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2019 Grammys Watch: Best Americana Album 

Brandi Carlile, John Prine and Lee Ann Womack will battle it out.

Curt Tagtmeier

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CMN’s team of music writers is previewing the 2019 Grammy Awards. The 61st annual ceremony will take place Sunday, February 10 in Los Angeles. You can see all of our Grammy coverage here. 

Brandi Carlile: By The Way, I Forgive You – This is the sixth studio album released by Carlile with the track “The Joke” featured as the album’s lead single. The album, recorded in Nashville, was co-produced by Dave Cobb and Shooter Jennings. Rolling Stone referred to the album as a “delicate masterpiece.” Former President Barack Obama referred to “The Joke” as one of his favorite tracks in 2017. This song reached #4 on the Adult Alternative chart and #43 on the Hot Rock chart. The track “Party of One” was remixed and later released by singer, Sam Smith, reaching #29 on the Adult Contemporary chart. The self-taught Carlile has released music in several genres including pop, rock, alternative country, and folk. In 2015, her album, Firewatcher’s Daughter was nominated for a Grammy.

Bettye LaVette: Things Have Changed – This studio album by LaVette features songs originally written by Bob Dylan. LaVette is a singer-songwriter, who released her first record at the age of 16 in 1962. Her style incorporates parts of soul, blues, rock, gospel, and country. After limited success, she received critical acclaim and notoriety for her 2005 album, I’ve Got My Own Hell to Raise. Last year, the Michigan native was inducted in the Michigan Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2016, Lavette’s album Worthy was nominated for a Grammy for Best Blues Album.

John Prine: The Tree of Forgiveness – This album is Prine’s first since 2005’s Fair and Square. It was co-written, including artists Pat McLaughlin, Dan Auerbach, Keith Sykes, and Phil Spector. Featured guest stars on the album include Jason Isbell, Amanda Shires, and Brandi Carlile. The album debuted at #5 on the Billboard 200, which is the highest ever for Prine. The album also reached #1 on the Folk Album chart and #2 on the Rock album chart. Prine, an Illinois native, first studied music at the Old Town School of Folk Music. He was discovered by Kris Kristofferson during Chicago’s folk music revival in the 1960’s. His self-titled debut album was released in 1971, and has been nominated for 6 Grammy’s throughout the course of his career. He won for the albums, The Missing Years (1992) and Fair and Square (2006). In 2015, he received a Grammy for the Hall of Fame Award.

Lee Ann Womack: The Lonely, The Lonesome, and The Gone – This is the ninth studio album from country artist Womack. The album focuses on the music of East Texas, rather than Nashville. The track “All The Trouble” was the lead single from this album. It also includes covers of “Take The Devil Out of Me” by George Jones and “Long Black Veil” made famous by Johnny Cash. The album debuted at #37 on the Billboard Country chart and rose to #8 on the Folk Album chart. She first gained notoriety in 1997 with the release of her self-titled debut. Her 2000 track, I Hope You Can Dance even crossed over to the pop charts at the time. Womack has won a Grammy in 2001 for her collaboration with Willie Nelson on the track, “Mendocino County Line”. Since then, she has been nominated nine other times for a Grammy.

The Wood Brothers: One Drop of Truth – This is the seventh studio album from the Wood Brothers, a group consisting of siblings Chris and Oliver Wood, along with Jano Rix. After pursuing separate musical careers for almost 15 years, they performed at a show in 2004 in North Carolina leading to the formation of the Wood Brothers. Their first album was released in 2006, Ways Not To Lose, and selected by Amazon.com as its editors pick within the genre of folk music for that year. One Drop of Truth was recorded and produced by the group themselves.

Who Will Win:

John Prine. He won a Hall of Fame Grammy in 2015, and his album was both critically acclaimed and commercially successful. That double whammy might be tough for other nominees to overcome.

Who Should Win:

Lee Ann Womack. It would be nice to see her win a Grammy for one of her albums. Her lone Grammy is for a duet with Willie Nelson, which seems partially hollow. Yet, her nomination might be partially hurt by those voters used to seeing her in the country category.  If Leonardo diCaprio can finally win an Oscar, perhaps Lee Ann Womack can win a Grammy.

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Curt Tagtmeier is a writer and librarian hailing from Chicago, Illinois. He has a Master’s degree in history and library science. He is currently writing a music series entitled Chances Are Music Is All I Got, which began in May 2017 available on Amazon. The series aims to review 100 live premium concerts by May 2019. Mr. Tagtmeier is currently on 80 shows so far. You can follow this journey on Instagram @chancethebook11 and his Tumblr blog, How Am I Not In The Strokes Yet. When he isn’t writing or listening to great music, Curt is most likely sleeping.

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