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The Boot takes a shot at which country acts we think will be in the running for Grammy gold this year.
Album of the Year: Two previous nominees in this category have a pretty fair chance of repeating. Taylor Swift is likely to get a nod for her latest album, 'Speak Now,' and five-time Grammy victors last year, Lady Antebellum, whose 'Need You Now' lost the ultimate prize to Arcade Fire, could get another chance with 'Own the Night.' Although he's probably a long-shot, we'd love to see Glen Campbell nominated for the brilliant 'Ghost on the Canvas.' He won the award in 1969 for 'By the Time I Get to Phoenix.' Alison Krauss, whose 26 wins make her the most awarded singer in Grammy history, could add more to her tally for this year's 'Paper Airplane,' with her band, Union Station. There's also plenty of Grammy buzz surrounding the folky, alt-country 'Barton Hollow' by the Civil Wars. A nod in the top category wouldn't be too surprising. Still, none of them are likely to win. The gramophone will either go to Adele for '21' or Tony Bennett for 'Duets II.'
Expect Nashville to have at least one, if not two names contending for the all-genre Best New Artist honors. Coming off their three big wins at the CMA Awards along with crossover success for their triple-platinum 'If I Die Young,' the Band Perry are a sure bet. The sibling trio's chances are arguably as good as the widely suggested front-runner, rap darling Nicki Minaj. Nashville-based duo the Civil Wars also have a very good chance of sliding into this category, as do another indie act, Foster the People. Other possibilities in this coveted category are all from the rock and pop worlds and could include Bon Iver, Jessie J, Hot Chelle Rae, Cage the Elephant and/or LMFAO.
Taking a look at the country categories, which are among those to have been restructured for 2012 (meaning the competition will be even stiffer this year!), it's likely that country-pop crossovers Taylor and Lady A will dominate. Both are practically guaranteed to snag Country Album of the Year nods and could also find themselves in the Country Solo and Country Duo/Group categories, respectively.
The newly-designated Country Solo Performance category (combining the previous Male and Female Solo Performance categories) could do worse than to include 'Ghost on the Canvas,' or longtime Grammy favorite Emmylou Harris' 'Hard Bargain.' A spot in the Country Group/Duo category for Alison Krauss and Union Station's 'Paper Airplane' is practically a shoo-in. But when it comes to some of country's biggest hitmakers, expect Blake Shelton, nominated with Trace Adkins last year for 'Hillbilly Bone,' to be singled out for his album 'Red River Blue,' and to snare a Country Solo nod for 'Honey Bee.'
Mrs. Shelton (Miranda Lambert), nominated last year for 'Revolution' (and a first-time Grammy winner for 'The House That Built Me'), put her latest disc, 'Four the Record,' out just a bit too late to qualify for this year's awards (although her single, 'Baggage Claim' may have come in under the wire). She's more likely to get some Grammy love for the critically-acclaimed Pistol Annies' trio project 'Hell on Heels.' With his win for CMA Album of the Year, Jason Aldean has an excellent shot at a few nods for 'My Kinda Party,' including Country Album of the Year and the all-genre Record of the Year for his 'Don't You Wanna Stay' duet with Kelly Clarkson. The disc may be over a year old, but Jason's party is just getting started. And don't count out Brad Paisley's 'This Is Country Music.' It's the kind of album the Grammy voters love.
A few acts who could surprise? Luke Bryan could snag a mention for 'Tailgates & Tanlines,' as could the Eli Young Band for the album 'Life at Best,' featuring the No. 1 'Crazy Girl.' Eric Church's 'Chief' is also a strong contender. Of the women who could score nominations, potential contenders include Ashton Shepherd for 'Where Country Grows,' LeAnn Rimes for 'Lady and Gentlemen' and Dolly Parton for 'Better Day.'
Sugarland, Jason Aldean and the Band Perry are among the acts who'll be featured on the 'Grammy Nominations Concert Live! - Countdown to Music's Biggest Night.' The CBS show will air live from Los Angeles, Wednesday night, Nov. 30, at 10:00 PM ET. We'll have a full list of 2012 Grammy nominees later that night, right here on The Boot.