Country superstar Taylor Swift won the Grammy for Best Country Album two years ago for “Fearless” and she’ll probably do it again with “Speak Now.” Her latest release topped the Billboard albums chart for more than a month and singles “Mine,” “Sparks Fly,” “Back to December,” and “Mean” all made it to the top 10 on country radio. Though she does not compete in Album of the Year — an honor “Fearless” won — no album in this category came close to having the impact of “Speak Now.”
“Here for a Good Time” marks George Strait‘s fifth bid for Best Country Album. He won his only Grammy in 2008 for “Troubadour;” other nominations were for “Twang” (2009), “It Just Comes Natural” (2007) and “Carrying Your Love with Me” (1997). While “Good Time” reached the top of the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, what really helps his chances is track “I’ll Always Remember You.” It hints at a possible retirement by Strait, meaning this might be among the last chances to honor him.
Jason Aldean had a breakout year with Grammy voters after being a staple on country radio for years. A big part of the success of his album “My Kinda Party” was due to crossover hit “Don’t You Wanna Stay” with Kelly Clarkson. Aldean is also nominated for the track “Dirt Road Anthem” in Best Country Solo Performance. He is an outside shot to win either prize.
While Eric Church‘s “Chief” is more than deserving of its nomination, Grammy voters aren’t likely to embrace him with a Best Country Album victory just yet. His track “Homeboy” was eligible but was overlooked, making his album his sole citation. “Chief” did, however, debut at #1 on the Billboard album charts, so Church’s rising popularity could make him a contender in coming years.
Lady Antebellum won this category last year for their hugely successful “Need You Now.” Sales and reviews have been far more tepid for “Own the Night.” The band has lost favor with Grammy voters as this is their only nomination while their single “Just a Kiss” was snubbed.