Grammy committee says Hag is not bluegrass

Merle Haggard - The Bluegrass SessionsThe nominating committee for the National Academy Of Recording Arts & Sciences, who distribute the Grammy Awards each year, decided yesterday that the new release from Merle Haggard, titled The Bluegrass Sessions would not be eligible for Grammy consideration in the Best Bluegrass Album category in this year’s voting.

Billboard reported today that despite the CD being #1 on their Bluegrass chart the past four weeks, the new Haggard album would be considered in the Best Country Album category instead.

Chris Harris of McCoury Music, who released The Bluegrass Sessions, expressed some frustration with NARAS over this decision.

“When I contacted NARAS, they would not identify the committee, their qualifications, or why they don’t classify this album as bluegrass. Their stance just doesn’t make sense. With that said, of course, we’re grateful that members can at least vote for The Bluegrass Sessions in other country categories, including Country Album of the Year,” Harris said. “But by every reasonable definition, this is a bluegrass album, and we–Merle, Ronnie [Reno], Del [McCoury] and everyone involved in the project–think that Academy voters ought to be able to consider it for Best Bluegrass Album.”

Share this:

About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.

  • 1969mets

    It actually would be a far greater statement for bluegrass if the album were nominated in the Country Music category.

    But, really, I couldn’t give a lousy G-run about silly awards.

  • martinmcwhorter

    This is crap. Is this the same committee that gave the award to Bruce Hornsby the first year it was offered. That was a godawful sin to give the award to that piano tinkler.

  • Grassin Gal

    Honestly, music awards have been headed towards main stream Hollywood for quite some time now. You just never know what they are going to pull next. I remeber being a little girl and actually hearing bluegrass on the country music awards show. Now, it’s models with pretty voices…it’s just not as true as bluegrass. As one person said, maybe this will get bluegrass out to more people since they are considering this album to be country. We can only hope for the best. LST said it best…”Muder on Music Row”.

  • I am very happy to see the NARAS come to their senses and disqualify this CD as a Bluegrass project. I love the Hag, and this CD is a fine one indeed, but please, don’t try to tell me it’s Bluegrass.

    “But by every reasonable definition, this is a bluegrass album, and we–Merle, Ronnie [Reno], Del [McCoury] and everyone involved in the project–think that Academy voters ought to be able to consider it for Best Bluegrass Album.”

    I would love to know the reasonable definitions by which this CD could be considered Bluegrass. What? Is it because there is mandolin and banjo involved? I’m afraid the singing style alone is enough to say “no way,” it simply is not Bluegrass. What we have here is pure country done with what we like to call the traditional Bluegrass instruments.

    I like Merle Haggard and I like this CD but I’m glad it’s not being categorized as Bluegrass by the NARAS.

  • formerfiddler

    Love the Hag, BUT,it ain’t bluegrass. Just his stuff (GREAT STUFF) with some acoustic back-up. I was disappointed when I first heard the album. Thought he would have at least done some Flatt & Scruggs or Monroe. I agree with the board.

  • f5joe

    I love the Hag! But Hag, you ARE country. I’m a bit tired of the country elders attempting to gain audience in the BG world. Again, love the Hag.

    Same goes for BG artists trying to go country. It’s a genre thing.

    Love the Hag!