Today is the final day of eligibility for the Grammy awards. Albums and singles must have been released between October 1, 2007 and September 30, 2008 to be considered. Also, tracks from Vince Gill’s These Days are ineligible because he won the genre Album award last year.
With this year’s particularly underwhelming batch of CMA nominees, perhaps we can send NARAS voters our wish list. Maybe they’ll do a better job. Actually, they almost certainly will.
Here are a few nominations I’d like to see:
Best Traditional Folk Album: Kathy Mattea, Coal
I don’t know if this is the race they’ll submit the album in, but it’s a perfect fit. This is just the type of album that Grammy voters pick up on. I hope she gets the nod for a very worthy project.
Best Country Vocal Performance, Male: George Strait, “I Saw God Today”
I’d like to see the guy win a Grammy, and with Vince not in the running, this year’s as good as any.
Best Country Album: Trisha Yearwood, Heaven, Heartache & the Power of Love
Since they reintroduced this category, every Trisha Yearwood studio album has received a nomination. The title cut earned a nod last year. I’d like to see “This Is Me You’re Talking To” in the Best Country Vocal Performance, Female race as well.
Best Country Vocal Performance, Female: LeAnn Rimes, “What I Cannot Change”
Radio seems to have rejected this masterful performance, which is a shame. Grammy voters rediscovered Rimes two years ago. I hope they’ll keep her in mind again this year (and that her handlers have the good sense to submit this, and not “Good Friend and a Glass of Wine.”)
Record & Song of the Year: Sugarland, “Stay”
That’s right. Put it in the General categories this year. They usually include a country song in one of the two categories, if not both. This should be the one that makes the cut this year.
Album of the Year: Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Raising Sand
I’m pretty sure this one’s a given, but I’m including it anyway. That way I can say I got something off my list!
What are some Grammy nominations that you’d like to see this year?
The Americana Music Association Honors and Award (from two weeks ago) are always a good indication of what the Grammy Nominations and wins will be. Americana artists seem to always dominate the Grammys.
All right, I’m in.
Best Country Vocal Performance, Male:
“She Left Me for Jesus,” Hayes Carll.
Maybe that Song of the Year win from the Americana music awards could give him enough of a profile-boost to make it happen. The title alone should be enough to catch voters’ eyes as they scan the ballot.
Best Country Vocal Performance, Female
“Why Baby Why,” Patty Loveless.
I definitely want to see the Yearwood and Rimes performances nominated, but both of those women have won this award previously (and a slew of lesser talents have won it more than once), which Loveless has not. Which is just… not okay. This isn’t my favorite performance from her Sleepless Nights record, but I assume her label will push the single as their prospective nominee.
Best Country Vocal Performance, Duo or Group
“Blue Side of the Mountain,” The Steeldrivers.
Less-than-commercial acts like Asleep at the Wheel, Riders in the Sky, The Duhks, and The Time Jumpers have all been nominated here in the past decade, so I’d love to see the Steeldrivers recognized for their forceful single.
Best Country Vocal Collaboration
“Rattlin’ Bones,” Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson.
If a roots-leaning husband and wife team managed to win last year, I don’t think it’s such a stretch for this couple to score a nomination on the strength of one of the year’s best country albums.
Best Country Song
“What I Cannot Change,” Darrell Brown & LeAnn Rimes.
Adapting something like The Serenity Prayer suggests sheer hubris more than anything else– Martina McBride’s “Anyway” springs immediately to mind– but Rimes and Brown managed to do it with genuine insight and grace, and a beautiful melody, to boot.
Best Country Album
Does it count as a wish to ask that none of the five nominees for the CMA Album of the Year make the Grammy short-list? Or does that just go without saying?
Heaven, Heartache, & The Power of Love, Trisha Yearwood.
Trisha knocked it out of the park, and I’m hoping Big Machine has the good sense and good taste to give this album the FYC push it probably needs.
Best Contemporary Folk Album
Punch, Punch Brothers.
Chris Thile has won in this category before; and, great as Nickel Creek was, Punch Brothers are creating music that’s even more progressive.
Best Traditional Folk Album
Coal, Kathy Mattea.
Best New Artist
Justin Townes Earle.
Lady Antebellum is sure to take the token “country” slot this year– assuming NARAS doesn’t pull a Shelby Lynne on someone like Kathleen Edwards– but Earle has made by far the most promising country debut this year.
Record of the Year
“Gunpowder and Lead,” Miranda Lambert.
Because you said “Wish List,” not “Has a Snowball’s Chance List.”
And I definitely agree that Raising Sand is all but a lock for an Album of the Year nod, with “Please Read the Letter” having a shot to figure in the Record and Song of the Year races.
Jonathan, I’m with you on Kasey and Shane. I love that song and it really is my favorite album of the year, as evidenced by the only five star rating that I’ve given thus far.
I’ll have to think about my wish list more though.
Kevin, I like your choices, although I’m still not a big fan of “Stay.”
I tend to love the “folk” category at the Grammys. Recent winners include:
Dirt Farmer, Levon Helm
Washington Square Serenade, Steve Earle
We Shall Overcome (The Seeger Sessions), Bruce Springsteen
Modern Times, Bob Dylan
Fiddler’s Green, Tim O’Brien
Although recent country album winners haven’t been too shabby either:
These Days, Vince Gill
Taking the Long Way, Dixie Chicks
Lonely Runs Both Ways, Alison Krauss + Union Station
Van Lear Rose, Loretta Lynn
Livin’, Lovin’, Losin’ – Songs Of The Louvin Brothers
Home, Dixie Chicks
btw, Did Brad Paisley’s new song “Cluster Pluck” make the deadline for instrumental? ;)
Interesting that my favorite two albums are similar in so many way (or at least they have two people that usually do not do albums together) “Rattlin’ Bones,” Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson and “Raising Sand” Robert Plant & Alison Krauss.
I too hope Trisha gets a few nominations out of this (we won’t know until early December, when the nominations are released), and she’ll probably get them. But I think it’ll be because her reputation as a quality artist is known well beyond Nashville. How much promotion her label Big Machine puts behind her in this area depends on then not betting the house on Taylor Swift (IMHO).
I’ll have to say that I’m much more excited about the prospects for the Grammy nominations than I was for the CMAs.
Jonathan, I also like your choices. I’m a fan of Earle’s debut album as well. I’d give him the token nod over Lady A in a heartbeat.
It will never happen, but I’d love to see Hayes Carll and Miranda Lambert perform.
I’d like to see Sugarland get a bevy of nominations this year.
Trisha Yearwood in the female performance, country category for ‘This Is Me You’re Talkin’ To’. Her performance on that one is right up there in the hallowed place of ‘The Song Remembers When’ and other great Yearwood cuts.
I’ll think of more later I’m sure …
Best Country Vocal Performance, Male: Gary Allan, “Learning How to Bend”
It’s not a particularly “country” performance (or song), but it might be his most impressive vocal yet. And I just want to believe that he can actually get nominated for anything.
Best Country Album: Jamey Johnson, That Lonesome Song
I can’t think of a better country set released within the eligibility period – at least not in the mainstream.
Best Country Vocal Performance, Female: Trisha Yearwood, “This is Me You’re Talking to”
I think Trisha tends to get over-hyped sometimes, but when she earns it, she super-earns it. Nine months later, I still think this is incredible.
Best Country Song: Reba McEntire & (Guy singer), “Every Other Weekend”
Kenny and Skip both sort of deflated the recording for me, but a great song is a great song.
And I’ll probably do my choices for some other categories later on or tomorrow.
Oh yes, I definitely agree with Townes Earle as well. I also agree that Allan turned in an excellent vocal performance on “Learning How To Bend.”
What I love about the Grammys is that we can dream a little more than we can with the other awards shows. It’s pointless to mention some of the artists that we’re mentioning when we’re talking the ACMs or CMAs, but there’s at least a very small chance that some of our wishes will materialize in these nominations
“Learning How to Bend” – This is jam and good guitar. Gary Allan, the bad boy of country music, who will break out into a guitar solo with a distinctive rock gritty and edgy, in concert. His lead guitar player is fantastic, too and my dad thinks GA has the best steel behind him in the business. I caught a couple picks and gave one to my mom.
Everyone stood around the stage and I stategically positioned myself right behind two platinum blond girls in mini skirts. It was a mother-daughter combination. I knew Gary would fling the guitar picks their way and sure enough the picks were flying their direction and fortunately due to their poor catching skills I picked up two misses and kept one for myself and gave my mom the other. This is a true story and I have the pick to prove it.
My mom thinks it is a conspiracy that GA has not received the recognition he deserves by the Nashville establishment.
Let’s just hope there is no Taylor Swift! And am I the only one not getting Sugarland? I really don’t like her voice, sounds nasal. Miranda Lambert and Jamey Johnson should get some nominations. Would be great if Faith Hill’s Lost or Red Umbrella would get a nomination for best vocals, would be a nice revenge on country radio for not playing those songs.
Jonathan, Your comments and observations are very interesting and compelling.
I especially agree with your wish that Patty Loveless be nominated for female vocal performance of the year. Only I would choose “Crazy Arms” over “Why Baby Why”. (Love Why Baby Why but Crazy Arms is also a single, and the video for that song is being played on GAC currently)
I’m really glad that Miranda won an album of the year award for Crazy Ex, and I have a signed copy of Trisha’s HH&TPOL and love that album as well…I saw Trisha in concert this year and was completely impressed…but still I would nominate Patty Loveless for every category for which she is eligible.
I think that Patty Loveless is the best thing to happen to Country music in our generation, and it is high time she gets the recognition she so richly deserves.
-Steve from Boston
I’d like to see Blake Sheldon in the mix, he has really shown alot of growth on this album, really would like Trisha for album, she hasn’t had one for a while and its a dam good one, so is Patty’s, I think Sugarland to my dismay is a shoe in for group. Female I think there should be no limit on the amount of nominee’s, this year they really stepped up, Reba , Trisha, Patty, Miranda, you know Talyor will but shouldn’t, Leanne, but I think the trophy should go home with Carrie probably the last year for her unless something miraculous happens next year, but the more I hear Just A Dream the more I can hear every not and it pretty much as perfect as you can get she has so many different ranges in that song its sick.
And for song Trace Atkins You Gonna Miss This, that one just pulls at my heart string being I just had my last child about a month after it came out and it just gets me every time i hear it.. We’ll see
I’ll reserve my full predictions until closer to the awards date. The Grammys are a mixed bag, deserving of equal parts praise and dismissal. Their most significant error is the repeated rewarding of old favorites. Alison Krauss and Vince Gill, for example, are two of the genre’s finest talents, but they continually end up in the winner’s circle no matter what material they release within the year. A part of this problem is that they are multi-talented artists (they produce, write, sing, etc.) and have more chances to be nominated, but that only justifies it slightly.
The same thing occurs with very famous names, Faith Hill and Shania Twain, for example. Not to say they are undeserving of Grammys, but are often exalted for the wrong material (Shania’s Best Country Album win in 1996 for The Woman in Me: good, her win for Best Country Song in 2000 for “Come On Over”, bad). Voters seemingly check their names off the list without regard for the actual music, which sets them up for unfair criticism that overshadows their talents.
Here’s a telling list:
George Strait, 0
Martina McBride, 0
Patty Loveless, 1 (for Best Vocal Collaboration)
Lee Ann Womack, 1 (for Best Vocal Collaboration)
Alan Jackson, 1
Reba McEntire, 2
Jamey Johnson, Jamey Johnson, Jamey Johnson.
I had no idea George Strait has never won a Grammy – or that Miss Patty had never gotten one for her solo performances. Seems like quite the injustice.
Blake, I actually have to argue that Alison and Vince have deserved most of their wins. I do agree, however, that there have been some gross oversights,including Patty Loveless.
I don’t think I could easily predict who would win. I can only make a wish list in the case of the Grammy awards.
George and Martina 0 that’s just wrong, not sure she could get one this year but George is more than worthy of one this year he has had some great singles.
Kevin, I completely agree with all of your choices and I couldn’t have picked better ones myself.
You guys are overlooking Carrie Underwood (is it because this is a wishlist?). I think she has a good chance of taking a couple home.
Best Country Vocal Performance (Female) – “Just A Dream” by Carrie Underwood
Best Country Album – “Carnival Ride” Carrie Underwood (At the very least, I expect a nomination)
Record of the Year – “Just A Dream” by Carrie Underwood (Wish list part of it)
Stephen, I think the spirit of the post is to spotlight the songs/artists we feel may be a little outside the nominating radar. I agree with you; it would be neither be surprising nor undeserving if Carrie was nominated for 1-2 awards. Best Vocal Performance (she’s the two-time reigning champ in this category) seems to be a definite, and Album is a strong possibility.
I’d like to see nominations for Sleepless Nights and That Lonesome Song.
Carrie’s “Just a Dream”
Lambert’s “Gunpowder and Lead”
and some others <3
Amen to Kathy Mattea, that’s a great album.