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Grammy Predictions: Country categories have a strong Faith

Sunday, February 18, 2001

By Jerry Sharpe

The Grammy nominations in country music's major categories are right on the mark this year, honoring music the artists liked, music the fans liked and music I liked. So, the choices are tougher than usual. But I'll give it a whirl:

COUNTRY ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Nominees are "Let's Make Sure We Kiss Goodbye," Vince Gill; "Breathe," Faith Hill; "Under the Influence," Alan Jackson; "I Hope You Dance," Lee Ann Womack; "Real Live Woman," Trisha Yearwood. From a country music perspective, Jackson's album is the best. But Hill's popularity on both country and pop charts will blow away all competition. It's hers to lose.

FEMALE COUNTRY VOCAL PERFORMANCE: "Breathe," Faith Hill; "That's the Way," Jo Dee Messina," Travelin' Prayer," Dolly Parton; "I Hope You Dance," Lee Ann Womack; "Real Live Woman," Trisha Yearwood. Have a little more Faith, please.

MALE COUNTRY VOCAL PERFORMANCE: "Solitary Man," Johnny Cash; "Feels Like Love," Vince Gill; "One Voice," Billy Gilman; "My Best Friend," Tim McGraw; and "A Thousand Miles From Nowhere," Dwight Yoakam. Yoakam's album is tops, but the 12-year-old Billy Gilman will win. Hey, people love kids.

COUNTRY PERFORMANCE BY A DUO OR GROUP WITH VOCALS: "Twentieth Century," Alabama; "Cherokee Maiden," Asleep at the Wheel; "You'll Always Be Loved by Me," Brooks & Dunn; "Woody's Roundup," Riders in the Sky; and "Jimmy's Got a Girlfriend," The Wilkinsons. It's a Dunn deal -- as in Brooks & Dunn.

BEST COUNTRY COLLABORATION WITH VOCALS: "Strong Enough," Sheryl Crowe and the Dixie Chicks; "When I Look Into Your Heart," Vince Gill and Amy Grant; "Let's Make Love," Faith Hill and Tim McGraw; "Walk Softly," Ricky Skaggs and the Dixie Chicks; "Murder on Music Row," George Strait and Alan Jackson. "Murder on Music Row" takes a few potshots at the industry's swing away from traditional country and is clearly the best and most significant of the songs nominated. But the husband-and-wife team of Hill and McGraw are sure things.

COUNTRY SONG: "Breathe" (performed by Faith Hill), Stephanie Bentley and Holly Lamar; "Feels Like Love" (Vince Gill), Gill; "I Hope You Dance" (Lee Ann Womack), Mark D. Sanders and Tia Sellers; "One Voice" (Billy Gilman), Don Cook and David Malloy; "The Way You Love Me" (Faith Hill), Michael Delaney and Keith Follese. Two of Hill's songs are in the running, but place your bets on "Breathe."

Jerry Sharpe covers country music for the Post-Gazette.

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