From Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
Stars with Oklahoma ties up for Grammy Awards
Country music’s latest power couple, a “Radioactive” rock quartet and Oklahoma’s newest Rock and Roll Hall of Famer will compete for Grammy glory when the golden gramophones are handed out Sunday night in Los Angeles.
The 53rd Annual Grammy Awards will air live from the Staples Center at 7 p.m. Sunday on CBS, and as usual, several stars with Sooner State ties will be vying for much-deserved awards.
Country star Miranda Lambert, who lives in Tishomingo, continues her meteoric rise with three Grammy nominations: country album of the year for “Revolution”; country collaboration with vocals for the bluegrassy “Bad Angel,” her joint effort with Dierks Bentley and Jamey Johnson; and best female country vocal performance for her chart-topping ballad “The House That Built Me.” The emotional hit also earned songwriters Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin berths in the best country song and the multi-genre song of the year categories.
In addition, Lambert will perform Sunday for the first time on the Grammys stage, joining an impressive roster including Barbra Streisand, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mick Jagger, Raphael Saadiq, Arcade Fire, Eminem, Lady Antebellum, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Cee Lo Green, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars and more.
“Grammys are so prestigious, and it’s not just country music, it’s all genres of music. And there’s so many great artists out there,” Lambert said backstage at December’s Grammy nominations TV special, during which she performed her latest hit “Only Prettier.”
Blake Shelton, Lambert’s fiancé and fellow Tishomingo resident, also will take the Grammys stage Sunday night as a presenter as well as a nominee. Other presenters include Kris Kristofferson, Miley Cyrus, Neil Patrick Harris, John Legend, Paramore, Seth Rogen, Dierks Bentley, Norah Jones, Nicki Minaj and more.
An Ada native, Shelton shares a nomination with Trace Adkins for best country collaboration with vocals for their raucous smash duet “Hillbilly Bone.”
Kings of Leon, which includes Oklahoma City-born members Matthew and Nathan Followill, have two nominations for their pulsing single “Radioactive”: best rock song and best rock performance by a duo or group with vocals. The band won three golden gramophones at last year’s Grammys.
Lawton-born and Tulsa-bred music icon Leon Russell shares a nomination with British pop superstar Elton John for best pop collaboration with vocals for “If It Wasn’t for Bad,” the opening track from their duet album “The Union.”
“It is the happiest thing in my senior year!” the 68-year-old Russell said of the nomination through his publicist, cheekily quoting country-pop starlet Taylor Swift’s 2010 Grammy acceptance speech.
A Grammy win would be an excellent opening act for next month, when John will induct the long-overdue Uncle Leon, his musical idol, into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Norman resident Toby Keith boasts his first solo Grammy nomination for best male country vocal performance for “Cryin’ for Me (Wayman’s Song).” The emotional tribute is dedicated to his friend, Oklahoma basketball star-turned-jazz bassist Wayman Tisdale, who died in 2009 after a long battle with bone cancer.
“I wanted to expose a great human being to the world and show ‘em what a great guy he was and get maybe a lot more people to know him,” Keith said of the song in a 2010 phone interview.
A five-time Grammy winner, Carrie Underwood, who hails from Checotah, joins Lambert in the best female country vocal performance category. The “American Idol” winner gained the nod for her spiritual anthem “Temporary Home,” which she co-wrote with Nashville songsmith Luke Laird and Zac Maloy, former frontman of Oklahoma City rock band The Nixons.
Alice in Chains, which includes Jerry Cantrell, who has an Atoka ranch, is nominated for best hard rock performance for the band’s thunderous “A Looking in View.”
Christian worship group Gungor, which is fronted by former Tulsan Michael Gungor, has earned two nods,
for best rock or rap gospel album for the album “Beautiful Things” and best gospel song for the title track.
“As a musician it is like that kind of highest honor that music can be paid,” said Gungor, a Victory Christian School graduate, in a phone interview from Denver, where he now makes his home with his wife and musical partner Lisa.
“It feels like kind of a benchmark. I mean, I’ve been playing music since I was a kid, so hopefully careerwise we can connect with some people that we haven’t been able to connect with before. I certainly feel very honored and humbled even to be nominated.”
Other Oklahoma musical talents to gain Grammy recognition this year: Broken Arrow native Kristin Chenoweth stars in the Broadway musical “Promises, Promises,” which is nominated for best musical show album, and the Oklahoma City University graduate is featured on “Glee: The Music, Volume 1,” which is nominated for best compilation soundtrack album for movies, TV or other visual media. Chenoweth has been a recurring guest on the song-and-dance TV hit.
And Oklahoma City native Audra Mae co-wrote “Who I Was Born to Be,” the lone original song on Susan Boyle’s blockbuster “I Dreamed a Dream,” which is nominated for best pop vocal album.
To find out which stars with Oklahoma ties will strike Grammy gold, follow my live blog of the show Sunday night at here BAM’s Blog.
Grammys live blogs
The 53rd Annual Grammy Awards will air live from the Staples Center at 7 p.m. Sunday on CBS. Follow Brandy McDonnell’s and George Lang’s live blogs of the show Sunday night here at blog.newsok.com/bamsblog and at blog.newsok.com/staticblog.