The 53rd Annual Grammy Awards will hand out their annual golden gramophones to honor the biggest names in music. As has become the norm at ATC, we’ll be dissecting the nominees in the country categories as well as the all-genre categories that include country nominees. As the show gets closer, we’ll offer our official predictions for who we think will walk away winners.
Last year, Taylor Swift became a Grammy darling when she walked away with four awards including Album of the Year for her sophomore release, Fearless. When the 2009 nominations were announced, it was Swift who led the country nominees with a whopping 8 nominations. This year, Lady Antebellum finds themselves as the leading country nominee with 6 nominations including Album of the Year for Need You Now, as well as Record of the Year and Song of the Year for the album’s title track, “Need You Now.”
Miranda Lambert has been 2010’s awards darling by winning 3 ACM and CMA awards and has a chance to win three Grammys come February. Lambert scored nominations in the Best Female Country Vocal Performance category for “The House That Built Me,” Best Country Album for Revolution, and Best Country Collaboration with Vocals for her part in Dierks Bentley’s “Bad Angel” (which also featured Jamey Johnson). Lambert’s “House” also earned songwriters Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin nominations in the Best Country Song and Song of the Year categories.
Here is the complete rundown of country nominees as well as our initial reaction to the nominees.
Album of the Year
- The Suburbs – Arcade Fire
- Recovery – Eminem
- Need You Now – Lady Antebellum
- The Fame Monster – Lady Gaga
- Teenage Dream – Katy Perry
Lady Antebellum represents country music in this all-genre category and could pull off an upset come awards night. Early buzz is predicting leading nominee Eminem to walk away with this award with his comeback album, but no one is counting out Lady A.
Record of the Year
- “Nothin’ on You” – B.O.B. featuring Bruno Mars
- “Love The Way You Lie” – Eminem featuring Rihanna
- “F*** You” – Cee Lo Green
- “Empire State of Mind” – Jay Z featuring Alicia Keys
- “Need You Now” – Lady Antebellum
Once again, Lady Antebellum represents country music in this all-genre category, though they are once again considered the underdogs. All five songs had massive success on Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart, but experts are once again leaning towards the Eminem/Rihanna smash hit. In fact, they are predicting an Eminem sweep in the big categories come awards night.
Song of the Year
- “Beg Steal or Borrow” – Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs (written by Ray LaMontagne)
- “F*** You” – Cee Lo Green (written by Brody Brown, Cee Lo Green, Ari Levine, Philip Lawrence & Bruno Mars)
- “The House That Built Me” – Miranda Lambert (Written by Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin)
- “Love The Way You Lie” – Eminem featuring Rihanna (Written by Alexander Grant, Skylar Grey & Marshall Mathers)
- “Need You Now” – Lady Antebellum (Written by Dave Haywood, Josh Kear, Charles Kelley, and Hillary Scott)
For the first time since 2006 when the Dixie Chicks’ “Not Ready To Make Nice” and Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus Take the Wheel” were nominated has there been two country songs nominated in the same year. This year, Lady A’s “Need You Now” and Miranda Lambert’s “The House That Built Me” both secured nominations. Personally, I’d love to see “House” take this award but because it might not have been heard by as many voters as “Need You Now,” it is the huge underdog. Experts predict a Lady A win here but it could go to “Love The Way You Lie.”
Best Female Country Vocal Performance
- “Satisfied” – Jewel
- “The House That Built Me” – Miranda Lambert
- “Swingin'” – Leann Rimes
- “Temporary Home” – Carrie Underwood
- “I’d Love to Be Your Last” – Gretchen Wilson
Such an interesting list of nominees which includes surprise nominees in Gretchen Wilson and Jewel. The Leann Rimes song is one of the best singles of her career and the same could be said for the Carrie Underwood single. However, those four pale in comparison to Miranda Lambert’s career defining smash, “The House That Built Me.” Look for Miranda to score her first Grammy win.
Best Male Country Vocal Performance
- “Macon” – Jamey Johnson
- “Cryin’ For Me (Wayman’s Song)” – Toby Keith
- “Turning Home” – David Nail
- “‘Til Summer Comes Around” – Keith Urban
- “Gettin’ You Home (The Black Dress Song)” – Chris Young
This year’s male nominees include two first time nominees in David Nail and Chris Young. Toby Keith receives a surprise nomination for his moving tribute single to Wayman Tisdale. Jamey Johnson is once again nominated in this category for his song, “Macon.” The only Grammy winner present in this category is Keith Urban who is more than likely going to walk away with his fourth win in this category for his hit “‘Til Summer Comes Around.” It’s a bit of a surprise to see Brad Paisley left off this year’s list considering “Welcome to the Future” and “American Saturday Night” were among his best singles.
Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals
- “Free” – Zac Brown Band
- “Elizabeth” – Daily & Vincent
- “Need You Now” – Lady Antebellum
- “Little White Church” – Little Big Town
- “Where Rainbows Never Die” – The SteelDrivers
Last year Lady Antebellum won in this category for their hit “I Run to You” and considering it’s nominated in the all-genre Record of the Year category, look for the group to nab their second Grammy award in this category. It’s great to see the Little Big Town song receive some recognition it rightfully deserves.
Best Country Collaboration with Vocals
- “Bad Angel” – Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert, and Jamey Johnson
- “Pride (In the Name of Love)” – Dierks Bentley, Del McCoury, and the Punch Brothers
- “As She’s Walking Away” – Zac Brown Band and Alan Jackson
- “Hillbilly Bone” – Blake Shelton and Trace Adkins
- “I Run to You” – Marty Stuart and Connie Smith
This category is a three horse between chart smashes “Hillbilly Bone” and “As She’s Walking Away” and the critically acclaimed “Bad Angel.” “Bone” won both the CMA and ACM awards for collaboration, but I have a feeling it’ll be ignored by the Recording Academy for “Bad Angel.”
Best Country Song
- “The Breath You Take” – George Strait (written by Casey Beathard, Dean Dillon & Jessie Jo Dillon)
- “Free” – Zac Brown Band (written by Zac Brown)
- “The House That Built Me” – Miranda Lambert (written by Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin)
- “I’d Love to be Your Last” – Gretchen Wilson (written by Rivers Rutherford, Annie Tate & Sam Tate)
- “If I Die Young” – The Band Perry (written by Kimberly Perry)
- “Need You Now” – Lady Antebellum (written by Dave Haywood, Josh Kear, Charles Kelley, and Hillary Scott)
Six of country’s best songs of the year snagged nominations in this category. Though it was one of George Strait’s finest songs, “The Breath You Take” can instantly be thrown out. It’s great to see Kimberly Perry receive a nomination here for The Band Perry’s fantastic smash hit, “If I Die Young.” This will no doubt come down to “Need You Now” and “The House That Built Me.” Both songs nabbed nominations in the overall Song of the Year category and Grammy voters could go either way. I’d love to see “House” take the win but because “Need You Now” reached over genres voters could go with “Need You Now.”
Country Album of the Year
- Up on the Ridge – Dierks Bentley
- You Get What You Give – Zac Brown Band
- The Guitar Song – Jamey Johnson
- Need You Now – Lady Antebellum
- Revolution – Miranda Lambert
Three of these five albums were nominated in the CMA Album of the Year category with Miranda Lambert winning the award. Personally, I’d love to see Revolution win here but it’s the huge underdog compared to Lady A’s massive seller, Need You Now. The album has a great shot at winning Album of the Year so I think Lady Antebellum will nab the win here.