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Grammy Awards Preview: Country

The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences will hold its 47th annual Grammy Awards ceremony on February 13 in Los Angeles. This year, trophies will be handed out to 107 talented and creative members of the music industry.

Country legend Loretta Lynn, 69, received five Grammy Award nominations to lead this year's contenders in the Country categories. One of 2004's most critically acclaimed releases was her latest collection Van Lear Rose, which is nominated for Best Country Album. Two tracks from the album appear in the Best Country Song category, an award given to songwriters. Loretta's recording of "Miss Being Mrs." is also mentioned for Best Female Country Vocal Performance. And, she shares a Best Country Collaboration nomination with rock singer Jack White for their duet, "Portland Oregon."

Tim McGraw is also among this year's most-nominated Country artists. His recent Number One hit "Live Like You Were Dying" will compete for Best Male Country Vocal Performance and Best Country Song. It's also a finalist in the all-genre Best Song category.

McGraw's CD of the same name earned a nomination for Best Country Album, a category he shares with Loretta Lynn, Keith Urban, Gretchen Wilson and newcomer Tift Merritt, whose voice has been called "a magical combination of cool reserve and effortless warmth."

Other Country nominees in this year's Grammy race include the reunited Notorious Cherry Bombs. The group earned two mentions for the single "It's Hard To Kiss The Lips At Night." Keith Urban and five-time Grammy winner Shania Twain are also double nominees. Shania's single "She's Not Just A Pretty Face" is up for Best Female Country Vocal Performance, a category she shares with Martina McBride, Loretta Lynn, Gretchen Wilson and Alison Krauss.

Alison and Shania's duet version of "Coat of Many Colors," which they recorded for last year's Dolly Parton tribute album, will compete for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals.

Australian Country star Keith Urban received his first Grammy nomination in 2001. In addition to this year's Best Country Album nomination, his recording of "You'll Think of Me" earned a spot in the Best Male Vocal Performance category. But, to capture that win, he'll have to beat out Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, Tim McGraw and the late Johnny Cash.

One of Country music's biggest success stories of 2004 was newcomer Gretchen Wilson. Her four nominations include a mention in the Best New Artist category, where she faces Kanye West, Los Lonely Boys, Maroon 5 and Joss Stone.