Playlist: 2017 Americana Music Awards Nominees

Country music has become a broad genre encompassing everything from pop to bluegrass. It is easy to forget the roots of country-- the story telling and back country musicianship that laid the foundation for bigger pop names. American roots music is not as big as most country music, but the soul of the music is powerful.

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Eric Church

Willie Nelson, Erich Church, Chris Stapleton, Toby Keith and Many More Pay Homage to Waylon Jennings With Upcoming Concert Special

Willie Nelson, Eric Church, Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, Kris Kristofferson, Toby Keith, Alison Krauss, Kacey Musgraves, Ryan Bingham, Jamey Johnson, Lee Ann Womack, Shooter Jennings, Buddy Miller, Jessi Colter, Robert Earl Keen, and Bobby Bare are paying tribute to Waylon Jennings.

"Waylon Jennings was my friend, brother, and musical soul mate," Willie Nelson says. "All of these performers came together to pay tribute to an original Outlaw."

During the show, you'll see Willie and Toby Keith perform "Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys," Eric Church singing "Lonesome, On'ry And Mean," Chris Stapleton does his rendition of "I Ain't Living Long Like This" and Willie, Kris Kristofferson, Shooter Jennings and Jamey Johnson come together for "Highwayman."

Outlaw: Celebrating the Music of Waylon Jennings is a once-in-a-lifetime concert that was taped at Austin's ACL Live in the Moody Theater It will air on April 7 at 10pm on CMT. You can pre-order the CD/DVD combo of the two-hour event at http://waylonoutlaw.com.

Sturgill Simpson Releases New Video for "All Around You," Which Features a Giant Wall and Faceless Politician

After taking the GRAMMY stage and walking away with the trophy for Best Country Album, Sturgill Simpson has released a poignant, beautiful video for his tune, "All Around You."

Simpson collaborated, once again, with acclaimed director Matt Mahurin, who also directed his previous two videos.

The video features a young boy walking the earth in a cape and mask, whose special power seems to be his big, golden heart. Along his journey he meets a shadowy character, who is likely President Donald Trump, tanks and guns.

To be transparent, the boy fights and overcomes all of his foes with love-- you know, love trumps hate.

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Keith Urban

Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Little Big Town, Kelsea Ballerini and Maren Morris to Perform at the 2017 Grammys

Kelsea Ballerini has been added to the list of performers for the 59th Annual Grammy Awards.

She joins the previously announced Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban and Sturgill Simpson.




Little Big Town will also be on hand for the Bee Gees tribute celebrating the 40th anniversary of Saturday Night Fever with Demi Lovato, Andra Day and Tori Kelly.

Maren Morris is also scheduled to perform with Alicia Keys.

Also on the docket are Lukas Graham, Cynthia Erivo, John Legend, Adele, William Bell, Chance the Rapper, Gary Clark, Jr., Daft Punk, Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, A Tribe Called Quest, The Weeknd.

The Grammys 2017 air Sunday, Feb. 12, on CBS at 8pm ET.


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Sturgill Simpson Slated to Perform at the 59th Annual GRAMMY Awards

Country singer Sturgill Simpson is set to perform at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards!

The performance will celebrate Sturgill's two nominations, Album of the Year and Best Country Album -- for his acclaimed new album A Sailor's Guide To Earth.

The awards show will be broadcast live on CBS from L.A.'s Staples Center on Sunday, February 12 at 8/7c.


Sturgill and his band will also be performing at select concerts later this year, including newly announced headlining slots at Louisville's Forecastle Festival and Birmingham's Sloss Music & Arts Festival.

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Sturgill Simpson Turned the Entire "Saturday Night Live" Studio Into His Stage with Two Amazing Performances

After Sturgill Simpson garnered a surprising nomination for Album of the Year at the 59th Annual GRAMMY Awards,
the Internet was abuzz trying to figure out who Simpson was and just what A Sailor's Guide to Earth is all about.

Some Twitter users, Simpson included, asked, "who the f*ck is Sturgill Simpson?" Simpson even decided to sell a shirt with the question on it.




Though being mentioned in the same breath as Beyonce, Adele, Justin Bieber and Drake are certainly going to help music fans across the globe figure out who Simpson is, it's more likely that his two performances on "Saturday Night Live" will serve as excellent introductions.

Simpson's first performance of "Keep It Between the Lines" was backed by a seven-member horn band, but somewhat subdued compared to his explosive performance of "Call to Arms."

Simpson seemed to make all of Studio 8H his own, as he danced around stage and gave each member of his band a chance in the spotlight.

Definitely one of the best performances of his career and definitely one "Saturday Night Live" cast members and fans will be remembering for a while.


7 Best Country Music Albums of the Year

As we near the end of 2016, it's only fitting that One Country shares a few of those classic, end of the year lists. Like you, we are kind of bored with the typical end of the year lists, so we're putting our own spin on a few!

This year for One Country's Best Country Albums of the Year list, we combined the picks from our two biggest country music connoisseurs. There were a few crossovers, but most notably-- this was a standout year for the ladies of country music. Any album released in 2016 was considered.

1. Midwest Farmer's Daughter // Margo Price (JS)
With a songwriting pen as strong as Loretta Lynn's and Dolly Parton's, Price shattered the glass ceiling with her debut album. Her voice is unmistakable and easily identified with the honky-tonk era of country music--just take a listen to such gems as "Hurtin' on the Bottle," "About to Find Out" and "Desperate and Depressed." There is a quaking wit and boldness not many have today, and she's not afraid to call it like she sees it. "This Town Gets Around" is an especially delightful moment, as she takes direct aim at the music business and how hard it is to break through the clutter. When she pulls back the reigns, as she does with "World's Greatest Loser," she demonstrates the power in the haunting quiet.

Highlights: "Hands of Time," "Hurtin' on the Bottle," "Tennessee Song," "This Town Gets Around," "How the Mighty Have Fallen"


2. The Bird & The Rifle // Lori McKenna (LC)
McKenna's 10th album was produced by the fantastic Dave Cobb and is up for Best Americana Album at the 2017 GRAMMYs. I think it will be strongly considered for CMA Album of the Year during the 51st annual show too. McKenna's stories and lyrics are raw and truthful. She also carries a profoundness in every note she sings. The Bird & The Rifle makes you hurt in the way that only really good music can.

Highlights: "Wreck You," "The Bird & The Rifle," "Old Men Young Women"


3. Big Day in a Small Town // Brandy Clark (JS)
The Grammy-nominated disc is a concept album about one particularly fanciful day in middle America. There is plenty of gossip ("Soap Opera," "Big Day in a Small Town"), reflections on aging ("Homecoming Queen") and "Drinkin' Smokin' Cheatin'" to be larger-than-life but rooted in reality. Her most impressive moments are when she is at her most vulnerable, as she is on "Three Kids No Husband" (about a woman struggling as a single parent) and "Since You've Gone to Heaven," in which she remembers a long lost soul gone from this earth.

Highlights: "Soap Opera," "Homecoming Queen," "Three Kids No Husband," "Since You've Gone to Heaven"



4. The Weight of These Wings // Miranda Lambert (JS)
Lambert bares her soul on her risky double-album. Anchored by the introspective and potent lead single "Vice," the 24-track collection is heavy on the balladry and devoted to peeling back the layers of heartache and misery. As the apt follow-up to 2014's more polished Platinum record, Lambert goes all in on this straight-chaser Americana album. Music Row wanted more mainstream friendly material, and she didn't care. She is far less concerned about radio hits these days--even though "We Should Be Friends" is one of the album's most accessible tracks--and far more interested in her craft, in telling real stories about real people and staying true to herself. Split into two halves, "The Nerve" and "The Heart," Wings barrels through self-loathing, addictive hookups and booze as a way to cope and heal. Ultimately, she does but not without collecting a few more scars along the way.

Highlights: "Use My Heart," "Tin Man," "To Learn Her," "Pushin' Time"


5. Pawn Shop // Brothers Osborne (LC)
With the help of Nashville heavyweights (Shane McAnally, Ross Copperman, Craig Wiseman) and their close friends and songwriting community (Maren Morris, Ryan Hurd) the Brothers co-wrote each song on the album which propelled them to a CMA Vocal Duo of the Year win. Pawn Shop is some swampy, funky goodness that manages to capture a new side of American country music fans. To date, two songs off the debut project have garnered GRAMMY nominations to along with their widely loved and accepted grins in Nashville.

Highlights: "Stay A Little Longer," "Greener Pastures," "American Crazy," "21 Summer"


6. A Sailor's Guide to Earth // Sturgill Simpson (JS)

Simpson's third album is not your typical Simpson album. His 2014 landmark release Metamodern Sounds in Country Music put him on the map, and instead of continuing along that musical strain of honky-tonk branded music, he ventures into the sea of jazz, funk, rock and soul music on the follow-up. Rich in brassy horns and sweeping orchestral arrangements, A Sailor's Guide to Earth is a well-plotted concept album into all matters of the heart. Seafaring sounds are peppered throughout the project, to remind the listener of his personal voyage. Even covering Nirvana's "In Bloom" is a refreshing surprise, as he was made for that style of music.


Highlights: "Breakers Roar," "Brace for Impact (Live a Little)," "Oh Sarah"


7. Hero // Maren Morris (LC)
Morris' debut album was nominated for CMA Album of the Year and Best Country Album at the GRAMMYs. Each and every track on the album is full of Morris' soulful, country-fied vibe and her unprecedented use of the word "shit" throughout was done so productively and effectively, I'm convinced there are no other words she could have even use in its place. Without a doubt, this album will go down as one of the greatest country music debuts of all-time and likely a record that will be noted on timelines for years to come.

Highlights: "Rich," "My Church," "I Wish I Was," "Drunk Girls Don't Cry"


And the others:

Ripcord // Keith Urban
The more I listened to Ripcord the more I figured out the cohesiveness of it all. It was easily the most progressive album of the year.

Black // Dierks Bentley
Bentley does concept albums better than most, whether he calls them that or not. Black is full of fun, sing-along anthems and sexy grown-up country music too. Bentley is truly at his best right now, but he has been for a while.

Pure & Simple // Dolly Parton
Parton's 43rd studio album was as good as any she's released. The traditionalism seeped through her breathy vocals like she's still in her prime-- which she is.



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20 Best Country Music Songs of 2016

As we near the end of 2016, it's only fitting that One Country shares a few of those classic, end of the year lists. Like you, we are kind of bored with the typical end of the year lists, so we're putting our own spin on a few!

This year for One Country's Best Country Songs of the Year list, we asked three of our biggest country music buffs to all pick a few songs. Surprisingly, there were only a few crossovers. For the most part, these songs were all released as singles this year. Songs released as a single in 2016 or an album cut from 2016 were eligible. Songs are listed in no particular order.

20 Best Country Music Songs of 2016:

1. "Forever Country" // Various Artists (LC)
There's just something about these three songs and these 30 or so artists singing on one track. Shane McAnally's production and arrangement (with help from Josh Osborne) is almost magical.

2. "Since You've Gone to Heaven" // Brandy Clark (JS)
As one of today's finest songwriters, Clark packs more than a few tear-jerking punches in just four minutes and 30 seconds. 2016 has been the year of unimaginable loss, not only for the country music community but also the world, at large. No other song encompasses exactly what we are all feeling quite like this one. "Since you've gone to heaven, the whole world's gone to hell...," she laments.

3. "Better Man" // Little Big Town (LC)
In a surprising turn of events, Taylor Swift pitched this power ballad to the only country act she could imagine performing it. Led by the incomparable Karen Fairchild, the song is spun with Little Big Town's heartwarming harmonies, bringing the group back to their roots.

4. "You Should Be Here" (ED)
I love when artists share something that is so completely intimate. Cole Swindell presented us with a song that many people could relate to, but at the same time it was an intimate look at his life. That, and it makes me cry.

5. "This Town Gets Around" // Margo Price (JS)
2016's honky-tonk darling doesn't mince her words on this standout cut on her debut album Midwest Farmer's Daughter. "As the saying goes, it's not who you know, but it's who you blow that'll get you in the show," she hisses.

6. "Use My Heart" // Miranda Lambert (LC)
There's something so raw about this cut from The Weight of These Wings. To be so sure of something until your heart gets involved is something almost every person in the world can relate to. And when Lambert sings it, you can feel it.

7. "Kill A Word" // Eric Church (LC)
It's rare for a country music song to take such a stand. Church released this just before the election-- a time when everyone in America needed to be reminded that words matter.

8. "Setting the World on Fire" // Kenny Chesney featuring Pink (ED)
The first time I saw P!nk perform, she opened for NSYNC. It was the '90s, so that was cool. I've been a fan ever since and I think Kenny Chesney's choice to include her on this song was one of the best he's made in a long time. I love rolling down the windows and singing along to this one.

9. "21 Summer" // Brothers Osborne (JS)
The brother duo usurped Florida Georgia Line's throne as CMA Vocal Duo of the Year, much to the surprise of the entire music community. And rightfully so. Brothers Osborne's debut album Pawn Shop is one of the most compelling of the year, and this blustering nostalgic number is swallowed up heartache and a sense of freedom. As they look back at a former flame, they realize how much that relationship changed them forever. "You made a man of me," they sing.

10. "Makin' Me Look Good Again" // Drake White (JS)
Recently named one of the New Faces of Country by the Country Radio Seminar, White brims with heart and soul. His scruffy vocal drips over this piano ballad with sincerity and grit. There's no way you can walk away without truly feeling something after this.

11."The Bird & The Rifle" // Lori McKenna (LC)
Every song on McKenna The Bird & The Rifle exude a brilliant sadness, but the title track, ironically, borrowed a metaphor from the always funny "Modern Family," making it stand out even more.

12. "Peter Pan" // Kelsea Ballerini (LC)
On the heels of two fun and flirty singles, Ballerini released the insightful "Peter Pan," which speaks to a generation of women faced with the prospect of dating and marrying boys that shave.

13. "Different for Girls" // Dierks Bentley with Elle King (ED)
I've been on the Dierks Bentley train since day one. As soon as I heard Elle King, I jumped onboard an open boxcar. The two of these together was gorgeous. But the real achievement here was the message. It's different for girls and to hear a man sing that to the world is so refreshing.

14. "Record Year" // Eric Church (ED)
I love vinyl. I will always remember the day I finally convinced my father to give me his record collection. I'd coveted that finely crafted library for my entire life and finally won by pointing out that I had a turntable and he did not. There is nothing better than putting an album on and experiencing that music. Eric captured that emotion in this song.

15. "Tin Man" // Miranda Lambert (JS)
If we could, we'd list every single song of Lambert's double album on this list. But it is this airy ballad, which utilizes the classic imagery of the Tin Man to detail the hurt and pain in Lambert's own chest, that stands the tallest of them all. "You shouldn't spend your whole life wishing for something bound to fall apart," she pleads.

16. "This Town is Killing Me" // Caitlyn Smith (JS)
In another ode to the struggles of a Nashville musician, Smith chronicles her journey; she aims for big dreams but all she finds is sorrow. "I wanted it so bad and now, I just want to go home..." she cries. More importantly, she recounts instances when she missed pivotal life moments, such as the death of her grandfather. It's a simple, elegant song (backed with wailing strings), and that is often the most effective, powerful kind.

17. "80s Mercedes" // Maren Morris (ED)
I was not born in the '90s, but every time this song comes on I sing along and fantasize about an older model vehicle. Maren Morris' voice is unique and refreshing. She mixes that Texas attitude, with a bit of soul, to create one of my favorite albums of the year.

18. "Keep It Between The Lines" // Sturgill Simpson (LC)
I love the weird, random rules parents come up with for their children. They stick with them for a long time. (My dad always told me, "never risk your life to save an animal's" and "never quit a job before you have another.") Simpson's list of 19 or so rules to his son are outstanding. The full horn section drives home the point, too-- just keep it between the lines.

19. "Love Triangle" // RaeLynn (LC)
RaeLynn's take on being the child of divorce is honest and refreshing. Her vocal delivery on the track is compelling and both of her parents should be proud.

20. "Rich" // Maren Morris (LC)
Maybe the sassiest country music song ever recorded or maybe the most clever-- either way-- it's one of the best songs of the year.

Other Favorites: "Leaving Nashville," (Charles Kelley) "Vice," (Miranda Lambert) "Daughter," (Brandy Clark) "Rock On," (Tucker Beathard) "Church Bells" (Carrie Underwood)


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9 Best Country Music Lyrics of 2016

As we near the end of 2016, it's only fitting that One Country shares a few of those classic, end of the year lists. Like you, we are kind of bored with the typical end of the year lists, so we're putting our own spin on a few!

Country music was full of rip-roarin' hits in 2016, but the lyrics that really stuck with us were the ones we weren't hearing repeatedly on the radio. The wittiness of Brandy Clark, the boldness of Maren Morris and the vulnerableness of Miranda Lambert stand out amongst the crowd, but others snuck in too.

Note: we're going with songs released this year on an album. So, you won't see any Eric Church or Carrie Underwood. They made the list last year.

9 Best Country Music Lyrics of 2016:

1. "Daughter" // Brandy Clark
Brandy Clark, Jesse Jo Dillon, Jeremy Spillman

Yeah, karma's a bitch - so I hope you have a daughter

The ultimate zinger-- Brandy's not just wishing this guy the worst, she's hoping he has a really hot daughter and that guys just like him are interested in her. Ouch.


2. "Rich" // Maren Morris
Maren Morris, Jesse Jo Dillon, Laura Veltz

If I had a dime every time that you crossed my mind
Well, I'd basically be sitting on a big ass pile of dimes

Obvious, subtle and brilliant is the only way to sum this one up. Not to mention-- every girl has been there and thought that, right?


3. "Use My Heart" // Miranda Lambert
Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe, Waylon Payne

I can write the line but I can't sing the song
I can call my momma but I won't go home

Lambert's The Weight of These Wings The Weight of These Wings captured me more than once, but this one stuck with me-- you can get yourself to do so many things, but once your heart comes into play, it's over. What a concept.


4. "Drunk In Heels" // Jennifer Nettles
Brandy Clark, Jennifer Nettles

I ain't saying that
It's easier to be a man
But let's get real
When we get drunk
We do it in heels

In a year full of girl power this is a statement and a half. I doubt many people disagree with it.




5. "Keep It Between The Lines" // Sturgill Simpson
Sturgill Simpson

Most thoughts deserve about two or three more
...
If there's any doubt, there is no doubt
The gut don't never lie
And the only word you'll ever need to know in life is "why"

Simpson's song to his son is basically a list of 19 helpful rules or tips to abide by in life, but ultimately these few stand out. If only we all thought our thoughts two or three more times.


6. "Love Triangle" // RaeLynn
RaeLynn, Nicole Galyon, Jimmy Robbins

Some mamas and daddies are loving in a straight line
Take forever to hearten and take a long sweet ride
But some mamas and daddies
Let their heartstrings tear and tangle
And some of us get stuck in a love triangle

RaeLynn's first single from her debut album and new record deal was profoundly sad and astute. To describe the pull of a young child caught in between loving two parents in the middle of a divorce as a "Love Triangle" is smart and all too true.


7. "Halfway Home" // Lori McKenna
Lori McKenna, Barry Dean

Deep down you know
That you're worth more than this
Or the cost of that dinner last night
He'd be driving you home
If he was worth half the shit
And his daddy had raised him up right
Let me remind you
There's real love out there down the road
Right now you're just

Halfway home

McKenna's "Humble and Kind" is sage advice for just about every human in the world, but "Halfway Home" is a song that girls need to hear-- you are worth more, don't settle, make him treat you right.


8. "Greener Pastures" // Brothers Osborne
John Osborne, TJ Osborne, Maren Morris, Ryan Hurd

So you can plant your garden
Where you used to chew my ass
Yeah I don't want this dirt no more

The Brothers Osborne are kind-hearted guys, but this tune about a bad relationship is biting and hilarious. And so smart.


9. "Better Man" // Little Big Town
Taylor Swift

And I gave you my best and we both know you can't say that
You can't say that
I wish you were a better man
I wonder what we would've become
If you were a better man
We might still be in love
If you were a better man
You would've been the one
If you were a better man

Forget all the cliches and metaphors, Swift makes it simple-- she just wishes this dude didn't suck. And that's probably harder to hear than just about anything else.