Brandi Carlile Leads 2019 Country & Roots Grammy Nominations

The nominees for the 2019 Grammy Awards were announced Friday morning (12-7) after being moved back a couple of days to make way for the funeral of President George H.W. Bush, and some of the things we anticipated happening have happened. We knew with the political and social climate, women would be well-represented, which they were, including in the “American Roots” categories that primarily deal with country and Americana music. And we knew minorities would also be well-represented, which they were by hip-hop’s dominance of many of the all-genre awards.

But the biggest takeaway, and surprisingly so, is Brandi Carlile earning six total nominations, including all-genre nominations for Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and Record of the Year. Maren Morris earns five nominations, including two all-genre nominations for the pop song “The Middle” with Zedd. Kacey Musgraves earns four nominations, including the all-genre nomination for Album of the Year. John Prine ended up with three nominations, including being nominated for two separate songs in the Best American Roots Song category. Dan + Shay got two nominations, as did Brothers Osborne, Lee Ann Womack, and Chris Stapleton.

As songwriters, important names such as Waylon Payne, Dave Cobb, and Jeff Tweedy were also nominated. Dave Cobb and Shooter Jennings also pick up big nominations via Brandi Carlile as producers. It’s good to see Ashley McBryde acknowledged. Country legends were also represented with Willie Nelson and Loretta Lynn walking away with nominations, including Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for Willie’s Frank Sinatra tribute, My Way. It’s also good to see Austin’s often overlooked bluegrass band Wood and Wire walk away with a nomination. Vince Gill also receives two nominations via “Dear Hate.”

In the all-genre Best New Artist category, country music also was well-represented, with Luke Combs and Margo Price receiving nominations in an expanded field from five to eight. This is a big distinction for east Nashville’s Margo Price, even though her recent record All-American Made was surprisingly locked out of the song and album distinctions (it was still eligible, being released after October 1st, 2017).

With the country nominees, we’re seeing the continuance of a trend that first emerged in 2018 of Music Row and mainstream labels in country actually seeing the value of courting the Grammy Awards, as opposed to seeing them as just an also-ran to the CMAs and ACMs. Cole Swindell, Kelsea Ballerini, and Dan + Shay are names that could be thought to be a more on the outside of this more refined awards apparatus, but now Nashville has seen it as a way to attain hardware for some of their 2nd-tier stars systemically locked out of country’s own awards, which they can accomplish due to the Grammy Awards’ weak voting system.

Brandi Carlile, Lee Ann Womack, Kacey Musgraves, John Prine, and Chris Stapleton are all worthy nominees that you probably would have predicted. Maren Morris has always been a critic’s favorite, and isn’t unfamiliar with the Grammy Awards. But to nominate “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters” for Best Country Solo Performance, which is an Elton John cover song she did for a tribute record, is a piss on the leg of the public, especially on a year with so many other worthy songs out there. Maren’s “Dear Hate” with Vince Gill is much more what the Grammy Awards are all about (and should have been released as a single).

Overall, the 2019 Grammy Awards feel like a mixed bag, with a lot of good stuff, some very questionable stuff, and the feel of political motivation behind some of the selections in both positive and negative ways. But whether she wins a single award or not, the story of the 2019 Grammy nominations might be a coming out party for Brandi Carlile, who has deserved major national recognition for her music for many years, and just received it in a big way.

Country & Roots Awards


Best Country Solo Performance
“Wouldn’t It Be Great,” Loretta Lynn
“Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters,” Maren Morris
“Butterflies,” Kacey Musgraves
“Millionaire,” Chris Stapleton
“Parallel Line,” Keith Urban

Best Country Duo/Group Performance
“Shoot Me Straight,” Brothers Osborne
“Tequila,” Dan + Shay
“When Someone Stops Loving You,” Little Big Town
“Dear Hate,” Maren Morris featuring Vince Gill
“Meant to Be,” Bebe Rexha & Florida Georgia Line

Best Country Song
“Break Up in the End,” Cole Swindell (Jessie Jo Dillon, Chase McGill and Jon Nite, songwriters)
“Dear Hate,” Maren Morris featuring Vince Gill (Tom Douglas, David Hodges and Maren Morris, songwriters)
“I Lived It,” Blake Shelton (Rhett Akins, Ross Copperman, Ashley Gorley and Ben Hayslip, songwriters)
“Space Cowboy,” Kacey Musgraves (Luke Laird, Shane McAnally and Kacey Musgraves, songwriters)
“Tequila,” Dan + Shay (Nicolle Gaylon, Jordan Reynolds and Dan Smyers, songwriters)
“When Someone Stops Loving You,” Little Big Town (Hillary Lindsey, Chase McGill and Lori McKenna, songwriters)

Best Country Album
Unapologetically, Kelsea Ballerini
Port Saint Joe, Brothers Osborne
Girl Going Nowhere, Ashley McBryde
Golden Hour, Kacey Musgraves
From A Room: Volume 2, Chris Stapleton

Best Americana Album
By the Way, I Forgive You, Brandi Carlile
Things Have Changed, Bettye LaVette
The Tree of Forgiveness, John Prine
The Lonely, the Lonesome & the Gone, Lee Ann Womack
One Drop of Truth, The Wood Brothers

 Best American Roots Performance
“Kick Rocks,” Sean Ardoin
“Saint James Infirmary Blues,” Jon Batiste
“The Joke,” Brandi Carlile
“All on My Mind,” Anderson East
“Last Man Standing,” Willie Nelson

Best American Roots Song (Award to Songwriters)
“All the Trouble,” Lee Ann Womack (Waylon Payne, Lee Ann Womack, and Adam Wright, songwriters)
“Build a Bridge,” Mavis Staples (Jeff Tweedy, songwriter)
“The Joke,” Brandi Carlile (Brandi Carlile, Dave Cobb, Phil Hanseroth and Tim Hanseroth, songwriters)
“Knockin’ on Your Screen Door,” John Prine (Pat McLaughlin and John Prine, songwriters)
“Summer’s End,” John Prine (Pat McLaughlin and John Prine, songwriters)

Best Folk Album
Whistle Down The Wind, Joan Baez
Black Cowboys, Dom Flemons
Rifles and Rosary Beads, Mary Gauthier
Weed Garden, Iron & Wine
All Ashore, Punch Brothers

Best Bluegrass Album
Portraits in Fiddles, Mike Barnett
Sister Sadie II, Sister Sadie
Rivers and Roads, Special Consensus
The Travelin’ McCourys, The Travelin’ McCourys
North of Despair, Wood & Wire

All Genre Awards


Album of the Year
“Invasion of Privacy,” Cardi B
“By the Way, I Forgive You,” Brandi Carlile
“Scorpion,” Drake
“H.E.R.,” H.E.R.
“Beerbongs & Bentleys,” Post Malone
“Dirty Computer,” Janelle Monae
“Golden Hour,” Kacey Musgraves
“Black Panther: The Album,” Featuring Kendrick Lamar

Record of the Year
“I Like It,” Cardi B, Bad Bunny & J Balvin
“The Joke,” Brandi Carlile
“This is America,” Childish Gambino
“God’s Plan,” Drake
“Shallow,” Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper
“All The Stars,” Kendrick Lamar and SZA
“Rockstar,” Post Malone feat. 21 Savage
“The Middle,” Zedd, Maren Morris and Grey

Song of the Year
“All The Stars,” Kendrick Duckworth, Mark Spears, Al Shuckburgh, Anthony Tiffith and Solana Rowe
“Boo’d Up,” Larrance Dopson, Joelle James, Ella Mai, and Dijon McFarlane
“God’s Plan,” Aubrey Graham, Daveon Jackson, Brock Korsan, Ron Latour, Matthew Samuels and Noah Shebib.
“In My Blood,” Teddy Geiger, Scott Harris, Shawn Mendes and Geoffrey Warburton
“The Joke,” Brandi Carlile, Dave Cobb, Phil Hanseroth and Tim Hanseroth
“The Middle,” Sarah Aarons, Jordan K. Johnson, Stefan Johnson, Marcus Lomax, Kyle Trewartha, Michael Trewartha and Anton Zaslavski
“Shallow,” Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando and Andrew Wyatt
“This Is America,” Donald Glover and Ludwig Göransson

Best New Artist
Chloe X Halle
Luke Combs
Greta Van Fleet
Dua Lipa
Margo Price
Bebe Rexha
Jorja Smith

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