Country stars share Grammy spotlight for music's big night

Sun Feb 10, 2013 9:06am EST
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Country music artists will share the spotlight with rising stars and veteran performers at the Grammy Awards on Sunday as they take the stage for music's biggest night.

Grammy organizers want to bring the attention back to the music this year, after the death of singer Whitney Houston the night before last year's awards ceremony cast a pall over the live show.

This year's key categories are dominated by male artists, with British folk band Mumford & Sons, indie-pop trio FUN. and R&B singer Frank Ocean going into the show with six nominations each, including for the top award of album of the year.

They will be among dozens of performers including U.S. rockers The Black Keys, who have five nods, and former White Stripes frontman Jack White, who has three nominations.

After paying tribute to electronic dance music last year, the Grammys are highlighting country music. Nominations were announced last December in a live concert from Nashville.

On Sunday, country will be represented by nominees Dierks Bentley and Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood and best new artist contender Hunter Hayes. Country music veterans Tim McGraw and Faith Hill will hand out awards.

The three-hour Grammy show, broadcast live on television, has a reputation for pairing up old-timers and newcomers.

On Sunday, Mumford & Sons will perform alongside Zac Brown, Elton John, Mavis Staples and Alabama Shakes singer Brittany Howard in a tribute to blues-rock musician Levon Helm of The Band, who died last April of throat cancer   Continued...

Frank Ocean is bathed in red light as he performs "Thinkin Bout You" during the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles, September 6, 2012. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni