One way or another — and really, we’re definitely talking a couple of ways — Maren Morris is going to hear her name announced a lot in mid-November. She’s up for six trophies at the CMA Awards Nov. 13 and is a favorite to win several of them. Just one week later, on Nov. 20, the nominations for the 2020 Grammys will be unveiled, and beyond possibly dominating the country categories, she’s also considered to have a very good shot in the all-genre album of the year category for “Girl.” Last year, she got three Grammy nominations even though she was between projects (for collaborations with other artists), so imagine how well she could do now that she’s back on-cycle.
Could Morris be this year’s Kacey Musgraves and actually win for album of the year? That may be a long shot in a season where she’d face phenomena like Billie Eilish and Lizzo. But even a nomination for album, record and/or song would represent a sort of win in as heated a race as last year’s.
The awards for which she’s almost a shoo-in to at least get nominated are all four country categories: song, album, solo performance and duo/group performance. (In that last category, she could be up for her album’s duets with either Brandi Carlile or Brothers Osborne). On top of those “Girl”-based nominations, she could get a nod for the single she recorded with her supergroup the Highwomen, “Redesigning Women” (the Highwomen released its debut album right after the eligibility cutoff for the year, but the single came out beforehand). What’s not clear is whether the Grammy back-room committees will decide the Highwomen should compete in the country or Americana category. If in the former, obviously, she’d be completing against herself, but a nod in Americana instead could boost her number of wins.
All told, between the genre categories and all-genre divisions, Morris could potentially get eight nominations this year, if things are going her way, which would put her in a stratosphere close to the one that’s being predicted for Billie Eilish and Lizzo.
Among last year’s country winners, Musgraves could be back with a leftover single from last year’s triumphant album, with “Rainbow.” Dan + Shay almost certainly will return, too, with the CMA-nominated “Speechless.” And the long Grammy-absent Blake Shelton may have some love in store for “God’s Country.”.
If anyone in country is likely to challenge Morris for the highest number of nominations, though, it’s Eric Church, especially if his “Desperate Man” album manages to beat some longer odds and join the not-so-desperate “Girl” as an album of the year contender. Having more than one country album fighting for the all-genre top prize is not an impossible scenario when the field of nominations has been expanded to eight.