Brad Paisley jokingly mispronounced Trisha Yearwood’s name Wednesday morning (Jan. 3) as he read Grammy nominees for Best Female Country Vocal Performance, but his co-announcer didn’t miss a beat.
“Is there any other category as important as that one?” Yearwood deadpanned as she stepped up to the podium to read the next category.
Yearwood received a nod for the title cut of Real Live Woman, a record also nominated for Best Country Album. The three-time Grammy winner says the project, which focuses on the realities of life and love, is a very personal work.
“I knew in making this record that it wasn’t going to be necessarily a pop ditty, so it might not be a hugely successful commercial record,” Yearwood told country.com. “To have the Grammys recognize it has really made it all the more special for me because it was the pat on the back that I really needed. I worked a long time on this record.”
Yearwood later returned the favor to Paisley, reading his name among the nominees for Best New Artist, a multi-genre category which also included Sisqo, Jill Scott, Papa Roach and Shelby Lynne.
“It’s a great feeling, but it’s also something I try to keep grounded about and keep myself to the point where I know what’s really important,” Paisley said regarding his recent success. “The most important thing I can do is make good music. I need to make sure I continue to focus on that.”
Fellow first-time nominee Jo Dee Messina received a nod for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for “That’s the Way,” the first single from her latest album Burn. The singer was poring over finances for her upcoming tour when she got a call from a management representative.
“She said, ’I’ve got a question from your stylist,'” Messina said. “I said, ’You want me to answer a stylist question while the accountants are here?’ She said, ’Well, she wants to know what you want to wear to the Grammys.'”
Messina said she watched the Grammy broadcast religiously growing up in Massachusetts, but the accolades seemed way out of her grasp.
“The Grammys have always been someone else’s awards show, not mine,” she said. “I’ll probably be a square peg in a round hole, but it’ll be fun.”
Two-time nominee Lee Ann Womack was in Miami Wednesday preparing to sing in the Orange Bowl halftime show when she got a wake-up call from Nashville with the good news. Her album, I Hope You Dance, is up for Best Country Album and the title cut earned her a nod for Best Female Country Vocal Performance.
“I like to celebrate with others, and for this nomination [Best Country Album] I get to celebrate with everyone involved with the entire project, including my husband, who was one of the producers,” she told country.com via cell phone.
Billy Gilman also received his first nod for Best Male Country Performance, a category that pits him against more experienced artists Tim McGraw, Vince Gill, Dwight Yoakam and legend Johnny Cash. The 12-year-old helped announce nominees at a simultaneous press conference in New York, and he called in from his limousine on the way home to Rhode Island.
Billy Gilman’s Christmas wish came true — a Grammy nomination.
“You know, this was on my dream list [in the liner notes] on my Christmas album,” Gilman told country.com. “One of my dreams was to win a Grammy, or just be nominated. It’s overwhelming.”
Gilman was planning to celebrate his Grammy nod with a dinner of “spaghetti and meatballs” with his family. He is taking a few days off before presenting on the People’s Choice Awards Sunday (Jan. 7) and appearing on the American Music Awards Monday (Jan. 8), where he is nominated for Favorite New Country Artist along with Keith Urban and Alecia Elliott.
All over Nashville and beyond, country artists welcomed the news of Grammy nominations on Wednesday. The 43rd Annual Grammy Awards will be presented Feb. 21 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The three-hour show will be telecast by CBS. Among those in the running this year, and their reactions:
Vince Gill (4)
Best Male Country Vocal Performance — “Feels Like Love”; Best Country Album — Let’s Make Sure We Kiss Goodbye; Best Country Song — “Feels Like Love”; Best Country Collaboration with Vocals — “When I Look Into Your Heart” (w/Amy Grant)
“All this and a baby three weeks later. Life is pretty sweet.”
Faith Hill (3)
Best Female Country Vocal Performance — “Breathe”; Best Country Album — Breathe; Best Country Collaboration With Vocals — “Let’s Make Love” (w/Tim McGraw)
“There is no greater satisfaction than being recognized by your peers and being able to share these nominations with the greatest group of producers, musicians and songwriters making music today. To all of those that have made the Breathe album the success that it has been, thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Dolly Parton (2)
Best Female Country Vocal Performance — “Travelin’ Prayer”; Best Bluegrass Album — The Grass Is Blue
“I am surprised to death, thrilled to death and honored to death to be nominated and to be in the company of such talented people. I love this business.”
Tim McGraw (2)
Best Male Country Vocal Performance — “My Best Friend”; Best Country Collaboration With Vocals — “Let’s Make Love” (w/Faith Hill)
“To have a nomination for my favorite song on the album is a definite plus. Being recognized for the work Faith and I do together — well, I never get tired of that.”
Steve Wariner and 17-year-old son Ryan Wariner
Best Country Instrumental Performance — “Bloodlines”
“This is what doing this is all about. More than anything, I love having a chance to share this with my son, to be able to pass this on to him through music. All of his passion — that fire that he has when he plays guitar — I remember how I felt at his age and I love being able to share that with him.” — Steve Wariner
“It feels really good. After I found out, I walked back to my music class, sat down and couldn’t think of anything else. I tried to focus on the class, but all I could think about was the Grammys.” — Ryan Wariner
Brooks & Dunn
Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal — “You’ll Always Be Loved by Me”
“We’re thrilled, because after 10 years this is usually the point where you start losing your grip on your career. This is a revitalization for us.” — Kix Brooks
Best Country Instrumental — “Rollercoaster”
“Grammy praying really does work! I’ve been playing guitar since I was 6 years old, and for someone who’s played as long as I have, to be given a Grammy nod is a true sense of achievement. I think that any musician would consider it a pinnacle in their career.”
Asleep at the Wheel
Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal — “Cherokee Maiden”
“Well, it goes without saying that I am honored again to be nominated for a Grammy. It’s especially nice because after winning eight Grammys for instrumentals, collaborations and artwork, this would be the very first time we’re up for a Grammy for a cut where I am the sole vocalist!” — Ray Benson
Best Bluegrass Album — Nickel Creek
“I’ve imagined being nominated for a Grammy since I knew they existed. When I heard the news at the ungodly hour of 10:30 a.m., I ran around my little house yelling and making all kinds of loud, victorious sounds. Hopefully, my roommates will forgive me. I mean, Grammy nominations?! Whatever!” — Chris Thile, Nickel Creek
Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal — “Jimmy’s Got a Girlfriend”
“We were so excited when we got the song, and we had a blast recording it in the studio. It’s just a fun song to perform, and hopefully, that comes across in our presentation.” — Amanda Wilkinson
“It’s wonderful to be nominated for our second Grammy, and we’ll be sitting in the audience enjoying the show and taking it all in.” — Steve Wilkinson