Billy Strings & Bluegrass Poised for a Big 2022 Grammy Awards
No, the Grammy Awards aren’t just all big pop stars parading out choreographed dance routines like you see during most of the televised presentation. Unlike country music’s big award shows like the CMAs and ACMs, The Grammys actually take the time to recognize artists in the bluegrass, Americana, folk, and blues realms, along with pulling from a more expanded list of nominees in the country categories, and recognizing actual artists in a host of genres that are deserving.
There are 86 total Grammy Awards categories, including the “American Roots” categories where you see names you’d otherwise never expect to see up for big awards with nominations and wins. Of course this all happens before the big broadcast on television during the Grammy’s “premier ceremony” streamed online. But hey, the recognition is still appreciated.
Billy Strings is already a Grammy award-winning artist, taking home Best Bluegrass Album in 2021 for Home. But the 2022 Grammy Awards may be where Billy Strings cements his place as the preeminent bluegrass performer of our era, and one that the rest of the world knows about. Along with being up for Best Bluegrass Album again for his latest album Renewal, he’s also up for Best American Roots Performance for “Love and Regret.”
But that’s not all. It’s very rare performers from the bluegrass realm get a performance slot on the main televised Grammy broadcast itself, but that’s exactly what Billy Strings is being bestowed in 2022, thanks to his swelling popularity and influence getting the attention of the Grammy organization, and the Grammy Awards going out of their way to feature genres that historically don’t make it onto the main broadcast this year.
And since Strings is performing, maybe there is a slightly better than normal chance he’ll be winning something? But he will face stiff competition, include from Sturgill Simpson for his bluegrass album Cuttin’ Grass Vol. 1, and Béla Fleck’s – My Bluegrass Heart, bolstered by great guest performances, including by Billy Strings. The Infamous Stringdusters and the “Queen of Bluegrass” Rhonda Vincent nominated in the Best Bluegrass Album category are no slouches either. Bluegrass is on the way up once again with Molly Tuttle also releasing her new album Crooked Tree this week, and the Grammy Awards are taking notice.
Sturgill Simpson also is in the unique position of being up for two Best Album categories at this year’s Grammys. Along with his bluegrass nomination, he’s also nominated for Best Country Album for The Ballad of Dood and Juanita. Sturgill Simpson knows a little something about the Grammy Awards too, winning the 2017 Grammy Award for Best Country Album for A Sailor’s Guide to Earth, which was also nominated right beside albums from Adele, Drake, Taylor Swift, and Beyonce for the all-genre Album of the Year.
Sturgill Simpson performed on the Grammy Awards in 2017 as well. Whether a performance slot was tenured to Sturg this year or not, due to vocal issues, he may not be able to take advantage of it even if it was.
Along with Billy Strings, also performing from the country/roots world will be Chris Stapleton, who is up for Best Country Album, Best Country Song, and Best Country Vocal Performance, Brothers Osborne who are up for Best Country Album, and Carrie Underwood, who is up for Best Country Duo/Group Performance, and Best Roots Gospel Album for My Savior.
To see all the country/roots nominees for the 2022 Grammy Awards to be held on Sunday, April 3rd, CLICK HERE, and check back with Saving Country Music on Sunday and follow on Twitter for full coverage of the 2022 Grammy Awards.
Wilson Pick It
April 1, 2022 @ 10:56 am
There are a lot of great artists in this space right now. At least a dozen that I can think of just off the top of my head. And while I really like Billy Strings a lot, he’s already been recognized with a Grammy and I think Bela Fleck would be the better pick as far as Best Albums go. For those of us who have been riding the train for a while, the Billy Strings hype is starting to feel like almost too much at times. By which I mean, too focused on one person when the whole genre seems to be having a Renaissance moment. But I have to give credit to the Grammies for putting a bluegrass performance in a prime time slot. I always used to think that the Grammies sucked, but in recent years they actually seem kind of… with it?
April 1, 2022 @ 3:15 pm
It’s a hard pick between Bela and Billy. I liked the other artists/albums nominated, but would have to go to Bela or Billy for the win. Maybe I’d choose My Bluegrass Heart which would honor all the outstanding musicians that contributed to that album, including Billy Stings (and Bryon Sutton and Michael Cleveland!!!). I’ve been to a few Billy Strings shows last year and they were great. I’ll also be at Red Rocks for the two nights coming up. I haven’t seen Bela live in a looonngg time (10+ years), but streamed his show at the Ryman where he had all the side-musicians from the album, and I would put that show right up there with Billy’s.
April 1, 2022 @ 1:30 pm
Love Billy Strings! But there are a ton of other great bluegrass bands that will probably never be considered for a Grammy. My current favorite right now is Stoney Creek Bluegrass Band. Their latest A Miner’s Life is fantastic! The Grassifieds are another good pick. The problem, as I see it, is you have a genre that does not have the infrastructure of other more popular genres (except in the case of a few top artists), and the rest of the genre as a whole suffers for it. And even that is a vast oversimplification. The awards and charts and other accolades are still given out based on the criteria of genres that have major FM radio support, etc, to a genre that doesn’t have a chance to fit into that framework.
April 1, 2022 @ 3:04 pm
Happy for Billy and happy for bluegrass. His last two albums are phenomenal. Bela, Billy and Molly are setting a pretty high bar with their recent releases.
April 1, 2022 @ 9:31 pm
There is absolutely nothing that the GA show does that is not “political.” Billy Strings is talented, young and cute. He will bring in young viewership and will take the wins. Bela may deserve it but he’s old. I have zero respect for this and most awards shows. Wish everyone knew how unethically screwed up they are and winning a Grammy isn’t an honor, just means you fit the current “pawn” musician that they are currently lookin for.
April 2, 2022 @ 8:02 am
Point taken on the award shows, but don’t pretend like Bela isn’t as much of a critical darling as anyone. He’s received 15 Grammys and 36 total nominations. My Bluegrass Heart is fantastic, yes, and a technical masterpiece – but it’s also utterly impenetrable for most listeners. It’s also itself far from traditional bluegrass, so I don’t really see it as representative of a directional fight for the genre, either.
April 2, 2022 @ 12:20 pm
Seen em both and Billy is way more fun. Much respect to Mr. Pickett but you are getting old….