When it comes to the Grammys, country and country-related artists make their presence felt every year in categories outside the country field.
This year, of course, O Brother, Where Art Thou? is up for album of the year in the overall voting, but there’s also Faith Hill , nominated for best pop vocal performance for “There You’ll Be,” and Lucinda Williams , in the same category, for “Essence.”
Raul Malo, former member of The Mavericks , and Rick Trevino are two members of Los Super Seven, who have a nod for best traditional tropical Latin album for Canto. And in a related category, best Latin pop album, Freddy Fender is up for La Musica de Baldemar Huerta. The album is due to be re-released Feb. 12 on a major label.
And Jamie O’Neal and former country artist Shelby Lynne both are on the soundtrack for Bridget Jones’s Diary, which vies with O Brother in voting for best compilation soundtrack album for a motion picture, television or other visual media. The award would not go to O’Neal and Lynne, however, but to soundtrack producers Nick Angel, Kathy Nelson and Alan Pell.
The versatile Williams, who won a Grammy once for best country song, also has a nomination for best female rock vocal performance for “Get Right With God.” And Ryan Adams, her label mate on Lost Highway Records, gets mentioned for best male rock vocal performance for “New York, New York” and for best rock album for Gold. Lost Highway is based in Nashville and New York.
Sadly, no country artists find their way into the rap field, but they dominate one gospel category — best Southern, country or bluegrass gospel album. Nominees there include Ann-Margret & The Jordanaires and The Light Crust Doughboys With James Blackwood for God Is Love: The Gospel Sessions; Merle Haggard and Albert E. Brumley Jr. for Two Old Friends; The Oak Ridge Boys for From the Heart; and Randy Travis for Inspirational Journey.
Delbert McClinton gets a nomination for best contemporary blues album, for Nothing Personal, which includes appearances by ex-New Grass Revival member John Cowan and Iris DeMent.
The folk categories are filled with country talent, too. The late John Hartford has a nomination for Hamilton Ironworks. Down From the Mountain, the concert recording by artists on the O Brother soundtrack (including Hartford), joins it in the category for best traditional folk album. Williams, Steve Earle and Gillian Welch are among contributors to Avalon Blues: A Tribute to the Music of Mississippi John Hurt, nominated in the same category.
Country-connected candidates for best contemporary folk album include Buddy & Julie Miller, Buddy & Julie Miller; Nelson, Earle, McClinton, Williams, Emmylou Harris , Billy Joe Shaver and a bunch of other folks for Poet: A Tribute to Townes Van Zandt; Welch for Time (The Revelator); and Williams for Essence.
Diane Warren’s “There You’ll Be,” as recorded by Hill, is up for best song written for a motion picture, television or other visual media. The award would go to Warren.
Bela Fleck, also a former member of New Grass Revival, is nominated with Edgar Meyer for best instrumental arrangement for their arrangement of Debussy’s “Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum” from Children’s Corner.
T Bone Burnett is up for producer of the year. His credits include O Brother and Down From the Mountain.
And finally, two country albums — New Favorite by Alison Krauss & Union Station and Time*Sex*Love* by Mary Chapin Carpenter — are in the running for best engineered album, non-classical. The award would go to the engineer — Gary Paczosa or George Massenburg, respectively.
The Grammys are set for Feb. 27 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. CBS will broadcast the event.