Mickey Guyton is a relative rarity: a Black artist who has received a Grammy nomination in a country category. She’s nominated this year for best country solo performance for “Black Like Me.”
Guyton, 37, isn’t the first Black artist to be nominated in that category; Darius Rucker won the award seven years ago for “Wagon Wheel.” (Before 2011, the Grammys had separate male and female vocal categories in country and other fields.)
Take a look (and listen) to 12 Black artists who have received Grammy nominations in country categories.
Charley Pride: Ten nods in the country field between 1966 and 1979. One win: Charley Pride Sings Heart Songs won best country vocal performance, male for 1972. The album logged 16 consecutive weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart in 1972. It contained Pride’s signature song, the charming “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’,” a No. 1 hit on Hot Country Songs for five weeks in 1971-72.
The Pointer Sisters: Two nods in the country field in 1974-75, plus another for Anita Pointer and Bonnie Pointer for writing “Fairytale,” a best country song nominee. “Fairytale” won for best country vocal performance by a duo or group, 1974. “Live Your Life Before You Die” was nominated in the same category the following year. The former track was from the Pointers’ album That’s a Plenty; the latter track was a one-off single. The group’s country phase was short-lived. They dabbled in a variety of styles before hitting their peak in the mid-’80s with an exciting pop-R&B-dance blend.
Ray Charles: One nod in the country field in 1983. The tender “Born to Love Me” was nominated for best country performance, male. The track was from his album. Wish You Were Here Tonight. Charles’ barrier-busting 1962 album Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music was nominated for four Grammys, but none in the country field.
Fred Parris: One nod in the country field in 1985. Parris had a co-writing credit on Ronnie Milsap’s nostalgic “Lost in the Fifties Tonight (In the Still of The Night),” which received a 1985 nod for best country song. Parris, a member of The Five Satins, wrote that group’s 1956 doo-wop classic “In the Still of the Nite,” which was interpolated in Milsap’s smash.
Aaron Neville: Two nods in the country field in 1993-94. “The Grand Tour” was nominated for best country vocal performance, male, 1993. “I Fall to Pieces” (a collab with Trisha Yearwood) won for best country vocal collaboration the following year. The former track, originally recorded by George Jones, was from Neville’s The Grand Tour album; the latter track, originally recorded by Patsy Cline, was featured on the all-star album Rhythm Country and Blues. The Neville/Yearwood pairing echoes Neville’s earlier collab with Linda Ronstadt, which brought that pair back-to-back Grammys for best pop vocal performance by a duo or group with vocal in 1989-90.
B.B. King: Two nods in the country field from 1990-94. The jaunty “Waiting on the Light to Change” (collab with Randy Travis) was nominated for best country vocal collaboration in 1990. “Patches” (collab with George Jones) was nominated in the same category four years later. The former track was from Travis’ album Heroes & Friends. The latter track, a cover of Clarence Carter’s 1970 R&B smash, was from Rhythm Country and Blues.
Taj Mahal: One nod in the country field in 2002. Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s “Will the Circle Be Unbroken (Glory, Glory),” on which the blues musician was featured alongside Alison Krauss and Doc Watson, was nominated for best country collaboration with vocals. The track was from Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s album Will the Circle Be Unbroken, Vol. III.
Keb’ Mo’: One nod in the country field in 2005. The blues musician teamed with the members of Dixie Chicks (as they were known then) to write “I Hope,” a nominee for best country song. The song was featured on the trio’s album Taking the Long Way, which won Grammys for album of the year and best country album.
Solomon Burke: One nod in the country field in 2006. “Tomorrow Is Forever” (collab with Dolly Parton) was nominated for best country collaboration with vocals. The song, written by Parton and first recorded by Parton and Porter Wagoner in 1970, was from Burke’s album Nashville.
Darius Rucker: One nod in the country field in 2013. The spirited “Wagon Wheel” won for best country solo performance. Bob Dylan and Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show had co-writing credits on the song. The hit was from Rucker’s fourth studio album, True Believers.
Kevin Olusola (of Pentatonix): One nod in the country field in 2016. Pentatonix and Parton shared a Grammy for best country duo/group performance for their smartly arranged remake of her 1973 classic “Jolene.”
Mickey Guyton: One nod in 2020. “Black Like Me” is nominated for best country solo performance. The poignant and deeply personal song, which Guyton co-wrote, is from her EP Bridges. The most pointed line: “If you think we live in the land of the free/ You should try to be Black like me.”