Grammys, CRS Crowd Big Week for Music

LOS ANGELES — It’s Grammy week in Los Angeles -– the awards are Wednesday (Feb. 27). Then the Country Radio Seminar runs Wednesday to Saturday (Feb. 27-March 2) in Nashville — so some of your favorite country stars will cover some serious miles before the week ends.

Jamie O’Neal , scheduled to perform Friday (March 1) at a radio seminar luncheon, will be in Los Angeles for Monday night’s (Feb. 25) Musicares dinner for Billy Joel and for Wednesday’s awards, where she has three nominations.

She’ll get to see Garth Brooks salute Joel as part of a star-studded tribute to the Piano Man. Brooks had a hit with Joel’s “Shameless” in 1992, and Joel joined Brooks on stage for his 1997 Central Park concert.

The O Brother, Where Art Thou? troup -– Emmylou Harris , Alison Krauss , Gillian Welch, Ralph Stanley and the Soggy Bottom Boys -– rehearse their Grammy appearance Monday night (Feb. 25) at the Staples Center. They’ll get a whole segment to themselves on the show, which has been extended 30 minutes -– to 3½ hours –- to accommodate all the scheduled performances.

Alan Jackson shows up Tuesday morning to do a run-through for “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning).” In a break with Grammy tradition, Jackson has been asked to perform his reflective song on the show, even though he has no nominations –- and has never won a Grammy.

Tuesday night in Los Angeles, the Recording Artists Coalition stages four concerts around the city to raise money to support artists’ issues. At the Universal Amphitheatre (site of the annual Academy of Country Music Awards), country artists the Dixie Chicks , Harris, Trisha Yearwood and Dwight Yoakam will perform.

The 44th Annual Grammy Awards are set for Wednesday night, 8-11:30 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. The Dixie Chicks and Yearwood (with duet partner Don Henley) are among the artists who will be presenters. Comedian Jon Stewart will host. The show takes place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

In addition to the country segments, the Grammys will feature performances by a broad range of artists, among them Bob Dylan, U2, Tony Bennett and Joel -– performing Joel’s “New York State of Mind” and an inspirational segment by India.Arie, Brian McKnight, Al Green and Hezekiah Walker.

Here are my predictions for Grammy winners in country categories:

Best female country vocal performance: “I Would’ve Loved You Anyway,” Trisha Yearwood

Best male country vocal performance: “Grown Men Don’t Cry,” Tim McGraw

Best country performance by a duo or group with vocal: “The Lucky One,” Alison Krauss & Union Station

Best country collaboration with vocals: “I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow,” Dan Tyminski, Harley Alley & Pat Enright (The Soggy Bottom Boys)

Best country instrumental performance: “Foggy Mountain Breakdown,” Earl Scruggs and friends

Best country song: “One More Day,” Steven Dale Jones & Bobby Tomberlin

Best country album: Timeless – Hank Williams Tribute

Best bluegrass album: New Favorite, Alison Krauss & Union Station

When the Grammy parties end Wednesday night, artists and music industry types head to the Los Angeles airport, from whence they will hightail it back to Nashville for the annual radio seminar. The event at the Nashville Convention Center wraps up Saturday night with the New Faces show, this year featuring Rascal Flatts , Carolyn Dawn Johnson , Blake Shelton , Cyndi Thomson and Darryl Worley .

Check back with throughout the week for coverage of all the events.