By J. Freedom du Lac
The Washington Post
Monday 12 February 2007
The Dixie Chicks take five, including Album, Record, and Song of the Year.
Los Angeles - The Dixie Chicks got the last laugh Sunday night. Rejected by the country establishment, the polarizing group was tickled to find itself in the warm embrace of the broader Recording Academy, which honored the Chicks with five Grammy Awards - including the three biggest: album of the year, record of the year and song of the year.
The Texas trio also won for best country group vocal and best country album. The latter award was especially surprising, since they were excommunicated from the church of country music in 2003 after singer Natalie Maines popped off about President Bush and the war in Iraq. Upon bouncing to the podium after the result was announced, Maines said what just about everybody inside Staples Center was probably thinking: "That's interesting." She closed her gaping mouth just long enough to grin mischievously, then said, "Well, to quote the great Simpsons, 'HA HA!'"
"Not Ready to Make Nice," the group's defiant answer to the angry country fans who'd criticized the group for criticizing Bush, won song of the year, the industry's top songwriting award. "I am, for the first time in my life, speechless," Maines said. Earlier, the protest singer Joan Baez had introduced the Dixie Chicks as "three brave women who are still not ready to make nice."
"I think people are using their freedom of speech here tonight with all of these awards," Maines said. "We get the message."