Grammy Predictions: The Country Categories

Paul Grein

Even if it comes up short for Album of the Year, Taylor Swift's "Red" is the front-runner to win a Grammy for Best Country Album. Swift won in this category four years ago with "Fearless." She's vying to become the first female solo artist to win here twice. The only other artists to take Best Country Album two or more times are Roger Miller, Dixie Chicks and Lady Antebellum.

The other nominees are Blake Shelton's "Based On A True Story…" (which won the Country Music Assn. award for Album of the Year in November), Jason Aldean's "Night Train," Tim McGraw's "Two Lanes Of Freedom" and Kacey Musgraves "Same Trailer Different Park."

Swift will probably win a second award in the country field: Best Country Duo/Group Performance for "Highway Don't Care," a collabo with Tim McGraw & Keith Urban. It's a track from McGraw's aforementioned album, "Two Lanes Of Freedom."

The other nominees are Little Big Town's "Your Side Of The Bed" (the quartet won the CMA Award for Vocal Group of the Year), The Civil Wars' "From This Valley" and two collabos: "Don't Rush" by Kelly Clarkson featuring Vince Gill and "You Can't Make Old Friends" by Kenny Rogers with Dolly Parton.

Miranda Lambert's "Mama's Broken Heart" is the front-runner to win for Best Country Solo Performance. She would beat, among others, her husband, Blake Shelton, who is nominated for "Mine Would Be You." The two stars won the CMA awards for Female Vocalist of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year. Lambert won for a Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance three years ago for "The House That Built Me."

The other nominees in the category are Lee Brice's "I Drive Your Truck," Hunter Hayes' "I Want Crazy" and Darius Rucker's "Wagon Wheel."

"I Drive Your Truck," which won a CMA Award for Song of the Year, is likely to take the prize for Best Country Song. The poignant song concerns a man who drives a truck that had been owned by his brother, who died in action in the army. The songwriters (who would receive the award) are Jessi Alexander, Connie Harrington & Jimmy Yeary.

The song's strongest rival is Taylor Swift's "Begin Again." Swift has won in this category twice, for "White Horse" (which she co-wrote with Liz Rose) and "Mean." A third win would put her in a tie with Josh Kear for the most wins in the history of the category. Kear won for co-writing Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" and the Carrie Underwood hits "Before He Cheats" and "Blown Away."

The other nominees are Kacey Musgraves' "Merry Go 'Round" (which she co-wrote with Shane McAnally & Josh Osborne), the Miranda Lambert hit "Mama's Broken Heart" (written by Brandy Clark, McAnally & Musgraves) and the Blake Shelton hit "Mine Would Be You" (written by Alexander, Harrington & Deric Ruttan).