The Dixie Chicks completed a defiant comeback on Sunday night, capturing five Grammy awards after being shunned by the country music establishment over the group’s anti-Bush comments leading up to the Iraq invasion.
The Texas trio won all the biggest categories, including record and song of the year for the no-regrets anthem Not Ready to Make Nice. They also won best country album, which was especially ironic considering they don’t consider themselves country artists anymore.
“I’m ready to make nice!” lead singer Natalie Maines exclaimed as the group accepted the album of the year award. “I think people are using their freedom of speech with all these awards. We get the message.”
The Dixie Chicks won all five awards they were nominated for, sweet vindication after the superstars’ lives were threatened and sales plummeted when Maines criticized President Bush on the eve of the Iraq war in 2003. Almost overnight, one of the most successful groups of any genre was boycotted by Nashville and disappeared from country radio.
With “Taking the Long Way,” the women relied on producer Rick Rubin’s guidance for an album that was more rock and less country. (Rubin, who also produced “Stadium Arcadium,” was honored as producer of the year.)
The standing ovations the Chicks received Sunday illustrated how much the political climate has changed regarding the Iraq war, and even Bush.
“That’s interesting,” Maines crowed from the podium after the country award was handed out earlier in the night. “Well, to quote the great ‘Simpsons’ Ã¢â‚¬â€ ‘Heh-Heh.’
“Just kidding,” added Maines. “A lot of people just turned their TVs off right now. I’m very sorry for that.”
Bandmate Emily Robison noted, “We wouldn’t have done this album without everything we went through, so we have no regrets.”
Copyright Ã‚Â© 2007 The Associated Press