Get Lost In The Best Country Song Nominees | 2021 GRAMMYs
Updated Jan. 5, 2021.
Songwriting plays a paramount role in the creative process behind any genre, but county songwriters are cut from a different cloth. With clever wordplay, catchy hooks and creative authenticity as the baseline for a solid cut, great country songs and their writers often exemplify the craft's highest gold standard. The 2021 GRAMMY nominees for Best Country Song are no exception, showing the depth, range and possibilities the genre continues to expand on and explore. Let's take a closer look at each of the songs nominated.
To find out who will win for Best Country Song at the 2021 GRAMMYs, tune into the 63rd GRAMMY Awards Sunday, March 14, on CBS.
"Bluebird" (Performed by Miranda Lambert)
When two-time GRAMMY winner Miranda Lambert teamed up with Luke Dick and Natalie Hemby to write what would become a standout track from her Wildcard album, the trio turned to an unlikely source for inspiration: controversial curmudgeon and literary legend Charles Bukowski. "Bluebird" channels the opening line of one of Bukowski's most famous poems of the same name, a dark and reflective masterpiece published in 1992, just two years before his death.
But Lambert's "Bluebird" is undeniably uplifting, encouraging listeners to overcome and outwit adversity. "If the house just keeps on winning/I got a wildcard up my sleeve/If love keeps giving me lemons/I just mix them in my drink/If the whole wide world stops singing and all the stars go dark/I keep a light on in my soul/I keep a bluebird in my heart," she sings. The fresh take on the classic concept resonated, as the singer said the track is the one common song from Wildcard her fans consistently called out as a favorite.
Unsurprisingly, the ever-prolific Lambert has been nominated for Best Country Song four out of the past six years. Hemby, a GRAMMY winner in her own right, is also nominated in the category with her group The Highwomen, while the nod marks Dick's first career GRAMMY nom.
"The Bones" (Performed by Maren Morris)
"The house don't fall when the bones are good," Maren Morris sings as the morale of her 2019 hit, "The Bones." Co-written by Morris with Jimmy Robbins and Laura Veltz, the song stands tall as part of the bones holding up the later half of her critically acclaimed sophomore album Girl, which showed a more vulnerable yet stronger-than-ever side of the superstar.
Morris, an 11-time GRAMMY nominee, is looking for her second career GRAMMY win; her first was for Best Country Solo Performance at the 59th GRAMMY Awards for her breakout smash hit, "My Church," off her 2016 debut album, Hero. The following year, she made her debut on the GRAMMY stage when she performed a memorable rendition of her song "Once" with 15-time GRAMMY winner Alicia Keys.
In addition to her soaring solo career, Morris, a former GRAMMY Camp participant, is also a member of The Highwomen. Veltz's nomination is her second in a row in the category, following her nod for her handiwork on Dan + Shay's "Speechless" last year.
Read More: Maren Morris Cooks Up New Flavors On Girl
"Crowded Table" (Performed by The Highwomen)
Country supergroups are no new phenomenon, but few have packed the powerhouse punch of The Highwomen. Their self-titled debut album scorched through the country scene upon its release last year, uniting and empowering women everywhere with bold songwriting, smashing performances, thoughtful arrangements and no shortage of powerful messages. "Crowded Table," co-written by Highwomen members Natalie Hemby and Brandi Carlile with fellow GRAMMY-winner Lori Mckenna, champions inclusivity and sets the scene for a full life. Backstage at Newport Folk Festival in 2019, Hemby told GRAMMY.com the story of the heartwarming song's making.
"[McKenna and I] sat down at a piano and we wrote it literally in 30 minutes and then I took it to Brandi and I was like, 'Is this something that works?' And she changed it. Just like a few lines on it and it was just perfect," Hemby said. "We just wanted to write a song about women getting pitted against each other. We wanted to write a song about like, 'Hey, I've got you.' It's not just women, actually. I think men, too. Like, I want a big house that has lots of friends and family."
"More Hearts Than Mine" (Performed by Ingrid Andress)
First-time GRAMMY nominee Ingrid Andress touched more hearts than most this year with her charming and powerful country ballad, "More Hearts Than Mine," off her 2020 arrival album, Lady Like. In her moving debut single, penned by Andress, Sam Ellis and Derrick Southerland, the Colorado-born, Nashville-bred country newcomer delivers a warm yet serious warning to a new lover that the honor of meeting her family marks a point of no return for the relationship.
The song's cautionary chorus croons, "So if I bring you home to mama, I guess I'd better warn ya/She falls in love a little faster than I do/And my dad will check your tires, pour you whiskey over ice and/Buy you dinner but pretend that he don't like you/Oh if we break up, I'll be fine/But you'll be breaking more hearts than mine." Clearly, the stakes are mile-high for this new love.
Andress' homecoming hit earned the distinction as the only debut from a solo female artist to enter the Country Airplay Top 20 chart in 2019. After stints on the road with the likes of Dan + Shay, Thomas Rhett and Tim McGraw, she dropped Lady Like this past March. The dazzling debut proves that after working and writing with marquee names in pop and R&B, including Bebe Rexha, Charli XCX and Alicia Keys, Andress is ready to lead country's new class of hit songwriters.
"Some People Do"(Performed by Old Dominion)
A powerful anthem for personal transformation, Old Dominion's "Some People Do" is a burning flame for faith, love and second chances. Co-written by the group's frontman Matthew Ramsey, country superstar Thomas Rhett, accomplished songwriter and solo artist Shane McAnally and Nashville-based songwriter/producer Jesse Frasure, the track, featured on OD's self-titled third album, is driven by a stripped-down piano/vocal arrangement, which offers a stark showcase of the song's graceful melody and redemptive lyrics.
"It's a breaking-point kind of song. I think inherently we're all good people and want to be good people, but no matter who you are, sometimes you hurt the ones you love," Ramsey said of the track on Instagram. "It's about that desire to be the best person you can be for those people."
The nomination marks Ramsey's first; Rhett became a first-time nominee for Best Country Song four years ago with his hit, "Die A Happy Man." Also, this nomination makes six for McAnally for Best Country Song; his most recent win in the category was for Kacey Musgraves' "Space Cowboy" just two years ago.