2013 Grammy prediction: Best Country Album nominees
• Uncaged, Zac Brown Band
• Hunter Hayes, Hunter Hayes
• Living for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran, Jamey Johnson
• Four the Record, Miranda Lambert
• The Time Jumpers, the Time Jumpers
The Grammys are the one place where the world of country music exists in a different universe from the country music being played on the radio and at the CMAs and ACMs. Commercial success often takes a backseat in Grammy voters’ minds to pure quality.
That’s because country music is one of the genres that instituted a quality control panel to curate the nominees. Instead of letting the entire Recording Academy select the final five, a small group of country insiders listens to the top vote-getters and decides which albums receive the Grammy nominations.
This year’s group of nominees includes mainstream acts like Miranda Lambert and the Zac Brown Band, a hot newcomer in Hunter Hayes, a critical favorite in the Time Jumpers, and a traditional singer-songwriter in Jamey Johnson who has achieved moderate commercial success but is still not a household name outside of country music circles.
Who has the edge among the 2013 batch? Johnson and the Zac Brown Band have each been nominated twice for this award, while Lambert was nominated once. None has ever take home the trophy, though Lambert and Brown have won other Grammy categories.
Lambert’s Four the Record was one of the big hits of the year and won Album of the Year at the ACMs, so consider her the favorite. Johnson and Brown will receive a ton of support as well. Brown won Best New Artist a couple years back, but his band feels a little like old news at this point, while Lambert’s career is going as strong as ever.
Johnson’s Hank Cochran tribute album was well-received and included a gorgeous duet with Grammy darling Alison Krauss, so he’s a legit contender. Hayes may even pull a few votes, as his Best New Artist nod shows that voters appreciate his work, but his self-titled effort won’t have enough support to outduel the others. Nor will surprise nominees the Time Jumpers, a western swing band composed of Vince Gill and 10 other talented musicians.
We predict Miranda Lambert claims her first Country Album of the Year Grammy Award, with Brown and Johnson the runners-up.
2013 Grammy Awards: Best Country Album prediction
Deserves to win: Living for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran, Jamey Johnson
Will win: Four the Record, Miranda Lambert
Should have also been nominated: Tuskegee, Lionel Richie
See the list of every Best Country Album nominee and winner in Grammy history.