Good luck to them all!

McLachlan, Nickelback, Rush make Grammy radar; Avril misses out
TORONTO (CP) – This year’s crop of homegrown Grammy nominees runs the gamut from the usual suspects – Shania Twain, Sarah McLachlan and Nickelback – to pleasant surprises like Rush and jazz guitarist Benoit Charest.
Other Canuck-born nominees include polka king Walter Ostanek, producer David Foster and the orchestra of Tafelmusik.
Composer Howard Shore returns to the Grammys with two nominees for his famed Lord of the Rings score. He’s already a favourite, after the scores for the first two Rings films won him Grammys in 2003 and 2002. He scored the Oscar last year too.
Shore will also compete in the best song from a film category for Annie Lennox’s Into the West, a song he co-wrote.
He’ll be up against Charest. The Montreal songwriter co-wrote the title tune of The Triplets of Belleville, an animated film made in Montreal. The song was also nominated for an Oscar last year.
Twain was a double nominee with nods for the song She’s Not Just a Pretty Face in the female country vocal performance category and another for her Dolly Parton-tribute duet with Alison Kraus, Coat of Many Colors.
McLachlan will compete in the highly coveted category of best pop vocal album. She’ll face fierce competition from Norah Jones, Ray Charles, Joss Stone and Brian Wilson.
Missing from this year’s list are pop stars Avril Lavigne, Nelly Furtado, Alanis Morissette and jazz singer Diana Krall.
However, Krall’s The Girl In the Other Room did garner recognition for producer Tommy LiPuma and sound engineer Al Schmitt. As well, Morrissette’s So-Called Chaos producer John Shanks is up for the best producer trophy.
“Avril is the big one (missing),” agreed Aaron Brophy, managing editor at Chart, a national music magazine based in Toronto. “Next to Shania, she’s probably our biggest music export right now.”
Her record, Under My Skin, released last May, showed a shift from teen-friendly pop-rock hooks toward a moodier, heavier rock sound.
“It’s probably going to make her look better for the next 20 years but it’s not going to earn her nearly as many awards,” said Brophy referring to her debut record Let Go, which earned five Grammy nominations in 2003. “It’s pretty clear the Grammy people don’t like the angry young girl routine.”
The first reaction at MuchMusic, the nerve-centre for youth’s musical taste in Canada, was of amazement.
“The talk around the office was ‘Wow, look at all the hip hop’ and secondly ‘Wow no Canadians,’ ” said Hannah Sung, a VJ at MuchMusic. “That was something that really stood out to most people when they first heard of the nominations.”
But she said explaining why isn’t easy.
“Who really knows why that’s happening? . . . I watch shows like the Grammys for entertainment value. I don’t really think it judges the best artists out there. It judges the best of the most popular,” she said.
One factor could be that Canadian talent isn’t as strong in R&B and hip hop, arguably the hottest genres currently heard in the U.S.
Kanye West, Usher and Alicia Keys – all urban musicians – led the nominations’ list.
“In Canada we’re this isolated, throwback where we still have a lot more rock bands,” said Chart’s Brophy. “Urban music hasn’t penetrated as thoroughly here. That also means that we don’t have the same type of artists to compete in those genres.”
The exception to the theory might be Prince, who received five nominations including best R&B album for Musicology. He has publicly credited Canada’s diverse musical landscape, including “melting pot” inspired radio playlists, for helping him make the record.
“Musicology is the first record I’ve recorded in Toronto and I can really feel the difference,” the musician said in an interview earlier this year. “It has a completely unique sound that came from the total disregard for what’s happening in American music, and for the workings of the American music industry. It doesn’t sound like anything else that’s out there right now.”
Rock veterans Rush was nominated for best rock instrumental performance for O Baterista, a track off the band’s Rush In Rio live disc recorded from the band’s Vapor Trails World Tour.
“We are exceedingly proud of Neil in particular for his outstanding virtuosity which is fully displayed in this drum solo piece,” said Geddy Lee.
Rush will be up against The Allman Brothers Band, Los Lonely Boys, Steve Vai and Brian Wilson. It’s the band’s third run at a Grammy. The group was nominated in 1992 for Where’s My Thing and in 1982 for YYZ.
Nickelback finds itself competing against metal bands Metallica, Incubus, Slipnot and Velvet Revolver in the best hard rock performance category.
Famed producer David Foster is up for an arranger’s award for his work with teen jazz vocalist Renee Olstead on Summertime.
Toronto’s Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, conducted by violinist Jeanne Lamon, is up for best small ensemble performance.
In the best musical albums for children, one-time Montrealer Cathy Fink and partner Marcy Marxer got a nod for cELLAbration! A Tribute to Ella Jenkins.
The Feb. 13 awards will mark the end of Quebec-born Pierre Cossette’s run as the show’s executive producer. He’s credited with bringing the awards ceremony to the TV masses since 1971.