For the 16th straight year, the Recording Academy is celebrating its awards show with the 2010 Grammy Nominees CD, with five of the 20 tracks on the latest edition coming from country acts: Taylor Swift, the Zac Brown Band, Sugarland, Lady Antebellum and Rascal Flatts.
It marks the most country releases ever featured on the multi-genre compilation, which has previously never had more than two from Nashville’s best-selling idiom in a single year. In fact, during four of the previous 15 years, no country artists made the nominees CD at all.
Taylor, Zac and company appear in the new edition right alongside such pop and rock acts as Lady Gaga, the Black Eyed Peas, Eric Clapton, Kings Of Leon and Beyonce. Demonstrating just how much country acts have intermingled with other genres in recent years, three of the pop artists on the Grammy Nominees CD, due Jan. 19, have had significant roles in country recordings in the last three years. Kelly Clarkson (represented on the Grammy disc by “My Life Would Suck Without You”) joined Reba McEntire in the 2007 country hit “Because Of You.” The lead singer for the Dave Matthews Band (“You & Me”) appeared with Kenny Chesney on 2009’s “I’m Alive.” And Colbie Caillat (“Fallin’ For You”) co-wrote “Breathe,” a track on Taylor’s Fearless, nominated for Album of the Year.
The ultra-country lineup for this year’s edition of the Grammy CD should not be viewed as a permanent shift. The discs are typically weighted toward the four biggest categories — Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Album of the Year and Best New Artist — and in recent years, another category has been highlighted heavily. Four of the five country tracks in the 2010 edition are in the running for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group. In 2009, all five nominees for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group were represented. In 2008, all five entries for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group found their way into the collection.
Country contributions to the Grammy Nominees series since its inception include:
• 2010: Taylor Swift, “You Belong With Me”; the Zac Brown Band, “Chicken Fried”; Sugarland, “It Happens”; Lady Antebellum, “I Run To You”; Rascal Flatts, “Here Comes Goodbye”
• 2009: Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, “Please Read The Letter”; Lady Antebellum, “Love Don’t Live Here”
• 2008: Vince Gill (with Sheryl Crow), “What You Give Away”; Carrie Underwood, “Before He Cheats”
• 2007: the Dixie Chicks, “Not Ready To Make Nice”; Carrie Underwood, “Jesus, Take The Wheel”
• 2006: Rascal Flatts, “Bless The Broken Road”
• 2005: Gretchen Wilson, “Redneck Woman”
• 2003: the Dixie Chicks, “Landslide”
• 2002: the Soggy Bottom Boys, “I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow”
• 1999: Shania Twain, “You’re Still The One”; the Dixie Chicks, “Wide Open Spaces”
• 1997: LeAnn Rimes, “My Baby”
• 1996: Shania Twain, “Any Man Of Mine”
• 1995: Mary Chapin Carpenter, “He Thinks He’ll Keep Her”