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The 36th Annual Grammy Awards : COUNTRY : The Outlaws Are In Again

March 02, 1994|RANDY LEWIS

Grammy voters gave a nod, however hesitant, toward the progressive camp of country with the top awards. In fact, in the wake of the honors heaped on the "Aladdin" soundtrack in major pop categories, the country results seemed almost radical.

Self-styled rebel Dwight Yoakam upset favorites Alan Jackson and Garth Brooks in the male vocal category, winning his first Grammy for "Ain't That Lonely Yet."

And to the musical question "Shouldn't I have all of this?" Grammy voters soundly answered yes to singer Mary-Chapin Carpenter and songwriter Lucinda Williams.

"Passionate Kisses," a bittersweet plea for everlasting romance and "pens that don't run out of ink," won Grammys for Williams and Carpenter as song of the year and female vocal of the year, respectively.

Williams, a long shot in the songwriters' competition, is a nouveau folkie and Nashville outsider compared to such well-established nominees as Kostas ("Ain't That Lonely Yet") and Alan Jackson ("Chattahoochee").

Likewise, Yoakam's music reflects his strong ties to the roots-rock community, and Carpenter came to country via folk-rock.

Were the vote for "Passionate Kisses" strictly a reflection of Grammy's traditional love of a winner--Carpenter has won the female vocal category three years straight now--the song award might as easily have been given to Carpenter's own nominated composition, "The Hard Way."

Voting in other major country categories was less adventuresome, with Brooks & Dunn getting the nod for duo or group vocal for their predictable, lick-the-hand-that-feeds hit "Hard Workin' Man." And Reba McEntire won her second Grammy--her first came in 1986--for her vocal collaboration with Linda Davis on "Does He Love You."

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