Grammy Predictions: The Country Field
Best Country Album
The nominees: Zac Brown Band’s Uncaged, Hunter Hayes’ Hunter Hayes, Jamey Johnson’s Living For A Song: A Tribute To Hank Cochran, Miranda Lambert’s Four The Record, The Time Jumpers’ The Time Jumpers
The discussion: This would be the first win in this category for any of the nominees. Three of these albums have topped 500K in sales: Uncaged, Four The Record and Hunter Hayes. Only one of them, Four The Record, was nominated for Album of the Year at the CMA Awards in November.
Female artists seem to have an edge in this category. Female solo artists or female-dominated groups have won 10 times since the award was re-introduced in the 1994 awards year. Male solo artists have won four times. (No male-dominated groups have won.) The other four awards went to two Various Artists albums and two albums by Lady Antebellum, which is a group with no clear leader.
Four The Record is starting to look like our winner, but let’s look at a couple of other options.
Hayes is vying to become the third artist to win in this category the same year he received a Best New Artist nomination. He would follow Shania Twain, who won for 1995’s The Woman In Me, and Dixie Chicks, who won for 1998’s Wide Open Spaces. Hayes also won New Artist of the Year at the CMA Awards.
Johnson’s salute to songwriter Hank Cochran (whose songs include Patsy Cline’s “I Fall To Pieces” and Eddy Arnold’s “Make The World Go Away”) would be the third tribute album to win in this category. It would follow a pair of Various Artists albums—Hank Williams: Timeless, which won for 2001, and Livin’, Lovin’, Losin’—Songs Of The Louvin Brothers, which won for 2003.
The pick: Miranda Lambert.
Best Country Song
The nominees: Carrie Underwood’s “Blown Away” (written by Josh Kear & Chris Tompkins), Ronnie Dunn’s “Cost Of Livin’” (which he co-wrote with Phillip Coleman), Eli Young Band’s “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” (written by Will Hoge & Eric Paslay), Alan Jackson’s “So You Don’t Have To Love Me Anymore” (written by Jay Knowles & Adam Wright), Eric Church’s “Springsteen” (which he co-wrote with Jeff Hyde & Ryan Tyndell).