Discussion: Pick the Grammy Nominees – Best Female Country Vocal Performance

The Grammy nominations are a little less surprising when you see the first ballot.  The Grammys allow potential nominees to submit what they consider their best work of the year for consideration.   After a panel judges that it meets the category’s criteria, the submitted work is placed on the first ballot, from which an eventual five nominees will be chosen.

Now that the first ballots have been released, we have a window into the strategies of different artists.  Some choose just to submit one performance for consideration, while others risk vote-splitting by submitting two or more.

Over the course of the next few weeks, we’ll take a look at the different categories and ask which five nominees you would select for a given category from the possibilities on the first ballot.   Just remember the rule that an artist cannot be nominated twice in a performance category, even if they earn enough votes to place two records in the top five.   So even if you think Taylor Swift’s three entries are among the five best female performances this year, you’ll have to pick one.

Since it’s the first category on the Country Ballot, we’ll start with Best Female Country Vocal Performance.   The biggest surprise here is the choice made by the camp of Carrie Underwood, who has won this race for the past two years.   They’ve submitted two singles that were about equally successful, “All American Girl” and “Last Name.”  This may have been a mistake, as there doesn’t seem a compelling reason to vote for one over the other if you’re looking to acknowledge Underwood, which voters certainly will be wanting to do.

It would’ve been a safer bet to just submit one, or put up “Just a Dream” instead, which is a much stronger performance overall.   I still expect Underwood to land a nomination, but she’s not the sure bet she could be.  On much shakier ground is Taylor Swift, who hasn’t yet demonstrated appeal among the country voting bloc of the Grammys and has submitted three different singles to boot.   Big Machine’s other female star, Trisha Yearwood, is also present with two singles, but “This Is Me You’re Talking To” is the only one that had a real impact, so she should be good.

This thread is about picking our favorites, not just handicapping the race.  I count about twelve worthy performances, but here’s who I would choose to be the five nominees this year:

  1. Emmylou Harris, “Gold”
  2. Miranda Lambert, “Gunpowder & Lead”
  3. LeAnn Rimes, “What I Cannot Change”
  4. Lee Ann Womack, “Last Call”
  5. Trisha Yearwood, “This is Me You’re Talking To”

What are your opinions of the submissions in this category? What would your five nominees be?


  1. Ooo, interesting topic. I see a lot of stuff I like, as well, but this would be my ballot:

    Miranda Lambert, “Gunpowder & Lead”
    LeAnn Rimes, “What I Cannot Change”
    Ashton Shepherd, “Sounds So Good”
    Trisha Yearwood, “This is Me You’re Talking To”
    Emily West, “Rocks in Your Shoes”

    Anyone have any idea what’s up with the Rebecca Lynn Howard overkill?

  2. ^I know! I don’t know wheater to feel annoyed by her or sad for her? :/

    Mine would be:
    LeAnn Rimes “What I Cannot Change”
    Trisha Yearwood “This Is Me You’re Talking To”
    Lee Ann Womack “Last Call”
    Ashton Shepard “Sounds So Good”
    Miranda Lambert “Gunpowder & Lead”

    Miranda’s took some time to grow on me. But I have to say I’m rooting for Trisha on this one, she’s a great artist either way, but I’m still ticked at how little she gets played on the radio, almost as ticked that the Chick’s Taking The Long Way didn’t get barely any air play. But that’s a whole other topic.

    BTW, thanks Kevin for this great topic, I didn’t know that the artists sent in their choices for nominee choices, and looking through them is great. :D

  3. My favorites:

    Miranda Lambert “Gunpowder & Lead”
    Carrie Underwood “Last Name”
    Trisha Yearwood “This Is Me You’re Talking To”
    Leann Rimes “What I Cannot Change”
    Lee Ann Womack “Last Call”

    I see these as the nominations and I see Carrie winning. My favorites and probable nominees.

  4. the songs you picked are all among my personal top ten songs of the year so far. topping my personal list by a country mile, however, is tifft merritt’s “broken”.

  5. Just out of interest, do the voters get a CD of the tracks with their voting forms, or does it rely on them knowing the songs already?

    I would choose
    Last Call
    This Is Me You’re Talking To
    What I Cannot Change
    Our Song
    Gunpowder and Lead

  6. You wonder why some of these even get nominated, they have so little chance of being included.

    My choices would be:
    Miranda Lambert, Gunpowder And Lead
    Patty Loveless, Why Baby Why
    Ashton Shepherd, Sounds So Good
    Lee Ann Womack, Last call
    Trisha yearwood, This Is Me You’re Talking To

  7. Not only is Rebecca Lynn Howard’s name all over the Country field, but her label also submitted album tracks from her in the Pop and “Traditional R&B” categories. Girl’s everywhere!

    The submissions from this year don’t include as many alt-country / americana / whatever acts as last year’s entry list, but mainstream country’s female contingent is making terrific music these days, so there’s definitely the potential for a great final ballot. My choices would be:

    (1) Miranda Lambert, “Gunpowder and “Lead.”
    (2) Patty Loveless, “Why Baby Why.”
    (3) Tift Merritt, “Broken.”
    (4) LeAnn Rimes, “What I Cannot Change.”
    (5) Trisha Yearwood, “This is Me You’re Talking To.”

    With Emmylou Harris, Kathy Mattea, Allison Moorer, Carrie Rodriguez, and Ashton Shepherd making my list of alternates.

  8. It looks like everybody’s got the same idea for the nominees in general … so my top 5 have all been mentioned already, but here they are anyway.

    Last Call – Lee Ann Womack
    This Is Me You’re Talking To – Trisha Yearwood
    What I Cannot Change – LeAnn Rimes
    Broken – Tift Meritt
    Jesus And Gravity – Dolly Parton

    P.S. I’ve not seen a Grammy submissions list before – so it’s really interesting to me to see all the voters have to choose from, and to gain a little insight into how the process works. Thanks, Kevin.

  9. Miranda Lambert, “Gunpowder and Lead”
    Patty Loveless, “Why Baby Why”
    Allison Moorer, “Mockingbird”
    LeAnn Rimes, “What I Cannot Change”
    Trisha Yearwood, “This is Me You’re Talking To”

    Merritt and Womack would be my alternates. In real life, I see Underwood (incredibly likely) and Swift (possibly) snagging one of the spots above. But Yearwood’s performance really should make this discussion a moot point, and I’d give it the trophy today.

  10. five songs by rebecca lynn howard!?
    i must have missed a great album, if ms. howard and her entourage think her best work is acutally five best works.

    i second j.r.’s comment regarding the submissions lists – very interesting, indeed.

  11. Miranda – “Gunpowder And Lead”
    LeAnne – “What I Cannot Change
    Trisha – “This is Me You’re Talking To”
    Carrie – “All American Girl”
    Ashton – “Takin’ Off This Pain”

    IMO, and I don’t think Carrie’s Just a Dream is eligable this year, I believe I read it in the list of possible noms somewhere.

  12. my general group:
    “Red Umbrella” faith hill
    “Gunpowder and Lead” miranda lambert
    “For These Times” martina mcbride
    “Jesus And Gravity” dolly parton
    “Some Things Never Change” sara evans
    “Don’t You Know Youre Beautiful” kellie p.
    “What I Cannot Change” leann rimes
    “Last Name” carrie underwood
    “This Is Me Youre Talking To” trisha y.

    my 5 nominees:
    – “This Is Me You’re Talking To” Trisha Yearwood
    – “Jesus And Gravity” Dolly Parton
    – “Gunpowder And Lead” Miranda Lambert
    – “What I Cannot Change” LeAnn Rimes
    – “Last Name” Carrie Underwood

    with my winner being Trisha or Dolly :)
    Also, I wouldnt mind Faith Hill’s song replacing Carrie Underwood’s but both are great anyways.

  13. Now that I’ve had a bit more time to look through the rest of the entry lists, I think it’s probably worth mentioning that, while Big Machine entered three tracks from Taylor Swift in this category, they submitted only “Our Song” in the Best Country Song, Record of the Year, and Song of the Year categories, indicating that they may “encourage” the eligible voters at their disposal to throw their support behind that one single. Still, the fact that Swift didn’t break into the Country categories on last year’s ballot does make me question her across-the-board appeal with NARAS members and whether or not Big Machine really has the clout / resources to land multiple nominations for her.

    Underwood’s camp, it’s also worth noting, submitted both “All-American Girl” and “Last Name” in all three of those same categories, suggesting that they may not be quite as on-the-ball with mobilizing their base of voters. Which I do think could prevent her from scoring many of the nominations that people might be expecting her to receive, though I imagine one of her two songs will still manage a nod in this category.

    As for “Just a Dream,” if Beyonce’s two current singles, both of which were released two weeks after the supposed end of the eligibility period, managed to be declared eligible, I can’t imagine why Underwood’s single wouldn’t be. I think it’s more likely that her label simply didn’t submit it.

  14. My Nominees:

    Ashton Shepherd – Sounds So Good
    Carrie Underwood – Just a Dream (and if it’s not eligible, I choose Last Name instead)
    Miranda Lambert – Gunpowder and Lead
    Trisha Yearwood – This is Me You’re Talking To
    Taylor Swift – Should’ve Said No

  15. why the heck would they not submit JAD? could this list be wrong? I just find it very weird that they wouldn’t submit it when its by far the most superior song that Carrie could submit….

  16. I’m sure the list is not wrong. Could be they thought “Just a Dream” hadn’t yet made a big enough commercial impression at the time of submission to stand out in voters’ minds. I wouldn’t agree with their logic if that’s the case – Underwood is the reigning commercial queen, they’ll give a good listen to whatever she submits – but I think that could have been it. Look at the precedents: “Jesus, Take the Wheel” and “Before He Cheats,” her previous two wins, had both long since gone to #1 by the time they were voted on; “Just a Dream” would have been somewhere around the middle of the top ten at submission time – certainly a hit, but not quite a “smash hit.”

  17. I think they are holding JAD for next year. Even though it was eligible this year it should be eligible next year as well since the song will peak in next years Grammy eligibility period. That gives her other two songs that she co-wrote a chance. Even though I love JAD, both AAG and Last Name have amazing vocals on them as well. Anything that Carrie does is worthy of a Grammy nomination IMO.

  18. Based on the submission list,

    I will choose these:

    One of the Rebecca Lynn Howard cuts
    Trisha Yearwood – This Is Me You’re Talking To
    Emmylou Harris – Gold or Kern River
    Patty Loveless – Why Baby Why
    LeAnn Rimes – What I Cannot Change

    The Grammy voters go for what they know and they know all 5 of these artists. Howard has been a part of 2 grammy-winning contests and her record smacks of the kind of album Grammy likes. If she doesn’t get in, this is where an actual radio hit could sneak in.

  19. I went through the list an though there are some that I’d like to give a nod to these are the most deserving in my mind.

    Emily West Rocks In Your Shoes
    LeAnn Rimes What I Cannot Change
    Rebecca Lynn Howard Sing ‘Cause I Love To
    Tift Merritt Broken
    Trisha Yearwood This Is Me You’re Talking To

  20. Just figured this wold be interesting. If it were us who were deciding who was nominated it would look like this. (so far, I counted who was getting the most mentions)

    01. Miranda Lambert Gunpowder & Lead (11 Votes)
    02. Patty Loveless Why Baby Why (4 Votes)
    03. LeAnn Rimes What I Cannot Change (12 Votes)
    04. Ashton Shepherd Sounds So Good (4 Votes)
    05. Lee Ann Womack Last Call (6 Votes)
    06. Trisha Yearwood This Is Me You’re Talking To (17 Votes)

    Ashton and Patty are tied right now so there’s 6. So if it were us it looks like Trisha would be winning the award.

  21. Dan, I almost completely agree with your list:

    Miranda Lambert, “Gunpowder & Lead”
    LeAnn Rimes, “What I Cannot Change”
    Lee Ann Womack, “Last Call”
    Trisha Yearwood, “This is Me You’re Talking To”
    Emily West, “Rocks in Your Shoes”

    Except I substituted Lee Ann W. for Ashton. Don’t get me wrong, “Sounds So Good” is a favorite of mine, I just don’t think it’s quite grammy worthy.

  22. i predict (and it usually is right):
    -. LAST NAME
    -. LAST CALL


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.