Discussion: Pick the Grammy Nominees – Best Country Song

The old country music adage remains: It’s all about the song.  Grammy voters have 161 of them to choose from on this year’s Country Ballot.   Recent winners in this category have included “Before He Cheats”, “Live Like You Were Dying”, “I Hope You Dance”, “You’re Still the One” and “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere.”

I found this category the most difficult to narrow down because there were so many to choose from.  Here are the five that I’d like to see nominated:

  1. “Dig Two Graves”, Ashley Goran & Bob Regan
  2. “Gunpowder & Lead”, Miranda Lambert & Heather Little
  3. “Stay”, Jennifer Nettles
  4. “Stronger Woman”, Marv Green & Jewel Kilcher
  5. “This is Me You’re Talking To”, Tommy Lee James & Karyn Rochelle

What do you think should be this year’s Best Country song nominees?


  1. “Gunpowder and Lead,” Miranda Lambert & Heather Little (Miranda Lambert)
    “In Color,” Jamey Johnson, Lee Thomas Miller & James Otto (Jamey Johnson)
    “Small Town Southern Man,” Alan Jackson (Alan Jackson)
    “Stay,” Jennifer Nettles (Sugarland)
    “This is Me You’re Talking To,” Tommy Lee James & Karyn Rochelle (Trisha Yearwood)
    “What I Cannot Change,” Darrel Brown & Leann Rimes (Leann Rimes)

    My pretend Grammys have a tie in the Song category, so I picked six nominees.

  2. I would substitute “What I cannot change” and “In Color” for “Dig Two Graves” and “Stronger Woman” but keep the rest the same.

  3. I like Blake’s list, except Jackson’s song. I never fell in love with that song, so just take Blake’s and drop “Small Town Southern Man” for me. I’m way too lazy to type it out myself. xD

  4. “Every Other Weekend,” Skip Ewing & Connie Harrington
    “Gunpowder & Lead,” Miranda Lambert & Heather Little
    “Rocks in Your Shoes,” Dave Berg, Annie Tate & Emily West
    “Stay,” Jennifer Nettles
    “This is Me You’re Talking To,” Tommy Lee James & Karyn Rochelle
    “When it Rains,” James Young

    If Blake can have a tie, so can I!

  5. It’s interesting that some of my favorite cuts by acts like Justin Townes Earle, Ashton Shepherd, and The Steeldrivers were submitted in their respective Vocal Performance categories but not here. While it still wasn’t tough to find 5 high-quality choices from such a lengthy list, there were some definite omissions here.

    My picks:
    (1) “Gunpowder and Lead,” Lambert / Little (Miranda Lambert).
    (2) “In Color,” Johnson / Miller / Otto (Jamey Johnson).
    (3) “Something ‘Bout You,” Kevin Welch (David Frizzell and Lacy J. Dalton).
    (4) “Stay,” Jennifer Nettles (Sugarland).
    (5) “What I Cannot Change,” Brown / Rimes (LeAnn Rimes).

    With “It’s a Shame” (Carll), “Mockingbird” (Moorer), “Self-Destructive Zones” (Cooley), “Sex & Gasoline” (Crowell), and “This is Me You’re Talking To” (James / Rochelle) as my alternates.

    And I’ll admit that I haven’t heard the duet between David Frizzell and Lacy J. Dalton (though, given how much I love me some Lacy J. Dalton, that’s something I’m going to try to correct ASAP), but I’ve been a fan of Welch’s song since he released it as a single some 15-odd years ago, so it would make my personal ballot.

  6. i have the feeling that the grammys will be a sweep for sugarland – and deservedly so.
    “stay” is a “grand classic country song” in the making and will win both, best country song and best country performance by a duo or a group and “love on the inside” is a hot contestant in the best country album category,too. Given, that there’s serious competition around in terms of quality, especially from leann rimes, miranda lambert or jamey johnson, sugarland’s achievements so far this year are all the more remarkable. my money is on them.

  7. I am going to make this a personal choice and not refer to the list of nominees and can’t recall the writers:

    Taylor Swift – Picture to Burn
    Heidi Newfield – Johnny and June
    LeAnn Rimes – What I Cannot Change
    George Strait – River Of Love.mp3
    Julianne Hough – Help Me, Help You

  8. Jim, may I ask you this question? Do you really like to hear Taylor Swift sing or do you just like the song? Not being mean, just honest. The girl and her music have really started grating on me. I think it’s not so much as the songs, but her off pitch singing that makes me cringe. I just don’t totally understand her quick rise to the top. I know I’m not an expert in music and songwriting, but just tell me what is so outstanding about her! When I hear great songs from LeeAnn Rimes, Trisha Yearwood, LeeAnn Womack,just to name a few, barely crack the top 20 with their great voices, I resent Taylor even more. I know I’m sorta off topic but I just had to ask.

  9. One more thing, when I saw Jennifer Nettles perform STAY on that awards show the firt time, I thought WOW!! Now that is some great songwriting and singing!

  10. “Fine Line,” Karen Fairchild, Wayne Kirkpatrick, Kimberly Schlapman, Phillip Sweet & Jimi Westbrook, songwriters (Little
    Big Town)

    “In Color,” Jamey Johnson, Lee Thomas Miller & James Otto, songwriters (Jamey Johnson)

    “Gunpowder & Lead,” Miranda Lambert & Heather Little, songwriters (Miranda Lambert)

    “When It Rains,” James Young, songwriter (Eli Young Band)

    “Stay,” Jennifer Nettles, songwriter (Sugarland)

  11. Yep, I think I’m gonna have to knock out “Rocks in Your Shoes” for “In Color,” the more I think about it. The latter has a better chance anyway, so it works out. Or I can just have seven nominees…

  12. since you asked for it, gail:
    come off taylornation’s back. if you don’t like hearing her – fair enough, but that’s no reason to pick on her in every other post. everybody with normal hearing ability knows by now that she’ll never be a “trisha-class” vocalist. the constant repetition of the obvious has become boring beyond belief. in my opinion, her voice goes very well with her songs. moreover, taylornation combines huge star-appeal, serious songwriting-talent and authentic, youthful-enthusiastic delivery in a way that is nothing less than highly impressive to anybody who’s capable of approaching this genre with an open mind and can to take into consideration that she’s still only a teenager. like it or not, but she’s clearly superstar-material. i don’t expect you to change your view on her, but perhaps you could remind us of your irritation, say, in every tenth post, instead of every other one.

  13. Every Other Weekend – Skip Ewing & Connie Harrington
    Stay – Jennifer Nettles
    This is Me You’re Talking To – Tommy Lee James & Karyn Rochelle
    In Color – Jamey Johnson, Lee Thomas Miller & James Otto
    What I Cannot Change – Darrel Brown & Leann Rimes

    I can’t choose a winner either, but I’ll be pulling for ‘EOW’ or ‘Stay’ – both awesomely emotional songs.

  14. Gail

    I know Taylor’s voice is grating to many but I find it very pleasant myself. Also very destintive which for me is a good thing.

    From “picture to burn”
    One of my favorite couple of song lines ever.
    I don’t know whether it was her or Liz Rose who came up with:

    You’re a redneck heartbreak
    Who’s really bad at lying

    Just a great little lyric whichTaylor puts across brilliantly.

  15. Sorry for the double post, but I gotta say that I totally agree with Tom about a Sugarland sweep this year. I think Jennifer and Kristian will come home with at least 3 trophies each, and deservedly so …

  16. Thanks Jim for your very nice response! Tom, bite me! I was talking to Jim. There’s always got to be someone like you on the attack. Tom, I’d like to also remind you that LeAnn Rimes was just 15 when she came on the scene and she sang and still sings circles around your “Taylornation” or whatever you called her.As for me mentioning your “Taylornation” so many times, I think you have me confused with someone else. I just saw a clip of her singing with Def Leppard on the CMT Crossroads and it still proves me she cannot sing well! She really loves to sling that head of hers!

  17. I really hope that Stay continues its sweep at awards show. Its a great song–one of those that only comes around every so often and is an instant classic (imo)

  18. gail, just consider it a free second opinion combined with a friendly request for a little more subtlety, when dishing out. where would you like to be bitten, by the way?

  19. … Just a heads-up that it appears that all of the entry lists have been pulled from the Grammy website as of today.

    Which is unfortunate, because this feature has been a good time.

  20. mine were:
    “Jesus and Gravity”
    “I Saw God Today”
    “Gunpowder and Lead”
    “Last Name”
    with Stay winning!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. My personal favorite is “This is Me You’re Talking To,” but I truly think this is Jennifer Nettles’s award to lose. The more I listen to it, however, the more I really think “Last Call” is a great tune.

  22. I love all the ones said except Stronger Woman,
    “Dig Two Graves”, Ashley Goran & Bob Regan
    “Gunpowder & Lead”, Miranda Lambert & Heather Little
    “Stay”, Jennifer Nettles
    “This is Me You’re Talking To”, Tommy Lee James & Karyn Rochelle
    “Another Try” – Chris Stapleton & Jeremy Spillman

    Then another great song would be “Another Try – Chris Stapleton & Jeremy Spillman. Would also love to see “Don’t You Know You’re Beautiful” or “She Never Cried in Front Of Me” nominated.

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