by: Craig Shelburne
Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson and Blake Shelton will share the stage at the upcoming Grammy Awards to pay homage to their roots in Oklahoma and Texas.
This will be Haggard’s first-ever performance on the show, according to the Recording Academy. The Grammy Awards will air live on CBS on Jan. 26.
Producer Ken Ehrlich is keeping the details of the segment under wraps, but he did tell CMT.com that bringing the four stars together was “just too good to pass up.”
Ehrlich said he wanted the Grammys to get involved in relief efforts after Oklahoma and Texas were ravaged by tornadoes in May. The idea to bring Nelson on board occurred when Ehrlich saw him play at the Hollywood Bowl in August.
Around the same time, Kristofferson had been chosen to receive the Grammy’s Lifetime Achievement Award, which will be presented in a private ceremony the night before the Grammy Awards. In addition, Kristofferson’s 1970 album, simply titled Kristofferson, was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame this year.
“I started to think about what we could do to honor them as the artists that they are and what they’ve accomplished over their lives. And at the same time, not necessarily forget about this Oklahoma/Texas idea,” Ehrlich said.
“Musically, this will honor Willie and Kris’ music, it will honor probably Merle’s most famous song and then it’s going to end with the four of them together. I won’t say it’s not predictable, but it will be classic,” he says.
Asked why Shelton fits the lineup, Ehrlich said, “He understands the heritage of it. I think there are country artists that infuse that into what they do, and there are probably some that don’t. But Blake is one of those guys that really does. That was why we picked him.”
Haggard won a 1984 Grammy for “That’s the Way Love Goes” in the category of best male country vocal performance. He shared a 1998 Grammy win for the country collaboration, “Same Old Train,” a project featuring an all-star cast that included Alison Krauss, Dwight Yoakam, Earl Scruggs, Emmylou Harris and Randy Travis, among
Kristofferson’s Grammy wins include the 1971 trophy for best country song (“Help Me Make It Through the Night”), as well as his duets with Rita Coolidge (“From the Bottle to the Bottom” and “Lover Please”).
Nelson has won seven Grammys, ranging from 1975’s “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” to 2007’s “Lost Highway,” a duet with Ray Price.
Shelton is nominated for Grammys twice this year, for best country solo performance (“Mine Would Be You”) and best country album (Based on a True Story).