Nominations for the 66th annual Grammy Awards came out this AM, and they're typically a debate stirrer. Not that I have inside info, but based on history, I'm pretty sure who's walking off with the country awards.

 

Best Country Solo Performance:

Sam Hunt - Body Like A Back Road

Alison Krauss -  Losing You

Miranda Lambert - Tin Man

Maren Morris - I Could Use A Love Song

Chris Stapleton - Either Way

Who'll win: Miranda Lambert's Tin Man was widely considered to be robbed at the CMA's. The Weight Of These Wings earned her the best reviews of her career, and the year-long buzz of the song will garner her a trophy. 3 out of the 5 nominated are strong female vocalists, and that speaks well for the genre. Good on the Grammys for picking up on these.

Best Country Duo/Group Performance:

Brothers Osborne - It Ain't My Fault

Zac Brown Band - My Old Man

Lady Antebellum - You Look Good

Little Big Town - Better Man

Midland - Drinkin' Problem

Who'll Win: Little Big Town's Better Man is on quite a roll I don't see ending early in awards season. It's already won best single and video at the CMA's. Grammy voters are notorious when it comes to leaning towards name recognition, and LBT have cast the widest mainstream net. Great song, and would be a well deserved win.

Best Country Song: 

Better Man - Taylor Swift, songwriter (Little Big Town)

Body Like A Back Road - Zach Crowell, Sam Hunt, Shane McAnally & Josh Osborne, songwriters (Sam Hunt)

Broken Halos - Mike Henderson & Chris Stapleton, songwriters (Chris Stapleton)

Drinkin’ Problem - Jess Carson, Cameron Duddy, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne & Mark Wystrach, songwriters (Midland)

Tin Man - Jack Ingram, Miranda Lambert & Jon Randall, songwriters (Miranda Lambert)

Who'll Win: Yikes! This is the toughest of the four. All of my choices are based on history of Grammy voting, and who I think they'll go with. Sam Hunt, while able to sell out Madison Square Garden, still doesn't feel like a Grammy winner. He's been nominated twice, and came up empty. It may take a few more years for Grammy voters to warm up to Sam's approach. Midland are playing all the right notes for critical acclaim, but I see them as an also-ran here. This award goes to the songwriter, and while Taylor has won two in this category, her last was "Begin Again" in 2014, before she completely crossed over to pop. Crossover success could keep the trophy out of her hands. This leaves "Broken Halos" and "Tin Man." Really, it's a toss up. I'll lean towards Miranda Lambert based on what I previously stated in Best Solo Performance. However, it wouldn't surprise me one ounce to see Chris and Mike on stage. Call it 51% to 49%.

Best Country Album:

Kenny Chesney - Cosmic Hallelujah

Lady Antebellum - Heart Break

Little Big Town - The Breaker

Thomas Rhett - Life Changes

Chris Stapleton - From A Room: Volume 1

Who'll Win: This one is Chris Stapleton's to lose. From A Room is highly regarded both in and out of country music, and is the only one of nominated to place on a "best of" list outside of it. LBT's The Breaker has many well-earned reviews (and in my opinion has been really overlooked) and also could sneak in.