Are Grammys Excluding Women & Kacey Musgraves? The Numbers:
The latest album from Kacey Musgraves called Star-Crossed is more pop than country, and any objective and informed individual who listens to the album solely for musical content irrespective of opinions on Kacey Musgraves or her importance in the country genre would would easily come to that conclusion.
Nonetheless, in the polarizing time we live in, the recent decision by the Grammy Awards to move Star-Crossed from consideration in the country category to the pop one for the upcoming awards in January of 2022 has set off yet another firestorm, with widespread accusations against both the Grammy Awards and country music at large for being operated by misogynistic gatekeepers who continue to target Kacey Musgraves due to her outspoken nature on certain topics, and for being a woman.
It’s important to note here that no different than other mild tempests turned into Category 5 tornados by opportunistic journalists and outlets looking to stir controversy for clicks and social credit on Twitter, “country music” as a genre has made no decision when it comes to Kacey Musgraves. This was simply a decision by a Grammy Awards screening committee, similar to when Billboard unilaterally made the decision to remove Lil Nas X from the country charts. Yet somehow, the entirety of the genre get yoked with these decisions.
Still, the idea that the Grammy Awards are exclusionary to women, or Kacey Musgraves specifically, is absolutely preposterous, unfounded, and completely unsupported by the numbers when zooming out, and looking at the track record of the Grammy Awards over the last few years.
So in an attempt to bust through all of the slanted rhetoric and opportunistic mischaracterizations, here is a breakdown of the Grammy’s track record when it comes to Kacey Musgraves, The Grammy Awards, the Best Country Album category specifically, and all major awards generally.
1. The Three Previous Winners of the Grammy’s ‘Best Country Album’ Were All Women
That’s right. In 2021, the winner for Best Country Album was Miranda Lambert’s Wildcard. In 2020, in was Tanya Tucker’s While I’m Livin’. And in 2019, it was Golden Hour by Kacey Musgraves. This means that the organization that we’re being told is actively working to exclude women—and Kacey Musgraves specifically—has awarded women in the same Best Country Album category currently under discussion in three consecutive years, including giving the award to Kacey Musgraves. If the Grammy’s master plan is to exclude women, and Kacey Musgraves specifically, they’re sure doing a poor job of it.
2. In 2021, ALL the Nominees for the Grammy’s “Best Country Album” Were Women.
Shocking, huh? In 2021, it would have been impossible for a solo male or male group to win in the supposedly exclusionary Best Country Album category at the Grammy Awards, because there weren’t any nominated. The nominees were Miranda Lambert’s Wildcard, Brandy Clark’s Your Life Is A Record, Ashley McBryde’s Never Will, and Nightfall by the female fronted Little Big Town. And by the way, Brandy Clark is a member of the LGBT community.
3. The Last Time Kacey Musgraves Was Eligible for the Grammy Awards, SHE WON FOUR GRAMMY AWARDS, and THREE in the country category.
So somehow, through the Grammy’s supposed exclusion of women and Kacey Musgraves specifically, in 2019, she was still able to win for Best Country Album, Best Country Song for “Space Cowboy,” Best Country Solo Performance for “Butterflies,” and also won the biggest award that is given out in all of popular music, the Grammy’s all-genre Album of the Year for Golden Hour. So the Grammy Awards did all of this for Kacey Musgraves, and then have turned around and decided for no other reason than sexism and exclusion to ban her from country consideration in 2022? Seems quite strange.
4. Kacey Musgraves Has Been Nominated for NINE Grammy Awards, and WON SIX of them.
Again, this is pretty shocking if we’re to believe the Grammy Awards (and specifically the country categories) have it out for Kacey Musgraves. Along with the four awards she won in 2019, Kacey Musgraves also won Best Country Album for Same Trailer, Different Park in 2014, won Best Country Song in 2014 for “Merry Go ‘Round,” and was also nominated as a songwriter on the song “Mama’s Broken Heart” recorded by Miranda Lambert from 2014. Musgraves was also nominated for the all-genre Best New Artist in 2014, and her 2016 album Pageant Material was also nominated for Best Country Album. Kacey Musgraves is one of the most nominated and awarded artists at the Grammy Awards in country music over the last eight years.
5. All of Kacey Musgraves’ Previous Albums Have Been Nominated for The Grammy’s Best Country Album, and Two of the Three Won The Award.
Again, it’s very hard to make the case that Kacey Musgraves or women are being excluded at the Grammy Awards when all three of Kacey’s previous albums were nominated for Best Country Album, and two of the three won. Strangely though, this particular fact is specifically being used by some against the Grammys as evidence that Musgraves is being purposely excluded this year. But what would be the motive of the Grammy Awards? Wouldn’t Kacey’s history mean that the Grammy Awards would be extra careful with this decision? In fact, they were.
6. Three Separate Grammy Committees Ruled on “Star-Crossed” by Kacey Musgraves, and All Three Committees Ruled It Was Pop.
We now know from reporting by both Variety and Billboard that the Grammy Awards brought Star-Crossed up for consideration by three separate screening committees. When the country committee deemed that the album was not country enough to meet the requirements, they sent the album to the pop committee, who listened to the album, and agreed with the country committee’s decision. In other words, not only did the country committee deem the album pop, the pop committee deemed it pop too.
Nonetheless, due to the high-profile nature of Kacey Musgraves, and her track record of being a Grammy Awards contender and winner, the Grammy Awards also had the decision taken up by what the awards call their “Core” committee, which includes some of the biggest heavy hitters and experts in the organization. They also deemed the album was more pop than country.
So even if supposed “gatekeepers” on the country committee, or supposed rival representatives on the country committee actively worked to exclude Kacey Musgraves, why did the pop committee accept it? Why did the Core committee uphold that decision? These committees have nothing to do with country music, and still upheld the decision.
7. The Kacey Musgraves Song “Camera Roll” WAS Deemed Acceptable By The Country Grammy Committee.
That’s right. So again, this same Grammy committee that is being accused of sexism and gatekeeping against Kacey Musgraves allowed one of the album’s tracks to be considered for nomination in the country category. Why would they do that if their effort was at exclusion?
“Camera Roll” is a rather sedate, stripped-down song accompanied with an acoustic guitar. Though it might be hard to deem the song “country,” it’s also not as exclusively pop as much of the rest of the tracks from Star-Crossed. You certainly could deem the track pop as well. But showing deference to Kacey Musgraves, the Grammy Awards accepted the song in the category she submitted it in.
Nonetheless, consistency at the Grammy Awards is a fair concern. Perhaps they could have sent “Camera Roll” to pop too. But the fact that they didn’t seems to imply more that the Grammy’s were making judgement calls on content, not on artists, or their identities. Otherwise, they would have moved Kacey Musgraves to pop entirely.
This is also a good place to underscore that Kacey Musgraves and Star-Crossed is still eligible for Grammy Awards in the pop and all-genre categories. She still has just as much of a chance of winning Grammy Awards as in previous years. They’ve just changed the genre category for her album specifically.
8. Kacey Muysgraves won the SUPERFECTA of Awards (CMA, ACM, Grammy, All-Genre Grammy) for Her Previous Album, Golden Hour.
Understand, there are major periodicals, and prominent music critics and journalists out there as we speak proclaiming that country music has always been exclusionary of Kacey Musgraves. Meanwhile, with her last album, Kacey Musgraves won the unprecedented superfecta of country awards, that being the Country Music Association Album of the Year, the Academy of Country Music Album of the Year, The Grammy Award for Best Country Album, and the Grammy’s all-genre Album of the Year.
Only two other titles have achieved this feat in over 50 years of history—Taylor Swift’s 2008 album Fearless, and the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack from 2000. This achievement puts Kacey Musgraves in an extremely elite class, and would be impossible if country music as a whole, or any awards organization specifically was working to exclude her.
9. All Major Awards Shows Combined, Kacey Musgraves Has Amassed an Incredible 17 Wins, and 46 Nominations Over The Last 8 Years.
Simply put, Kacey Musgraves is one of the most awarded country music artists in the last decade, only out-awarded by Chris Stapleton, and only out nominated by Miranda Lambert, though Kacey has won more awards lately than Lambert. A strong case could be made that Kacey Musgraves is the most critically-acclaimed of all country artists in the last decade—a strange label to give someone who is being purposely excluded from the genre. And this includes major awards, like the CMA’s Album of the Year, Female Vocalist of the Year, and Song of the Year, specifically for Kacey’s song “Follow Your Arrow,” even though this song specifically is being cited as one of the reasons country music is working to exclude her.
It is extremely clear when looking over the track record of Kacey Musgraves, awards organizations, the Grammy Awards specifically, and even more specifically the Grammy’s Best Country Album category that there has been absolutely no effort and any point in her career to exclude her from contention. In fact, the opposite is the case. These organizations have stepped up to fill the void of attention created by country radio’s lack of support to make sure Kacey Musgraves and her contributions are not overlooked.
Claims that Kacey Musgraves is being excluded from awards is incorrect, irresponsible, and arguably dangerous by mischaracterizing her legacy. Kacey Musgraves has achieved incredible heights through her country award wins, and her Grammy Awards specifically. Attempting to exclude these achievements so that accusations of sexism and exclusion can be levied does a disservice to Kacey’s legacy.
Furthermore, characterizing the Grammy Awards as excluding women or Kacey Musgraves from awards contention proves that there will never be enough inclusion for some critics. When women have won the last three Grammy Best Country Album awards, when last year women and a female fronted band were the only ones nominated in the category, and Kacey Musgraves specifically won four Grammy Awards the last time she was eligible, there is literally no way to represent women and Kacey Musgraves at the Grammy Awards in the album category more.
Star-Crossed by Kacey Musgraves is a pop record. That is the reason it was moved from country to pop at the Grammy Awards. Any other accusations again the Grammy Awards or country music at large are completely unfounded, and are not supported by any evidence, or the history of the organization.
October 18, 2021 @ 11:09 am
So here’s the point I made a week or so ago about this in particular – this seems to have far less to do about how acclaimed and awarded Kacey Musgraves is (where she’s clearly a Grammy favourite, the data backs this up), or surrounding systemic bias / discrimination (which exists in the major categories, we have data on this for decades, which to quote a colleague of mine reflects a ‘concerning kind of laziness’ on part of the Academy to rectify it (source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlniLFuzjf8), but I’d argue also isn’t really the issue here). Hell, if there’s a category where I tend to be more lenient on the Grammys, it’s country where on average they tend to bat higher than in rap or rock or god help us metal.
No, my issue with this is a conversation of genre – even if I would agree with most that ‘star-crossed’ is borderline country at best, to make a flat exclusion feels sketchy and out of place to me. Do I think the album makes more sense in pop? Sure. Do I think at least some of this has to do with how Kacey Musgraves’ label situation has been subtly shifted to compete in that market? Likely, especially given how chummy Music Row and the Grammys have been and how many bridges Musgraves has burned there, and I’m surprised THAT hasn’t received more analysis.
But just in the past ten years, if we want to have an argument about pop country I’d like explanations for the nominations for Taylor Swift’s ‘Red’, Maren Morris’ ‘Hero’, Kelsea Ballerini’s ‘Unapologetically’, Thomas Rhett’s ‘Life Changes’ and ‘Center Point Road’, and especially Sam Hunt’s ‘Montevallo’, all of which received nominations. And that’s before we open up the can of worms as to where Eric Church or Chris Stapleton’s last albums should be nominated – you can argue they belong in country, but I know purists who frequent this site who’d argue that ‘The Outsiders’ belongs in rock, and Chris Stapleton belongs in a soul category. So even if the Grammys’ selection committees are making the right choice ‘star-crossed’… since when? Where has this consistency been? And when we get the next list of nominees, what’s the odds we’re going to get another borderline project?
Couple that with the weird amount of publicity that got circulated around the Grammys making that choice this many months in advance, and something feels off, even if (again), I’d agree that this is a pop album. And I think trying to reframe the conversation as ‘Kacey leaning into systemic gender bias as an excuse’ is weird, especially as the Grammys are known to have issues there (the Portnow comments, the whole Deborah Duggan mess) and the history supports asking questions. It’s not a bad thing to question institutions who have a sketch reputation going back decades… even if they’re making the right choice.
October 18, 2021 @ 11:39 am
As I’ve said from the beginning, the consistency concern is a fair one. But we don’t know what other albums got bumped out of country and over to pop or rock at this point. We might have a better idea when nominations are released, and if there is another album that is (arguably) pop, the Grammy Awards will have some explaining to do. But if they have decided that this is the year they put their foot down, and a title has to be a least somewhat kind of country, then I want to encourage that. But yes, if that’s their stance, they must be consistent, or it erodes credibility in the process. At this point, we just don’t have enough information at this point to know if they were consistent this year specifically.
As for why this became so big in the press, it’s because Cindy Mabe seeded her letter with media dog whistles (Morgan Wallen, inclusion, etc) to start a forest fire. She went scorched earth, because she knows “Star-Crossed” is a weak title that will lose in pop, but may eek out a nomination in country. It’s the same reason Lil Nas “X” labeled “Old Town Road” country in his metadata—a weaker field. This is the reason you need someone standing at the gate. Otherwise actual country artists will get trampled.
October 18, 2021 @ 11:19 am
Good article/points. Ultimately, I suspect it is lack of airplay on country radio that has pushed Kacey towards pop (and thereby out of the Grammys country category). Women seem to be having a tough time these days to get on radio (quick google – “8.9 percent of the daytime spins in 2018”) – but that’s a different topic.
October 18, 2021 @ 12:29 pm
The reason that country music stepped up through the awards show apparatus to support Kacey Musgraves is because radio wouldn’t. Kacey Musgraves is an awards show success story. That is why it is so damaging when individuals and media outlets that are more interested in garnering clicks and Twitter followers through sowing unrighteous indignation characterize that the Grammys and country music as excluding Kacey Musgraves, when the exact opposite is the case. Not only does this make long strides towards erasing all the achievements Kacey Musgraves has earned in her career, it obfuscates the truth of how the country music community stepped up to support her when radio wouldn’t.
When it comes to why radio hasn’t played Kacey Musgraves, there are two entities at fault:
1) Country radio, who continues to make it harder for women to succeed than men.
2) Cindy Mabe and Kacey’s record label, who refused to put the same support behind Kacey’s singles as they did for her male counterparts.
Danny van Eijk
October 18, 2021 @ 11:50 am
Interesting article. However I guess if you have not seen anything even resembling a fire storm like I have (in fact I have read nothing about it at all) it is a bit light on examples.
October 18, 2021 @ 12:33 pm
The reason I chose to not share any examples is because I don’t want to aid and abet what at times have been outright lies being told by certain individuals. But trust me, they are out there, and by very prominent journalists, and certain Americana performers. I understand you and others may not see this stuff. It’s my job to have my nose in it.
October 18, 2021 @ 11:55 am
Questions that need asking, why should Kacey be excluded when equally pop/country albums and artists get nominated?
And why do we have to put up with Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert getting g multiple performance slots at country award shows while other women, Kacey included, have to settle for a feature with a male artist or no performance at all? We’ve been force fed the same two token female artists for the last 10 years it make any other woman feel like an underdog.
October 18, 2021 @ 12:15 pm
…except for the numerous examples Trigger provided about Kacey Musgraves and awards…
Agree that overall there are way better women (men too) to nominate that the usual suspects but Kacey HAS NOT been overlooked. If anything, she is recognized too much.
October 18, 2021 @ 12:37 pm
Well, now we have Mickey Guyton as a corrective. There ya go. How’s that?
October 18, 2021 @ 1:50 pm
Country music needs tokens and ‘correctives’ because a decade ago Sony decided that it’s two female country acts would take turns winning every award and for some odd reason the industry went along with it. Carrie left Sony and they filled that gap with Maren Morris.
October 18, 2021 @ 12:39 pm
“why should Kacey be excluded when equally pop/country albums and artists get nominated?”
For the 2022 Grammy Awards, the only artist we publicly know will not be considered in the country category is Kacey Musgraves. We have no idea what other artists were kept, which ones were moved, or who the nominees will be. I agree the consistency issue is a concern, and we should keep this in mind when nominations were announced. But at this point, we don’t have any reason to believe Kacey Musgraves was dealt with any differently than any other artist. In fact, the track record at the Grammy Awards is that they have been extremely kind to her.
As for performances, I remember a couple of years ago, Musgraves turned down a performance slot at either the CMA or ACM. I believe it was in 2018 or 2019, I would have to go back and check. But I remember complaining personally that she had no performance slot, and then was corrected that she turned the opportunity down.
October 18, 2021 @ 1:40 pm
Didnt Kacey turn them down because she wasn’t being given a full slot to perform her song?
October 19, 2021 @ 6:09 am
Great comment and good points Curious Cat. Exactly. 👏 Miranda and Carrie were the only two token female cm artists promoted and given awards for literally years. Some other very talented female cm artists were just ignored.
October 18, 2021 @ 11:55 am
I think you’re missing the forest for the trees Trigger. No, Star-Crossed is really not country, and shouldn’t be considered country. But that’s not the issue here.
For nearly a decade now, white male bros have been making music barely qualified enough to actually be called country. And yet the only times anyone from the country music establishment has called it out was when a black teen made a rap/country hybrid and when a female critical darling leans more into a pop sound.
“Body Like a Back Road” and “Meant to Be” are country enough for Grammy nominations, but ‘Star-Crossed’ is where they’re gonna put their foot down on what’s not country? That’s just major BS.
October 18, 2021 @ 12:55 pm
Again, you’ll get no argument from me on the consistency issue. Though as I continue to underscore, we cannot make that judgement call on how consistent or inconsistent the Grammy Awards have been in this particular year, because we don’t know who they moved, kept, or who the nominees will be just yet. This is something we should pay close attention to when the nominees are released.
That said, two wrongs don’t make a right. We all know that “Star-Crossed” is pop, and those that are saying it isn’t are making a disingenuous argument. It was the right call. Calling out the inconsistency is one thing. Saying the Grammy Awards are sexist and exclusively excluding Kacey Musgraves because of some hidden agenda makes absolutely no sense whatsoever considering the Grammy’s track record with Musgraves and other women.
“For nearly a decade now, white male bros have been making music barely qualified enough to actually be called country. And yet the only times anyone from the country music establishment has called it out was when a black teen made a rap/country hybrid and when a female critical darling leans more into a pop sound.”
This is not exactly true. For example, a band called Green River Ordinance was kicked off the country charts in 2016, even though they were way more country than most of the artists on the chart. They were a bunch of white dudes.
Sturgill Simpson’s magum opus “Metamodern Sounds in Country Music” was pushed from the country category to Americana by the Grammy awards when it was released. Then when his album “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth” won, the Grammy Awards called an audible, and moved the Best Country Album announcement to the pre-telecast because Sturgill wasn’t popular enough.
I could cite other examples, but when these things happen to white male artists, there’s not only not an outcry, the media mostly ignores it.
As for certain Bro-Country acts, I’m right there with you. I don’t think they should be considered if their albums don’t fit that “51% country” benchmark. But sometimes, they do. When it comes to “Star-Crossed,” it was so clearly a pop title, the Grammy Awards made the right choice. Hopefully now, they have set a precedent. And we should hold them to that precedent moving forward.
October 18, 2021 @ 2:53 pm
Thanks for reply! You made some really good points, and I do hope that this precedent is held in the future.
October 18, 2021 @ 11:56 am
“…..gatekeepers who continue to target Kacey Musgraves due to her outspoken nature on certain topics, and for being a woman” according to political activists (not country music lovers), who want her to win BECAUSE of her outspoken nature on certain topics and BECAUSE she’s a woman. Shits exhausting. For me at least, best to just ignore all the grandstanding and listen to good music made by whoever happened to make it.
October 18, 2021 @ 1:03 pm
Universal Music Group President Cindy Mabe said in her purposely leaked letter that the reason Kacey Musgraves was so important to nominate in country is because she offers a counterbalnace to Morgan Wallen. But that has nothing to do with if the content of the album is 51% country or not. She purposely did that to activate activist journalists who are now lying about how country music has never liked Kacey Musgraves and has systematically downgraded her, when she’s quite literally one of the most decorated artists in country music in the last decade.
October 18, 2021 @ 1:44 pm
Maybe it’s a romanticized past, but I feel like there was a time when such blatant pandering by the elites would be called out by at least some media, not amplified by it. They are useful idiots, posing as brave resistors.
October 18, 2021 @ 12:11 pm
True journalism is nearly extinct. Fact-finding is the most basic concept, yet few seem familiar with the process. Everyone wants to be an Op- ed hacktivist! Its so sad that Trig has to waste his time “proving” something any 8th grade English student could discover any day of the week thru the most remedial of research. It does tell us though, that these hit piece writers are either the laziest people on the planet, or they are more likely, avowed liars, pretending to be truth-tellers. What a joke!
October 18, 2021 @ 12:11 pm
what follows is my opinion. Disagree or agree however your own thoughts and observations dictate to you.
I think Kacey and her people know it isn’t country.
But since she is out into the pop category, whatever nominations she has will have much more competition, since this year had so many strong selling and fairly good pop album releases.
I think she and they know her chances for awards in pop will be much less vs her chances for awards in country.
All the other media websites and users and supposed music journalists complaining about her album being designated pop, are just doing it to create something to talk about, and also try to discredit actual country music and those who genuinely create and enjoy it.
October 18, 2021 @ 12:16 pm
Well written article, couldn’t agree more. Kacey is great, the new album is great, but not country. We can’t get mad at these award shows for getting it wrong and nominating music that isn’t country and then turn around and get mad when they get it right.
October 18, 2021 @ 12:41 pm
Any line they draw now will be after-the-fact of having let Southern Pop colonize the Country category. Good for the Grammys for putting the foot down if in fact that’s what they’re doing.
Down at the barn, we don’t much care. After all, no one cares about us.
October 20, 2021 @ 4:17 am
“After all, no one cares about us.”
a lot of us care
October 18, 2021 @ 12:49 pm
Back in the good ol’ days of physical sales (vinyl, CD, cassettes), the “Grammy bump” (resulting from a win) would snare a second wave boost in sales. In today’s music industry, is there still a financial value (via sales, airplay, or streaming) with a Grammy bump? Just curious…
October 18, 2021 @ 12:58 pm
Yes there is, especially for the categories that are televised. It’s probably not as pronounced as in previous eras, because awards shows just have much fewer viewers these days. But the reason so much is being made of this issue is because there are economic implications for Kacey and her label. That’s why the label President Cindy Mabe went scorched earth. This is a bottom dollar issue for her.
October 18, 2021 @ 1:15 pm
Spend your energy on something besides fake award shows. Absolutely meaningless in the big scope of things.
October 18, 2021 @ 4:29 pm
The Grammy Awards are the only organization handing out awards to folks like Sturgill Simpson, Billy Strings, Sarah Jarosz, John Prine, Tanya Tucker, nominating people like Tyler Childers, Sierra Hull. Courtney Marie Andrews etc. etc. This isn’t the ACM Awards. They may be meaningless to you, but to many of the independent country, folk, Americana, and bluegrass artists that aren’t getting rich off the music, it might be the only big recognition they receive in their career. Like all of these awards shows, the Grammy Awards are inherently flawed. But that doesn’t mean they’re meaningless.
Besides, as I said in the article, this really isn’t about the Grammy Awards. This is about taking an innocuous decision by a screening committee, and using it to perpetrate a falsehood that the entirety of country music is engaged in an open conspiracy to systemically downgrade Kacey Musgraves. Seems to me someone needed to step up and present the facts in a coherent manner.
Totally understand if these topics don’t appeal to everyone. Don’t read it them. Go read the review I just did for The Royal Hounds most everyone is ignoring.
October 18, 2021 @ 10:41 pm
I read the Royal Hounds review. Another 7.5.
But people that care about REAL country music don’t care what the Grammys, CMAs, or what any of those suits think about what country music is. They’ll never get it and the little blips of recognition given to Sturgill or Childers isn’t necessary. They’re great talents and they will be supported and sell out shows wherever they go. That’s their award. Giving credence to award shows isn’t going to push the preservation of real country music. Leave that crap to the mainstream. Your song and album of the year means far more to us then music rows crap shows.
October 19, 2021 @ 9:02 am
Back in the day I watched music awards shows, mainly Grammys and CMA’s. I always thought that the Grammys got it more than the CMA’s since I believe the votes were stacked in the CMA’s with label employees etc. and were more popularity and sales oriented. The Grammys and whoever voted for them usually went for the quality and originality of the artist.
I haven’t watched awards shows in years .
My long term observation.
October 18, 2021 @ 1:19 pm
I understand the “need” for journalists but there is nothing less country than Twitter. It’s only real purpose is unhinged shit-talk, essentially the bathroom walls of the internet. But I have fun stuff in outhouses to read on the job so personally I can do without !
October 18, 2021 @ 1:34 pm
This album is not grammy worthy. Not in country, nor in pop. This is a push to market and get more press, sales, and streams on a weak product. I would care a little bit more if it were worthy of an award. It is not.
October 18, 2021 @ 2:11 pm
In the words of Linda Ronstadt, “if you are singing because of awards, you are in big trouble.” I can’t imagine what the conversation would be if this exclusion didn’t happen but somehow when nominees are announced she wasn’t nominated. I love Kacey but even as a fan I got bored listening to the album.
October 18, 2021 @ 9:54 pm
Whether Kacey’s album is awards-worthy, let alone “country” or “good”, is up to the individual listener. And certainly Kacey is guilty to a certain extent of being awards-driven, in the very way that Linda Ronstadt never was. But Kacey is certainly not alone in the general scheme of things in the music industry (Taylor Swift and Beyonce are guilty as well), nor is she the only one on Music Row (Miranda Lambert, anyone?). In fact, the music industry as a whole is far more driven by awards, money, and publicity than it ever was in Linda’s day; but at least Linda put it in its proper perspective. I only wish Kacey and other female artists would follow Linda’s advice before they succumb to their own egomania.
October 18, 2021 @ 2:40 pm
Excellent article but facts are meaningless to those third wave feminists and professional victims.
The world to them exists how they see it not how it actually is.
Women could win the Grammys for the next 100 years and they will point to some transgression from 1948 to claim systematic bias.
October 18, 2021 @ 2:42 pm
How about that “bread winner” music video?
The SNL bit was interesting as well.
King Honky Of Crackershire (TODAY’S FORECAST: 100% chance of no.)
October 18, 2021 @ 5:00 pm
I’m C(c)ountry music’s gatekeeper. Kacey isn’t welcome. You have to, at the very least, not be ashamed of your upbringing, to be welcome in C(c)ountry music. And since she can’t sing, we’re not losing anything.
October 18, 2021 @ 5:15 pm
Re the supposed “double standard”…if a country artist is marketed as country and charts as country, they will probably be considered country by the Grammys. I doubt the musical “purity test” has much to do with it.
So in other words, nothing to see here, other than Musgraves being the most (again), mostly.
October 20, 2021 @ 6:12 pm
I always hear that women are represented on radio but amazingly where I live, about every other song that comes on is by a female. Maybe some women aren’t but the same could be said for some guys as well.
October 18, 2021 @ 5:35 pm
Too long, didn’t read.
The part i did get through left me with one thought:
October 18, 2021 @ 6:33 pm
As Charlie Munger frequently says in the Berkshire Hathaway annual meetings after Buffet speaks, “I have nothing to add.”
Country Charley Crockett's Butter
October 18, 2021 @ 9:30 pm
Will her album even be nominated?? Because it’s a pretty bad album.
I wouldn’t sweat it
October 19, 2021 @ 5:59 am
It will be nominated because it has Kacey Musgraves’ name on the cover of the album. Whether or not the music included with that cover is any good, which it isn’t, seems to be irrelevant to the nominating process.
Country Charley Crockett's Butter
October 18, 2021 @ 9:34 pm
Trig, are we going to get an article about how Jon Pardi’s Tequila Little Time is a slow burn at radio? Nearly 10 months and still getting pushed and still outside the top 10 on airplay.
I’m worried about Jon’s future because Tequila should have been a massive crossover hit.
October 18, 2021 @ 10:28 pm
I’ve got to figure that the Grammy committee places artists in the genre where their record company wants them to be placed. The Grammy organization is composed of industry insiders–not rogue jouranlists or fans.
October 18, 2021 @ 10:37 pm
Well, that’s definitely not what happened in this case. Cindy Mabe, The President of Kacey’s label UMG Nashville, wrote a scathing letter to the Grammys, and then leaked it to the press to create a firestorm. They submitted the record to country, and the Grammy Awards moved it to pop.
October 19, 2021 @ 5:24 am
I would like to see the Grammy’s restructure the Country Category similar to how it has done in other fields. The Grammys have long recognized the need for distinction between Traditional and Contemporary fields within categories.
Genres have been evolving to be more and it doesn’t make sense for Kacey Musgraves to compete with Alan Jackson in the country categories. Similarly to how it does not make sense for Tony Bennett to compete with Dua Lipa in the Pop categories. The solution is simple they created a Traditional Pop Albums category to allow recognition for great Tradition Pop Albums. I have long hoped for a Traditional Country category, but it would make sense to a Progressive or Contemporary Country category for acts such as Kacey Musgraves.
My suggestion is mirroring the R&B category
-Traditional Country Performance
-Progressive Country Album
October 19, 2021 @ 10:51 am
I totally agree the Country Grammys need to be expanded to feature traditional country titles. This would both help mitigate the culture war between traditional and contemporary, and also take pressure of the Americana categories that many actual (traditional) country works get dumped in. I would add a “Traditional Country Album” category, and maybe a “Traditional Country Song” category. Not sure we would need a “Progressive” category. I think folks like Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle, Son Volt etc. are well-covered in the Americana category.
October 19, 2021 @ 5:42 am
The Grammys are corrupt. That’s why music artists like The Weeknd that have actually won Grammys in the past have recently spoken up about the Grammys being corrupt because there continues to be no transparency about the nomination and voting process. That’s despite being called out about the voting being rigged by ex Grammy CEO Deborah Dugan in 2019. In the case of the country music category it sure pays to have a connection to Joel Katz like for example Miranda Lambert does. Miranda sure didn’t deserve to win the Grammy for country album last year but Joel Katz and others on the cm Grammy voting committees and her label Sony made sure she did. Miranda is overrated but has the right “connections” to get nominated and win these awards and it sure has got nothing to do with talent. Just like Kacey at least deserved a nomination for country album but didn’t get it. I really like Kacey’s album and it is country. It’s all dirty Nashville politics. Just because some of your favorites here get nominated and win doesn’t mean the Grammys aren’t corrupt and the voting isn’t a rigged process. It’s disappointing that more music artists in the country music community don’t have the guts to speak up about the corruption in the Grammys and all cm awards.
October 19, 2021 @ 6:48 am
The new Kacey Musgrave is not within the very wide definition of country music and is not very good either. Awards shows can provide some entertainment but little more.
October 19, 2021 @ 9:36 am
When are the Grammys going to start the Best Woman category?
October 19, 2021 @ 10:46 am
I know your joking, but when the Grammy Awards eliminated gender categories is when they began to be criticized for not supporting women enough. One of the few awards that actually has gender parity is Dale Watson’s Ameripolitan Awards, because each category is broken down by gender.
October 19, 2021 @ 11:21 am
This encapsulates while all awards in any artistic field are absurd. Art is subjective. It isn’t possible to decide which song, film, play, painting, etc., is best. Why anyone gives a shit about awards that aren’t data driven, e.g. sports awards, is beyond me. As soon as you include concerns such as gender parity, it becomes even more subjective. The Grammys, like all artistic awards, are a joke. Why care?
October 19, 2021 @ 12:56 pm
Good article in Billboard where they talk about music from Dolly Parton, Glen Campbell, Kenny Rogers, etc. getting moved from country to pop in the past. I still think there’s a consistency issue, but this gives us some greater context. Kacey Musgraves is not the only one who’s been moved.
October 19, 2021 @ 6:45 pm
I think these articles are really not about the Grammy’s or Billboard or any of that. These seem to be direct and targeted smear campaigns against the genre of country and by proxy country fans and “southerners”.
You touched on some of this but I want to state it clear, that I think it’s a blatant hit to get two sides fighting who refuse to read facts or context. Some of my friends (god love them) often ask how I can support country music for X, Y, Z reasons after they read some click bait headline or hear some blowhard on morning radio. And yet when they listen to my country stream they always hear something like. Or in cobnversation will end up exasperated and say something like, “Well, she’s DOLLY PARTON! Who doesn’t like her”.
On a side note, I know you are always up to your neck in writing and listening but have read/heard the book Major Labels: A History of Popular Music in Seven Genres by Kelefa Sanneh?
It is a fascinating discussion of music fandoms and factions and has me thinking of some angles of my own music tastes I hadn’t considered before. Reccommed to any music fan.
I’m constantly having to defend this genre I love in the area I live in. And this area used to have a strong country fanbase but now it’s mostly suburban pop/hop-hop people to “woke” for their own good. Add to that being a queer fan of country it REALLY perplexes some people.
October 19, 2021 @ 6:49 pm
Another unrelated side note. I cannot express how excited I am for the release of The Girl from Chickasaw County—The Complete Capitol Masters. Bobbie Genrtry is an all time favorite. Hope have time for a review or an article about her trailblazing boundary pushing productions.
October 19, 2021 @ 6:53 pm
Have not read “Major Labels: A History of Popular Music,” but you’re not the first to recommend it to me and I should probably get on it.
October 19, 2021 @ 8:55 pm
Thanks for that suggestion on the book, my library has it and now thanks to you I’m in line to get it. Should be a good read! Many people have nor have they ever had any idea what goes on in the music business label wise.
November 2, 2021 @ 6:17 am
The best book I ever “read” about major labels and behind the scenes was David Byrne’s “How Music Works” It goes step by step in how labels work and even get into some early streaming stuff. At the end of the day no matter how much talent label back or nurture it is $$$ to them and more $$$ every quarter to investors. It may be about the art for for some musicians but labels what MONEY and lots of it and complete control over who gets how much of it.
October 20, 2021 @ 7:27 pm
I have not listened to Kacey’s new album,but I must say,that their is not much real country music being made,some of it is just jive turkey s&$#.I’m from Texas myself,not far from where Kacey,and Miranda hail from,been keeping up with Kacey since she was on the early morning news,local talent show,and she is good,that’s what I said to myself,” that girl is going to make it”,and she did.,,Now whether its country,or not,heck if you like it,that’s what music is about,seems like I remember Willy not showing up at Grammys,back in the day,when the outlaw music was big.The album is about breakup,that’s what she was going through at the time,feelings,that sort of thing.Lets wait for her next one,cause the girl can write a song.Kacey,keep up the good work,be true to what got your their,and you cannot go wrong,do not let these people bring you down.We still love you hear in Texas.
October 21, 2021 @ 6:15 pm
This album is flipping hard. #65 on the Billboard 200 after 5 weeks, even with an SNL appearance.
October 25, 2021 @ 11:36 am
SORRY. …Musgraves is great but she is NOT on a Miranda or Carrie Underwood level. Underwood can run a full tour and sell out arenas. Her albums actually sell. Every single album is platinum. She actually has had several number ones. Miranda Lambert is AUTHENTIC country and NOT gum pop like Kacey. While Carrie has some pop songs as well her numbers are massive in terms of singles and album sales compared to Kacey. SOOO dont be shocked if she doesnt get nominated. Recently Maren Morris has been making a splash but ots a Carrie / Miranda genre.
November 17, 2021 @ 3:14 pm
The Grammys are less about music, more about the self-promoting music industry, and the absolute last place to seek guidance on the category of Country music..
January 7, 2023 @ 3:10 pm
Kacey may have been excluded from the country category because the album just isn’t very good in any genre. In the larger pop pool, they’ll have an excuse to overlook her. Sorry Kacey, it’s revisionist history