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Country Adds Grace To The Grammys
After a galactic, dance-digging, kick-off performance like rocker/rapper Will Smith's "Men In Black," in addition to other highlights like Fleetwood Mac, Bob Dylan and Aretha Franklin, you'd think country's crop of entertainers would find it difficult to follow the groove at this year's 40th Annual Grammy Awards. Not so -- they did it with both groove and grace from New York's Radio City Music Hall.

Sporting an elegant on-top do and wearing a striking victorian lace-covered pantsuit, last year's Best New Artist victor, LeAnn Rimes, unfolded the second performance of the night with her cross-over pop hit, "How Do I Live." Wailing wonderfully as usual, Rimes belted out the tune like there was no tomorrow.

You can certainly bet that "tomorrow" for Trisha Yearwood continues to be an unforgettable day, after having accepted the first country trophy of the evening for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for her more seasoned version of "How Do I Live." The smashing ballad was also the token love song featured in the blockbuster movie, Con Air. Yearwood and Garth Brooks also picked up the Best Country Collaboration With Vocals award for their moving "In Another's Eyes" duet.

"I'm flabbergasted," said the ravishing Trisha, after making her way to the winner's podium to accept the Best Female Country Vocal trophy. "This happened for me because of country radio. I love you," she concluded.

Love was obviously in the air for Vince Gill as well. The now ten-time Grammy winner took home the trophy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for his performance of "Pretty Little Adriana." Ironically, Vince actually performed the emotional number just before accepting his award. "I really want to thank George Strait," Vince admitted. "He fell ill and wasn't able to perform tonight, and I got to perform in his place." Vince also mentioned that his daughter Jenny was accompanying him while in New York. "This is her first time in New York City and according to the mayor, it may be her last," he chuckled.

When country/bluegrass diva Alison Krauss accepted her first Grammy award in 1990, it was by no means her last. Including her trio of victories this year for Best Bluegrass Album for So Long So Wrong, Best Country Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal for "Looking In The Eyes Of Love" and Best Country Instrumental Performance for "Little Liza Jane," Krauss and her band Union Station now have a nine-pack of Grammys under their belts.

For Nashville-based singer/songwriter Bob Carlisle, his mega hit, "Butterfly Kisses," couldn't have winged its way any better to victory. The cut, which was both a contemporary Christian and pop hit for Carlisle, was also recorded and released as a single both by country's Jeff Carson and the Raybon Brothers. Carlisle and co-writer Randy Thomas accepted the honor for Best Country Song.

Other country honors included those garnered by the legendary Johnny Cash and a star-studded line-up of country and gospel artists. Cash, who's a Grammy Living Legend honoree, picked up a surprising win for Best Country Album for his critically acclaimed Unchained project. The disc entitled Amazing Grace 2: A Country Salute To Gospel earned the trophy for Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album.

Some regard the coveted Grammy Award as the most prestigious of all music industry honors. This year's nominees and winners in both the country and bluegrass categories will be the first to agree.

A list of country winners are as follows:

Best Female Country Vocal Performance
For a solo vocal performance. Singles or Tracks only.

"How Do I Live"
Trisha Yearwood
Track from: (Songbook) A Collection Of Hits
[MCA Records Nashville]

Best Male Country Vocal Performance
For a solo vocal performance. Singles or Tracks only.

"Pretty Little Adriana"
Vince Gill
Track from: High Lonesome Sound
[MCA Records Nashville]

Best Country Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal
For established Duos or Groups. Singles or Tracks only.

"Looking In The Eyes Of Love"
Alison Krauss & Union Station
Track from: So Long So Wrong
[Rounder Records]

Best Country Collaboration With Vocals
For a collaborative performance by artists who do not normally perform together. Singles or Tracks only.

"In Another's Eyes"
Trisha Yearwood & Garth Brooks
Track from: (Songbook) A Collection Of Hits
[MCA Records Nashville]

Best Country Instrumental Performance
For instrumental recordings, with or without vocal coloring, by an Orchestra, Group or Soloist. Singles or Tracks only.

"Little Liza Jane"
Alison Krauss & Union Station
Track from: So Long So Wrong
[Rounder Records]

Best Country Song
A Songwriter(s) Award. For Song Eligibility Guidelines see Category #3. (Artists' names appear in parenthesis.) Singles or Tracks only.

"Butterfly Kisses"
Bob Carlisle & Randy Thomas, songwriters ((Bob Carlisle) and (Jeff Carson) and (Raybon Bros.))
[Curb Records/Diadem Music Group/MCA Records Nashville]

Best Country Album
For solo artists, Duos or Groups, vocal or instrumental. Compilation albums by various artists are not eligible. Award to Artist and to the Producer(s) of 51% or more playing time of album.

Unchained
Johnny Cash
Rick Rubin, producer
[American Records]

Best Bluegrass Album
For solos, duos or groups, vocal or instrumental.

So Long So Wrong
Alison Krauss & Union Station
[Rounder Records]

Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album
For solos, duos or groups, vocal or instrumental.

Amazing Grace 2: A Country Salute to Gospel
Various Artists: David Corlew & Peter York, compilation producers
[Sparrow Records]

The Grammy is presented annually by the Recording Academy. A Grammy is awarded by the Recording Academy's voting membership to honor excellence in the recording arts and sciences. It is truly a peer honor, awarded by and to artists and technical professionals for artistic or technical achievement, not sales or chart positions. The annual Grammy Awards presentation brings together thousands of creative and technical professionals in the recording industry from all over the world.

In addition to the Grammy Awards, other honors are given by the Recording Academy. These awards recognize contributions and activities of significance to the recording field that fall outside the framework of the Grammy Awards categories, and include the Lifetime Achievement Award, Trustees Award, Hall of Fame Award, the Technical Grammy Award, and the Grammy Legends Award. The new recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Awards are: Bo Didley, Paul Robeson, The Mills Brothers and Roy Orbison. The 1997-98 Trustees Awards were presented to: Holland-Dozier-Holland and Frances Preston.

The Grammy Awards are telecast to an international audience of over 1.5 billion in 170 countries.
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