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With Kacey, Taylor & Carrie Not Entered for Best Country Album, Who Will Be Nominated at 2022 Grammys?

Since several strong candidates for 2022 Grammy nominations for best country album are not on the official entry list, for various reasons, slots have opened up for other artists.

The Recording Academy ruled that Kacey Musgravesstar-crossed is a better fit in best pop vocal album (where it is entered). Taylor Swift announced on July 20 that she wouldn’t submit Fearless (Taylor’s Version) for Grammy consideration, in part to keep her supporters’ focus on her evermore album (which is entered for best pop vocal album); the original Fearless won best country album and album of the year at the Grammy ceremony in early 2010.

Musgraves and Swift have each received three Grammy nods for best country album. Musgraves won twice; Swift once.

Another country titan, Carrie Underwood, will also not be in the category. Underwood’s Christmas album My Gift is vying for a nod as best traditional pop vocal album. Her sacred album My Savior is vying for a nod as best roots gospel album. Underwood, surprisingly, has yet to be nominated for best country album.

Dolly Parton’s A Holly Dolly Christmas, which, like all the other previously named albums, reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart, is also vying for a nod as best traditional pop vocal album.

So who’s left?

For starters, three of the albums that are nominated for album of the year at the upcoming CMA Awards: Brothers Osborne’s Skeletons, Chris Stapleton’s Starting Over and Morgan Wallen’s Dangerous: The Double Album.

The other CMA album of the year nominees are also represented here, but there are differences. Eric Church, nominated for Heart at the CMA Awards, is competing with Soul at the Grammys; both are part of his three-disc Heart & Soul project.

Carly Pearce, nominated for her 29 EP at the CMA Awards, is entered here with her 29: Written in Stone full-length. (The full-length was released after the June 30 close of the CMA eligibility period.)

Wallen’s album has topped Top Country Albums for 36 weeks, longer than any album since Luke Combs’ What You See Is What You Get, which had 37 weeks on top from 2019-21. But Wallen has been under a cloud since TMZ aired a video in February of him using a racial slur.

Stapleton’s album also reached No. 1 on Top Country Albums. Stapleton is a three-time nominee (and two-time winner) in this category.

The Recording Academy first presented best country album at the 1964 awards — though it was called best country & western album back then. Roger Miller was the winner. Miller also won the following year, after which the Grammys dropped the category. They brought it back at the 1994 awards. It has been presented continuously ever since.

This year’s Grammy entry list includes albums by several past nominees in this category.

Miranda Lambert, a five-time nominee in this category, is entered with The Marfa Tapes, a collab with Jon Randall & Jack Ingram. She’s closing in on Trisha Yearwood’s record as the artist with the most nods in the category (eight).

Alan Jackson, a four-time nominee in this category, is entered with Where Have You Gone. If he is nominated again, he’ll tie Willie Nelson and George Strait as the male artist with the most nods in this category.

Three-time nominees Lady A are entered with What a Song Can Do (Chapter One). If they are nominated again, they’ll tie Dixie Chicks and Little Big Town as the only groups with four nods in this category.

Three-time nominee Keith Urban is also entered with The Speed of Now Part 1. The album reached No. 1 on Top Country Albums early in the eligibility year (Sept. 1, 2020, to Sept. 30, 2021). Urban has received three nods in this category.

Two-time nominees for best country album entered this year include Loretta Lynn (Still Woman Enough), Thomas Rhett (Country Again, Side A) and Blake Shelton (Body Language).

One-time nominees who are entered include Kelsea Ballerini (Ballerini), Sturgill Simpson (The Ballad of Dood & Juanita) and Tanya Tucker (Live From the Troubadour).

Several albums that are currently listed on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart are eligible. They include Walker Hayes’ Country Stuff EP, Lee Brice’s Hey World, Dan + Shay’s Good Things, Jordan Davis’ Buy Dirt EP, Nelly’s Heartland, HARDY’s A Rock, Chris Young’s Famous Friends, Parker McCollum’s Gold Chain Cowboy and Dustin Lynch’s Tullahoma.

Nelly was nominated three times for best rap album, for Country Grammar (2000), Nellyville (2002) and Suit (2004).

HARDY’s A Rock was released Sept. 4, 2020, on the fourth day of this eligibility period.

Jimmie Allen and Mickey Guyton, who have helped lead Nashville’s drive to bring more racial diversity to country music, are entered with Bettie James Gold Edition and Remember Her Name, respectively.

Other notable artists who are vying for a nod in the category include Cam (The Otherside), Florida Georgia Line (Life Rolls On) and Midland (The Last Resort).

A total of 91 albums are competing for the five nomination slots. That tally of entries is down by one from last year.

First-round Grammy voting opened on Oct. 22 and continues through Nov. 5. Nominations will be announced on Nov. 23. Final-round voting extends from Dec. 6 to Jan. 5, 2022. Winners will be announced at the 64th annual Grammy Awards telecast at Staples Center on Jan. 31, 2022.

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