Get Lost In The Best Country Song Award Nominees | 2021 GRAMMYs
Dig into the songs by Miranda Lambert, Maren Morris, The Highwomen, Ingrid Andress and Old Dominion that are up for this coveted country songwriter award
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.
Read: Miranda Lambert Talks Her New GRAMMY-Nominated Album 'Wildcard,' Pistol Annies & More
"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."
Read: Maren Morris, Natalie Hemby & Amanda Shires Of The Highwomen Are "Redesigning Women" | Newport Folk 2019
"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.
2021 GRAMMYs: Complete Nominees List
Find Out Who's Nominated For Best Rap Album | 2020 GRAMMY Awards
Dreamville, Meek Mill, 21 Savage, Tyler, The Creator, and YBN Cordae all earn nominations in the category
The 2020 GRAMMYs are just around the corner, and now the nominations are in for the coveted honor of Best Rap Album. While we'll have to wait until the 62nd GRAMMY Awards air on CBS on Jan. 26 to find out who will win, let's take a look at which albums have been nominated for Best Rap Album.
Revenge of the Dreamers III – Dreamville
Dreamers III, the third installment in the label’s Revenge of the Dreamers compilation series, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and achieved gold status this past July. In addition to a Best Rap Album nod, Dreamers III is also nominated for Best Rap Performance next year for album track “Down Bad,” featuring J.I.D, Bas, J. Cole, EARTHGANG, and Young Nudy.
Championships – Meek Mill
In many ways, Championships represents a literal and metaphorical homecoming for Meek Mill. Released in November 2018, Championships is the Philadelphia rapper’s first artist album following a two-year prison sentence he served after violating his parole in 2017. Championships, naturally, sees Meek tackling social justice issues stemming from his prison experience, including criminal justice reform. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, his second chart-topper following 2015’s Dreams Worth More Than Money, and reached platinum status in June 2019. Meek Mill's 2020 Best Rap Album nod marks his first-ever GRAMMY nomination.
i am > i was – 21 Savage
Breakout rapper and four-time GRAMMY nominee 21 Savage dropped i am > i was, his second solo artist album, at the end of 2018. The guest-heavy album, which features contributions from Post Malone, Childish Gambino, J. Cole, and many others, has since charted around the world, topped the Billboard 200 – a first for the artist – in the beginning of 2019, and achieved gold status in the U.S. As well, nine songs out of the album’s 15 original tracks landed on the Hot 100 chart, including multi-platinum lead single “A Lot,” which is also nominated for Best Rap Song next year. 21 Savage’s 2020 Best Rap Album nomination, which follows Record of the Year and Best Rap/Sung Performance nods for his 2017 Post Malone collaboration, "Rockstar,” marks his first solo recognition in the top rap category.
IGOR – Tyler, The Creator
The eccentric Tyler, The Creator kicked off a massive 2019 with his mid-year album, IGOR. Released this past May, IGOR, Tyler’s fifth solo artist album, is his most commercially successful project to date. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, marking his first time topping the coveted chart, while its lead single, "Earfquake,” peaked at No. 13, his highest entry on the Hot 100. Produced in full by Tyler and featuring guest spots from fellow rap and R&B stars Kanye West, Lil Uzi Vert, Solange, and Playboi Carti, among many others, IGOR follows the rapper’s 2017 album, Flower Boy, which received the Best Rap Album nod that same year.
The Lost Boy – YBN Cordae
Emerging rapper YBN Cordae, a member of the breakout YBN rap collective, released his debut album, The Lost Boy, to widespread critical acclaim this past July. The 15-track release is stacked with major collaborations with hip-hop heavyweights, including Anderson .Paak, Pusha T, Meek Mill, and others, plus production work from J. Cole and vocals from Quincy Jones. After peaking at No. 13 on the Billboard 200, The Lost Boy now notches two 2020 GRAMMY nominations: Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song for album track “Bad Idea,” featuring Chance the Rapper.
Photo: C Brandon/Redferns/Getty Images
Brittany Howard, Brandi Carlile, Leon Bridges, 2 Chainz & More Join Small Business Live Benefit Livestream
Proceeds from the event will be go toward loans to small businesses founded by people of color, with additional support to women-owned and immigrant-owned businesses, via Accion Opportunity Fund
This Saturday, June 20, artists including Brittany Howard, Brandi Carlile, Leon Bridges, 2 Chainz and more will come together for Small Business Live, a livestream fundraiser event for small businesses facing challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Proceeds from the livestream will go to Accion Opportunity Fund to support small businesses founded by people of color, with additional support to women-owned and immigrant-owned businesses.
“Entrepreneurs of color are denied credit more often and charged higher rates for money they borrow to fund their businesses. We need to accelerate support to underserved businesses in order to reach our full potential,” Accion Opportunity Fund CEO Luz Urrutia said. “We have to decide what we want our Main Streets to look like when this is over, and we must act decisively to keep small businesses alive and ready to rebuild. This is a fun way to do something really important. Everyone’s support will make a huge difference to small business owners, their families and employees who have been devastated by this pandemic, the recession, and centuries of racism, xenophobia and oppression.”
Tune in for Small Business Live Saturday, June 20 from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. EDT on smallbiz.live. The site also provides a full schedule of programs and links to watch the livestream on all major digital platforms. To learn more about Accion Opportunity Fund, visit the organization's website.
DJ Khaled, Samantha Smith and John Legend
Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images
DJ Khaled, Nipsey Hussle And John Legend Win Best Rap/Sung Performance For "Higher" | 2020 GRAMMYs
DJ Khaled, Nipsey Hussle and John Legend take home Best Rap/Sung Performance at the 62nd GRAMMY Awards
DJ Khaled, featuring Nipsey Hussle and John Legend, has won Best Rap/Sung Performance for "Higher" at the 62nd GRAMMY Awards. The single was featured on DJ Khaled's 2019 album Father of Asahd and featured Hussle's vocals and Legend on the piano. DJ Khaled predicted the track would win a GRAMMY.
"I even told him, 'We're going to win a GRAMMY.' Because that's how I feel about my album," DJ Khaled told Billboard. "I really feel like not only is this my biggest, this is very special."
After the release of the song and music video -- which was filmed before Hussle's death in March -- DJ Khaled announced all proceeds from "Higher" will go to Hussle's children.
DJ Khaled and co. beat out fellow category nominees Lil Baby & Gunna ("Drip Too Hard"), Lil Nas X ("Panini"), Mustard featuring Roddy Ricch ("Ballin") and Young Thug featuring J. Cole & Travis Scott ("The London"). Hussle earned a second posthumous award at the 62nd GRAMMYs for Best Rap Performance for "Racks In The Middle."
Along with Legend and DJ Khaled, Meek Mill, Kirk Franklin, Roddy Ricch and YG paid tribute to Hussle during the telecast, which concluded with "Higher."
Check out the complete 62nd GRAMMY Awards nominees and winners list here.
ReImagined At Home: Watch Ant Clemons Croon The Cosmic Blues In Performance Of Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine"
Singer/songwriter Ant Clemons puts his own spin on Bill Withers' immortal "Ain't No Sunshine" in an exclusive performance for ReImagined At Home
Why has Bill Withers' immortal hit, "Ain't No Sunshine," endured for decades? And, furthermore, why does it seem set to reverberate throughout the ages?
Could it be because it's blues-based? Because it's relatable to anyone with a pulse? Because virtually anyone with an ounce of zeal can believably yowl the song at karaoke?
Maybe it's for all of those reasons and one more: "Ain't No Sunshine" is flexible.
In the latest episode of ReImagined At Home, check out how singer/songwriter Ant Clemons pulls at the song's edges like taffy. With a dose of vocoder and slapback, Clemons recasts the lonesome-lover blues as the lament of a shipwrecked android.
Giving this oft-covered soul classic a whirl, Clemons reminds music lovers exactly why Withers' signature song has staying power far beyond his passing in 2020. It will probably be a standard in 4040, too.
Check out Ant Clemons' cosmic, soulful performance of "Ain't No Sunshine" above and click here to enjoy more episodes of ReImagined At Home.