Grammy sweep doesn't help Chicks on country radio

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Country radio still isn’t ready to make nice with the Dixie Chicks.

With a haul of Grammys on Sunday, the Texas trio topped their comeback from their 2003 Bush-bashing comment that turned them from superstars to pariahs — but Music Row isn’t welcoming them back into the country-music fold. ‘‘Most country stations aren’t playing the Chicks, and they aren’t going to start now,’’ said Jim Jacobs, owner of WTDR-FM, a country radio station in Talladega, Ala.

In fact, the awards might have the opposite effect, sparking another radio backlash against the group. Country broadcasters said Monday that the group’s five Grammys show how out of touch the Recording Academy is from the average country fan.

‘‘I think [the listeners] are outraged,’’ said Tony Lama, program director for KXNP in North Platte, Neb. ‘‘This is rural, conservative America. They are just disgusted.’’

Country stations quit playing the Chicks in 2003 after singer Natalie Maines told a London audience: ‘‘Just so you know, we’re ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas.

Almost overnight, Maines became a lightning rod in the debate over the Iraq war, with conservatives blasting her for criticizing the president, especially while on foreign soil.

The Chicks sang about the controversy in their single, ‘‘Not Ready to Make Nice,’’ which won Grammys as record and song of the year. Their album, ‘‘Taking the Long Way,’’ won album of the year.

‘‘I’m not ready to make nice. I’m not ready to back down,’’ Maines sang. ‘‘I’m still mad as hell, and I don’t have time to go round and round and round.’’

Country radio may not be ready to embrace them again, but the Grammy runaway suggests that a significant portion of the rest of the country has come around to their way of thinking. The president’s approval ratings are down, and his party was ousted in the midterm elections.
‘‘I’m slowly getting my faith back in mankind,’’ Maines said Sunday.


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This page contains a single entry by Thomas Conner published on February 13, 2007 12:00 PM.

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