The Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance is usually an important affair for women in music and 2011 is no exception. The 53rd annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles will feature Jewel, Miranda Lambert, LeAnn Rimes, Carrie Underwood and Gretchen Wilson vying for the honour, but who will get the award and will they deserve the victory?
This is the fourth Grammy nomination for Jewel and her first in the country category. "Satisfied" is from her album Sweet and Wild and shows off her flexibility as she makes the transition from pop and folk to country with an ease anyone would envy. The song lives up to half of the album's title with its sweetness, conveying a hopeful message pertaining to love which is often missing in today's tracks. The pureness of the meaning and her voice is unmistakably Jewel, but it lacks the depth she has been able to maintain with previous endeavours. "Satisfied" will not deliver a first Grammy for this artist.
Miranda Lambert has been riding high atop the country charts and, from the album Revolution, "The House that Built Me" is one of her best. Its presentation is impeccable and only helps to solidify Lambert as one of the best in country music today. Instead of coming at you full steam, she tunes it down a notch and shows off her vocal abilities, which allows the strength of the lyrics to shine. This will be the winner in this category and while it is not the strongest of the crop, it shows that it has been a good year for women in country music.
Jewel lost out on the Grammy Award for Best New Artist to LeAnn Rimes in 1997 and they are both competing for this trophy as Rimes has been nominated for her song, "Swingin.'" This cover of John Anderson's hit single appears on her album Lady and Gentlemen. While a toe tapping party favourite, it never achieved the same success as Anderson's version and has no business being nominated. Rimes will not be adding a third Grammy to her trophy case with this tune.
Former American Idol winner Carrie Underwood should be leaving Los Angeles with her sixth Grammy Award thanks to "Temporary Home." From the album Play On, this narrative track gently slaps you on a variety of levels and moves the coldest of curmudgeons while not being overly sappy – a feat that deserves acknowledgement. It is not often that a song comes along that has all cylinders firing.
The pretty love ballad "I'd Love to be Your Last" is veteran Gretchen Wilson's contribution to the category. From the album, I Got Your Country Right Here, this stripped-down crooning puts the singer in a whole new light, bringing the romantic to the forefront. It just does not have enough to warrant an award though, so Wilson will not be leaving with her second Grammy.
To recap the Best Female Country Vocal Performance category: Miranda Lambert will be clearing space on her award shelf for a Grammy, but Carrie Underwood should have taken home the spoils. That being said, the fans of women in country music should be proud as this year represents one of the strongest representations at the award show.