On Friday morning (12-5), the Grammy Award nominations were inefficiently and unceremoniously announced via Twitter (like we need another reason to bury our faces in our phones), and once again proved that their nose for quality in country music is somewhat better than what we’re used to seeing from the country music industry itself, even if their ability to categorize music remains somewhat curious.
Why is Sturgill Simpson ‘Americana’ instead of ‘Country,’ and Brandy Clark ‘country’ instead of ‘Americana’? Just because one is independent and one is mainstream? And isn’t Nickel Creek bluegrass, which has its own Grammy category? Nonetheless, seeing names like Sturgill Simpson, Brandy Clark, and Nickel Creek receive nods gives a little more hope to the music heart that is regularly dashed by annual award exercises, so the people who spend 363 days a year pretending they’re too cool for award shows can celebrate.
***UPDATE: According to numerous concertgoers, at Sturgill Simpson’s concert on December 5th in Milwaukee, he said about the nomination, “One year ago today we threw together an album in four days, today it got nominated for a fucking Grammy. Not exactly sure what Americana means but apparently it means a lot more than country. I’d rather be in a category with Rosanne Cash and Brandy Clark than fucking Kenny Chesney anyway.”
He actually is not in the same category as Brandy Clark (because she’s in the country category), but the sentiment remains the same.
See you on Feb. 8th for Saving Country Music’s LIVE blog of the Grammys.
Best Country Album Nominees
- Dierks Bentley – Riser
- Eric Church – The Outsiders
- Brandy Clark – 12 Stories
- Miranda Lambert – Platinum
- Lee Ann Womack – The Way I’m Livin’
Eric Church’s The Outsiders is a rock album. Along with her “New Artist” nomination, it appears Brandy Clark is the new critical darling i.e. the Kacey Musgraves of 2014, despite most of her songs being written by committee to formula. Good album and artist, but let’s tap the breaks just a little. Riser and The Way I’m Livin’ are solid nods.
Best Americana Album
- Rosanne Cash – The River & The Thread
- John Hiatt – Terms of My Surrender
- Keb’ Mo’ – Bluesamericana
- Nickel Creek – A Dotted Line
- Sturgill Simpson – Metamodern Sounds of Country Music
Progressive bluegrass band Nickel Creek was put in this category because they’re more commercially-viable than most bluegrass, and Sturgill Simpson was put in this category because he’s less commercially-viable than most country. Great to see Sturgill nominated, but would have been better if he wasn’t relegated to Americana, which is how this feels because he’s an independent artist. At least they didn’t screw up like last year when they didn’t nominate Jason Isbell at all. Rosanne Cash will probably win this. Maybe Sturgill, or maybe Nickel Creek who’ve the Grammy’s have given love to before.
Best Country Song
(sorry, you don’t get a cool graphic, you get Joy Williams and her bun announcing it in all her regal fabulousness sitting like a Chinese heroin God beside a fire)
Glen Campbell’s “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” is mawkish exploitation. There I said it. Otherwise, a completely dumb list of songs. Even worse than the CMA’s or ACM’s.
- Kenny Chesney “American Kids” (Rodney Clawson, Luke Laird, Shane McAnally)
- Miranda Lambert “Automatic” (Nicolle Galyon, Natalie Hemby, Miranda Lambert)
- Eric Church “Give Me Back My Hometown” (Eric Church, Luke Laird)
- Glen Campbell “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” (Glen Campbell, Julian Raymond)
- Tim McGraw featuring Faith Hill “Meanwhile, Back at Mama’s” (Tom Douglas, Jaren Johnston, Jeffrey Steele)
Best Country Solo Performance
Remember, if Keith Urban walks away with this, Sam Hunt gets a Grammy as the songwriter. Carrie Underwood better damn win.
- Eric Church – “Give Me Back My Hometown”
- Hunter Hayes – “Invisible”
- Miranda Lambert – “Automatic”
- Carrie Underwood – “Something In The Water”
- Keith Urban – “Cop Car”
Best Country Duo/Group Performance
Dreck on parade. Even The Band Perry’s cover of Glen Campbell barely raises a pulse.
- The Band Perry – “Gentle On My Mind
- Miranda Lambert with Carrie Underwood – “Somethin’ Bad”
- Little Big Town – “Day Drinking”
- Tim McGraw with Faith Hill – “Meanwhile Back At Mama’s”
- Keith Urban with Eric Church – “Raise ‘Em Up”
Best Bluegrass Album
- The Earls of Leichester – The Earls of Leichester
- Noam Pikelny – Noam Pikelny Plays Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe
- Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen – Cold Spell
- Bryan Sutton – Into My Own
- Rhonda Vincent – Only Me
Best American Roots Performance
- Gregg Allman & Taj Mahal – “Statesboro Blues”
- Rosanne Cash – “A Feathers Not a Bird”
- Billy Childs with Alison Krauss & Jerry Douglas – “And When I Die”
- Keb’ Mo’ – “The Old Me Better”
- Nickel Creek – “Destination”
Best American Roots Song
- Rosanne Cash – “A Feathers Not a Bird”
- Jesse Winchester – “Just So Much”
- Woody Guthrie & Del McCoury – “The New York Trains”
- Edie Brickell & Steve Martin – “Pretty Little One”
- John Hiatt – “Terms of My Surrender”
Best Folk Album
- Mike Auldridge, Jerry Douglas, & Rob Ickes – Three Bells
- Alice Gerrard – Follow The Music
- Eliza Gilkyson – The Nocturne Diaries
- Old Crow Medicine Show – Remedy
- Jesse Winchester – A Reasonable Amount of Trouble
Brandy Clark was nominated for “Best New Artist,” and Ryan Adams for Best Rock Song & Album, because he’s not country goddammit.