Entertainment

Dixie Chicks 'ready to make nice' after 5 Grammys

The Dixie Chicks swept up five Grammy Awards, including record of the year and album of the year at Sunday night's music industry gala in Staples Center in Los Angeles.

The Dixie Chicks swept up five Grammy Awards, including record of the year and album of the year at Sunday night's music industry gala in Staples Center in Los Angeles.

The Dixie Chicks, from left, Martie Maguire, Natalie Maines and Emily Robison accept their award for best country album. ((Kevin Winter/Getty Images))

It was an ironic twist for the singers, who were shunned by country stations and dropped by many of their fans after lead singer Natalie Maines criticized U.S.President George W.Bushduringa London concert three years ago.

Maines quipped, "I'm ready to make nice!" when the group went up on stage to accept the album of the year award for Taking the Long Way.

But she added:"I think people are using their freedom of speech with all these awards." Thepolitical heat the grouptook from country fans, even after Maines apologized for the remarks,was the subject of a documentary, Shut Up and Sing.

But they appear to have bounced back frompolitical purgatory into the warm embrace of the music industry with their Grammy haul, which includedbest country album for Taking the Long Way and song of the year and record of the yearfor Not Ready to Make Nice.

Not Ready to Make Nice also won the country trioa Grammy for best country performance.

"Thank you for helping us to get all this out and into a song," Emily Robison of the Dixie Chicks said in thanking songwriter Dan Wilson for his work on the song.

"Our core fans have always stayed true to us. We have no regrets," Robison said.

R&B singer Mary J. Blige won three Grammys with her album The Breakthrough, a recording she called "a personal breakthrough."

An emotional Mary J. Blige took the award for best R&B album for The Breakthrough. ((Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press))

As she accepted her award for best R&B album for The Breakthrough, a tearful Blige noted that it was the first time she had won a Grammy.

"[My album] has not only shown that I am a musician and an artist and a writer, it also shows I am growing into a better human being. Tonight we celebrate the better human being because for so many years, I've been talked about negatively. But this time I've been talked about positively by so many people," she said.

"It's a great night for me," she said later in the evening after taking the best R&B album award. She also won the best R&B vocal performance award for Be Without You.

Selected winners from the 49th Grammy Awards:
Record of the Year: Not Ready To Make Nice, Dixie Chicks
Rick Rubin, producer; Richard Dodd, Jim Scott & Chris Testa,engineers/mixers
Album of the Year: Taking the Long Way, Dixie Chicks
Song of the Year: Not Ready To Make Nice, Martie Maguire, Natalie Maines, Emily Robison and Dan Wilson, songwriters (Dixie Chicks)
Best New Artist: Carrie Underwood
Female Pop Vocal Performance: Ain't No Other Man, Christina Aguilera
Male Pop Vocal Performance: Waiting On The World To Change, John Mayer
Traditional Pop Vocal: Duets: An American Classic, Tony Bennett
Rock Album: Stadium Arcadium, Red Hot Chili Peppers
Solo Rock Performance: Someday Baby, Bob Dylan
Electronic/Dance Album: Confessions On A Dance Floor, Madonna
Alternative Album: St. Elsewhere, Gnarls Barkley
R&B Album: The Breakthrough, Mary J. Blige
Contemporary R&B Album: B'Day, Beyoncé
Rap Album: Release Therapy, Ludacris
Rap Solo Performance: What You Know, T.I.
Country Album: Taking The Long Way, Dixie Chicks
Country Song: Jesus, Take The Wheel, Brett James, Hillary Lindsey and Gordie Sampson (songwriters)
Jazz Vocal Album: Turned To Blue, Nancy Wilson
Gospel Performance: Victory, Yolanda Adams
Traditional Blues Album: Risin' With The Blues, Ike Turner
Traditional Folk Album: We Shall Overcome—The Seeger Sessions, Bruce Springsteen
Best Contemporary Folk/Americana Album: Modern Times, Bob Dylan
Reggae Album: Love Is My Religion, Ziggy Marley
Traditional World Music Album: Blessed, Soweto Gospel Choir
Contemporary World Music Album: Wonder Wheel—Lyrics by Woody Guthrie, The Klezmatics
Best Polka Album: Polka In Paradise, Jimmy Sturr And His Orchestra
Spoken Word Album: Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis, Jimmy Carter and With Ossie And Ruby: In This Life Together, Ossie Davis & Ruby Dee
Best Comedy Album: The Carnegie Hall Performance, Lewis Black
Musical Show Album: Jersey Boys, Bob Gaudio, producer
Compilation Soundtrack: Walk The Line, Joaquin Phoenix (& Various Artists); T Bone Burnett, producer
Best Score Soundtrack: Memoirs Of A Geisha, John Williams
Classical Album: Mahler: Symphony No. 7, Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor; Andreas Neubronner, producer (San Francisco Symphony)
Best Opera Recording: Golijov: Ainadamar: Fountain Of Tears
Robert Spano, conductor; Kelley O'Connor, Jessica Rivera & Dawn Upshaw; Valérie Gross & Sid McLauchlan, producers (Women Of The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus; Atlanta Symphony Orchestra)
Classical Contemporary Composition: Golijov: Ainadamar: Fountain Of Tears, Osvaldo Golijov (Robert Spano)
With files from The Recording Academy

Numerous awards handed out before gala

Canadian songwriter Gordie Sampson won a Grammy in awards given out before the televised gala for his part in writing Carrie Underwood's hit, Jesus, Take the Wheel.

There are 108 Grammy categories and most of the awards are presented off camera.

Jesus Take the Wheel topped the Billboard charts for six weeks as Underwood went from American Idol favourite to full-fledged star.

The song was named best country song, earning a Grammy for Cape Breton native Sampson and co-writers Brett James and Hillary Lindsey.

"I am absolutely thrilled," said Sampson's mother, Flo, cheering him on from Sydney, N.S. "There is no way to describe it at all but sheer brilliance with him and a thrill for us."

A poised Underwood, fresh from performing Desperado and Life in the Fast Lane with Rascal Flatts, was named best new artist. She also won best female country vocal performance for Jesus Take the Wheel.

The televised gala began with the much-heralded reunion of the Police and was studded with songs from Beyoncé, Corinne Bailey Rae, John Legend and a belly-shaking performance by Shakira and Wyclef Jean.

Red Hot Chili Peppers were winners of three awards, taking home the best rock album Grammy for Stadium Arcadium and two more for the songDani California,best rock performance by a group with vocals and best rock song.

John Mayer's Continuum won for best pop vocal album andhe also wonbest male pop vocal performance for Waiting on the World to Change.

Ludacris won best rap album for Release Therapy. "You all telling me all I had to do was cut my hair to win best rap album —is that what you're telling me," the rapper said, to laughter.

Dylan, Gnarls Barkley early winners

Bob Dylan and Gnarls Barkleywere awarded two Grammy Awards each during theearlier ceremony.

Dylan's Modern Times took two Grammys —best contemporary folk/Americana album and best solo rock vocal performance for the track Someday Baby.

Gnarls Barkley's St. Elsewhere won the Grammy for best alternative music album and Crazy was named best urban/alternative performance.

Christina Aguilera took the Grammy for best female pop vocal performance for Ain't No Other Man.

Justin Timberlake and Timbaland won best dance recording for Sexyback and Timberlake's performance with T.I., My Love, won best rap/sung collaboration.

Madonna took the Grammy for best electronic/dance album for Confessions on a Dance Floor.

Vancouver crooner Michael Bublé lost the Grammy to Tony Bennett in the best traditional pop vocal album category.

Just as Bublé had predicted when he announced last month he would not attend the awards, Bennett took home the trophy for his album Duets.

Tony Bennett accepts his Grammy award for best traditional pop vocal album for Duets. ((Associated Press))

Bublé later changed his mind and attended the ceremony, sayinghe didn't expect to win in competition with Bennett, who is his idol.

Bennett alsowon the Grammy for best pop collaboration with vocals for his song For Once in My Life, sungwith Stevie Wonder.

"It's amazing that I did this song at age 17 in a whole other way and tocome back to do it with Tony Bennett," said Wonder in his acceptance speech.

Other Canadian nominees, including Nelly Furtado,also walked away empty handed during Sunday's afternoon ceremony at the Staples Center.

Walter Ostanek shut out in polka category

Walter Ostanek of St. Catharines, Ont., who has had 20 Grammy nominations, including this year's for Good Friends, Good Music, lost the trophy for best polka album.

The winner was Jimmy Sturr and His Orchestra for Polka in Paradise.

Musical composers Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison, both of Toronto, lost in their category of best musical show album for The Drowsy Chaperone.

The winners were Bob Gaudio and Bob Crewe for The Jersey Boys.

Alberta's Northern Cree and Friends failed to take the prize in the category of best native American album for their disc, Long Winter Nights.It had been the band's third nomination in five years.

The winner was Dance with the Wind by Mary Youngblood.

The best reggae album Grammy went to Ziggy Marley for Love Is My Religion and the traditional world music album honours went to Blessed by theSoweto Gospel Choir.