Ahead of Sunday’s (March 14) Grammy Awards, several country artists could be set for some big wins when it comes to this year’s golden gramophones.
Ingrid Andress is up for three honors, including the all-genre Best New Artist award. Miranda Lambert and Brandi Carlile are also nominated for three honors apiece, while Little Big Town, Maren Morris, Old Dominion and Brandy Clark each earned two nominations each. Mickey Guyton made history as the first black female solo artist to be nominated in a country category.
Notably, this year’s crop of country performers are all female artists. Carlile, Guyton, Lambert and Morris are all set to perform during the Grammy Awards on Sunday.
To celebrate, we’re looks back at five of the top country music moments in Grammys history:
1997: LeAnn Rimes Wins Best New Artist At 14
In 1997, a 14-year-old LeAnn Rimes was at the top of the country charts thanks to her ethereal voice, that trademark yodel, and her smash hit “Blue.” On Grammy night, she made history as the youngest solo artist to win a Grammy when she took home the all-genre Best New Artist award. She also took home the Best Female Country Vocal Performance honor for “Blue.”
“I never expected this at all. This award means more to me than anything in this world,” Rimes said from the Grammy stage as she thanked her fans, parents and her team of management execs, label execs and touring crew.
Rimes has two Grammy wins and seven nominations to date.
2007: The Chicks Are Vindicated With Grammy Wins
In 2003, during the run-up to America’s invasion of Iraq, The Chicks (then called the Dixie Chicks) member Natalie Maines sparked backlash from country fans and country radio with her antiwar comments (she told a London audience that she was ashamed that former President George W. Bush was from the group’s home state of Texas). Country radio and fans balked. The trio’s music was pulled from radio stations and the group was the target of boycotts and even death threats.
In 2007, The Chicks emerged victorious on Grammy night, when they swept the awards, winning five golden gramophones. Their defiant song “Not Ready To Make Nice” earned all-genre honors Record of the Year and Song of the Year, as well as Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. Their album Taking The Long Way earned Best Country Album and the all-genre Album of the Year honor.
“I’m not ready to make nice! I think people are using their freedom of speech here tonight with all of these awards…I’m very humbled and I think people were using their voice the same way this loudmouth did,” Maines said from the Grammy stage.
The Chicks have earned 12 Grammy wins and 19 nominations to date.
2019: Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Grammy Night
In 2019, Kacey Musgraves was riding high on the critical acclaim for her album Golden Hour. The project gave Musgraves a golden evening during Grammy night that year, when she picked up four honors, including the coveted all-genre Album of the Year, bringing her total Grammy wins to six.
“It was unbelievable to even be in a category with such gigantic albums, really brilliant works of art…But I’m very thankful, and I know that winning this doesn’t make my album any better than any album in that category, they are all so good. Life is pretty tumultuous right now for al of us I feel like…because of that I feel like art is really thriving and it’s been really beautiful to see that. Thank you for championing mine. I would have nothing without songs. To me, it’s just all about the songs.”
2011: Lady A Tops Off Outstanding Year With Five Grammy Wins
In 2011, Lady A (then called Lady Antebellum) was experiencing whirlwind crossover success with their hit “Need You Now.” The song stayed atop the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for nine weeks and reached No. 2 on Billboard’s Hot 100. “Need You Now” has since been certified 9x multi-Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.
The trio’s Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott capped the year by taking home Grammys in the coveted Song of the Year honor for “Need You Now,” followed shortly by winning Record of the Year, where they beat out Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, Eminem, Cee Lo Green, and B.o.B. Lady A’s album Need You Now would also win Best Country Album (it was nominated for the all-genre Album of the Year).
“We are so stunned, we sort of walked in the wrong direction,” said a visibly emotional Scott after winning the Record of the Year honor. “You don’t know what this year’s been to us. We had the opportunity to perform this song on this stage at the Grammy’s last year … We are so thankful for this.”
“We just cried our eyes out backstage,” added her bandmate Charles Kelley. “I can’t believe we are here again.
Lady A has earned five Grammy wins and 11 nominations to date.
1968: Glen Campbell Becomes First Country Artist To Win Album of the Year
In 1968, Glen Campbell became the first country artist to win the all-genre Album of the Year, for his project By The Time I Get to Phoenix. By that time, the album’s title track had already earned Campbell two Grammy wins, for Best Vocal Performance, Male, and for Best Contemporary Male Solo Vocal Performance. He also made his debut on the 10th annual Grammy Awards, when he performed “By The Time I Get To Phoenix” as part of the “The Best On Record” program.
In 2012, Campbell accepted the Recording Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the Special Merit Awards Ceremony & Nominees reception in 2012, honoring his lifetime of work, including signature hits such as “Galveston” and “Wichita Lineman.” In 2017, Campbell died from complications from Alzheimer’s disease. Campbell has earned six Grammy awards, and 21 nominations.
Bonus: Willie Nelson Was Honored With The First Grammy Legend Award
Country music legend Willie Nelson was part of the inaugural class of recipients for the Grammy Legend Award in 1990, alongside Andrew Lloyd Webber, Liza Minnelli and Smokey Robinson. Nelson’s fellow country legend and Highwaymen bandmate Johnny Cash would be honored with the Grammy Legend Award the following year, making Cash and Nelson the only two country artists to receive the honor to date. Nelson has earned 10 Grammy award wins and 52 nominations to date.