys for “Wide Open Spaces”, “Fly” and “Home” before their politics were known to anyone. Isn’t it more logical that Grammy voters just think they make great music, and haven’t changed their minds because of the controversy? The case seems stronger that the CMA and ACM are the ones being influenced by politics, since they awarded the Chicks just as much as NARAS did until they came out against Bush, then immediately stopped acknowledging them. I still don’t think that’s because the CMA leans “hard right”, but it would be easier to prove with the actual facts than your claim about the Grammys picking politics over music.

    You’ve made the argument before that NARAS wants to tweak Nashville, but that doesn’t make much sense either. The country categories aren’t chosen by panels, either the nominees or the winners. They’re picked by individual ballots, with the top vote-getters receiving nominations. The NARAS membership, which is dominated by musicians, makes it easier for independent and non-radio acts to sneak through, with veterans having a particular advantage. It’s nearly impossible for independent acts to get nominated in the big categories at the CMA’s and ACM’s because labels dominate the voting base. I would think you’d be happy that NARAS voters look beyond radio play and record sales for their nominees, yet you’ve managed to twist that into something sinister and calculated on their part. With plenty of mainstream acts (Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts, Alan Jackson, George Strait, Dierks Bentley) sharing ballot space with everyone from The Duhks to Rhonda Vincent, NARAS has acknowledged a wide scope of country music, as they do every year. Isn’t that the way it should be for awards honoring musical merit?

    Since you accused me of sidestepping this issue, I’ll go ahead and answer your question. Yes, I think Johnny Cash would’ve been nominated for “American Recordings” if Rick Rubin wasn’t producer, though I don’t think he would’ve made the album if Rubin hadn’t approached him. (Same think with Jack White and Loretta Lynn, for that matter.) All other things being equal, if Cash made the exact same album without Rubin, yes I believe it would’ve been nominated and won Best Contemporary Folk Album, just like it did with Rubin at the helm. Cash received many Grammy nominations in the mid-1980’s-early 1990’s before he even collaborated with Rick, in addition to a slew of nominations at his commercial peak. It could be argued that Cash helped Rick get to the Grammys. since he didn’t get nominated for Producer of the Year until 1995, on the strength of the American Recordings project.

    Also, Porter Wagoner has a few Grammys of his own, but I doubt he’d have taken the all-acoustic approach that Rick Rubin encouraged of Cash; then again, Cash would do whatever the hell he pleased anyway.

    I agree that good music survives, and I can tell you that I’ll be definitely listening to “Taking the Long Way” ten years from now. I love the album. Just “Silent House” alone, which is helping me greatly to deal with my father’s advanced cancer, has been a great comfort. “I Hope” captures what I try to teach in the classroom every day. “The Long Way Around” is my approach to life in a nutshell. This album has impacted me deeply, and it has so little to do with politics it’s not even funny. I wonder if you can even understand that, with all your errant assumptions about what draws me and others to music that you don’t happen to think is as good as we do.

  8. Kevin – I think your last post was a bit naive and incredibly insulting. I will simply drop this topic at this time and move on to something else

  9. Paul, you’re vendicated. Kudos for your insight before the final fact. Even the Dixie Chicks acknowledged their award status was politic-centric. The Grammys have no credibility. None.

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