Miranda Lambert leads the field for the 2023 Grammy nominations, announced earlier Tuesday (Nov. 15) as the only artist to receive a nomination in each of the four country categories — best country solo performance, best country duo/group performance, best country song and best country album.
Her sweep brings her lifetime number of nominations to 27. That’s quite the feat, but it’s dwarfed by the legendary Willie Nelson, who received three nominations this year to add to his 53 previous nods. Nelson’s nominations are in country and roots gospel this year, but befitting Nelson’s stature as an American icon, over the decades his nods have spanned a number of genres and categories including best pop collaboration with vocals, best Americana album and best traditional pop vocal album. In a fun twist, though he doesn’t receive a nomination since it’s not a songwriter’s category, Nelson also plays a part in “Midnight Rider’s Prayer,” which Brothers Osborne are nominated for in best country duo/group performance: The song samples Nelson’s “On the Road Again.” Also in that category, Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton share a nomination for their remake of “Does He Love You-Revisited.” Should she win, it will mark the second time McEntire has struck gold with the song: the original with Linda Davis won in what was then called the best country collaboration category in 1994.
Maren Morris, who last won in 2017, for best country solo performance, also lands three nominations. The two other leading nominees — Luke Combs with three and Ashley McBryde with two nods each — are looking for their first Grammy wins.
Grammy voters, unlike voters for the Country Music Association Awards and the Academy of Country Music Awards, tend to be more willing to look outside of the current radio charts for nominations — hence the Nelson love — but this year largely fell in step with the mainstream for best country song, best country solo performance and best country album. However, the Grammy voters continue to ignore Morgan Wallen, the biggest new artist to hit the format in the past five years and a contender for entertainer of the year at last week’s CMA Awards, as he did not receive a single nomination.
As usual, there was some spillover between like-minded musical categories. Alison Krauss and Robert Plant, who received two nominations in the Americana categories, notched a nomination for best country duo/group performance, while country titans Bill Anderson and Dolly Parton were nominated in best American Roots performance.
While country music continues to struggle to become more inclusive, no artists of color received nominations in the country categories after Mickey Guyton received three nominations for the 2022 Grammy Awards.
Mainstream country artists were aced out of the four general categories. While the Recording Academy voters rarely include country artists in album, song, record and best new artist categories, streaming and touring sensation Zach Bryan (who did receive a nod for best country solo performance) had widely been expected to garner a best new artist nod, as had rising star Lainey Wilson.
For the past two years, the voters had included a country name (Ingrid Andress for 2021 and Jimmie Allen for 2022) in the final 10 for best new artist, though a country artist hasn’t won the award since 2010 when Zac Brown Band took home the golden gramophone. The last time a country artist won best album was Kacey Musgraves taking it for Golden Hour in 2019.
A number of country-adjacent artists fared better in the four general all-genre categories, including Americana act Brandi Carlile, who earned album and record of the year nods among her seven total nominations and bluegrass sensation Molly Tuttle, who garnered a best new artist slot.
In songwriter of the year-non classical, one of five new categories added this year, Laura Veltz, who wrote songs for Maren Morris and Andress, received a nomination, and the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach was recognized in producer of the year-non classical, for his work with, among others, Hank Williams Jr.