2021 Grammy Nominations Relevant to Country & Roots

The 2021 Grammy Award nominees were announced on Tuesday (11/24), and as can be expected, there is some good, some bad, many worthy nominations, a few probably born of virtue signaling as you can expect. But overall, it’s about par for the course.

From the big country categories, Ingrid Andress comes out as the surprising upstart with Best Country Song and Best Country Album nominations, along with an all genre New Artist of the Year nomination. Miranda Lambert is also a big player with “Bluebird,” while Brandy Clark and Ashley McBryde pick up nominations from the “better than most” mainstream crowd.

About the only category that doesn’t give you someone good to root for is Best Country Duo/Group Performance, with even the Brothers Osborne selection feeling forced. Snubs in the category would be John Anderson and his comeback record Years, while it might have been nice to see someone like Charley Crockett or Lori McKenna get some love, either in country or the Americana categories.

Many are already crying about The Highwomen getting “snubbed” even though they picked up a nomination in Best Country Song for “Crowded Table,” as if that isn’t good enough. But remember, the group still hasn’t addressed the controversy where they disinvited Mickey Guyton from a video shoot. Though the media has ignored the story, maybe the voters haven’t. Guyton herself picked up a nomination for Best Country Solo Performance, but there’s a fair question if the signaling from the Grammy nominees does any good when Lady A gets a nod with the controversy still swirling around them.

In the American Roots categories (Americana, Folk, Bluegrass), 2021 feels pretty ho-hum, without a lot of enthusiasm behind many of the nominees, with a few exceptions. The nominations for John Prine’s “I Remember Everything” feel pretty worthy, and the Black Pumas—who are also well-represented in the top all-genre categories—would be the Americana risers this year.

Former bluegrass prodigies are one of the big stories in 2021’s American Roots categories, with Billy Strings picking up a nomination for Best Bluegrass Album, and both Sierra Hull and Sarah Jarosz picking up worthy nominations, while Lucinda Williams is the living legend in contention.

Still, you maybe would have liked to see American Aquarium finally see some recognition for their critically-acclaimed work, it’s a bit surprising Steve Earle’s Ghosts of West Virginia didn’t receive anything, and Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit are absent for what feels like the first time in a long time following an eligible release, though opinions have been mixed behind Reunions.

Some of the biggest Grammy intrigue for some country and roots fans in 2021 will be outside of the country and American Roots categories. Sturgill Simpson is up for Best Rock Album for Sound & Fury, while Brittany Howard is all over the place in rock as well, along with her nomination in Best American Roots Performance.

A lot of other non-genre categories have entries with country music ties to country and roots as well. Both Dan Auerbach and Dave Cobb are up for Producer of the Year, while Brandi Carlile and Linda Ronstadt are big players in visual media categories. See all the nominations relevant to the country and roots world below.

Best Country Solo Performance:

“Stick That In Your Country Song” — Eric Church
“Who You Thought I Was” — Brandy Clark
“When My Amy Prays” — Vince Gill
“Black Like Me” — Mickey Guyton
“Bluebird” — Miranda Lambert

Best Country Duo/Group Performance:

“All Night” — Brothers Osborne
“10,000 Hours” — Dan + Shay & Justin Bieber
“Ocean” — Lady A
“Sugar Coat” — Little Big Town
“Some People Do” — Old Dominion

Best Country Song:

–“Bluebird” — Luke Dick, Natalie Hemby & Miranda Lambert, Songwriters (Miranda Lambert)
–“The Bones” — Maren Morris, Jimmy Robbins & Laura Veltz, Songwriters (Maren Morris)
–“Crowded Table” — Brandi Carlile, Natalie Hemby & Lori McKenna, Songwriters (The Highwomen)
–“More Hearts Than Mine” — Ingrid Andress, Sam Ellis & Derrick Southerland, Songwriters (Ingrid Andress)
–“Some People Do” — Jesse Frasure, Shane McAnally, Matthew Ramsey & Thomas Rhett, songwriters (Old Dominion)

Best Country Album:

“Lady Like” — Ingrid Andress
“Your Life Is a Record” — Brandy Clark
“Wildcard” — Miranda Lambert
“Nightfall” — Little Big Town
“Never Will” — Ashley McBryde

Best American Roots Performance:

“Colors” — Black Pumas
“Deep in Love” — Bonny Light Horseman
“Short and Sweet” — Brittany Howard
“I’ll Be Gone” — Norah Jones & Mavis Staples
“I Remember Everything” — John Prine

Best American Roots Song:

“Cabin” — Laura Rogers & Lydia Rogers, songwriters (The Secret Sisters)
“Ceiling to the Floor” — Sierra Hull & Kai Welch, songwriters (Sierra Hull)
“Hometown” — Sarah Jarosz, songwriter (Sarah Jarosz)
“I Remember Everything” — Pat McLaughlin & John Prine, songwriters (John Prine)
“Man Without a Soul” — Tom Overby & Lucinda Williams, songwriters (Lucinda Williams)

Best Americana Album:

“Old Flowers” — Courtney Marie Andrews
“Terms of Surrender” — Hiss Golden Messenger
“World on the Ground” — Sarah Jarosz
“El Dorado” — Marcus King
“Good Souls Better Angels” — Lucinda Williams

Best Bluegrass Album:

“Man On Fire” — Danny Barnes
“To Live in Two Worlds, Vol. 1” — Thomm Jutz
“North Carolina Songbook” — Steep Canyon Rangers
“Home” — Billy Strings
“The John Hartford Fiddle Tune Project, Vol. 1” — Various Artists

Best Folk Album:

“Bonny Light Horseman” — Bonny Light Horseman
“Thanks for the Dance” — Leonard Cohen
“Song for Our Daughter” — Laura Marling
“Saturn Return” — The Secret Sisters
“All the Good Times” — Gillian Welch & David Rawlings

All Genre Categories:

Album of the Year

“Chilombo” — Jhené Aiko
“Black Pumas (Deluxe Edition)” — Black Pumas
“Everyday Life” — Coldplay
“Djesse Vol.3” — Jacob Collier
“Women in Music Pt. III” — HAIM
“Future Nostalgia” — Dua Lipa
“Hollywood’s Bleeding” — Post Malone
“Folklore” — Taylor Swift

Record of the Year

Black Parade” — Beyoncé
“Colors” — Black Pumas
“Rockstar” —DaBaby Featuring Roddy Ricch
“Say So” — Doja Cat
“Everything I Wanted” — Billie Eilish
“Don’t Start Now” — Dua Lipa
“Circles” — Post Malone
“Savage” — Megan Thee Stallion Featuring Beyoncé

Song of the Year

–“Black Parade” — Denisia Andrews, Beyoncé, Stephen Bray, Shawn Carter, Brittany Coney, Derek James Dixie, Akil King, Kim “Kaydence” Krysiuk & Rickie “Caso” Tice, songwriters (Beyoncé)
–“The Box” — Samuel Gloade & Rodrick Moore, songwriters (Roddy Ricch)
–“Cardigan” — Aaron Dessner & Taylor Swift, songwriters (Taylor Swift)
–Circles Louis Bell, Adam Feeney, Kaan Gunesberk, Austin Post & Billy Walsh, songwriters (Post Malone)
–“Don’t Start Now” — Caroline Ailin, Ian Kirkpatrick, Dua Lipa & Emily Warren, songwriters (Dua Lipa)
–“Everything I Wanted” — Billie Eilish O’Connell & Finneas O’Connell, songwriters (Billie Eilish)
–“I Can’t Breathe” — Dernst Emile II, H.E.R. & Tiara Thomas, songwriters (H.E.R.)
–“If the World Was Ending” — Julia Michaels & JP Saxe, songwriters (JP Saxe Featuring Julia Michaels)

Best New Artist

Ingrid Andress
Phoebe Bridgers
Noah Cyrus
D Smoke
Doja Cat
Megan Thee Stallion

Producer of the Year, Non Classical

Jack Antonoff
Dan Auerbach
Dave Cobb
Flying Lotus
Andrew Watt

Best Rock Album

“A Hero’s Death” — Fontaines D.C.
“Kiwanuka” — Michael Kiwanuka
“Daylight” — Grace Potter
“Sound & Fury” — Sturgill Simpson
“The New Abnormal” — The Strokes

Best Rock Performance

“Shameika” — Fiona Apple
“Not” — Big Thief
“Kyoto” — Phoebe Bridgers
“The Steps” — HAIM
“Stay High” — Brittany Howard
“Daylight” — Grace Potter

Best Rock Song

“Kyoto” — Phoebe Bridgers, Morgan Nagler & Marshall Vore, Songwriters (Phoebe Bridgers)
“Lost in Yesterday” — Kevin Parker, Songwriter (Tame Impala)
“Not” — Adrianne Lenker, Songwriter (Big Thief)
“Shameika” — Fiona Apple, Songwriter (Fiona Apple)
“Stay High” — Brittany Howard, songwriter (Brittany Howard)

Best Album Notes

–“At the Minstrel Show: Minstrel Routines From the Studio, 1894-1926” — Tim Brooks, album notes writer (Various Artists)
–“The Bakersfield Sound: Country Music Capital of the West, 1940-1974” — Scott B. Bomar, album notes writer (Various Artists)
–“Dead Man’s Pop” — Bob Mehr, album notes writer (The Replacements)
–“The Missing Link: How Gus Haenschen Got Us From Joplin to Jazz and Shaped the Music Business” — Colin Hancock, album notes writer (Various Artists)
–“Out of a Clear Blue Sky” — David Sager, album notes writer (Nat Brusiloff)

Best Music Film

–“Beastie Boys Story” — Beastie Boys — Spike Jonze, video director; Amanda Adelson, Jason Baum & Spike Jonze, video producers
–“Black Is King” — Beyoncé
–“We Are Freestyle Love Supreme” — Freestyle Love Supreme — Andrew Fried, Video Director; Andrew Fried, Jill Furman, Thomas Kail, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Sarina Roma, Jenny Steingart & Jon Steingart, video producers
–“Linda Ronstadt: The Sound Of My Voice” — Linda Ronstadt — Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman, video directors; Michele Farinola & James Keach, video producers
–“That Little Ol’ Band From Texas” — ZZ Top — Sam Dunn, video director; Scot McFadyen, video producer

Best Song Written for Visual Media

“Beautiful Ghosts [From Cats]” — Andrew Lloyd Webber & Taylor Swift, songwriters (Taylor Swift)
“Carried Me With You [From Onward]” — Brandi Carlile, Phil Hanseroth & Tim Hanseroth, songwriters (Brandi Carlile)
“Into the Unknown [From Frozen 2]” — Kristen Anderson-Lopez & Robert Lopez, songwriters (Idina Menzel & Aurora)
“No Time to Die [From No Time To Die]” — Billie Eilish O’Connell & Finneas Baird O’Connell, songwriters (Billie Eilish)
“Stand Up [From Harriet]” Joshuah Brian Campbell & Cynthia Erivo, songwriters (Cynthia Erivo)

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