My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Predictions and analysis: The 55th Annual Grammy Awards

Grammy-AwardsIt’s that time of year again, to celebrate music’s biggest night. The 55th Grammy Awards are set to air this Sunday on CBS. In a rather surprising move, it’s the females who’ll be representing our genre at the show. Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, and Miranda Lambert are all slated to perform, with Lambert teaming up with her ‘Locked and Reloaded’ tour partner Dierks Bentley for a special collaboration. The country nominees are below, and it turns out they’re much stronger than was expected. The Recording Academy seems to have found a happy medium between commercial and artistic popularity. We’ll have to see if any of the artistic nominees (Jamey Johnson, The Time Jumpers, and others) will prevail against their commercial contemporaries. Predictions are below:

Blown Away Single Cover Best Country Solo Performance

Home – Dierks Bentley

Springsteen – Eric Church

Cost Of Livin’ – Ronnie Dunn

Wanted – Hunter Hayes

Over – Blake Shelton

Blown Away – Carrie Underwood – Jonathan Pappalardo

Jonathan Pappalardo: A surprisingly interesting list, if you take out Blake Shelton’s blatant pandering to pop trends. Odds are on Underwood regaining her crown (she’s won in 3 of the past seven years), but the Dunn hit is even more relevant today then when it was when it written more than four years ago. In the end though, Underwood’s likely going to win this. 
I-Just-Come-Here-for-the-MusicBest Country Duo/Group Performance

Even If It Breaks Your Heart – Eli Young Band

Pontoon – Little Big Town

Safe & Sound – Taylor Swift & The Civil Wars

On The Outskirts Of Town – The Time Jumpers

I Just Come Here For The Music – Don Williams Featuring Alison Krauss – Jonathan Pappalardo 

Jonathan Pappalardo: The best song of the bunch is the Williams single, a slice of classic country nostalgia from a genre legend. Krauss’ guest vocal secured the nomination, which means it wouldn’t have been here otherwise, a true shame. Swift, meanwhile, deserves a lot of credit for breaking free of her constrictions and The Time Jumpers nicely brought Western Swing into the 21st century. Against these heavyweights, the two #1 hits don’t even stand a chance.  Williams and Krauss are the most likely winners here. Seriously, who would vote against Krauss at this point?
so you don't have to love me anymore Best Country Song

Blown Away – Josh Kear & Chris Tompkins, songwriters (Carrie Underwood) – Jonathan Pappalardo 

Cost Of Livin – Phillip Coleman & Ronnie Dunn, songwriters (Ronnie Dunn)

Even If It Breaks Your Heart – Will Hoge & Eric Paslay, songwriters (Eli Young Band)

So You Don’t Have To Love Me Anymore – Jay Knowles & Adam Wright, songwriters (Alan Jackson)

Springsteen – Eric Church, Jeff Hyde & Ryan Tyndell, songwriters (Eric Church) 

Jonathan Pappalardo: Underwood has enough clout that “Blown Away” will likely prevail, and while strong, it isn’t the best composition here. That would be a tie between Dunn’s recession ode and Jackson’s love lorne stunner. In the battle of emotion, the Jackson hit easily comes out on top, and should win.
Four the RecordBest Country Album
 Uncaged – Zac Brown Band
Hunter Hayes – Hunter Hayes
Living For A Song: A Tribute To Hank Cochran – Jamey Johnson
Four The Record – Miranda Lambert – Jonathan Pappalardo 
The Time Jumpers – The Time Jumpers
Jonathan Pappalardo: A rather substantial yet surprising list. Underwood was weirdly snubbed for her solid Blown Away while Zac Brown Band made the cut for their most uneven project yet. Even though The Time Jumpers and Jamey Johnson turned in artistic knockouts, I see this as a battle between Lambert and Hayes – with the ambitious Four The Record winning out. But Hayes’ Best New Artist nod could easily perpell him to victory here.
HunterHayesRDBest New Artist
 Alabama Shakes
Hunter Hayes
The Lumineers
Frank Ocean – Jonathan Pappalardo
Jonathan Pappalardo: It’s nice to see Hayes representing country music here, even if the child prodigy marketing campaign  has been slightly overblown. It’s a strong field, however, and a likely a race between Frank Ocean, the current prince of neo-soul, and Fun., the most exciting new pop group since Maroon 5. I see Ocean taking this home.
 taylor swift never everRecord Of The Year

Lonely Boy – The Black Keys

Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) – Kelly Clarkson

We Are Young – Fun. Featuring Janelle Monáe

Somebody That I Used To Know – Gotye Featuring Kimbra

Thinkin Bout You – Frank Ocean – Jonathan Pappalardo

We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together – Taylor Swift

Jonathan Pappalardo: It’s difficult to justify this as a six nominee race, when it’s Taylor Swift that just barely sweeked in. “We Are Never, Ever Getting Back Together” is being nominated as a pop record here, as country radio ignored the song, no matter what Billboard says. Swift notwithstanding, it’s a strong category, and there are many worthy winners. And as much as I like the Clarkson track, and she’s the first Idol alum to score a nod in this category, I’m betting it’s a three way race between Fun., Goyte, and Frank Ocean, with Ocean coming out on top.

UnknownBest Americana Album

The Carpenter – The Avett Brothers

From The Ground Up – John Fullbright

The Lumineers – The Lumineers

Babel – Mumford & Sons – Jonathan Pappalardo

Slipstream – Bonnie Raitt

Jonathan Pappalardo: Oh how I would kill to see Raitt win here, for one of the best albums of 2012. But this is Mumford & Sons’ award. Odds are very low that an Album of The Year nominee is shut out of its genre race. If they don’t win the top prize, this is seen as the consolation. Win both? Icing on the cake.

Unknown-1Best Bluegrass Album

The Gospel Side Of – Dailey & Vincent

Life Finds A Way – The Grascals – Jonathan Pappalardo

Beat The Devil And Carry A Rail – Noam Pikelny

Scratch Gravel Road – Special Consensus

Nobody Knows You – Steep Canyon Rangers

Jonathan Pappalardo: Wish I even had a clue. Without the likes of Alison Krauss or Steve Martin, this is truly anyone’s race. The Grascals are the best known of the five here and maybe Steep Canyon Rangers can parlay their association with Martin into a win.
515m58LkZBL._SL500_SS500_Best Folk Album

Leaving Eden – Carolina Chocolate Drops

Election Special – Ry Cooder

Hambone’s Meditations – Luther Dickinson

The Goat Rodeo Sessions – Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer & Chris Thile

This One’s For Him: A Tribute To Guy Clark – (Various Artists) – Jonathan Pappalardo
Jonathan Pappalardo: This is a very tight three-way race. Carolina Chocolate Drops, Yo-Yo Ma and Friends, and the Guy Clark tribute album are the likely contenders. The Goat Rodeo Sessions is just different enough to peak voters interest, but I see the Guy Clark tribute, last year’s Americana Association Album of the Year, taking this home.

One response to “Predictions and analysis: The 55th Annual Grammy Awards

  1. Michael A. February 8, 2013 at 11:59 am

    You’re a little more optimistic than I am.

    Solo – Shelton/Dunn
    Duo/Group – Swift & The Civil Wars/Williams & Krauss
    Song – Springsteen/Cost of Livin’
    Album – Miranda Lambert/Jamey Johnson
    New Artist – Frank Ocean/Fun.
    Record – Gotye/Fun.

    I’m with you on Fun. They were my favorite discovery last year. I just love the anthemic feel of their songs, the lyrics and the catchy melodies. I don’t necessarily agree with you about Maroon 5 though. I did enjoy their first couple of albums, but the past five years has seen them release nothing but dreck, in my opinion.

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