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Posted: Sunday, 26 January 2014 6:42AM

New Orleans and Louisiana artists set to grab Grammy gold

Louisiana can boast a part in at least 12 nominations in the 2014 Grammy Awards Ceremony which takes place in Los Angeles tonight.

Mike Shepherd, Executive Director of the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame believes many of the state's nominees have a real shot at taking home the award.

"I think Allen Toussaint always has a choice in anything he does. He is so internationally known and so well known in the music community. Hunter Hayes is as hot as you can get. Tim McGraw has had a very good year. Those have to be favorites," says Shepherd.

New Orleans music legend Allen Toussaint is nominated for two Grammy Awards, in the Best Americana Album category for his album "Songbook," and for a song on that same Rounder CD, "Shrimp Po-Boy, Dressed." It was nominated for Best American Roots Song. Singer-songwriter Steve Earle, an early cast member of the HBO series "Treme" is also nominated in that song category.

Toussaint has never earned a Grammy, although he's won scores of music industry awards, including induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was honored with a special Recording Academy Trustee award in 2009. Toussaint has been nominated before, but these would be his first traditional Grammy wins.

Hunter Hayes and Tim McGraw's nominations for Best Country Solo Performance and Best Country Album respectively are also big favorites for wins.

Hayes hails from Breaux Bridge, Louisiana...while McGraw is a native of Delhi, Louisiana. He grew up in Start.

"Some of the other ones...when you get into the Hot 8 Brass Band, and these regional categories...that has been so ganged up in the Grammies. Zachary Richard has won previously, Terrance Simien has won previously. So we have two previous winners that, again, are known to the Academy," Shepherd says.

The New Orleans based Hot 8 Brass Band is a first time nominee, gaining its nomination in the Best Regional Roots Music Album for their album "The Life & Times Of…The Hot 8 Brass Band."  Also nominated in that category are Louisiana Cajun and zydeco artists Zachary Richard and Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience.

New Orleans native Terence Blanchard earned a nomination in the category of Best Improvised Jazz Solo, for the song "Don't Run," a track from his "Magnetic" album on Blue Note Records.  Blanchard has won four previous Grammys.

An album by New Orleans native Andrew Duhon is nominated for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical.  The singer-songwriter's folk pop album "The Moorings" was released in April and earned a nomination for the team of Trina Shoemaker and Eric Conn.

New Orleans-based Bishop Paul S. Morton, of the Greater St. Stephen Full Gospel Baptist Church, earned a nomination in the best gospel album category.  His son, songwriter PJ Morton, earned a nomination as well for "Only One," the track he wrote for Stevie Wonder, which is nominated in the category of Best R&B Song.  The song was produced in part by the Cash Money label, founded in New Orleans.

Singer-songwriter Bobby Rush, a native of Claiborne Parish in north Louisiana, earned a nomination in the Best Blues Album category for "Down in Louisiana."

Click here for a full list of nominees

Louisiana has sent a nominee to the Grammy Awards every year since 1960 and at least nine annually since 2000.

"I just think everybody in the state should be proud of these people and their nominations for this year, and even more proud that we are, pretty much, the founding state of most music genres," said Shepherd.

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