(l-r) Brothers Osborne, Alison Krauss, Zac Brown, Lady Antebellum, Taylor Swift, Chris Stapleton
At the 7th GRAMMY Awards, the Country Field expanded category into six categories, including Best Country Album and Best Country Song, which continue to this day, along with Best Country Solo Performance and Best Country Duo/Group Performance.
With a history including GRAMMY winners such as Glen Campbell, Rodney Crowell, Larry Gatlin, Vince Gill, Alan Jackson, Naomi Judd, Kris Kristofferson, Kacey Musgraves, Willie Nelson, K.T. Oslin, Dolly Parton, Marty Robbins, Taylor Swift, and Shania Twain, among others, the Country Field has carried an esteemed legacy as long as the genre itself, which continues with the 60th GRAMMY Awards.
Learn more about this year's Country Field with seven interesting touchpoints about the nominees.
The trajectory of this year's triple nominee Chris Stapleton proceeded from Kentucky coal roots to Nashville's Music Row where he shot a song up the charts in 2007 as a co-writer on Kenny Chesney's "Never Wanted Nothing More."
Flash forward 10 years, and the duo have each earned their own GRAMMY nomination in the same category. Both Stapleton and Chesney are up for Best Country Album — Stapleton for his From A Room: Volume 1 and Chesney for Cosmic Hallelujah.
Behind the scenes, "two" singer/songwriter masters of country are among the co-writers for each hit tune: Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne, both with previous GRAMMY wins. As a result, they'll be competing head-to-head against themselves in the category.
Little Big Town are nominated for Best Country Duo/Group Performance for their hit "Better Man," and the album it sprang from, The Breaker, is up for Best Country Album. "Better Man" is in the running for Best Country Song as well, which notches a Country Field nomination for its songwriter, Taylor Swift.
The band told Billboard that as they were finishing their album in the studio, an email from Swift arrived with "Better Man" attached and the message: "I love this song. It means a lot to me. What do you think?" The rest is history.
"This song sort of wrote itself," Miranda Lambert told The Tennessean about her song "Tin Man." "I felt the same emotion I feel when I hear that song … and the other two co-writers were feeling it as well."
"That song" would be fellow Country Field nominee Kenny Chesney's "The Tin Man" from his 1994 album, In My Wildest Dreams, which Lambert said was her favorite of his many hits. Along with co-writers Jack Ingram and Jon Randall, Lambert put her own spin on her tune, which earned a nomination for Best Country Song for "Tin Man." Lambert is also nominated for "Tin Man" for Best Country Solo Performance.
Listeners appreciate why recordings featuring Alison Krauss singing and playing violin have won 27 GRAMMY Awards.
Krauss' "Losing You" is nominated for Best Country Solo Performance this year, giving her a chance to move up the list of top GRAMMY winners. (She is also nominated for Best American Roots Performance.)
Thomas Rhett's Life Changes is nominated for Best Country Album and features Maren Morris on its first track, "Craving You." The video is a vigilante featurette with the pair blasting and punching their way through what Rolling Stone thought was essentially a version of the game "Grand Theft Auto."
The GRAMMY Camp alumni Morris is also up for Best Country Solo Performance for "I Could Use A Love Song." A win would mark her second consecutive in the category.
Brothers Osborne — T.J. and John Osborne — have been riding their gritty brand of country crossover into a trio of Best Country Duo/Group Performance GRAMMY nominations.
Brothers Osborne's first nomination was for "Stay A Little Longer," which preceded their 2016 album, Pawn Shop, as a single. The following year, at the 59th GRAMMY Awards, the single "21 Summer" was nominated.
This year, the last track on the album was released as a single and received a 60th GRAMMY nomination, marking their third in a row in the category.
The 60th GRAMMY Awards will take place at Madison Square Garden in New York on Jan. 28, 2018, airing live on CBS from 7:30–11 p.m. ET/4:30–8 p.m. PT.
The Recording Academy announced nominations today for the 58th Annual GRAMMY Awards, reflecting a diverse blend of talented music makers as determined by The Academy's voting membership.
This year, Kendrick Lamar leads nominations with 11, followed by Taylor Swift and The Weeknd, who each earn seven. Additionally, music producer/songwriter Max Martin receives six nominations and mastering engineer Tom Coyne, rapper Drake, and engineers/mixers Serban Ghenea and John Hanes each earn five nominations.
The eclectic nature of this year's nominations is exemplified in the Album Of The Year category, where nominees range from the alternative and soulful rock of Alabama Shakes and Lamar's thought-provoking jazz-infused rap to the classic country sounds of Chris Stapleton, the pop emergence of Swift, and the genre-bending R&B style of The Weeknd.
"The diversity in the creative community is what makes music a universal language, and it's gratifying to see the vibrancy of today's artistic landscape reflected in this year's nominations — a testament to The Academy's voting members," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy. "Artists are pushing boundaries in exciting ways, making it an exceptionally strong year for music."
Following are the nominations in the General Field categories:
Record Of The Year
"Really Love" — D'Angelo And The Vanguard
"Uptown Funk" — Mark Ronson Featuring Bruno Mars
"Thinking Out Loud" — Ed Sheeran
"Blank Space" — Taylor Swift
"Can't Feel My Face" — The Weeknd
Album Of The Year
Sound & Color — Alabama Shakes
To Pimp A Butterfly — Kendrick Lamar
Traveller — Chris Stapleton
1989 — Taylor Swift
Beauty Behind The Madness — The Weeknd
Song Of The Year
"Alright" — Kendrick Duckworth, Mark Anthony Spears & Pharrell Williams, songwriters (Kendrick Lamar)
"Blank Space" — Max Martin, Shellback & Taylor Swift, songwriters (Taylor Swift)
"Girl Crush" — Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna & Liz Rose, songwriters (Little Big Town)
"See You Again" — Andrew Cedar, Justin Franks, Charles Puth & Cameron Thomaz, songwriters (Wiz Khalifa Featuring Charlie Puth)
"Thinking Out Loud" — Ed Sheeran & Amy Wadge, songwriters (Ed Sheeran)
Best New Artist
Following is a sampling of nominations in the GRAMMY Awards' other 29 Fields:
For Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, the nominees are "Ship To Wreck" by Florence & The Machine; "Sugar" by Maroon 5; "Uptown Funk" by Mark Ronson Featuring Bruno Mars; "Bad Blood" by Taylor Swift Featuring Kendrick Lamar; and "See You Again" by Wiz Khalifa Featuring Charlie Puth.
The nominees for Best Dance Recording are "We're All We Need" by Above & Beyond Featuring Zoë Johnston; "Go" by the Chemical Brothers; "Never Catch Me" by Flying Lotus Featuring Kendrick Lamar; "Runaway (U & I)" by Galantis; and "Where Are Ü Now" by Skrillex And Diplo With Justin Bieber.
The Best Rock Performance nominees are "Don't Wanna Fight" by Alabama Shakes; "What Kind Of Man" by Florence & The Machine; "Something From Nothing" by Foo Fighters; "Ex's & Oh's" by Elle King; and "Moaning Lisa Smile" by Wolf Alice.
The nominees for Best Alternative Music Album are Sound & Color by Alabama Shakes; Vulnicura by Björk; The Waterfall by My Morning Jacket; Currents by Tame Impala; and Star Wars by Wilco.
For Best Rap Album, the nominees are 2014 Forest Hills Drive by J. Cole; Compton by Dr. Dre; If Youre Reading This Its Too Late by Drake; To Pimp A Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar; and The Pinkprint by Nicki Minaj.
The nominees for Best Urban Contemporary Album are Ego Death by the Internet; You Should Be Here by Kehlani; Blood by Lianne La Havas; Wildheart by Miguel; and Beauty Behind The Madness by The Weeknd.
The Best Country Album nominees are Montevallo by Sam Hunt; Pain Killer by Little Big Town; The Blade by Ashley Monroe; Pageant Material by Kacey Musgraves; and Traveller by Chris Stapleton.
The nominees for Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical are Jeff Bhasker, Dave Cobb, Diplo, Larry Klein, and Blake Mills.
For Best Music Video, the nominees are "LSD" by ASAP Rocky; "I Feel Love (Every Million Miles)" by the Dead Weather; "Alright" by Kendrick Lamar; "Bad Blood" by Taylor Swift Featuring Kendrick Lamar; and "Freedom" by Pharrell Williams.
This year's GRAMMY Awards process registered more than 21,000 submissions over a 12-month eligibility period (Oct. 1, 2014 – Sept. 30, 2015). GRAMMY ballots for the final round of voting will be mailed on Dec. 16 to The Recording Academy's voting members. Ballots are due back to the accounting firm Deloitte by Jan. 15, 2016, when they will be tabulated and the results kept secret until the 58th GRAMMY Awards telecast.
The 58th Annual GRAMMY Awards will be held Feb. 15, 2016, at Staples Center in Los Angeles and broadcast live in high-definition TV and 5.1 surround sound on CBS from 8–11:30 p.m. (ET/PT). For updates and breaking news, visit The Recording Academy's social networks on Twitter and Facebook.
Photo: John Shearer/WireImage.com
Music lovers venturing to this weekend's 2018 Stagecoach Festival in Indio, Calif., will experience first-hand the diversity in sound and style of today's country music. With 50-plus artists set to perform on three stages, the event is a microcosm of the country landscape at large.
Headliners include the genre-crossing duo Florida Georgia Line, GRAMMY-winning guitar slinger Keith Urban and neo-traditional icon Garth Brooks with wife Trisha Yearwood. For the performers, the lineup's variety is not only welcome but refreshing.
"It's a cool time to be creating and it's a cool time to be country," says Brian Kelley of Florida Georgia Line, who are featured on Bebe Rexha's recent pop mega-hit "Meant To Be." "The whole weekend at Stagecoach is about bringing the country community together — all the different avenues and subgenres. People come to country music with so many different influences, and then end up with their own style, and that's to be celebrated."
Breakout star Kelsea Ballerini joined her idol Shania Twain to perform a song at last year's Stagecoach, and she is returning Friday night to play her own set on the main stage. According to the Tennessee native, the festival reflects the current sounds coming out of country airwaves.
"You can turn on the radio and hear Chris Stapleton, who's really soul country, or Little Big Town, which is very folk country, or someone like me or Sam Hunt who is very pop country, as well as the greats who will always be on the radio and hold it down," says Ballerini, a former Best New Artist GRAMMY nominee. "If anything, having more influences in country music draws more ears to it, and maybe people who didn't think they liked it will hear a Chris Stapleton or Sam Hunt song, and fall in love with country music because they didn’t know exactly what it was.
"Having a festival like Stagecoach that highlights every bit of it is really important, because that's truly where country music is right now. There's something for everyone, you just have to show up and listen."
Ballerini is one of four women scheduled to perform on the festival's main stage, along with several others playing the two smaller stages. While she has notched five No. 1 country singles in recent years, other women have struggled at country radio — and it isn't due to lack of talent.
"There is a disconnect between the women receiving radio airplay and the women receiving awards and critical praise," says Beverly Keel, chair of the department of recording industry at Middle Tennessee State University and co-founder of Change The Conversation, an organization founded to support women in music. "Miranda Lambert won five Academy of Country Music Album of the Year awards in the last decade. Her last album (The Weight Of These Wings) went platinum without a Top 10 hit. Kacey Musgraves has won GRAMMYs and all sorts of awards and doesn't get a lot of radio airplay."
Adding further proof, Keel cites Billboard's 2017 year-end Hot Country Songs list, which included no solo females in the Top 10, only one in the Top 20 (newcomer Carly Pearce, also a Stagecoach performer), and seven in the Top 100.
Ken Robold, executive VP/COO of Sony Music Nashville, says trendsetting women such as Lambert and Maren Morris are "vital" to not only his company but to country's current scene.
"They are both brilliant writers," says Robold, who serves on the Recording Academy Nashville Chapter Board. "They write different kinds of songs, but both have a really meaningful impact on the genre. Miranda made this amazing record, The Weight Of These Wings, which is so pure country. She's a traditionalist but at the same time can rock.
"Maren, along with Kelsea Ballerini, is the most influential female since Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert. When we first heard Maren's music we were blown away, it was so different than anything else out there. It was so commercially accessible in terms of different genre
influences. You have a song like 'My Church,' that's straight-up country. Then you have her current song with Zedd, 'The Middle,' which is No. 1 for the third week in a row at Top 40. It has opened her up to a whole new audience. She will remain rooted in country but wants to have flexibility."
Just as Lambert and Morris bring their own brands of country, so does their labelmate Kane Brown, a newcomer who will perform at Stagecoach on Sunday.
"There are a lot of influences that made their way onto his record, but he's truly a country artist," says Robold. "Country music has been his passion since he was a kid. His career growth has been amazing to watch. Once he got that first success at country radio with 'What Ifs' it exploded, and now we're looking at maybe crossing current single 'Heaven' over to other genres."
"There's something for everyone, you just have to show up and listen." — Kelsea Ballerini
Multi-GRAMMY-nominated producer/engineer Jeff Balding, who has been watching trends in country music for decades, sees today's country music as bringing "something new with a different twist to the surface."
"I see a lot of pop, R&B and even some '90s influences in today's country," says Balding, a Nashville Chapter Trustee. "I'm fascinated with what comes in and how it comes in. With Nashville growing as a music community in the past several years, people who moved here have brought some pop influences to the way songs are written. Those influences on the ground floor are the reason things change and other genres get blended within country. Everybody feeds off really great music, we digest it and it inspires us."
"Today's consumers just like to be entertained with great music, great songs, great lyrics," he continues. "They don't have to compartmentalize it. I think we are going to continue to see more of the genre-crossing, thanks to the openness of the listener."
While country radio is still the driving factor in launching careers in country music, streaming services continue to rise in prominence, providing an ever-growing outlet. Stagecoach artists and multi-GRAMMY winners Jason Isbell and Stapleton initially connected with fans outside of terrestrial radio, a trend that will likely continue.
"Jason Isbell fits in with the truth-telling social-commenting songwriters of the '70s," says Keel, also a Recording Academy Nashville Chapter Board member. "He's doing what our songwriters should be doing. Only the industry uses the specific categories; to the listener, it's American roots music. It's got a country feel to it. That's a good thing about the world now — we're not just defined by industry gatekeepers. Where 10 years ago someone like Jason Isbell would have been left out [of Stagecoach], today they are included because their music is exposed to the masses via other means.
"Chris Stapleton was not embraced by radio early on, yet his talent was so immense it couldn’t be denied. There was this groundswell and radio was forced to get on the bandwagon after he swept the Country Music Association Awards and made the best album of the year. I'm glad to see this music festival showcasing the different styles coming out of Nashville, because that is some of the best music being made."
Despite the diversity in talent, new methods of discovery and ample genre-hopping, there's one consistent core element that will continue to bind country music's future.
"We're songwriters at heart, and we're artists," says Kelley. "We love spending the day in the writers' room or a studio because you never know what can happen and what seeds can be planted. ... It's a special time in country, because you feel like you can push the boundaries but good songs are always going to win."
(Sarah Skates lives in Nashville, Tenn., and has been writing about country music for 14 years. Her career started at MusicRow magazine, where she remains a regular contributor, as well as writing for ACM Tempo and GRAMMY.com.)
Photo: Matthias Nareyek/Getty Images
With "Elton John: I'm Still Standing—A GRAMMY Salute" just a few weeks away, the Piano Man is getting a lot of love these days. Now, the track listings for two new albums of covers, Revamp and Restoration, reveal a stacked lineup of artists tackling the biggest hits penned by Elton John and his longtime lyricist Bernie Taupin.
Revamp offers a diverse roster of artists across various genres, from the likes of GRAMMY winners Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, Mary J. Blige, Sam Smith, P!nk, Alessia Cara and nominees like Queens Of The Stone Age, Florence + The Machine, and Demi Lovato, who collaborated with the great Q-Tip and on "Don't Go Breaking My Heart."
“On Revamp, I wrote out a wish list of people that I would love and asked them, and to my surprise, most of them said yes," John said in a statement. "And we have quite an astonishing eclectic crew.”
Restoration takes a more cross-generational, country flavored slant, with everyone from Willie Nelson to Kasey Musgraves, Dolly Parton to Miranda Lambert, Vince Gill to Dierks Bentley playing their favorite Elton tunes.
“Restoration was Bernie's project, and he’s a huge country fan,” John said, referring to his longtime lyricist Bernie Taupin. Together, the pair have displayed an impressive and varied artillery of influences in their music over the years.
"From day one we borrowed from everything that's good about American music – whether it's blues, country, gospel, pop, pure rock – everything got thrown in the mix," Taupin said. "… It would be tiring if you just got stuck in one niche your entire career, especially when it's one as long as ours."
In all, the sprawling 26-song track list is a testament to the timeless catalog it celebrates. Take a look for yourself and mark your April calendars — Revamp and Restoration drop April 6 and "Elton John: I'm Still Standing—A GRAMMY Salute" airs April 10 at 7 p.m. PDT on CBS.
Revamp Track List
1. "Bennie and the Jets" - Elton John, P!nk, Logic
2. "We All Fall in Love Sometimes" - Coldplay
3. "I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues" - Alessia Cara
4. "Candle in the Wind" - Ed Sheeran
5. "Tiny Dancer "- Florence And The Machine
6. "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" - Mumford and Sons
7. "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word" - Mary J. Blige
8. "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" - Q Tip feat. Demi Lovato
9. "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters" - The Killers
10. "Daniel" - Sam Smith
11. "Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me" - Miley Cyrus
12. "Your Song" - Lady Gaga
13. "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" - Queens of the Stone Age
Restoration Track List
1. "Rocket Man" – Little Big Town
2. "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters" – Maren Morris
3. "Sacrifice" – Don Henley and Vince Gill
4. "Take Me to the Pilot" – Brothers Osborne
5. "My Father's Gun" – Miranda Lambert
6. "I Want Love" – Chris Stapleton
7. "Honky Cat" – Lee Ann Womack
8. "Roy Rogers" – Kacey Musgraves
9. "Please" – Rhonda Vincent and Dolly Parton
10. "The Bitch Is Back" – Miley Cyrus
11. "Sad Songs (Say So Much)" – Dierks Bentley
12. "This Train Don't Stop" – Rosanne Cash and Emmylou Harris
13. "Border Song" – Willie Nelson