Sturgill Simpson Shocks the World with ‘A Sailor’s Guide’ Album of the Year Grammy Nomination

sturgill-simpson

“Mark my words, I have a feeling that this will not be the last time you will hear about Sturgill Simpson or this band, from me or others.” —Saving Country Music, January 23rd, 2011.

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That moment when you realize your little music scene is all growns up.

If you didn’t get that sense in 2015 when Chris Stapleton was nominated for arguably the biggest distinction in all of music—the Grammy for Album of the Year—then perhaps you will now that the individual who kicked the doors open for Stapleton and others is finally being allowed to walk through them himself.

On Tuesday morning (12-6) the nominees for the 2017 Grammy Awards were announced, and Sturgill Simpson’s A Sailors Guide to Earth is right up there with Adele, Beyonce, Drake, and Justin Bieber competing for the Album of the Year. And he just might win it. The album is also up for Best Country Album—a little bit strange seeing how his more country effort Metamodern Sounds in Country Music got slotted in Americana. But the simple explanation is Americana is seen as the JV team for country by some (even though it shouldn’t be). Nonetheless, Sturgill Simpson is now running with the big boys, and the impact on music could be huge.

But will he win? Adele has to be seen as the clear front-runner, and frankly nobody has a real chance against her blockbuster and universally-acclaimed 25. Hell, even Saving Country Music was singing the praises of it. But if there’s a Dark Horse, it’s definitely Sturgill in a field with massive pop stars who could all steal votes from each other like has happened in previous years until the small guy walks away with a majority, however small. But don’t hold your breath.

The victory has already been won by Sturgill with the nomination. It puts him at the very top echelon of American music, whether he’s comfortable admitting it or holding that position. All it can do is legitimize him, and legitimize the music, and a lot of the principles he stands for. It also ensures he will get a major performance slot on the telecast, if he wants it. Beyond that, we’ll just have to see what happens in February.

Other important notes from the Grammy nominations includes a nomination for Willie Nelson for Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin Nelson under the Best Traditional Pop Vocal album, and Americana and American Roots nominations for Robbie Fulks, Sarah Jarosz, Lori McKenna, The Time Jumpers, and Rhiannon Giddens. Beyond that, frankly there’s an excess of pop country that received nominations this year, including Kelsea Ballerini and Maren Morris who are both up for New Artist of the Year.

But let’s not bury the lead. The Sturgill Simpson nomination is a huge upset, and cements Sturgill’s place as a generational artist, and one that started in the very shallows of independent, authentic country.

Album Of The Year:

25 — Adele
Lemonade — Beyoncé
Purpose — Justin Bieber
Views — Drake
A Sailor’s Guide To Earth — Sturgill Simpson

Best New Artist:

Kelsea Ballerini
The Chainsmokers
Chance The Rapper
Maren Morris
Anderson .Paak

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album:

Cinema — Andrea Bocelli
Fallen Angels — Bob Dylan
Stages Live — Josh Groban
Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin — Willie Nelson
Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway

Best Country Solo Performance:

“Love Can Go To Hell” — Brandy Clark
“Vice” — Miranda Lambert
“My Church” — Maren Morris
“Church Bells” — Carrie Underwood
“Blue Ain’t Your Color” — Keith Urban

Best Country Duo/Group Performance:

“Different For Girls” — Dierks Bentley Featuring Elle King
“21 Summer” — Brothers Osborne
“Setting The World On Fire” — Kenny Chesney & P!nk
“Jolene” — Pentatonix Featuring Dolly Parton
“Think Of You” — Chris Young With Cassadee Pope

Best Country Song:

“Blue Ain’t Your Color” — Clint Lagerberg, Hillary Lindsey & Steven Lee Olsen, songwriters (Keith Urban)
“Die A Happy Man” — Sean Douglas, Thomas Rhett & Joe Spargur, songwriters (Thomas Rhett)
“Humble And Kind” — Lori McKenna, songwriter (Tim McGraw)
“My Church” — busbee & Maren Morris, songwriters (Maren Morris)
“Vice” — Miranda Lambert, Shane McAnally & Josh Osborne, songwriters (Miranda Lambert)

Best Country Album:

Big Day In A Small Town — Brandy Clark
Full Circle — Loretta Lynn
Hero — Maren Morris
A Sailor’s Guide To Earth — Sturgill Simpson
Ripcord — Keith Urban

Best Americana Roots Performance:

“Ain’t No Man” — The Avett Brothers
“Mother’s Children Have A Hard Time” — Blind Boys Of Alabama
“Factory Girl” — Rhiannon Giddens
“House Of Mercy” — Sarah Jarosz
“Wreck You” — Lori McKenna

Best American Roots Song:

“Alabama At Night” — Robbie Fulks
“City Lights” — Jack White
“Gulfstream” — Roddie Romero And The Hub City All-Stars
“Kid Sister” — The Time Jumpers
“Wreck You” — Lori McKenna

Best Americana Album:

True Sadness — The Avett Brothers
This Is Where I Live — William Bell
The Cedar Creek Sessions — Kris Kristofferson
The Bird & The Rifle — Lori McKenna
Kid Sister — The Time Jumpers

Best Bluegrass Album:

Original Traditional — Blue Highway
Burden Bearer — Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
The Hazel And Alice Sessions — Laurie Lewis & The Right Hands
North By South — Claire Lynch
Coming Home — O’Connor Band With Mark O’Connor

Best Music Film:

I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead — Steve Aoki
The Beatles: Eight Days A Week The Touring Years — (The Beatles)
Lemonade — Beyoncé
The Music Of Strangers — Yo-Yo Ma & The Silk Road Ensemble
American Saturday Night: Live From The Grand Ole Opry — (Various Artists)