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Grammys’ Doors Open Wider to Country Music

Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images

Country music will have a big presence at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards, arguably more so than ever before. Whether you watch this Sunday (February 13) for the performers, winners or even presenters, you’ll hopefully be pleasantly suprised by how many country stars grace the Grammy stage.

Martina McBride is the latest addition to the performance lineup, which already includes Miranda Lambert and Lady Antebellum. Martina will participate in a tribute to Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement award and Grammy Legend award recipient Aretha Franklin, alongside Yolanda Adams, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson and Florence Welch. The quintet will perform some of the Queen of Soul’s classic hits as what the Recording Academy has termed a ‘get-well card’ for the ill songstress.

Country will also be forefront during the ceremony with Keith Urban and Zac Brown joining previously announced presenters Dierks Bentley and Blake Shelton.

All four men are nominated this year: Keith is up for Male Country Performance; Blake is nominated in the Country Collaboration category for ‘Hillbilly Bone‘ with Trace Adkins; Dierks’ ‘Up on the Ridge’ is up for Country Album, while the singer-songwriters’ ‘Bad Angel‘ with Miranda and Jamey Johnson, as well as his ‘Pride (In the Name of Love)’ with Del McCoury and the Punch Brothers, are both up for Country Collaboration; and Zac himself is nominated in the Country Song category for writing ‘Free,’ while the Zac Brown Band is up for Country Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals, Country Album for ‘You Get What You Give’ and Country Collaboration with Alan Jackson for ‘As She’s Walking Away.’

In the the country categories for Male and Female Vocal Performance, you’ll find Jamey Johnson, Toby Keith, David Nail, Keith Urban and Chris Young, and Jewel, LeAnn Rimes, Carrie Underwood, Gretchen Wilson and Miranda Lambert, respectively.

“I’m really excited about performing on the Grammys. It’s my first time,” Miranda Lambert tells The Boot. “It’s not just country. It’s all of American music put together. I feel so proud to be there because I am representing country, and I just want to do it justice. I want people to know that we’re cool! [laughs]“

Miranda’s ‘Revolution’ is also up in the Country Album category against Dierks Bentley’s ‘Up on the Ridge,’ the Zac Brown Band’s ‘You Get What You Give,’ Jamey Johnson’s ‘The Guitar Song,’ and Lady Antebellum’s ‘Need You Now.’

“To be nominated that many times and to be representing country music we feel pretty special about that, and we’ll probably be clapping for Eminem the whole night,” Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley tells the Boot. “But we’re gonna soak it in and enjoy the night and try not to put too much pressure on the night.”

Other noteworthy performances include ‘Country Strong‘ star Gwyneth Paltrow‘s collaboration with Cee Lo Green and the Jim Henson Company Puppets. Also just announced is a tribute to acoustic music by Bob Dylan, Mumford & Sons and the Avett Brothers.

Country is also well represented in three out of the four all-genre categories. Lady Antebellum’s ‘Need You Now,’ is up for both Record of the Year and Song of the Year (which goes to the songwriters, which happens to be the group’s Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott, along with Josh Kear). The trio’s album of the same name is also up for Album of the Year. Songwriters Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblinare also up for Song of the Year with Miranda’s ‘The House That Built Me.’

In addition, Diamond Rio‘s ‘The Reason,’ Ty Herndon‘s ‘Journey On,’Austins Bridge‘s ‘Times Like These,’ Jeff and Sherri Easter’s ‘Expecting Good Things’ and Karen Peck and New River’s Live at Oak Tree: Karen Peck and New River’ are all up for Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album. Bluegrass Album nominees include Sam Bush’s ‘Circles Aroudn Me,’ Patty Loveless‘ ‘Mountain Soul II,’ the Del McCoury Band’s ‘Family Circle,’ the Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band’s ‘Legacy’ and the SteelDrivers‘ ‘Reckless.’

Country category winnters will be announced during the pre-broadcast, which can be seen live at grammy.com starting at 4:00 PM ET.

See below for a list of nominees in the country categories and four major all-genre categories. Click here for a full list of Grammy nominees.

Female Country Vocal Performance

Jewel, ‘Satisfied
Miranda Lambert, ‘The House That Built Me’
LeAnn Rimes, ‘Swingin
Carrie Underwood, ‘Temporary Home
Gretchen Wilson, ‘I’d Love To Be Your Last

Male Country Performance

Jamey Johnson, ‘Macon
Toby Keith, ‘Cryin’ For Me (Wayman’s Song)
David Nail, ‘Turning Home
Keith Urban, ‘Til Summer Comes Around
Chris Young, ‘Gettin’ You Home

Country Song (Songwriter award)

The Breath You Take,’ George Strait
‘Free,’ Zac Brown Band
‘The House That Built Me,’ Miranda Lambert
‘I’d Love To Be Your Last,’ Gretchen Wilson
If I Die Young,’ The Band Perry
‘Need You Now,’ Lady Antebellum

Country Performance By a Duo or Group With Vocals

Zac Brown Band, ‘Free’
Dailey & Vincent, ‘Elizabeth’
Lady Antebellum, ‘Need You Now’
Little Big Town, ‘Little White Church
SteelDrivers, ‘Where Rainbows Never Die’

Country Album

‘Up On The Ridge,’ Dierks Bentley
‘You Get What You Give,’ Zac Brown Band
‘The Guitar Song,’ Jamey Johnson
‘Need You Now,’ Lady Antebellum
‘Revolution,’ Miranda Lambert

Country Collaboration With Vocals

‘Pride (In The Name of Love),’ Dierks Bentley, Del McCoury & The Punch Brothers
‘As She’s Walking Away,’ Zac Brown Band and Alan Jackson
‘Bad Angel,’ Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert and Jamey Johnson
‘Hillbilly Bone,’ Blake Shelton and Trace Adkins
‘I Run To You,’ Marty Stuart and Connie Smith

New Artist

Justin Bieber
Drake
Florence + The Machine
Mumford and Sons
Esperanza Spalding

Song of the Year (Songwriter award)

‘Beg Steal or Borrow,’ Ray LaMontagne
‘Forget You,’ Cee Lo Green
‘Love The Way You Lie,’ Eminem
‘Need You Now,’ Lady Antebellum
‘The House That Built Me,’ Miranda Lambert

Record of the Year

‘B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray,’ B.o.B.
‘Empire State of Mind,’ Jay-Z and Alicia Keys
‘Forget You,’ Cee Lo Green
‘Love The Way You Lie,’ Eminem
‘Need You Now,’ Lady Antebellum

Album of the Year

‘The Fame Monster,’ Lady Gaga
‘The Suburbs,’ Arcade Fire
‘Need You Now,’ Lady Antebellum
‘Recovery,’ Eminem
‘Teenage Dream,’ Katy Perry

The Grammy Awards will air live from Los Angeles’ Staples Center Sunday, February 13, 2011, at 8:00 PM ET on CBS-TV.

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