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Grammys getting cozy with country

July 28, 2009 |  8:08 pm


OK, Nashville, is everything forgiven?

The Recording Academy will honor Vince Gill at its first ever "Grammy Salute to Country Music," slated for Sept. 8 in Nashville. Set to appear are Brad Paisley, wife Amy Grant, Alison Krauss, Steve Martin and Michael McDonald. The Recording Academy stages similar events for classical, jazz and gospel music.

"Vince Gill who has made an indelible mark on the genre," said Recording Academy chief Neil Portnow in a statement. "Our 'Salute To' series pays homage to and celebrates the work of extraordinary people and organizations that continue to ensure that these genres remain a vital part of our culture."

Gill has garnered 20 Grammy Awards in his 30-plus year career. He won best country album in 2007 for his four disc set "These Days," but lost out in the album of the year field that year to Herbie Hancock.

Grammy followers may remember that Gill passed on an opportunity to perform on the telecast in 2008. It's common practice for every album of the year nominee to perform on the Grammys, but Gill balked at the live scenarios presented to him that year, as they featured the county vet performing a duet with Paisley rather than showcasing his nominated album.

Nevertheless, Gill was a willing participant in the awards, appearing as a presenter in 2008. All the drama happened a few months after Portnow flew to Nashville to discuss a perceived lack of country representation on the awards.

Yet all should be forgiven now, as the Grammys this year featured performances by Taylor Swift and Sugarland, and a country-tinged album -- "Raising Sand" from Krauss and Robert Plant -- won the top prize.

Look for the country goodwill to continue into 2010, with Swift's "Fearless" sure to score a bounty of nominations. The Grammy eligibility period for the 2010 telecast will come to a close on Aug. 31, and nominations are expected to be announced in early December.

-- Todd Martens

Photo: Getty Images