The Grammys Recognize Country Has Changed

The artists and songs nominated were so far from the mainstream of the format it was almost a joke.

Now, I am not an expert on other formats, but at least according to my teenager and my wife, the artists nominated in other categories have been pretty much in keeping with their respective formats.

This year changed all that for the first time in recent memory. There were few obscure or unrelated nominations in the country categories. (I will overlook the fact that The Civil Wars won Best Country Collaboration over Jason Aldean with Kelly Clarkson and Kenny Chesney with Grace Potter. No question that The Civil Wars are great artists — they have had commercial success, including selling out a show at The Fillmore in December — but they are not mainstream country artists.)

It was great to see Aldean and Clarkson perform a current hit song on the show. Plus, we got Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert in the front row. Now, I am sure Blake’s appearance on The Voice has as much to do with that as does their being country music’s hottest couple, but nonetheless, we’ll take it. I would love to hear the conversation between Miranda and Lady Gaga during the commercial breaks!

Plus, we got a tribute to Glen Campbell. A few years ago, at an Academy of Country Music Golf Tournament, I was lucky enough to have a beer (or three) with Glen Campbell, and he was such a gentleman. The tribute was particularly special because of the current artists performing it: The Band Perry (nominated for Best New Artist All Genres), who will be the next big thing, and the aforementioned Blake Shelton. THEN Campbell himself did “Rhinestone Cowboy.” It was a special moment with a living legend.

Lady Antebellum won Country Album of the Year, which is certainly deserving, but the best thing about the category is that all the nominees were for current albums. If you have ever read anything I have written here, you know I think Eric Church’s Chief is not only the Album of the Year, but also the album of the last five years. But still, this year’s winning album is closer than some of the other past winners.

Every day we build new fans in this format, and this year, for the first time in a while, the Grammy Awards might have made us a few new ones, too.

I am off to Nashville next week for our annual Country Radio Convention. I will have an update on the hottest new things when I get back.


Nate Deaton
San Jose