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Most left-field nomination had to be Imogen Heap for Best New Artist, with the likes of Gnarls Barkley, Ne-Yo, KT Tunstall and The Fray all missing in this category.

GRAMMY DIGS CHICKS

Blige Leads with Eight Nods, But Dixie Chicks Look “Ready to Make Nice”
Despite the presence of Mary J. Blige’s eight nominations, the Grammy Awards show at Staples Center on Feb. 11 has all the feel of a Dixie Chicks coronation.

Among their five noms, the Chicks’ nods in a pair of Country categories, including Album of the Year, means the band’s Red and Blue State constituencies could just join together on a healing Grammy night, when the gals may well be “ready to make nice.”

Aside from Blige and the Chicks, pre-Grammy touts like Gnarls Barkley, Corinne Bailey Rae, James Blunt, John Mayer, Rick Rubin and Red Hot Chili Peppers all proved to be well-represented. 

The absence of Bob Dylan from any of the major categories was mildly surprising, as was the presence of Paul McCartney in Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. This year’s nominations affirmed Justin Timberlake as a Grammy staple. Also notable was Rascal Flatts’ omission from all the major categories, and most of the Country ones to boot, with but a single nod in Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, though the tune's writers were also nominated for Best Country Song.

Most left-field nomination had to be Imogen Heap for Best New Artist, with the likes of Gnarls Barkley, Ne-Yo, KT Tunstall (who nabbed a single nom in the Best Female Pop Vocal category) and The Fray (two nods for Best Pop and Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal) all missing in this category.

Some intriguing match-ups include Best Rock Instrumental Performance, where Arctic Monkeys (who also grabbed a Best Alternative Music Album nod) go up against The Flaming Lips, Peter Frampton, David Gilmour and perennial Joe Satriani. The Best Hard Rock Performance pits comebacking dark horse Buckcherry’s “Crazy Bitch” against Nine Inch Nails, System of a Down, Tool and Wolfmother.

Kudos to veteran rock crits Ben Edmonds and David Fricke on their Liner Notes noms for Rhino’s Pretenders box set and Columbia/Legacy’s Byrds release, respectively, and the estimable reissue master Gary Stewart in the Best Historical Album category for Rhino’s fantastic Girl Group Sounds Lost & Found package.

And once again, congrats on yet another nomination for the great Polka giant Jimmy Sturr.

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