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The Dixie Chicks and the Grammys

Country Standard Time Editorial, March 2007

While perhaps surprising that the Dixie Chicks won five Grammys in February, including best overall album and record of the year for "Taking the Long Way," the result is that the Chicks CD sales went straight upward. In fact, the trio had the best selling country album on the Billboard charts for the two weeks following the Grammys, an obvious cause and effect.

But will the great acclaim from the recording industry change much when it comes to the Dixie Chicks and the country music scene?

Highly unlikely, and that's too bad for both. Three years after Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines uttered her famous words in London about being "ashamed that President Bush is from Texas," the fallout continues.

There will been no up tick of Chicks songs being played on country radio because of the Grammys. The powers that be will not play the Chicks on radio, contending that the listening public has no interest in them. One would think, however, that a good chunk of the more than 2 million folks who bought the CD would not object to hearing them on radio. Some Chicks basher continue to say they should apologize for their previous statements, but that would only mean the Chicks had zero backbone when it came to their beliefs right or wrong. So don't expect any backpedaling any year soon.

The Chicks regrettably have not helped themselves either, in effect, saying they don't care all that much about country, saying they were without a genre. They would have been well served to make a distinction with their country music fans though and make it exceedingly clear they welcome that support. That never really happened as the entire country crowd was grouped with the naysayers and CD stompers.

Of course, one shouldn't get too excited about awards of any sort whether Grammys, Country Music Association or Academy of Country Music doles them out. The Chicks have awards on their mantle places from all the organizations. The Grammys are voted on by those who have a direct involvement in making the music, while the country awards can include everyone from record company to public relations to talent buyers.

Sure, it's great to get the awards and be recognized, but ultimately the music must make the statement. And with "Taking the Long Way," the Dixie Chicks achieved that - not shying away from their past, while continuing to make excellent music.