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THE GRAMMYS | COUNTRY

Quite a balancing act

February 24, 2003|Randy Lewis

The country awards struck a mostly skillful balance, recognizing still-vital veterans shunned by country radio (Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson) while rewarding hot chart-topping acts both edgy (Dixie Chicks) and traditionalist (Alan Jackson) who made respectable recordings last year.

The Chicks didn't redefine anything with "Home," which garnered the trio three Grammys including top country album, but its heartfelt reflections on themes of family, longing and loss put it above most of the other acts that dominate country radio airwaves.

Jackson completed his sweep of country songwriting awards for his evocative "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)," earning the Grammy for country song after previously taking the same award from country music's two big organizations.

Brad Paisley deserved the male trophy, but voters rarely acknowledge anything as lighthearted as his "I'm Gonna Miss Her." In giving Cash his 11th Grammy for "Give My Love to Rose," they honored a worthy, serious-minded performance.

-- Randy Lewis

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