Willie Nelson, Carly Pearce, Ashley McBryde Win Huge at 65th Grammy Awards

Read all the country highlights from the 65th Grammy Awards, which aired Sunday night on CBS

Willie Nelson was the top country winner at the 65th Grammy Awards on Sunday night, a ceremony that aired live from Los Angeles on CBS and

Nelson wasn't present to pick up his trophies for Best Country Solo Performance or Best Country Album. However, Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde's acceptance speech for Best Country Duo/Group Performance for "Never Wanted To Be That Girl" was so moving and spontaneous that it (nearly) made up for the absence.

McBryde told Pearce to get on the stage, and Pearce exclaimed she wasn't expecting to win. Then Pearce explained that she and McBryde are friends who wrote the song together for her album. 

"It has transcended so many of my wild dreams," Pearce said of the song. "Holy moly, this is my first nomination, and I was not expecting this."

"We've performed this song so many times on stage together," McBryde said. "It's been so nice for our friendship. We did it together. Holy shit!"

"Never Wanted to be That Girl" is from Pearce's "29: Written in Stone." The anthem was released in 2021 as the second single from Pearce's album and topped the Billboard Country Airplay chart. The win was the first Grammy for both women. They were also the first women to win the award.

Cody Johnson's "Til You Can't" won Best Country Song, which goes to the songwriters. Johnson wasn't on hand to accept the trophy. Ben Stennis and Matt Rogers co-wrote "Til You Can't," and Stennis made the trip to Los Angeles for the ceremony.

He thanked Johnson for changing their lives. 

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 05: Kacey Musgraves performs onstage during the 65th GRAMMY Awards at Arena on February 05, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

While Combs didn't win his categories, he did score a performance spot. Combs, who was up for Best Country Album and Best Country Song, grabbed his guitar and the spotlight for “Going, Going, Gone” during the TV broadcast. His touring band and a string section backed him up. He'll release his new album "Gettin’ Old" on March 24.

True to form, Chris Stapleton rattled the rafters with Stevie Wonder for Smokey Robinson and Barry Gordy with "Higher Ground" in what was the rousing performance of the night.

Kacey Musgraves captivated the audience in a striking red gown as she strummed Loretta Lynn's guitar in her tribute to Lynn and others who passed this year during the in memoriam segment. 

Country music's winners at the 65th Grammy Awards, which aired Sunday night on CBS.

Country categories:

Best Country Solo Performance

“Heartfirst,” Kelsea Ballerini

“Something in the Orange,” Zach Bryan

“In His Arms,” Miranda Lambert

“Circles Around This Town,” Maren Morris

“Live Forever,” Willie Nelson-WINNER

Best Country Duo/Group Performance

“Wishful Drinking,” Ingrid Andress and Sam Hunt

“Midnight Rider’s Prayer,” Brothers Osborne

“Outrunnin’ Your Memory,” Luke Combs and Miranda Lambert

“Does He Love You — Revisited,” Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton

“Never Wanted to Be That Girl,” Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde-WINNER

“Going Where the Lonely Go,” Robert Plant and Alison Krauss

Best Country Song

“Circles Around This Town,” Ryan Hurd, Julia Michaels, Maren Morris and Jimmy Robbins, songwriters (Maren Morris)

“Doin’ This,” Luke Combs, Drew Parker and Robert Williford, songwriters (Luke Combs)

“I Bet You Think About Me (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault),” Lori McKenna and Taylor Swift, songwriters (Taylor Swift)

“If I Was a Cowboy,” Jesse Frasure and Miranda Lambert, songwriters (Miranda Lambert)

“I’ll Love You Till The Day I Die,” Rodney Crowell and Chris Stapleton, songwriters (Willie Nelson)

“’Til You Can’t,” Matt Rogers and Ben Stennis, songwriters (Cody Johnson)-WINNER

Best Country Album

“Growin’ Up,” Luke Combs

“Palomino,” Miranda Lambert

“Ashley McBryde Presents: Lindeville,” Ashley McBryde

“Humble Quest,” Maren Morris

“A Beautiful Time,” Willie Nelson-WINNER

Latest News