Real Country Wins Big at 2023 Grammy Awards
This article has been updated. See below for list of country/roots winners.
It was a big day for real country at the 2022 Grammy Awards.
Before all the pomp, pop, and circumstance of the televised portions of the 2023 Grammy Awards, the Grammy Premier Ceremony transpired Sunday (2-5) afternoon in Los Angeles. This is where many of the country awards are given out, as well as awards for bluegrass, folk, Americana, and American Roots music.
Real country was a big winner early on, with Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde’s landmark song “Never Wanted To Be That Girl” winning for Best Country Duo/Group Performance. “Holy shit, we won a Grammy!” they said in acceptance, and called it a win for “real country.”
Written by Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde with Shane McAnally, “Never Wanted To Be That Girl” is a classic country cheating song with a twist that not only received critical acclaim, but also went #1 on country radio, marking the first #1 song for Ashley McBryde.
Another win for real country came in the form of a Grammy for Best Country Solo Performance to Willie Nelson for “Live Forever” from the recent tribute album Live Forever: A Tribute to Billy Joe Shaver. And even though it is a performance award, it’s a big moment for the legacy of songwriter and Outlaw legend Billy Joe Shaver, who originally wrote the song.
The theme of real country continued when Cody Johnson’s “Til’ You Can’t” won for Song of the Year. It is a songwriter award, and Ben Stennis, who wrote the song with Matt Rogers was there to accept the award.
The theme was continued on the televised portion of the awards when Willie Nelson won Best Country Album for his recent album A Beautiful Time, giving him two wins on the day. A gorgeous album that was highly-acclaimed, the Grammy win affirms that Willie still has it here months before his 90th birthday. This gave true country a clean sweep at the 2023 Grammy Awards. Willie was not in attendance to receive the award.
Another big win for country roots went to Molly Tuttle, who won for Best Bluegrass Album for Crooked Tree as expected, but she didn’t get the opportunity to speak, even though she was in the room. It took her some time to make her way to the stage, so they moved on. Tuttle was also up for the all-genre New Artist of the Year, but unfortunately lost to jazz singer Samara Joy.
Zach Bryan fans will be slightly disappointed that he didn’t win for Best Country Solo Performance, but Zach Bryan was a good sport about it, tweeting out shortly afterward, “Grandpa used to talk about Willie for hours, never been such a pleasure to lose to someone!”
Brandi Carlile won Best Americana Album for In These Silent Days, thanking the Americana community for giving her a home, and for “being on the right side of history” when it comes to roots music. The win is also one for producers Dave Cobb and Shooter Jennings. Was also up for all-genre Album of the Year, and Record of the Year for “You and Me on the Rock,” but did not win.
Also relevant to the roots world, but happening in the rock categories, Brandi Carlile not only won a rock Grammy, she swept the song category with “Broken Horses” winning both Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance. “Let’s rock and roll man!” Carlile said accepting the award. She tried to justify the wins by citing her Seattle roots, and the roots of her band in the city that helped birth grunge. She accepted the awards for, “Everyone in Seattle that made us want to strive for this incredible accolade.”
Listening to “Broken Horses,” could it be considered a rock song? Sure. No different than Jon Batiste’s song “Cry” that swept the American Roots categories in 2022 could be considered an American Roots song. But nobody would consider Brandi Carlile a rock artist, and more than people consider Jon Batiste an Americana artist.
Bonnie Raitt was a big winner in the Americana categories, winning both Best Americana Performance and Best American Roots Song for “Just Like That.” But that was just the beginning. She shocked the world when she won the all-genre Song of the year for “Just Like That” amid a stacked group of big pop contenders. In her shocked acceptance speech, she cited John Prine for being an inspiration for the song.
Also in the American Roots categories, Madison Cunningham won for Best Folk Album, and Aaron Neville won for Best American Roots Performance.
Edgar Winter won for Best Contemporary Blues album. “Well it’s good to be up there to represent skin tone diversity,” the albino performer joked.
Also relevant to the roots world, Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot 20th Anniversary Edition won two Grammy Awards, one for Best Historical Album, and one for Best Liner Notes.
Find all of the winners relevant to country and roots below.
Best Country Album
“Growin’ Up,” Luke Combs
“Palomino,” Miranda Lambert
“Ashley McBryde Presents: Lindeville,” Ashley McBryde
“Humble Quest,” Maren Morris
“A Beautiful Time,” Willie Nelson – WINNER
Best Country Song
“Circles Around This Town,” Ryan Hurd, Julia Michaels, Maren Morris and Jimmy Robbins, songwriters (Maren Morris)
“Doin’ This,” Luke Combs, Drew Parker and Robert Williford, songwriters (Luke Combs)
“I Bet You Think About Me (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault),” Lori McKenna and Taylor Swift, songwriters (Taylor Swift)
“If I Was a Cowboy,” Jesse Frasure and Miranda Lambert, songwriters (Miranda Lambert)
“I’ll Love You Till The Day I Die,” Rodney Crowell and Chris Stapleton, songwriters (Willie Nelson)
“‘Til You Can’t” Matt Rogers & Ben Stennis, songwriters (Cody Johnson) – WINNER
Best Country Solo Performance
“Heartfirst,” Kelsea Ballerini
“Something in the Orange,” Zach Bryan
“In His Arms,” Miranda Lambert
“Circles Around This Town,” Maren Morris
“Live Forever,” Willie Nelson – WINNER
Best Country Duo/Group Performance
“Wishful Drinking,” Ingrid Andress and Sam Hunt
“Midnight Rider’s Prayer,” Brothers Osborne
“Outrunnin’ Your Memory,” Luke Combs and Miranda Lambert
“Does He Love You — Revisited,” Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton
“Never Wanted to Be That Girl,” Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde – WINNER
“Going Where the Lonely Go,” Robert Plant and Alison Krauss
Best Americana Album
“In These Silent Days,” Brandi Carlile – WINNER
“Things Happen That Way,” Dr. John
“Good to Be … ,” Keb’ Mo’
“Raise the Roof,” Robert Plant and Alison Krauss
“Just Like That…,” Bonnie Raitt
Best American Roots Performance
“Someday It’ll All Make Sense (Bluegrass Version),” Bill Anderson featuring Dolly Parton
“Life According to Raechel,” Madison Cunningham
“Oh Betty,” Fantastic Negrito
“Stompin’ Ground,” Aaron Neville with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band – WINNER
“Prodigal Daughter,” Aoife O’Donovan and Allison Russell
Best Americana Performance
“Silver Moon (A Tribute to Michael Nesmith),” Eric Alexandrakis
“There You Go Again,” Asleep at the Wheel featuring Lyle Lovett
“The Message,” Blind Boys of Alabama featuring Black Violin
“You and Me on the Rock,” Brandi Carlile featuring Lucius
“Made Up Mind,” Bonnie Raitt – WINNER
Best American Roots Song
“Bright Star,” Anaïs Mitchell, songwriter (Anaïs Mitchell)
“Forever,” Sheryl Crow and Jeff Trott, songwriters (Sheryl Crow)
“High and Lonesome,” T Bone Burnett and Robert Plant, songwriters (Robert Plant and Alison Krauss)
“Just Like That,” Bonnie Raitt, songwriter (Bonnie Raitt) – WINNER
“Prodigal Daughter,” Tim O’Brien and Aoife O’Donovan, songwriters (Aoife O’Donovan and Allison Russell)
“You and Me on the Rock,” Brandi Carlile, Phil Hanseroth and Tim Hanseroth, songwriters (Brandi Carlile featuring Lucius)
Best Bluegrass Album
“Toward the Fray,” The Infamous Stringdusters
“Almost Proud,” The Del McCoury Band
“Calling You From My Mountain,” Peter Rowan
“Crooked Tree,” Molly Tuttle and Golden Highway – WINNER
“Get Yourself Outside,” Yonder Mountain String Band
Best Folk Album
“Spellbound,” Judy Collins
“Revealer,” Madison Cunningham – WINNER
“The Light at the End of the Line,” Janis Ian
“Age of Apathy,” Aoife O’Donovan
“Hell on Church Street,” Punch Brothers
Best Traditional Blues Album
“Heavy Load Blues,” Gov’t Mule
“The Blues Don’t Lie,” Buddy Guy
“Get On Board,” Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder – WINNER
“The Sun Is Shining Down,” John Mayall
“Mississippi Son,” Charlie Musselwhite
Best Contemporary Blues Album
“Done Come Too Far,” Shemekia Copeland
“Crown,” Eric Gales
“Bloodline Maintenance,” Ben Harper
“Set Sail,” North Mississippi Allstars
“Brother Johnny,” Edgar Winter – WINNER
Best Rock Performance
“So Happy It Hurts,” Bryan Adams
“Old Man,” Beck
“Wild Child,” The Black Keys
“Broken Horses,” Brandi Carlile – WINNER
“Patient Number 9,” Ozzy Osbourne featuring Jeff Beck
Best Rock Song
–“Black Summer,” Flea, John Frusciante, Anthony Kiedis and Chad Smith, songwriters (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
–“Blackout,” Brady Ebert, Daniel Fang, Franz Lyons, Pat McCrory and Brendan Yates, songwriters (Turnstile)
–“Broken Horses,” Brandi Carlile, Phil Hanseroth and Tim Hanseroth, songwriters (Brandi Carlile) – WINNER
–“Harmonia’s Dream,” Robbie Bennett and Adam Granduciel, songwriters (The War on Drugs)
–“Patient Number 9,” John Osbourne, Chad Smith, Ali Tamposi, Robert Trujillo and Andrew Wotman, songwriters (Ozzy Osbourne featuring Jeff Beck)
Song of the Year
–“Abcdefu,” Sara Davis, Gayle and Dave Pittenger, songwriters (Gayle)
–“About Damn Time,” Melissa “Lizzo” Jefferson, Eric Frederic, Blake Slatkin and Theron Makiel Thomas, songwriters (Lizzo)
–“All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (The Short Film),” Liz Rose and Taylor Swift, songwriters (Taylor Swift)
–“As It Was,” Tyler Johnson, Kid Harpoon and Harry Styles, songwriters (Harry Styles)
–“Bad Habit,” Matthew Castellanos, Brittany Fousheé, Diana Gordon, John Carroll Kirby & Steve Lacy, songwriters (Steve Lacy)
–“Break My Soul,” Beyoncé, S. Carter, Terius “The-Dream” Gesteelde-Diamant and Christopher A. Stewart, songwriters (Beyoncé)
–“Easy on Me,” Adele Adkins and Greg Kurstin, songwriters (Adele)
–“God Did,” Tarik Azzouz, E. Blackmon, Khaled Khaled, F. LeBlanc, Shawn Carter, John Stephens, Dwayne Carter, William Roberts and Nicholas Warwar, songwriters (DJ Khaled Featuring Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, John Legend and Fridayy)
–“The Heart Part 5,” Jake Kosich, Johnny Kosich, Kendrick Lamar and Matt Schaeffer, songwriters (Kendrick Lamar)
–“Just Like That,” Bonnie Raitt, songwriter (Bonnie Raitt) – WINNER
February 5, 2023 @ 4:19 pm
Thanks for the updates Trig. So so happy for Carly and Ashley. And for Cody. Finally some new people. But also pleased for Willie. Also loved his album.
Country When Country Wasn't Cool
February 5, 2023 @ 4:49 pm
Ashley McBryde said in an interview that her two career holy grails were becoming a Grand Ole Opry member and winning a Grammy. She accomplished both within weeks of each other. So well-deserved, and I think more Grammys are in the future for Ashley, Carly and Cody. Too bad they weren’t asked to perform, but I doubt they’ll be complaining. Congrats.
February 5, 2023 @ 4:52 pm
I think this was a good year for the Grammy Awards, especially for the country categories. A lot of worthy names won big awards they deserved. Can’t help but be happy for Carly and Ashley, Molly Tuttle, and Cody Johnson and his writers. These are validating moments for these important careers.
February 17, 2023 @ 8:37 am
My son and Ben Stennis wrote “Til you Can’t in 2016. It was passed over by every record company in town until Cody picked it up, along with “Treasure” and “Driveway,” which are on the “Human Album.” I don’t think anyone else but Cody could have done such a good job on the song.
February 5, 2023 @ 4:51 pm
The Grammys do better at awarding country artists than country awards shows do.
February 6, 2023 @ 1:07 pm
I suspect that’s because the Country awards come from within the Country industry, while the Grammys come from outside. Music critics outside Country have always preferred outsider singer-songwriter stuff versus the industry awards.
February 5, 2023 @ 4:54 pm
Very happy with these wins! Especially Carly and Ashley and CODY! Hoping for Willie or Miranda in Best Country Album, but Ashley is obviously a strong pick too. I can honestly see Brandi winning Album of the Year too. She clearly has a lot of support in different genres. Overall, these Grammys aren’t shaping up to be too bad! Kind of excited for tonight!
February 5, 2023 @ 6:10 pm
Ashley McBryde, hot damn! Congrats!
February 5, 2023 @ 4:58 pm
Holy hell, such a good night for real music already. Don’t even need to watch the actual show.
February 5, 2023 @ 5:24 pm
RyanPD, if my math is correct (and this late on a Sunday, I can’t be 100% sure), there have been 79 awards handed out of the total 91, before the show gets televised on CBS in 40 minutes. So, there’s only 12 more grammies to award in the 2 1/2 hour show…
February 5, 2023 @ 5:21 pm
I have an issue with Willie Nelson winning country solo for a song that when released, was released as a duet with Lucinda Williams but now she has been reduced to a background singer. Also, I can’t help but think that if Cody Johnson had been nominated in other categories he would have won.
February 5, 2023 @ 5:27 pm
Interesting. I didn’t think about that, but you’re right. Interesting that was pushed forward as a solo performance when Lucinda Williams was on the track too. That might deserve some looking into.
February 5, 2023 @ 6:24 pm
Vince Gill won the same Grammy in 1990 for Best Country Vocal Performance, Male for “When I Call Your Name” and Partly Loveless’ background vocals are far more prominent than Lucinda’s whispers on “Live Forever.”
I don’t get why a special guest vocal regulates a song to a vocal event award. I think the song was packaged on the album as “& Lucinda Williams” because they wanted to get as many people involved in the project that wanted to be involved and since her stroke Lucinda’s voice just isn’t strong enough to contribute as a solo or duet.
If you just listen to the track, you would’t have a clue Lucinda was backing with vocals without knowing before hand.
It’s a non issue.
February 5, 2023 @ 5:45 pm
I’m so happy for Carly, Ashley and Molly! Also thrilled to see Bonnie Raitt win for “Just Like That” – a beautiful and moving song about an important topic.
February 5, 2023 @ 5:51 pm
Some nice wins so far but good grief I hope the Loretta tribute isn’t just Musgraves. Musgraves is talented and I like some of her music but in this context, hard pass.
February 5, 2023 @ 5:52 pm
Truly a bizarre world. Brandi Carlile wins the rock category beating out Ozzy Osbourne and Jeff Beck. What universe does that make sense in? Next thing your gonna tell me, Willie Nelsons going to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
February 5, 2023 @ 8:28 pm
Ozzy won other categories. Glad it happened for him now, he is not in good health.
February 6, 2023 @ 7:10 am
“Truly a bizarre world. Brandi Carlile wins the rock category beating out Ozzy Osbourne and Jeff Beck.”
Get with it, Kev.
Jeff Beck just too straight, to have won. Posthumously.
He didn’t shout and scream, and stomp his feet, demanding to be noticed for any bedroom antics.
Carlile isn’t in the same league as Jeff Beck – NOT BY A LONG SHOT.
But, God Bless her, she is an alphabet wearing, wonder.
Hey, Trophies all around.
And, Carly Pearce better be thanking Ashley McBryde, for “her” Grammy win.
Carly can’t carry a tune in a bucket.
But she sure was running her mouth last night.
Poor thing really believes all that smoke Borchetta is pumping up her a**.
Pearce, the auto tune princess.
McBryde deserves the recognition.
Grammy’s are garbage, just like the RNRHOF.
February 6, 2023 @ 6:30 pm
You are 100% correct about Carly. I have said that from the beginning.
February 6, 2023 @ 9:48 pm
Pretty bad take on Carly Pearce. You can’t be out of tune and use Auto Tune at the same time, though this is a common jab. Not sure if you’re referring to some pitchy performance you saw from her, but Carly Pearce is no Taylor Swift, and is not known as a bad singer. Carly Pearce is a really important woman in mainstream country music, and there’s a good change Ashley McBryde does not get her Grammy if it’s not for Carly. The song was a Carly Pearce single that appeared on Carly Pearce’s album with Ashley McBryde as the guest. So if anything, it’s Ashley who owes Carly. But I know neither of the artists look at it that way, and neither should you.
February 6, 2023 @ 10:13 pm
That’s your opinion, and i respect that that is your opinion.
Ashley has been buoying Carly up for quite some time.
February 6, 2023 @ 2:09 pm
Hmmm…Dolly Parton was just heralded into Rock& Roll Hall of Fame so can Willie be far behind? 🤔
February 5, 2023 @ 6:08 pm
“Real country”. That was rude to her peers.
February 5, 2023 @ 6:56 pm
With Willie Nelson now winning Best Country Album, that’s a clean sweep for real country artists for the 2023 Grammy Awards. Not sure we could have a better outcome here. Very happy.
Country When Country Wasn't Cool
February 5, 2023 @ 9:46 pm
Fantastic album, in a strong category. I think A Beautiful Time should have been nominated for the all-genre AOTY. The Grammys really paid attention and got the country categories right this year.
February 5, 2023 @ 7:09 pm
Dirty Dozen Brass Band is great live, until they get to the end of the show, and they spend the last 20 minutes or so trying to single out sufficiently inebriated women to “service” them. Also, fingers crossed, E.T. will be at least sober enough to get through the first half of the concert. That being said, I haven’t seen Dirty dozen in five years, so I sincerely hope E.T. has embraced temperance – he is a talented trumpet player. Their rendition of “Superstition” is awesome. Love New Orleans music. Also love me some Aaron Neville. Neville Brothers and the Meters were killer. Meeting George Porter Jr. and “Mean” Wille Green were some personal highlights.
February 5, 2023 @ 7:50 pm
I love Brandi Carlile, but I’m not sure about her winning Best Rock Performance and Song.
February 6, 2023 @ 6:31 pm
You know why she is favored at the Grammy’s
February 5, 2023 @ 7:59 pm
Sorry, but based on what I’ve seen of the televised awards, any decent person should toss any award received and run over it with a bulldozer! What the HELL? I cannot imagine a more repugnant, vomit-inducing spectacle! Where the hell is the location of the “awards ceremony?” Lagos? Dakar? Ouagadougou? Pardon me while i shoot my television!!!
February 6, 2023 @ 7:07 am
I hope you aren’t saying what I think you’re saying by listing three African cities.
February 6, 2023 @ 10:59 am
OK, then. How about Baltimore, Memphis, and Detroit?
Country Music Disciple
February 5, 2023 @ 8:03 pm
Will Billy Strings’s Me/And/Dad be eligible for best Bluegrass album for next year’s Grammy Awards?
February 5, 2023 @ 8:05 pm
Yes, it was released too late to be eligible this year.
February 5, 2023 @ 8:27 pm
Kacey Musgraves gave a beautiful performance to honor Loretta Lynn. She has a great voice. Her tone is unreal. It was perfect.
February 5, 2023 @ 8:51 pm
I saw a comment on Edgar Winter that he was last nominated in 1973 for an instrumental Grammy for the song “Frankenstein”. 50 years between nominations has to be a record for just about any award.
February 5, 2023 @ 9:13 pm
Bonnie Raitt, song of the year. Did not see that one coming.
February 5, 2023 @ 9:29 pm
…and citing John Prine as the inspiration in the acceptance speech.
February 6, 2023 @ 9:06 am
Wow, forgot she covered Bros. Landreth. What a kickass song, as she said.
February 6, 2023 @ 1:28 pm
Bonnie Raitt could release a recording of nothing but herself burping and it would win a flood of Grammys. They’d even create a Best Burping Performance category to have an excuse to award her something.
(Not a knock against Bonnie – I love her.)
February 5, 2023 @ 9:50 pm
Definitely glad to see Ashley McBryde and Carly Pearce get an award! Both very deserving artists, loved seeing Ashley get inducted at the Opry.
February 5, 2023 @ 10:31 pm
Seemed the room was *stunned* when Bonnie Raitt won Song of the Year. She certainly was. I hadn’t heard it before tonight but it really cuts – an incredible track and flat-out amazing win.
February 5, 2023 @ 11:45 pm
Shocked that Luke Combs still has yet to win a Grammy. He has owned the charts for the better part of two years. Love to know the voting process for this.
February 6, 2023 @ 1:58 am
How old are you? I’m 42 and I remember a time when Luke Combs wouldn’t have even been considered for a Grammy nomination. Hell … Willie Nelson only won his 11th and 12th tonight.
Up to 15-20 years ago, it was a very, very exclusive country club. Album sales, #1 singles, touring success … none of that mattered to the voting board. In fact, it would hurt an artists chances.
Diana Ross, Queen, Guns N’ Roses, Jimi Hendrix are just some of the major names who have never won a Grammy …
And I loved it that old way. Before they opened up the vetting process, it was a night of learning and discovery (opposed to a popularity contest). I’d walk away discovering a new favorite artist or two and the industry always experienced a healthy, Grammy bounce on album sales because someone won big that masses had never heard of before the award show. The day after the Grammys was always hectic and exciting day as we’d scramble to get those albums on the retail shelves. Grammy endcaps, showboards, and 2×4 displayer promotions at the rets store level were always my favorite to set and execute, because they were so far off the beaten path.
February 6, 2023 @ 6:46 am
February 6, 2023 @ 11:23 am
‘Til you can’t is one of the corniest songs I’ve heard in years, look for it on a soundtrack to a Hallmark channel movie of the same name!
February 13, 2023 @ 1:55 pm
Corny? As opposed to what – all the Friday night/hot country girls/backroad songs that plague the radio?! It’s the Music Row “song of the year,” the CMA “single of the year,” is in the top 3 most played songs of the year, a multi-week mediabase and billboard No.1, spent ten weeks atop the hot country songs chart, won “video of the year” … oh yeah, and WON A GRAMMY. That’s quite a lot of accolades for being corny, wouldn’t you say? You ought gargle with some vinegar and cleanse your palate, you knob.
February 6, 2023 @ 11:30 am
So happy for all the winners especially Bonnie Rait, bless her heart, I am so happy that she can still get recognized for her great work, Ashley mcbride, and Willie Nelson, and all the real country winners should be proud, hopefully 2023 will be the year that real country will finally knock bro country out. Here is hoping.
February 7, 2023 @ 6:18 pm
Grammys are nice, but ticket sales are always better. Tho’, sometimes Grammys can up the concert fee.
It is just a trade show, same as the Oscars or The Detroit auto show.