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Maren Morris and Kacey Musgraves lead the country contenders for the 61st Grammys

ABC/Image Group LA Female artists may fight for airplay at country radio these days, but they’re not struggling for critical acclaim, as Maren Morris and Kacey Musgraves lead the country nominees for the 61st annual Grammy Awards.

Maren leads the pack with six nominations, with half of her nods coming from her pop collaboration with Zedd. “The Middle” is up for the all-genre trophies for both Record and Song of the Year, as well as Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.

Meanwhile, Maren’s country recognition comes in the form of two noms for “Dear Hate,” the song she wrote after the Charleston church shooting and decided to release after the Las Vegas shooting. Her collaboration with Vince Gill is up for Best Country Duo/Group Performance, as well as Best Country Song. She also gets a Best Country Solo Performance nod for her cover of Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters” from the Restoration tribute album.

Kacey Musgraves’ CMA-winning Golden Hour vies for the all-genre Album of the Year, while competing for Best Country Album as well. The track “Butterflies” grabs a nod for Best Country Solo Performance, while “Space Cowboy” fights for the Best Country Song title.

Luke Combs gets noticed in the overall Best New Artist category, alongside Americana favorite Margo Price and “Meant to Be” hitmaker Bebe Rexha, among others.  
 
Dan Shay and Little Big Town each make significant entries in the Best Country Duo/Group Performance slots, for “Tequila” and “When Someone Stops Loving You,” respectively. Brothers Osborne vies for the Best Country Duo/Group Performance trophy as well for “Shoot Me Straight,” while picking up a Best Country Album nod for Port Saint Joe too. 

Newcomer Ashley McBryde grabs her first nomination in the same category for her debut album, Girl Going Nowhere.

The legendary Willie Nelson makes a surprise appearance in the Best Traditional Pop Vocal category for My Way, his album of Frank Sinatra covers, while Lee Ann Womack could take home the Best Americana Album honor for The Lonely, the Lonesome & the Gone.

We’ll find out who wins on Sunday, February 10, when the 2019 Grammys air live from Staples Center in Los Angeles on CBS.

Here’s a look at this year’s major country contenders:

Album of the Year
Invasion of Privacy -- Cardi B
By the Way I Forgive You -- Brandi Carlile
Scorpion -- Drake
beerbongs & bentleys -- Post Malone
H.E.R. -- H.E.R.
Dirty Computer -- Janelle Monae
Golden Hour -- Kacey Musgraves
Black Panther: The Album -- Kendrick Lamar

Record of the Year
“I Like It” -- Cardi B
“The Joke” -- Brandi Carlile
“This Is America” -- Childish Gambino
“Shallow” -- Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper 
“All the Stars” -- Kendrick Lamar
“Rock Star” -- Post Malone
“God’s Plan” -- Drake
“The Middle” -- Zedd, Maren Morris

Song of the Year
“All the Stars” -- Kendrick Lamar, SZA
“Boo’d Up” -- Ella Mai
“God’s Plan” -- Drake
“In My Blood” -- Shawn Mendes
“The Joke” -- Brandi Carlile
“The Middle” -- Zedd, Maren Morris
 “Shallow” -- Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper 
“This Is America” -- Childish Gambino

Best New Artist
Chloe x Halle
Luke Combs
Greta Van Fleet
H.E.R.
Dua Lipa
Bebe Rexha
Margo Price
Jorja Smith

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
“Fall In Line” — Christina Aguilera Featuring Demi Lovato
“Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” — Backstreet Boys
“‘S Wonderful” — Tony Bennett & Diana Krall
“Shallow” — Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper
“Girls I Like You” — Maroon 5 Featuring Cardi B
“Say Something” — Justin Timberlake Featuring Chris Stapleton
“The Middle” — Zedd, Maren Morris & Grey

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album
Love Is Here to Stay —Tony Bennett & Diana Krall
My Way — Willie Nelson
Nat “King” Cole & Me — Gregory Porter
Standards (DELUXE) —Seal
THE MUSIC…THE MEM’RIES…THE MAGIC! — Barbra Streisand

Best Country Solo Performance
“Wouldn’t It Be Great?” — Loretta Lynn
“Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters” — Maren Morris
“Butterflies” — Kacey Musgraves
“Millionaire” — Chris Stapleton
“Parallel Line” — Keith Urban

Best Country Duo/Group Performance
“Shoot Me Straight” — Brothers Osborne
“Tequila” — Dan Shay
”When Someone Stops Loving You” — Little Big Town
“Dear Hate” — Maren Morris Featuring Vince Gill
“Meant to Be” — Bebe Rexha & Florida Georgia Line

Best Country Song
“Break Up in the End” — Jessie Jo Dillon, Chase McGill & Jon Nite, songwriters (Cole Swindell)
“Dear Hate” — Tom Douglas, David Hodges & Maren Morris, songwriters (Maren Morris Featuring Vince Gill)
“I Lived It” — Rhett Akins, Ross Copperman, Ashley Gorley & Ben Hayslip, songwriters (Blake Shelton)
“Space Cowboy” — Luke Laird, Shane McAnally & Kacey Musgraves, songwriters (Kacey Musgraves)
“Tequila” — Nicolle Galyon, Jordan Reynolds & Dan Smyers, songwriters (Dan Shay)
“When Someone Stops Loving You” — Hillary Lindsey, Chase McGill & Lori McKenna, songwriters (Little Big Town)

Best Country Album
Unapologetically — Kelsea Ballerini
Port Saint Joe — Brothers Osborne
Girl Going Nowhere — Ashley McBryde
Golden Hour — Kacey Musgraves
From A Room: Volume 2 — Chris Stapleton

Best Americana Album
By the Way, I Forgive You — Brandi Carlile
Things Have Changed — Bettye LaVette
The Tree of Forgiveness — John Prine
The Lonely, the Lonesome & the Gone — Lee Ann Womack
One Drop of Truth — The Wood Brothers 

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