A Taste of Fine Country
January 2013

This years country nominees truly gives a look at what this genre is, what it was and what it can be. The groups and individuals compiling the country genre all have the talent, soul and passion, but for the Grammy’s, to win, they have to stand out and have that “something special”. Although it is close, the Grammy SHOULD go to….

Carrie Underwood – Blown Away will likely take home the Grammy “Best Country Solo Performance” category. The song is epic, theatrical and emotional. The lyrics are powerful and her voice makes it magical like you’re in the middle of an Oklahoma tornado. The strings in the song, although not typical country fiddle, give it that epic sound and makes an impact on listeners senses. The other nominees are all great, but for me, they lack that “wow” factor. Dierks Bentley’s “Home” is beautiful, Eric Church’s “Springsteen” makes me think about being a teenager again, Blake Shelton’s “Over” touches the starry eyed lover in me, and the others all having parallel themes.

Eli Young Band – Even if it Breaks Your Heart should win the “Best Country Duo / Group Performance”. The song entails all the good eminence of a single AND it’s a quality track. It is immediately catchy and starts of with simple vocals and a guitar strum. The chorus makes you want to sing out loud at a bar with your friends. It is memorable and makes you want to listen to it again. Although I feel this song should win, I have a feeling it may go to Taylor Swift & The Civil Wars – Safe and Sound. This mysterious sounding song is featured in the film “Hunger Games” and demonstrates Taylor Swifts beautiful vocals. But aside from its beautiful, mysterious sound, the song seems, well, manufactured for a movie.

Carrie Underwood – Blown Away will take home “Best Country Song” for all the reasons listed above. Additionally, the people who made that magic happen, should be acknowledged as well.

Zac Brown Band – Uncaged will probably win the Grammy for “Best Album”. However, I say this with hesitance. I’ve repeatedly listened to each album, both in different mindsets and consecutively, and this was difficult. Zac Brown Band’s album was great to listen to and touches many emotions. It makes you long for someone to still love you during “Goodbye in Her Eyes,” relax on a beach during “Island Song,” and do a strip tease during “Overnight,” right before saying goodbye to your loved ones during “Day That I Die”. This album shows what the future of country can bring; classic country, a touch of rock, and even a little bit of soul. The album is genius and deserves a win. I must reiterate that the other albums are just as good in their own ways. Hunter Hayes’ Self Titled album, at first makes, it easy to say that he is the “Justin Beiber of Country” but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Regardless of your age, you can take the lyrics and easily relate them to your own life. And what is even more impressive is that he played every instrument on the album. The Time Jumpers Self Titled album is another great example of fine musicianship. All of the members are talented studio musicians who came together and made classic Western Country music. Jamey Johnsons Tribute, although a tribute, is a great album that demonstrates not only Jamey’s vocals and appreciation for Cochran, but several other well respected artists contribute to the wonderful sound. Last but not least the impressive Miranda Lambert’s – For the Record is strong; in the sense of being a strong woman with powerful vocals. She sings straight from the heart and empowers the listener. But at the end of the day, Zac Brown takes the cake with the “Fine Sampling of Country”.

Pamela Erin Gordon