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2019 Grammys Watch: Best Americana Roots Performance

Willie and Brandi are the frontrunners this year.

Adam Shay

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Sean Adroin: “Kick Rocks”  – With heavy funk and loud guitar riffs, this 5:41 song can make anyone dance. The sound of Kreole Rock and Soul, also the album title’s name, has a beat close to “Hard to Handle” by The Black Crowes.  It’s his first release in 15 years.

Jon Batiste: “Saint James Infirmary Blues”  – Most people know Batiste from The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, yet do not realize the talent he possesses. “Saint James Infirmary Blues” provides spine chilling vocals and piano, supported by low melodic hums coming from the deep South. With a sound like Leon Bridges, Batiste’s song will draw a lot of attention.

Brandi Carlile: “The Joke” – Carlile leads the way for women with six Grammy nominations this year, including for “The Joke,” an anthem with powerful vocals, lead acoustic guitar and piano, plus a beautiful string section. Her mainstream popularity over her 15-year career will help her chances of winning.

Anderson East: “All On My Mind”  – The lead single from his second album Encore, “All On My Mind” is a dominating jam. The song combines a string section and heavy bass, and most noticeably, raspy vocals. East is an emerging superstar, who is pushing 12,000,000 Spotify streams.

Willie Nelson: “Last Man Standing” – Nelson is a legend in country, rockabilly, and folk rock. “Last Man Standing” featuring classic harmonica and rockabilly sounds, the song is an ultimate blast from the past. The Grammy’s have a way of showing love toward music icons, which will play into Nelson’s favor. 

Who Will Win:

Brandi Carlile or Willie Nelson. Both have been prominent for years — or decades in Nelson’s case — ane it’s only fitting one of them should win. Carlile already has five other nominations, which gives her the upper hand, whereas “Last Man Standing” is the definition of what Americana music should be.

Who Should Win: 

Willie Nelson. He’s Willie Nelson!

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.

Adam Shay is a graduate from Eastern Illinois University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, During his four years at EIU, he wrote for the Daily Eastern News for two and a half years, covering multiple sports, news events, and writing feature stories. He was also on the rugby club team for two years, a member of the Society of Collegiate Journalists, and finished third in applying for his commencement speech. Currently, he runs a public relations system for a bar in Palatine, Illinois, and in his free time, he is always learning about music, sports history, and American history.

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