The country field usually features traditional country music versus the current alternative/country pop trend. And this year there is no exception as big name, middle-of-the-road, and breakthrough artists are all in contention. And, here are the predictions:
Best Country Solo Performance
- Miranda Lambert — Automatic
- Carrie Underwood — Something in the Water
- Eric Church — Give Me Back My Hometown
- Hunter Hayes — Invisible
- Cole Swindell — Chillin’ It
Two women can be considered the strongest bets in this category: Former winner, Miranda Lambert who’s been on the GRAMMYs radar for the last four years, should have no problem with “Automatic”, the 2014 CMA winner for Single of the Year. Lambert could be looking at her second consecutive nomination in this category. The other definite nominee is Carrie Underwood for her Christian/Country hit, “Something in the Water”. Underwood has already been nominated twice in this four-year old category; winning once in 2013.
And now it’s the men’s turn and we have: Three-time nominee, Eric Church for “Give Me Back My Hometown”, nominated for both Song and Single of the Year at the 2014 CMA Awards; Hunter Hayes for “Invisible”, which seems to be the Academy’s favourite young country star (now that Taylor has gone Pop); and Cole Swindell for his number-one hit, “Chillin’ It”. Swindell, however, could get snubbed as the Academy does not really like nominating radio-friendly songs in this field.
Other notable submissions include: Dolly Parton for “Home”; Darius Rucker for “Radio”; Blake Shelton for “Neon Lights”; Lee Brice for “I Don’t Dance; Brantley Gilbert for “Bottoms Up”.
Best Country Duo/Group Performance
- Miranda Lambert & Carrie Underwood — Somethin’ Bad
- Tim McGraw & Faith Hill — Meanwhile Back At Mama’s
- Lady Antebellum — Bartender
- Zac Brown Band — All Alright
- Trisha Yearwood & Kelly Clarkson — Prizefighter
GRAMMYs love collaborations, especially when they come from their favourite artists. That is the case of Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood who are up with their CMA-nominated “Somethin’ Bad”, the strongest contender in this category. Another collaboration, husband/wife Tim McGraw & Faith Hill —who also received the CMA-nod for Musical Event of the Year, losing to Miranda Lambert and Keith Urban. The other prominent collaboration of the year is Trisha Yearwood & Kelly Clarkson for “Prizefighter”.
The two bands that could complete the line-up include 7-time winners, Lady Antebellum for their hit “Bartender”. This trio won the now defunct Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group twice. The other band is the Atlanta-based ensemble and 3-time winners, Zac Brown Band with “All Alright”.
Other notable submissions include: Little Big Town for “Day Drinking”; Eli Young Band for “Dust”; Florida Georgia Line ft. Luke Bryan for “This Is How We Roll”; Mary Sarah ft. Dolly Parton for “Jolene”; The Doobie Brothers ft. Zac Brown Band for “Black Water”.
Best Country Song
- Automatic by Nicole Gaylon, Natalie Hemby, Miranda Lambert (Miranda Lambert)
- Give Me Back My Hometown by Eric Church, Luke Laird (Eric Church)
- I Don’t Dance by Lee Brice, Dallas Davidson, Rob Hatch (Lee Brice)
- Invisible by Bonnie Baker, Katrina Elam, Huntery Hayes (Hunter Hayes)
- Meanwhile Back At Mama’s by Tom Douglas, Jaren Johnston, Jeffrey Steele (Tim McGraw and Faith Hill)
Just like in any other field, the songwriter’s award features nominees from the two previously-mentioned categories. And, of course, we have the nostalgic tune “Automatic” performed by Miranda Lambert; “Give Me Back My Hometown”, performed by Eric Church and considered a sequel to his GRAMMY-nominated song, “Springsteen”; “Invisible” performed by Hunter Hayes, a song about bullying; and “Meanwhile Back At Mama’s”, which depicts Tim McGraw’s hometown.
The other song that might make it for the Country Song category, and not the rest is the CMA-nominated, “I Don’t Dance” performed by Lee Brice.
Other notable submissions include: “Something in the Water” performed by Carrie Underwood; “The Trailer Song” performed by Kacey Musgraves; “Bartender” performed by Lady Antebellum; “Dust” performed by Eli Young Band; “Neon Lights” performed by Blake Shelton.
Best Country Album
- Miranda Lambert — Platinum
- Eric Church — The Outsiders
- Dolly Parton — Blue Smoke
- Tim McGraw — Sundown Heaven Town
- Dierks Bentley — Riser
The front-runner here is, once again, Miranda Lambert for Platinum —winner of the CMA Award for Album of the Year. The other sure bet is Eric Church for his critically-acclaimed album, The Outsiders. Both of these albums might also show up in the Album of the Year category.
Also in contention is Blue Smoke by country legend and 7-time GRAMMY winner, Dolly Parton. The album was a success both commercially and critically. Three-time winner, Tim McGraw might get a back-to-back nod in this category for his album Sundown Heaven Town. And last but not least is CMA-nominated Album of the Year Riser by 10-time nominee, Dierks Bentley.
Other notable submissions include: Blake Shelton for Bringing Back the Sunshine; Lady Antebellum for 747; Willie Nelson for Band of Brothers; George Strait for The Cowboy Rides Away: Live from AT&T Stadium; Jennifer Nettles for That Girl.