Vocal Group of the Year
Ray [Benson of Asleep at the Wheel] isn't practicing his Vocal Group award acceptance speech just yet. "I wouldn't put any money on us," he says with a chuckle. "I mean, just look who we're up against! I would bet at any odd that the Dixie Chicks will win - and should win."
It wouldn't be the first time - the Chicks won the award in 1998 and 1999, giving them a batting average of 1.000 in the category. This year they're even more of a force to reckon with, given the overwhelming success of their hits and multiplatinum Fly album.
Vocal Event of the Year
"If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!" Ray Benson of Asleep At The Wheel exclaims with a hearty laugh. He's talking about his band's collaboration with the Dixie Chicks on "Roly Poly" that garnered a Vocal Event nomination and how Asleep At The Wheel and the Chicks are also going head to head in the Vocal Group category. "Roly Poly" hails from the western swing band's album Ride With Bob, a tribute to Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys.
"Natalie, Emily and Martie are old friends of mine," notes Ray, "so it's great to get with them on a record. Natalie's dad, Lloyd, actually played steel guitar on records with us, so it's wonderful."
Album of the Year
The Dixie Chicks' six-million-selling second album, Fly, spent an incredible 33 weeks atop the charts and has spun off five hit singles.
"I love this album, because they didn't do it the way albums are normally done," comments Brad [Paisley]. "They're playing the instruments themselves - and Natalie really sings her butt off. They make great albums from the first song to the last. I'm a huge fan."
Music Video of the Year
The Dixie Chicks courted controversy with the eye-catching "Goodbye Earl." The clip, directed by Evan Bernard, faithfully illustrated the song's tale of an abused wife enlisting a friend to help do away with her rotten husband.
"Goodbye Earl" polarized public opinion, with some decrying it as an endorsement of vigilante justice, others lauding its directness about the issue. "The song is our attempt to put a Dixie Chicks spin on a serious subject," explained Emily Robison.
Natalie Maines' then-future husband, Adrian Pasdar, appears as one of the cops who comes looking for the missing Earl. "We laughed harder at that scene than any other!" recalled Natalie.