At Sunday's (Jan. 26) 2020 Grammy Awards, dozens of artists, producers, songwriters and other music industry professionals from across genres will get their due in front of their peers and an audience of fans watching from home. The Grammys include a handful of country music-specific categories, but if you stopped scanning the list there, you missed quite a few familiar names among the list of nominees.
Both in those country categories and beyond, there are plenty of killer songs nominated this year – some of which have been a bit overlooked, if you ask us. Beside a No. 1 Eric Church hit ("Some of It") and other well-known tracks, there are these 12 tunes that deserve your attention. Consider the below a pre-2020 Grammy Awards must-listen playlist.
Although "I Don't Remember Me (Before You)" just missed the Top 30 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart, the tender track — written by the Osbornes, Shane McAnally and Matt Dragstrem — notched Brothers Osborne a Best Country Duo/Group Performance Grammy Awards nod. TJ Osborne sings from the perspective of a man who found a love he simply can't remember his life without.
Thanks to his stellar 2019 album Country Squire and a high-profile arena tour with Sturgill Simpson that will begin in February, Tyler Childers' 2020 is shaping up to be a big one. The record's single "All Your'n" earned the singer-songwriter a Best Country Solo Performance nomination. Don't let the song's trippy music video distract from its profession of eternal love, delivered in Childers' signature voice: "I'll love you 'til my lungs give out / I ain't lyin," he sings in the chorus.
Dolly Parton changed everything about Christian duo For King & Country's year. For Australian-born brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone, the country icon's inclusion on a remixed version of their song "God Only Knows," co-written with Nashville's Josh Kerr, Jordan Reynolds and Tedd Tjornhom, earned them a bevy of new fans and some high-profile performances (for example, at the 2019 CMA Awards).
The faith-filled reminder of God's eternal love is nominated in the Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance / Song category. For King & Country are familiar with the category, but should they win, it'll be Parton's first win in it.
"Always Remember Us This Way"Lady Gaga
Music City played a major role in the A Star Is Born soundtrack. Case in point: Lady Gaga's nominated song "Always Remember Us This Way," which the pop star co-wrote with Nashville's very own Natalie Hemby, Hillary Lindsey and Lori McKenna. The song is up for Best Song Written for Visual Media, and the soundtrack is nominated for Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media.
Quietly, Vince Gill released a thought-provoking, story-filled new album, Okie, in late 2019. In the Best American Roots Song category, the country legend's "I Don't Wanna Ride the Rails No More" earned him his whopping 46th Grammy Awards nomination. Gill's got good odds, too, at least in terms of past victories: He's already got 21 Grammys at home.
McBryde recently announced her sophomore major-label album, due out in April, so if you've been sleeping on this buzzworthy artist, it's high time to hear "Girl Goin' Nowhere," the personal title track of her freshman album with Warner Music Nashville. The 2019 CMA New Artist of the Year earned Best Country Song and Best Country Solo Performance nominations at the 2020 Grammy Awards for the track, kicking off what's sure to be a big year for her on a high note.
Maren Morris and Brandi Carlile are now members of the Highwomen together, but look back a few months further for another strong collaboration from the two. "Common," from Morris' 2019 Girl album, is a Best Country Duo / Group Performance nominee thanks to the pair's pitch-perfect harmonies and its message of acceptance.
Leave it to Chris Stapleton to add a dose of country-soul cool to a Pixar movie. Toy Story songwriter Randy Newman picked the perfect person for "The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy," from the beloved series' fourth film. Stapleton's unmistakable voice elevates Newman's whimsical lyrics about friendship.
Yes, Taylor Swift abandoned country music years ago, but if you're still hung up on her genre, you're missing one of the finest songs of her career. "Lover," the Song of the Year-nominated title track of her Best Pop Vocal Album-nominated record, is stunning in so many ways, not the least of which is its perfectly detailed lyrics.
Tanya Tucker is the most-nominated country artist of the 2020 Grammy Awards thanks to her lauded "comeback" album, 2019's While I'm Livin'. Co-produced by Brandi Carlile and Shooter Jennings, and largely written by Carlile and her collaborators, Phil and Tim Hanseroth, the album's title track is "Bring My Flowers Now," which urges praise for Tucker and her award-winning career while she's still in the thick of it. With Best Country Album, Best Country Song, Best Country Solo Performance and Song of the Year nominations at the 2020 Grammy Awards, plus a performance slot with Carlile during the awards show's telecast, Tucker is, indeed, getting her flowers now.
Look deep into the Grammy Awards' dozens of categories and you'll find Trisha Yearwood's name in the Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals category, for "Over the Rainbow," from her 2019 Frank Sinatra tribute album, Let's Be Frank. Arranger Vince Mendoza will be the one onstage if the soaring rendition of the classic song wins the category.
Soul-tinged roots singer-songwriter Yola will be performing during the 2020 Grammy Awards Premiere Ceremony, which will stream online prior to the awards show telecast, so take our advice: Track down a feed of the ceremony. There's plenty of reasons the British-born artist is up for four awards at the Grammys this year, but let's start with one: her simply incredible voice, which shines on "Faraway Look."