Country Queer

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2021 GRAMMY Awards: Not Too Damn Bad

By James Barker, Staff Writer
Image courtesy of The Recording Academy

When I covered the GRAMMY nominations for Country Queer back in November, I was cautiously optimistic that this would lead to wider recognition of the full diversity that makes up country music. With these results I’m still optimistic, and whilst it was not necessarily a queer country clean sweep, the GRAMMY awards are certainly keeping a critical distance from the gatekeepers at country radio.

The biggest congratulations of the night go to Brittany Howard and Brandi Carlile who took home wins for ‘Best Rock Song’ (for ‘Stay High’) and ‘Best Country Song’ (along with Natalie Hemby and Lori Mckenna for ‘Crowded Table’ performed by The Highwomen) respectively. 

Carlile was previously recognised in the roots music categories at the GRAMMY Awards in 2019 for the stellar album: ‘By The Way, I Forgive You’ and so it’s great to have her recognised within the ‘country’ category. Howard can release music in whatever genre she chooses, sound amazing and she’ll always be a proud member of the queer country family. 

As with any awards shows, the GRAMMYs had its share of disappointments. I’m gutted that Mickey Guyton did not win ‘Best Country Solo Performance’, but with the performance she gave last night, this won’t be her last appearance at these awards. I was also rooting for Brandy Clark’s ‘Your Life is a Record’ to win ‘Best Country Album’. 


A Honky-Tonk of Our Own

LGBTQ+ artists have certainly made their mark on this year’s GRAMMY Awards, with multiple nominations across all the Country categories. (I’d also like to congratulate Brothers Osborne on their nomination for ‘Best Country Duo/ Group Performance’ as T.J. Osborne came out after I covered the nominations). Let’s hope this increased visibility and challenge to the gatekeeping of country radio remains.  

Ed: James Barker is British and I’ve finally decided to just roll with the Britishisms in his submissions. It’ll broaden your mind. Note, too, that all pics from the show are owned by giant corporations who charge a ton for their images and would shut us down if we used them without paying. Sorry. Cover image courtesy of the Recording Academy – we hope they’re cool.

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