Graphic: The Recording Academy
Hear All Of The Best Country Solo Performance Nominees For The 2023 GRAMMY Awards
The 2023 GRAMMY Award nominees for Best Country Solo Performance highlight country music's newcomers and veterans, featuring hits from Kelsea Ballerini, Zach Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Maren Morris and Willie Nelson.
Country music's evolution is well represented in the 2023 GRAMMY nominees for Best Country Solo Performance. From crossover pop hooks to red-dirt outlaw roots, the genre's most celebrated elements are on full display — thanks to rising stars, leading ladies and country icons.
Longtime hitmaker Miranda Lambert delivered a soulful performance on the rootsy ballad "In His Arms," an arrangement as sparing as the windswept west Texas highlands where she co-wrote the song. Viral newcomer Zach Bryan dug into similar organic territory on the Oklahoma side of the Red River for "Something in the Orange," his voice accompanied with little more than an acoustic guitar.
Two of country's 2010s breakout stars are clearly still shining, too, as Maren Morris and Kelsea Ballerini both received Best Country Solo Performance GRAMMY nods. Morris channeled the determination that drove her leap-of-faith move from Texas to Nashville for the playful clap-along "Circles Around This Town," while Ballerini brought poppy hooks with a country edge on the infectiously upbeat "HEARTFIRST."
Rounding out the category is the one and only Willie Nelson, who paid tribute to his late friend Billy Joe Shaver with a cover of "Live Forever" — a fitting sentiment for the 89-year-old legend, who is approaching his eighth decade in the business.
As the excitement builds for the 2023 GRAMMYs on Feb. 5, 2023, let's take a closer look at this year's nominees for Best Country Solo Performance.
Kelsea Ballerini — "HEARTFIRST"
In the tradition of Shania Twain, Faith Hill and Carrie Underwood, Kelsea Ballerini represents Nashville's sunnier side — and her single "HEARTFIRST" is a slice of bright, uptempo, confectionary country-pop for the ages.
Ballerini sings about leaning into a carefree crush with her heart on her sleeve, pushing aside her reservations and taking a risk on love at first sight. The scene plays out in a bar room and a back seat, as she sweeps nimbly through the verses and into a shimmering chorus, when the narrator decides she's ready to "wake up in your T-shirt."
There are enough steel guitar licks to let you know you're listening to a country song, but the story and melody are universal. "HEARTFIRST" is Ballerini's third GRAMMY nod, but first in the Best Country Solo Performance category.
Zach Bryan — "Something In The Orange"
Zach Bryan blew into Music City seemingly from nowhere in 2017, when his original song "Heading South" — recorded on an iPhone — went viral. Then an active officer in the U.S. Navy, the Oklahoma native chased his muse through music during his downtime, striking a chord with country music fans on stark songs led by his acoustic guitar and affecting vocals.
After his honorable discharge in 2021, Bryan began his music career in earnest, and in 2022 released "Something in the Orange," a haunting ballad that stakes a convincing claim to the territory between Tyler Childers and Jason Isbell in both sonics and songwriting. Slashing slide guitar drives home the song's heartbreak, as Bryan pines for a lover whose tail lights have long since vanished over the horizon.
"Something In The Orange" marks Bryan's first-ever GRAMMY nomination.
Miranda Lambert — "In His Arms"
Miranda Lambert is the rare, chart-topping contemporary country artist who does more than pay lip service to the genre's rural American roots. "In His Arms" originally surfaced on 2021's The Marfa Tapes, a casual recording Lambert made with Jack Ingram and Jon Randall in Marfa, Texas — a tiny arts enclave in the middle of the west Texas high desert.
In this proper studio version — recorded for her 2022 album, Palomino — Lambert retains the structure and organic feel of the mostly acoustic song; light percussion and soothing atmospherics keep her emotive vocals front and center. A native Texan herself, Lambert sounds fully at home on "In His Arms."
Lambert is the only Best Country Solo Performance nominee who is nominated in all four Country Field categories in 2023. To date, Miranda Lambert has won 3 GRAMMYs and received 27 nominations overall.
Maren Morris — "Circles Around This Town"
When Maren Morris found herself uninspired and dealing with writer's block, she went back to what inspired her to move to Nashville nearly a decade ago — and out came "Circles Around This Town," the lead single from her 2022 album Humble Quest.
Written in one of her first in-person songwriting sessions since the pandemic, Morris has called "Circles Around This Town" her "most autobiographical song" to date; she even recreated her own teenage bedroom for the song's video. As she looks back to her Texas beginnings and the life she left for Nashville, Morris' voice soars over anthemic, yet easygoing production.
Morris last won a GRAMMY for Best Country Solo Performance in 2017, when her song "My Church" earned the singer her first GRAMMY. To date, Maren Morris has won one GRAMMY and received 17 nominations overall.
Willie Nelson — "Live Forever"
Country music icon Willie Nelson is no stranger to the GRAMMYs, and this year he aims to add to his collection of 10 gramophones. He earned another three nominations for 2023 — bringing his career total to 56 — including a Best Country Solo Performance nod for "Live Forever."
Nelson's performance of "Live Forever," the lead track of the 2022 tribute album Live Forever: A Tribute to Billy Joe Shaver, is a faithful rendition of Shaver's signature song. Still, Nelson puts his own twist on the tune, recruiting Lucinda Williams for backing vocals and echoing the melody with the inimitable tone of his nylon-string Martin guitar.
Shaver, an outlaw country pioneer who passed in 2020 at 81 years old, never had any hits of his own during his lifetime. But plenty of his songs were still heard, thanks to stars like Elvis Presley, Kris Kristofferson and Waylon Jennings. Nelson was a longtime friend and frequent collaborator of Shaver's — and now has a GRAMMY nom to show for it.
A Tribute In Black To Johnny Cash
A star-studded roster of GRAMMY-winning talent celebrates the music and 80th birthday of Johnny Cash in Austin, Texas
Though Johnny Cash passed away in 2003, he's having a very good year in 2012. The latest in a series of events honoring the man in black — an 80th-birthday tribute titled We Walk The Line: A Celebration Of The Music Of Johnny Cash — drew a slew of GRAMMY-winning performers to Austin, Texas, for a lively Friday-night show on April 20 at Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater.
Top billing went to Cash's surviving Highwaymen brethren, GRAMMY winners Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson, who teamed with Shooter Jennings (son of late GRAMMY-winning Highwayman Waylon Jennings) and Jamey Johnson in a reunion of sorts on the song "Highwayman." Under a large banner bearing an image of Cash strumming a guitar, flanked by two silhouettes, Nelson also teamed with GRAMMY winner Sheryl Crow on "If I Were A Carpenter."
Crow sounded almost as if she were addressing Cash when she joked to Nelson, "I would definitely have your baby — if I could. If I didn't have two others of my own. And if you weren't married. And if I wasn't friends with your wife."
Audience members cheered lustily in approval, as they did throughout most of the show, a taped-for-DVD benefit for the childhood muscular dystrophy foundation Charley's Fund. Just hours earlier, many of them had watched as Nelson helped unveil his new statue in front of the theater, which sits on a street also named after him.
The event was produced by Keith Wortman with GRAMMY-winning producer Don Was serving as musical director. Was recruited Buddy Miller, Greg Leisz, Kenny Aronoff, and new Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Ian McLagan of the Faces as the house band. The handpicked all-star roster of performers ranged from Iron & Wine's Sam Beam, Brandi Carlile, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Andy Grammer, Amy Lee of Evanescence, and Pat Monahan of Train to Ronnie Dunn, Shelby Lynne, Old 97's lead singer Rhett Miller, Lucinda Williams, and even Austin-based actor Matthew McConaughey, who, in addition to emceeing, sang "The Man Comes Around."
"We wanted a real broad, diverse group of artists," Wortman said backstage. "With Cash, you're as likely to find his music in a punk rock music fan, a heavy metal fan and a Nashville music fan, so he's not just a country music guy."
GRAMMY winner Monahan, who sang Kristofferson's "Help Me Make It Through The Night," commented before the show, "I think of Johnny Cash as a style, as you would think of clothing, or music or whatever. He was his own thing. No can can really describe Johnny Cash entirely.
"And no one could deliver a song quite like him," continued Monahan. "He sang hundreds of other songwriters' songs and he made those songwriters important because of the way he delivered what they were saying. There's not much that I don't respect about him, and I told his son [John Carter Cash] earlier that I'm almost more inspired by the love for his family than his music."
Lynne, who won the Best New Artist GRAMMY in 2000, sang "Why Me Lord," another song penned by Kristofferson, and delivered a spirited duet with Monahan on "It Ain't Me Babe," said Cash has influenced "all of us."
"We appreciate the majestic rebellion that Johnny gave us all in the music business. And he's also one of the great American icons of all time," she added.
Among the acts who earned the loudest applause in a night full of high-volume appreciation was the GRAMMY-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops, the bluegrass quartet re-exposing the genre's African-American roots. Their rendition of "Jackson" was among many highlights. Earlier, co-founder Dom Flemons revealed the personal inspiration of Cash's catalog.
"Johnny Cash's music has had an impact on me as a rock and roll singer, a country singer, as a folk music performer and great interpreter of song. I just love everything that he's done," said Flemons.
Bandmate Hubby Jenkins added, "Johnny Cash was really great about putting emotional investment into every song that he sang."
Co-founder Rhiannon Giddens said Cash’s core was his voice and his subject matter, and no matter how much production was added, it never diluted his message.
Miller, who named his band after "Wreck Of The Old '97," a song popularized by Cash, said their intent was to sound like "Johnny Cash meets the Clash." He also recalled always picking "Ring Of Fire," a classic inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame in 1999, on the tabletop jukebox during childhood visits to a Dallas diner.
"I didn't know what it was about, but I knew that the guy who was singing it was singing it with everything he had," said Miller, dressed in black in homage to "one of my all-time heroes." "And there was so much heart behind it, and so much conviction. And nobody could sell a song like Johnny Cash. He meant every word he said, and if he didn't mean it, he made it sound like he meant it."
(Austin-based journalist Lynne Margolis currently contributes to American Songwriter, NPR's Song of the Day and newspapers nationwide, as well as several regional magazines and NPR-affiliate KUT-FM's "Texas Music Matters." A contributing editor to The Ties That Bind: Bruce Springsteen from A To E To Z, she has also previously written for Rollingstone.com and Paste magazine.)
Aloe Blacc, Melissa Etheridge, Wille Nelson Rock GRAMMY Foundation Legacy Concert
View Twitter and Instagram posts, video, photos and a complete set list from Lean On Me: A Celebration Of Music And Philanthropy
GRAMMY winners Melissa Etheridge, John Mellencamp and Willie Nelson were among the performers at Lean On Me: A Celebration Of Music And Philanthropy, the 17th Annual GRAMMY Foundation Legacy Concert. The sold-out event took place Feb. 5 at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles and also featured performances by current GRAMMY nominee Aloe Blacc, singer/songwriter Rozzi Crane, violinist Lindsey Stirling, GRAMMY-nominated artist Robin Thicke, and indie pop/rock band Walk The Moon.
Below are highlights from the event shared via Twitter and Instagram, video recap, and a complete set list of songs performed.
"We Shall Overcome" (Pete Seeger cover)
"Love Is The Answer"
"On The Road Again"
"We Don't Run"
Melissa Etheridge And Aloe Blacc
"While My Guitar Gently Weeps" (Beatles cover)
Walk The Moon And Deborah Cox
"All These Things That I've Done"
"Gimme Shelter" (Rolling Stones cover)
"Do They Know It's Christmas?" (Band Aid cover)
"We Are The World" (USA For Africa cover)
Plain White T's
"True Colors" (Cyndi Lauper cover)
"Higher Ground" with Erica Campbell (Stevie Wonder cover)
"I Need To Wake Up"
"Lean On Me" (Bill Withers cover)
A Look At 2022 Nominees For Best Música Urbana Album At The 2023 GRAMMY Awards
The 2022 Best Música Urbana Album Nominees at the 2023 GRAMMYs come from some of the biggest names in Latin music, each of whom have fused a unique sensibility and a variety of influences into their records.
Perhaps because in its current incarnation música urbana tackles such a wide array of influences — from the expected bounce of reggaetón to ominous trap moods, frantic dembow and a cool dash of Latin pop — the genre has become a hub for freshness and creativity.
All five 2022 nominees for Best Música Urbana Album at the 65th GRAMMY Awards are international stars, but none of them allowed fame to lead into stagnation. On the contrary, their albums are defined by cutting edge innovation and challenging new sounds. Read on to learn more about offerings from Bad Bunny, Daddy Yankee, Farruko, Maluma and Rauw Alejandro.
View the complete list of nominees for the 2023 GRAMMY Awards here.
Rauw Alejandro — TRAP CAKE, VOL. 2
Released in 2019, the first volume of Trap Cake served as a laboratory where the Puerto Rican singer experimented with unusual textures. Vol. 2 marches on the same avant-garde principles, serving as a provocative bridge between Rauw’s genre-defining smash Vice Versa and his restless third album Saturno.
The production is slick and airy on this sumptuous mini-album seeped in a hazy cloud of melancholy nostalgia. The music box-like opening strains of "MUSEO" hint at the precious ambient sonics at hand, whereas the distorted electric guitar and aggressive downbeat of "GRACIAS POR TODO" opens up an intriguing window to the quirks of Rauw as potential rock’n’roller. Co-produced by Jamaican helmer Rvssian, the darkly hued "Caprichoso" features contributions by the singer’s romantic partner — the one and only Rosalía.
Bad Bunny — Un Verano Sin Ti
How do you celebrate the confirmation of your status as a young global pop star? In the case of Bad Bunny, he released the ultimate summer album — an imaginary mixtape, meant to be booming in the background as the poolside party rages on.
The Puerto Rican phenomenon focuses on his usual preoccupations — erotic foreplay, desire as transcendent lifeforce, the stinging aftertaste of romantic separation — but the beats and layers of atmospherics are more abstract and psychedelic than on previous releases. Even though Un Verano Sin Ti boasts stellar collaborations with the likes of Tainy, Rauw Alejandro and Chencho Corleone, the album finds some of its most compelling passages in the stylistic detours of "Ojitos Lindos" — with Colombia’s Bomba Estéreo — and the alternative tropi-rock of "Otro Atardecer," with the Marias.
Daddy Yankee — LEGENDADDY
2022 was the year when the "Gasolina" pioneer shocked the Latin music establishment by announcing his retirement at age 46. Fortunately, Daddy Yankee’s farewell came in the shape of a sprawling party record. LEGENDADDY feels like a passionate, and occasionally wistful, love letter to the limitless variety that has always defined Afro-Caribbean music.
Yankee’s rapid-fire delivery and reggaetón riddims are ever-present, of course, but the menu also includes some wacky dembow ("BOMBÓN," with Lil Jon and Dominican hitmaker El Alfa), and the truly wondrous fusion of salsa, reggaetón and spidery bachata lines on the kinetic "RUMBATÓN." On "AGUA," Yankee is joined by Rauw Alejandro and guitar god Nile Rodgers for a jam infused with post-disco zest. Yankee’s electrifying live performances will be missed, but this emotional swan song delivers an fitting epic finale to a remarkable career.
Farruko — La 167
A seasoned veteran of the urbano landscape, Farruko has always been progressive in his mission to expand stylistic boundaries. The title of his seventh studio album is a reference to the singer/songwriter’s childhood memories: the 167 highway in the Bayamón area of Puerto Rico where he grew up.
At the same time, the album also reflects Farruko’s extensive travels across Latin America. "Pepas," the collection’s bonafide hit, is an anthemic electro-guaracha that stays close to the genre’s roots in Colombia. "Baja Cali" mixes Latin rap with the young generation of corridos that defines the present of música mexicana, and the breezy "W.F.M." (featuring Jamaican vocalist Mavado) delves into sweet dancehall vibes. On "Jíbaro," Farruko cherishes his boricua origins alongside bolero revivalist Pedro Capó. A man of the world, he sounds the happiest when he returns home.
Maluma — The Love & Sex Tape
In 2021, Maluma surprised fans by releasing #7DJ (7 Días En Jamaica), a refreshing EP of reggae infused tracks. A silky mini-album made up of eight new songs, The Love & Sex Tape finds the Medellín native delving back into the sensuous reggaetón narratives that made him famous.
A duet with fellow Colombian Feid, "Mojando Asientos" is appropriately frisky, and the self-explanatory "Nos Comemos Vivos" gains in intensity thanks to the streetwise attitude of the ubiquitous Chencho Corleone. Maluma surrenders to hedonism with abandon, reaching the natural conclusion that life is, indeed, quite beautiful ("La Vida Es Bella.") A classy ending, "Happy Birthday" incorporates the soulful groove of Afrobeats, hinting that Maluma’s brilliant creative detours will surface again in subsequent works.
Photo: Jathan Campbell
Air Date For 2023 GRAMMYs Announced: Taking Place On Feb. 5 In Los Angeles; GRAMMY Nominations To Be Announced Nov. 15, 2022
The Recording Academy has released its key dates and deadlines ahead of the 2023 GRAMMYs, which air live on Sunday, Feb. 5, from Los Angeles. Nominations for the 2023 GRAMMYs will be announced on Tuesday, Nov. 15.
The Recording Academy has released its key dates and deadlines ahead of the 2023 GRAMMYs, officially known as the 65th GRAMMY Awards. This year's GRAMMY nominees will be announced on Tuesday, Nov. 15, with the 2023 GRAMMYs airing live Sunday, Feb. 5, from the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles. The 2023 GRAMMYs will broadcast live on the CBS Television Network and stream live and on demand on Paramount+.
The 2023 GRAMMY nominations are officially here. See the complete list of nominees across all 91 GRAMMY categories.
A list of dates for the 2023 GRAMMYs process and additional details are below:
Friday, Oct. 1, 2021 – Friday, Sept. 30, 2022
Product Eligibility Period
Monday, July 18, 2022 – Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2022
Online Entry Period
Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022 – Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022
First Round Voting
Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022
Nominees Announced for the 2023 GRAMMYs
Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022 – Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023
Final Round Voting
Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023
Details regarding specific GRAMMY Week events will be announced in the coming months. Learn more about the upcoming awards season. Access the complete 2022 Rules and Guidelines for the 65th GRAMMY Awards.
The 2023 GRAMMYs, officially known as the 65th GRAMMY Awards, returns to Los Angeles' Crypto.com Arena on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023, and will broadcast live on the CBS Television Network and stream live and on-demand on Paramount+ at 8-11:30 p.m. ET/5-8:30 p.m. PT.
The eligibility period for the 65th GRAMMY Awards is Friday, Oct. 1, 2021 – Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. All eligible awards entries must be released within this timeframe.
The Recording Academy and GRAMMY.com do not endorse any particular artist, submission or nominee over another. The results of the GRAMMY Awards, including winners and nominees, are solely dependent on the Recording Academy’s Voting Membership.