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Brandy Clark Is the Most Nominated Country Artist to Never Win a Grammy. Is This Her Year?

In just a little over three minutes Brandy Clark flies to Paris, reads Lonesome Dove, listens to Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” and goes on a psychedelic trip. But she still can’t forget the lover who broke her heart. That’s the genius premise of “Buried,” Clark’s Grammy-nominated song and a standout of her superb self-titled 2023 album.

Written with Jessie Jo Dillon, “Buried” is nominated for Best Country Song and Best Country Solo Performance at this year’s Grammy Awards and is built around a classic-country switcheroo. All throughout the lyrics, the narrator doth protest too much about how they’ve gotten over their ex. Spoiler alert: They haven’t.

“I think this song resonates because we all have that one person that even though we move on from them, we still love them. It’s like ‘He Stopped Loving Her Today’ or ‘Today I Started Loving You Again,’” Clark tells Rolling Stone. “It’s one of my favorite things about country music, that real honest ‘I’m gonna lie to you for most of the song’ or, mainly, I’m going to lie to myself. And then you come to the realization of what the truth is. Those are the songs that inspired me growing up, and Jessie Jo and I both draw from that well of storytelling.”

Brandi Carlile does too, and when Clark set about to record her fourth studio album, she decided to enlist Carlile — like Clark, a Washington state native — as producer. Still, Clark was unsure at first about working with a fellow recording artist and worried about seeing things only through an artist perspective. But being in the recording sessions for Ashley McBryde’s Lindeville, produced by Brothers Osborne guitarist John Osborne, swayed her.

“I watched the way he and Ashley worked and thought that could be really cool,” says Clark, who also admired the foothold that Carlile had in both the country music and Americana worlds. Clark saw that nexus as a home for her as well. “That was a door [Brandi] wanted to help open for me. She was like, ‘I can get you more in that Americana lane.’ And she did.”

Clark’s song “Dear Insecurity,” a duet with Carlile, is up for two Grammys in the Americana field, Best American Roots Song and Best Americana Performance, while Brandy Clark is up for Best Americana Album. Clark also scored a surprise nomination in the Best Musical Theater Album category, alongside her longtime writing partner Shane McAnally, for the musical Shucked, a country comedy with a silo full of corn jokes.

This year’s six nods bring Clark’s total career Grammy nominations to 17 — earning her the dubious distinction of being the most nominated country artist to never win. Clark is quick to point out the comparison to Susan Lucci, the perennially Daytime Emmy-nominated actress who finally won her first trophy after 18 nominations. Her mom is thrilled by the comparison. “She’s a soap-opera watcher,” Clark says.

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But while Clark’s Grammy goal could possibly be reached this year, there’s an allusion in the lyrics to “Buried” that she has yet to fulfill.

“I have started Lonesome Dove three times and I always get 300 pages in,” she says, “and they haven’t even left Texas! I’ll never finish it.”

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