Hear Live Performances From All Five 'Best Americana Album' Grammy Nominees

Mar 12, 2021
Originally published on March 12, 2021 12:21 pm

The Grammys, like pretty much all of this year's awards season, are operating a little differently this year. While we usually find out the winners in February, this year the honors were pushed back, to this Sunday, March 14.

There's one category in particular this year that we the World Cafe have had the pleasure of hosting every nominee for over this past Grammy season: Best Americana Album. And not only were they on the show for intimate conversations with our hosts, but each one also performed live versions of songs from their nominated albums. (Also worth noting that, for the first time ever, every single nominee for Best Rock Performance is a woman – and almost every one of them has visited World Cafe: Big Thief, HAIM, Grace Potter, Phoebe Bridgers and Brittany Howard have all done sessions over the last few years!)

Enjoy this special collection of sessions below.

Courtney Marie Andrews
Alexa Viscius / Courtesy of the artist

There are a lot of heartbreak albums out there. Heartbreak is maybe the biggest and most enduring inspiration when it comes to songwriting, but it's rare to hear heartbreak examined with the kind of nuance that Courtney Marie Andrews uses to parse it. The Nashville-based, Phoenix-born singer-songwriter spent a large part of the past nine years, almost her entire 20s, in a relationship, – and when that relationship ended, she came out as a different person. But instead of looking back with resentment or anger, on Old Flowers Courtney Marie Andrews looks back on what she lost with love. Read more

Marcus King performs solo in front of an intimate audience at The Lounge at World Cafe
Jamie Stow / WXPN

The guitar prodigy Marcus King was practically destined to make a life around music: He's from a multi-generational musical family, including studio sessions with dad at a young age, and has had his own band since his teenage days in South Carolina. Now 25, he's released three studio albums with The Marcus King Band – but, about a year ago, it was time for a change. King moved to Nashville and started hanging out with Black Key and prolific producer Dan Auerbach, who assisted King in releasing his debut solo album, El Dorado. Read more

Lucinda Williams
Danny Clinch / Courtesy of the artist

Lucinda Williams is one of those artists whose influence goes far beyond her own work. It's impossible to count the number of musicians that cite Lucinda as an inspiration and direct influence. Williams has released 20 albums over the last four decades; throughout that time, she's never allowed herself to get slotted into any one lane, always walking her own path and sharing her lessons. Read more

Hiss Golden Messenger
Graham Tolbert / Courtesy of the artist

North Carolina's M.C. Taylor, also known as Hiss Golden Messenger, is a seeker. He's someone who is looking for answers – from the world, from himself. You can hear that in the songs on his latest album, Terms of Surrender, an album so full of candor he originally wasn't sure if he should release it at all. Read more

Sarah Jarosz
Josh Wool / Courtesy of the artist

Singer-songwriter Sarah Jarosz has been touring since she was 16 years old, but her new album, World on the Ground, takes us back to her hometown of Wimberley, Texas, where she introduces you to characters and settings both real and imagined. Read more

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