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New and Veteran Country Artists Compete for 2008 Grammy Awards


The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences will hold its 50th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles on February 10. VOA's Mary Morningstar has this report on the nominees in the Country categories.

Vince Gill owns more Grammy Awards than any other male Country artist. Last year, the Oklahoma native picked up his 18th trophy, and he could add two more to his collection on Sunday night. Gill's four-CD set, These Days, faces the latest releases by Dierks Bentley, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley and George Strait in the Best Country Album category. Vince is also a contender in the overall Album of the Year category.

Taylor Swift, 18, earned her first Grammy nomination this year. She'll compete against Feist, Ledisi, Paramore and Amy Winehouse for the all-genre Best New Artist award.

Carrie Underwood was the only Country performer up for the 2007 Best New Artist Grammy. The 24-year-old singer won that award, as well as the Best Female Country Vocal Performance trophy. This year, Carrie's nominated again in the female vocal category for her Number One single, "Before He Cheats."

In addition to Carrie Underwood, the Best Female Country Vocal Performance category includes Alison Krauss, Miranda Lambert, LeAnn Rimes and Trisha Yearwood. This is Trisha's seventh consecutive nomination in that category. "Before He Cheats" also gave songwriters Josh Kear and Chris Tompkins nominations for Best Country Song and Song of the Year.

The Eagles received their first Grammy nomination in a Country category this year. The band won three Grammy Awards in the 1970s in the pop and rock fields. The Eagles will vie for the Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals honor. Four of the five nominees in that category are first-time Grammy contenders.

Many were shocked that Country's most popular trio Rascal Flatts was overlooked this year. In addition to the Eagles, Grammy voters recognized Brooks and Dunn, Emerson Drive, Montgomery Gentry and The Time Jumpers.

Tim McGraw and Dierks Bentley are this year's leading nominees with four mentions apiece. Both will compete against Keith Urban, Alan Jackson and George Strait for the Best Male Country Vocal Performance Grammy. And, they'll also face each other in the Best Country Song and Best Country Album categories. Tim's mentions are for his album Let It Go and hit single "If You're Reading This." Dierks' are for his latest album and its title track "Long Trip Alone."