2009 Grammy Nominees

This year’s Grammy nominees are about as good as it gets.   Multiple nominations for Alison Krauss (5), George Strait (4), Trisha Yearwood (3), Jamey Johnson, (3), Sugarland (2.5), Patty Loveless (2),  Lady Antebellum (2), James Otto (2) , Jerry Douglas (2), Brad Paisley (2), and Cherryholmes (2), plus two each for songwriters Ashley Gorley and Thomas Lee Miller.   Much-deserved acknowledgment for the latest albums by Kathy Mattea, Rodney Crowell, and Emmylou Harris.    Nominations for excellent singles by LeAnn Rimes, Trace Adkins and the Steel Drivers.

There will always be minor quibbles, but overall, this is what Country Universe believes is the best of country music.   I’ve been a big champion of the Grammys for getting it right for the past fifteen years, and this is the best list I’ve ever seen from them, and by a comfortable margin.

2009 Nominees:

Country Categories

Best Country Album

  • Jamey Johnson, That Lonesome Song
  • Patty Loveless, Sleepless Nights
  • George Strait, Troubadour
  • Randy Travis, Around the Bend
  • Trisha Yearwood, Heaven, Heartache and the Power of Love

Best Female Country Vocal Performance

  • Martina McBride, “For These Times”
  • LeAnn Rimes, “What I Cannot Change”
  • Carrie Underwood, “Last Name”
  • Lee Ann Womack, “Last Call”
  • Trisha Yearwood, “This Is Me You’re Talking To”

Best Male Country Vocal Performance

  • Trace Adkins, “You’re Gonna Miss This”
  • Jamey Johnson, “In Color”
  • James Otto, “Just Got Started Lovin’ You”
  • Brad Paisley, “Letter to Me”
  • George Strait, “Troubadour”

Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals

  • Brooks & Dunn, “God Must Be Busy”
  • Lady Antebellum, “Love Don’t Live Here”
  • Rascal Flatts, “Every Day”
  • Steel Drivers, “Blue Side of the Mountain”
  • Sugarland, “Stay”

Best Country Vocal Collaboration

  • Kenny Chesney & George Strait, “Shiftwork”
  • Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, “Killing the Blues”
  • George Strait & Patty Loveless, “House of Cash”
  • Sugarland, Jake Owen & Little Big Town, “Life in a Northern Town”
  • Trisha Yearwood & Keith Urban, “Let the Wind Chase You”

Best Country Song

  • Ashley Gorley & Bob Regan, “Dig Two Graves”
  • Rodney Clawson, Monty Criswell & Wade Kirby, “I Saw God Today”
  • Jamey Johnson, Lee Thomas Miller & James Otto, “In Color”
  • Jennifer Nettles, “Stay”
  • Ashley Gorley & Lee Thomas Miller, “You’re Gonna Miss This”

Best Country Instrumental Performance

  • Cherryholmes, “Sumatra”
  • Jerry Douglas & Lloyd Green, “Two Small Cars in Rome”
  • Bela Fleck & The Flecktones, “Sleigh Ride”
  • Charlie Hayden, Pat Metheny, Jerry Douglas & Bruce Hornsby, “Is This America (Katrina 2005)”
  • Brad Paisley, James Burton, Vince Gill, John Jorgenson, Albert Lee, Brent Mason, Redd Volkaert & Steve Wariner, “Cluster Pluck”

Best Bluegrass Album

  • Cherryholmes, Cherryholmes III: Don’t Believe
  • Del McCoury Band, Live at the 2008 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
  • Earl Scruggs with Family & Friends, The Ultimate Collection/Live at the Ryman
  • Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Honoring the Fathers of Bluegrass: Tribute to 1946 and 1947
  • Dan Tyminski, Wheels

Other Categories with Country Nominees

Album of the Year

  • Coldplay, Viva La Vida
  • Lil Wayne, Tha Carter III
  • Ne-Yo, Year of the Gentleman
  • Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Raising Sand
  • Radiohead, In Rainbows

Record of the Year

  • Adele, “Chasing Pavements”
  • Coldplay, “Viva La Vida”
  • Leona Lewis, “Bleeding Love”
  • M.I.A., “Paper Planes”
  • Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, “Please Read the Letter”

Best New Artist

  • Adele
  • Duffy
  • Jonas Brothers
  • Lady Antebellum
  • Jazmine  Sullivan

Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals

  • Alicia Keys & John Mayer, “Lessons Learned”
  • Madonna, Justin Timberlake and Timbaland, “4 Minutes”
  • Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, “Rich Woman”
  • Rihanna & Maroon 5, “If I Never See Your Face Again”
  • Jordin Sparks & Chris Brown, “No Air”

Best Traditional Folk Album

  • Kathy Mattea, Coal
  • Tom Paxton, Comedians & Angels
  • Peggy Seeger, Bring Me Home
  • Pat Seeger, At 89
  • Rosalie Sorrells, Strangers in Another Country

Best Contemporary Folk Album

  • Joan Baez, Day After Tomorrow
  • Ey Cooder, I, Flathead
  • Rodney Crowell, Sex and Gasoline
  • Emmylou Harris, All I Intended to Be
  • Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Raising Sand


  1. Along with sharing your hopes for Trisha Yearwood nominations, I hope to see Sugarland land several nominations. I would also like to see ‘Every Other Weekend’ in the running for Best Country Song.

  2. I want to see Underwood receive nominations in Country Album of the Year and Country Female Vocalist. I would also like to see Yearwood nominated for these categories, as well as Country Song and Song in general for “This Is Me You’re Talking To.”

  3. Wish List:

    Male: Allan, Jackson, Johnson, Strait, Travis

    Female: Lambert, Loveless, Rimes, Womack, Yearwood

    Group: Chambers & Nicholson, Eli Young Band, Little Big Town, Steeldrivers, Sugarland

    Album: Johnson, Little Big Town, Loveless, Yearwood, Allison Moorer/Sugarland

    Song: “Gunpowder and Lead”; “In Color”; “Small Town Southern Man”; “Stay”; “What I Cannot Change”

    Collaboration: Reba & Kenny/Skip and Trisha/Josh Turner

  4. Also worth watching will be Plant/Krauss in the big categories and the pop categories.
    I’m hoping for a couple of Hard Candy-related noms too, but I doubt they’ll come to pass.

  5. Plant/Krauss for Collaboration and Pop Album is a given. Album is a strong possibility, and Record is a slight chance.

    Hard Candy should at least snag a nod for Best Dance Recording and possibly Music Video and Pop Collaboration (they love good ol’ JT), I would think. The top categories will be tough, though.

  6. T-minus 20 minutes, here’s my long-shots wish list:

    Record of the Year: “Gunpowder and Lead,” Miranda Lambert.
    Best New Artist: Hayes Carll.
    Country Album: Heaven, Heartache, and the Power of Love, Trisha Yearwood.
    Country Male Vocal Performance: “In Color,” Jamey Johnson.
    Female Country Vocal Performance: “Why Baby Why,” Patty Loveless.
    Group Country Vocal Performance: “Blue Side of the Mountain,” The Steeldrivers.
    Contemporary Folk Album: Tinderbox, Fred Eaglesmith.

    Trisha is the only one of those that I see as having even a snowball’s chance in those categories, but that’s why it’s a wish list.

  7. So… BB King is performing with Wonderbread on the nominations show, which makes me think that King’s One Kind Favor could be this year’s Herbie Hancock’s River. I wonder which of the other “Grammy-bait” contenders he might knock out of contention… The Eagles, maybe?

  8. Very unwisely, Madonna’s album was submitted in the Best Pop Vocal Album category. She’d be a lock for Best Electronic/Dance Album, which she won in 2007 for her last CD.

    She has a few Grammys already, but I still gotta root for her. Heck, I still root for Alison Krauss, and she could goldplate her house with her collection.

  9. What do y’all think about the Lady Antebellum nod for Best New Artist? Good company, as other country bands to be nominated were Sugarland, Dixie Chicks, and The Judds.

  10. Okay, so I don’t think anyone anywhere was predicting Ne-Yo for Album of the Year. But that race is an even easier win for Plant / Krauss than I would’ve expected, with likely vote splits between Radiohead and Radiohead-lite from the rock and pop bases, and between Weezy and Ne-Yo, both of whom will pull from the urban and pop bases.

  11. Concerning the Madonna Album category choice, agreed.

    Congrats to Lady A, but Jonas Brothers? And no Leona Lewis or Estelle?

    Plant/Krauss, Coldplay, Lil’ Wayne and Radiohead in Album, all worthy choices. The NeYo nom is a little odd.

  12. The Grammys giveth (Steeldrivers) and the Grammys taketh away (Rascal Flatts, no Little Big Town).

    Plant/Krauss should win Pop Collaboration easily, and Sugarland the same for Country Collaboration.

  13. I’d keep an eye on Lady Antebellum as an upset. Country nominees who also show up in Best New Artist the same year usually win. (Dixie Chicks, Carrie Underwood, LeAnn Rimes, Judds, Jeannie C. Riley, Shania Twain, etc.)

  14. I’m seeing a lot of love for Lady A. Hmmm….

    No album of the year surprises. I have a feeling Alison Krauss and Robert Plant will win.

    Has RF ever won a Grammy?

    I will be rooting for the SteelDrivers as well in that category.

  15. Actually, I’m psyched that the Jonas Brothers made it in. I hope they get a few more nods, perhaps for the Burnin’ Up video. I can also hope (even though the chances are slim) that David Archuleta is nominated somewhere for his song “Crush”.

    In terms of country, I suppose I’ll agree that “Stay” and “Gunpowder and Lead” should be nominated for Song of the Year. I doubt there’s much point in hoping for Josh Gracin’s “We Weren’t Crazy” or Taylor Swift’s “Should’ve Said No” to get very far.

  16. Rascal Flatts are Grammyless. The only previous winners in the Vocal Duo/Group Category are Brooks & Dunn, who won twice (“My Maria” and “Hard Workin’ Man.”)

    Lady Antebellum, Steel Drivers and Sugarland are nominated for the first time in that category. Rascal Flatts has lost twice (“Bless the Broken Road”, “What Hurts the Most.”)

  17. Good point about Lady A being the wild card in the Country Duo/Group category. My money is still on ‘Stay’, but I won’t be disappointed either way.

  18. Kevin, I agree– moreso than any other awards show, the Grammys are inclined to recognize work that’s a bit out of the mainstream.

    While I’m pleased to see The Steeldrivers nominated, I agree with everyone that it’s a shame that Rascal Flatts made the short-list and that Little Big Town didn’t.

    Plant / Krauss should go 2 for 2 in terms of wins so far. Kevin, where do your allegiances lie when Madonna goes head to head with Krauss?

  19. @Kevin: And I meant Duo/Group as well. :) That’s a good point, but Taylor Swift was in New Artist last year and was nonexistent in the country categories. Lady A has a decent shot, though. I can agree with that.

    @Lynn: Rascal Flatts has never won a Grammy. I believe this is only their third nomination (“Bless the Broken Road” and “What Hurts the Most”).

    Swift is back with “White Horse.” If they nominate her for Female Vocal…

  20. Thanks, Leila!

    Apparently Country Universe picked the nominees!

    Patty Loveless! Trisha Yearwood! Jamey Johnson! Lee Ann Womack! Holy crap!

  21. Did my post go through? The full list is already out. No Swift for Female Vocal. Or do you guys just want to relish the feeling of anticipation? :)

  22. Even with one completely inexplicable nomination in the Female Country Vocal category, these are some pretty terrific nominees across the board! And what would’ve been my second choice on my wishlist (M.I.A.) actually made it into Record of the Year. Good stuff!

    Swift’s appalling performance justifies her snubbing.

  23. I’m disappointed in no Miranda love, too. The Martina track was very bland, in my opinion, and I would’ve liked to see her in the Song category.

    The rest of the nominees are terrific, at first glance.

  24. I gotta say I am really pleased with this list … especially Lee Ann Womack, “Last Call” and Trisha Yearwood, “This Is Me You’re Talking To” in the female category. And I am really excited for Jennifer Nettles’ Best Country Song nomination for ‘Stay’.

    I’m also disappointed that ‘Shiftwork’ got a nomination over ‘Every Other Weekend’. I wanted to see that song in both Collaboration with Vocals and Best Country Song category.

    But a pretty good list overall …

  25. “Every Other Weekend” deserved a Collaboration nod, I agree.

    The top country nominees are Krauss and George Strait, and it would be great to see him claim one of the four statues for which he’s nominated.

    Highlights: Loveless (2!), Yearwood (3), Womack (1), Mattea in Folk Album, Steeldrivers, Johnson (2), Rimes (1) and of course, Plant and Krauss.

    Lowlights: No Little Big Town, Lambert or Jackson; no “Every Other Weekend”

  26. I’m officially more interested in the Grammy nominations than I was in the CMAs, though I’m not surprised. I’m interested in the two folk categories too.

  27. I’m Confused. On the Grammy’s site it’s got Trisha & Keith Urban for vocal event, but on here it has got Josh Turner with Trisha… I would much rather it be Josh Turner than Keith Urban though. Thanks Country Universe for putting Josh on your list, although it may or may not be accurate…

    Also Really Happy for Randy Travis’ & Trace Adkins’ nominations!! They really deserve it. For Group/Duo, I would either go with Sugarland or Brooks & Dunn. Female: 1st Trisha, then Martina. Male: Trace, then James Otto. I am also glad that Taylor got 0 nominations.

  28. Sara,

    That’s an error I just corrected. I was typing it quickly and assumed in my head it was the Turner track. I’m shocked that the track with Urban was nominated, even though it’s one of my favorites from Yearwood’s album.

  29. A better list than the Grammy folks usually put out, to be sure. Still light on Indy label representation, but that’s to be expected since the major labels self-nominate their choices and the Indy folks have little-to-no input

  30. Paul,

    Your description of the nomination process is completely incorrect. There is no difference between the major and indie labels in the nomination process, and voters get to choose between all of the nominees on an equal playing field.

  31. I can’t believe I’m not only not rolling my eyes, but that I’m actually pleased with these nods! The Female and Male Country Vocal Performance categories are first-rate, though I don’t understand why Martina is in and Miranda’s not. Still, it’s hard to complain when the artists nominated are of that calibre. I’m rooting for Lee Ann and “Last Call” in that category, but would be happy if Carrie, LeAnn, or Trisha won, too.

    I find it kind of interesting that while the Grammys leaned a bit more traditional in the Country Album and Male Country Vocal Performance categories, the Female Country Vocal Performance category didn’t quite follow suit. Only “Last Call” and “Last Name” feature typically country instrumentation (and “Last Name” has more of a Southern rock and bluesy feel to it). And all five nominated female are considered pop country to varying degrees. No matter…they are all great singers, and I’m so pleased to see them nominated.

    “In Color,” “Just Got Started Lovin’ You,” and “Letter to Me” are three of my favorite songs released in 2008, so I’m really pleased to see them nominated, as well. I would have traded “I Saw God Today” and “You’re Gonna Miss This” in the Song category out for the Otto and Paisley songs.

    Seeing the albums from Patty Loveless, Trisha Yearwood and Jamey Johnson nominated is a big thrill. Good for NARAS, and I hope this results in those albums getting more attention. Hey Big Machine! Maybe you should consider giving Trisha Yearwood an ounce of the attention you’re lavishing on Taylor Swift!

  32. Man, I missed a lot while I was at the grind today! I agree this is a pretty awesome set of nominees. The fact that there are even categories where it’s hard to say who will win and arguable who should (Country Album) is marvelous in itself.

    I have to say that I think the Radiohead album, which was the big industry talk of the town for several months, is probably fair competition for Krauss/Plant in the Album race, though I’d still put the duo in the lead.

    I like Lady Antebellum alright, but I think their nomination for Best New Artist, like Taylor Swift’s last year, says more about the weakness of the country field than it does about their strengths. Since they’re the only significantly successful new country act of 2008 and that category always seems to pick a token country nominee (at least recently), I take their nomination there as something of a default. Between this and their CMA win, I have to wonder whether Lady A would be having such an easy ride if Little Big Town hadn’t come along first and set the stage for the whole mixed-gender-retro-group thing. I think LBT got country fans into the idea first and now Lady A is sort of riding their coattails – not that Lady A isn’t solid in their own rights. I’m glad to see them nominated for “Love Don’t Live Here,” even if that didn’t make my personal short list in that category.

    But anyway, this is going to be a great year. Can’t wait to get all nerdy in the discussions!

  33. I’m lovin all the nominees!! I’m hoping George can finally get a Grammy…just one!!! I would love to see him and Patty walk away with country collaboration…but that most likely won’t happen.

    I’m rootin for Carrie’s “Last Name” or Lee Ann’s “Last Call” in the female category. As far as the album category goes, I’m hoping Johnson, Strait, or Loveless takes it home. I think Jamey Johnson has a good chance at taking home the Male Vocal Performance award with “In Color.” I’m also hoping Lady A or Sugarland will win for the Group category…and I’m praying for a Lady A win in the Best New Artist category! (which I’m shocked the Jonas Brothers got a nomination over Leona…uh hello! Bleeding Love was a HUGE hit this year!)

    I’m hoping Jennifer Nettles can go for the Triple Crown and win Best Song for “Stay.”

  34. I am THRILLED Patty Loveless has been nominated for Country album for Sleepless Nights, and for her duet “House of Cash” with George Strait! (Now Mr. Strait, will you PLEASE release House of Cash as a single?!)

    If it were up to me, she would have also been nominated for best vocal performance for her haunting and enchanting rendition of “Crazy Arms”…

    VERY well deserved nominations for Patty Loveless…but if she doesn’t win for album, Trisha’s HH&TPL would be my second choice.

  35. I think Dudley’s reading my mind!!

    Also, Sara, while I liked the yearwood/Urban song, I’m disappointed that it wasn’t Turner/Yearwood too. That’s one of my favorites of the year and I like better than the Yearwood/Urban collaboration.

    Now, I’m kind of afraid to admit this for all to read, but I’m not big on the Strait/Loveless collaboration. They sound great together, but the song itself really puts me to sleep and seems kind of lyrically contrived. I believe I’m in the minority on this one though and I’m betting that since people really like it, it’s Strait and Loveless and about Johnny Cash that it will win.

  36. @Leeann: Blasphemy.

    But in all seriousness, “House of Cash” isn’t a classic by any stretch. But Strait, Loveless and the Cash connection are big positives. All the nominees are strong except for “Shiftwork.” My favorite song of the five is “Let the Wind Chase You,” although it’s not a true duet.

    @Steve: Sleepless Nights is terrific, and it’s fine company to boot.

  37. Does anyone else see the opportunity of CMT or GAC announcing the CMA/ACM Awards nominations in a one-hour special, with a brief concert and the announcement of the Hall of Fame/Pioneer Award honorees, followed by a presentation on each inductee? Anyone?

  38. I am really pulling for LeAnn Rimes this year! WICC is such a well-sung, well-written song and IMO, probably LeAnn’s best single release, next to NBTD. I don’t see Carrie winning this year with BHC pt2. I think this is a toss up this year between Trisha and LeAnn. Hmm…remind anyone of 1999?

    I am disappointed that LeAnn’s WICC didn’t get a Song nomination.

  39. So many veterans I love it. The Grammy’s are known for usually picking music over popularity, hense no Taylor (thank you). Martina out Miranda in I really thought this would be a year of a little more Miranda. Glad to see Leann Rimes back in the mix, she would be a satisfying win. Don’t think Carrie’s Last Name will cut it, had it been Just A Dream it would have been a lock especially after the CMA performance. I do enjoy Allison but I think the two together got more than they desereved just not a huge fan of that colaboration, but good luck to them. Again so glad to see all the veterans back in action.

    If Sugarland wins something for Stay again I may throw up.

  40. I’m obviously rooting for Patty’s Sleepless nights as album of the year and for her duet with George, but based on the non-country noms, I assume Alison is going to sweep. I know I’m in the minority and I love Alison, but I didn’t like the album with Robert Plant.

    I’m pleaseantly surprised by some of the country nominees. And much happier than with the CMAs or ACMS.

  41. Plant & Krauss are an early favorite in four of the five categories, I would say. Record of the Year likely goes to Coldplay, and they are the prime competitor for the pair in the Album category.

    If artists are nominated in multiple genres, as Plant/Krauss are in the collaboration categories, winning both is highly unusual. Yearwood & Urban are Grammy faves, and Strait & Loveless seem to have strong support, so that category is tough. I know Krauss will win something, but I hope that Johnson, Strait, Yearwood and Loveless can all come home with a trophy.

  42. It is high time Trisha wins for album of the year, all of her albums that have been elligible have been nominated!!! That has to be a record!

    I love Patty but not the duet with George, not really a Strait fan! But like I said really excited for Trisha!

  43. whoo!!! Im rooting for Trisha’s female and album of the year grammys, and Sugarland for group and song. YAY!! and of course im rooting for alison’s other noms too :)
    OR if Trisha loses I’d like to see Lee Ann Womack or LeAnn Rimes take home the trophy

  44. Zach, that’s exactly how I feel! I’m also rooting for Kathy Mattea, and in non-country, Adele, Radiohead, Duffy, and Coldplay (to a lesser extent).

  45. I am disapointed that “EOW” didnt get nominated and also I wish Miranda was nominated instead of McBride- Lambert’s track was clearly better.

  46. Carrie Underwood deserved a Country Album nod. Otherwise– I am fine with this list.

    I would have liked to have seen Miranda on there somewhere- but the 5 ladies nominated for female vocalist are deserving.

    Taylor’s performance was dreadful, that is for sure. I have no idea what the grammy producers were thinking asking her to sing that Brenda Lee song. It was beyond embarassing to country music.

  47. As bizarre as the Grammy’s can be in general, I always appreciate… ESPECIALLY this year… that they take time to truly consider who should be recognized in the country genre.
    I LOVE… LOVE… LOVE that Patty Loveless, Kathy Mattea, Trisha, and Randy Travis are rightfully recognized.
    I also love that “Last Call” is given a nod. That is by far one of the few truly “country” songs to come out in a loooong time!

    The narrow-mindedness of the CMA’s and ACM’s are always such an embarassment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

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