Annal: 2003 Grammy Award for Best Country Album

Results of the Grammy Award in the year 2003.

Album:Livin', Lovin', Losin'

Livin', Lovin', Losin': Songs of the Louvin Brothers

Various Artists

Given their impact on generations of country, country-rock, and bluegrass acts, it’s amazing the Louvins haven’t had a modern tribute before. Unlike tribute albums that stumble through inconsistent performances and ill-matched material, this one soars, the selections well matched to the paired artists. Joe Nichols and Rhonda Vincent capture “Cash on the Barrelhead’s” sassy humor. Emmylou Harris—who spearheaded the Louvin revival—and Rodney Crowell are relaxed on the Louvin hit “My Baby’s Gone.” Merle Haggard and the album’s producer Carl Jackson capture the…

Album:Cry

Cry

Faith Hill

Faith Hill finally owns up to what we knew all along. She may be from deep-dish Mississippi, but she isn’t a country singer, and never has been. This babe’s a diva now. And, as she says in her best Diana Ross voice on “Free,” “There ain’t nothin’ I can do about it.” But what she could exercise some control over, as the coproducer of her fifth studio album, is the quality and style of her particular brand of über-pop, which on Cry considerably ratchets up the noise factor from 1999’s Breathe. The songs, many written by tunesmiths long working…

Album:Live and Kickin'

Live and Kickin'

Willie Nelson, Various Artists

The great Willie Nelson tends to either thrill or sorely disappoint, depending on the kinds of projects he takes on—and his decision to be either a musician or a celebrity. This live recording, culled from his 2003 USA Network concert event, unfortunately falls into the latter category, and Nelson sounds as if he arrived just before show time and plunged in without rehearsing. On the album’s opener, “I Didn’t Come Here (And I Ain’t Leavin’),” almost everything is wrong—the chorines, the overwhelming bigness of the production, and most troublesome, Nelson’s…

Album:My Baby Don't Tolerate

My Baby Don't Tolerate

Lyle Lovett

Maybe it was that thigh-splitting encounter with a belligerent bull, but whatever put him there, Lyle Lovett is in a nostalgic mood on My Baby Don’t Tolerate, his first studio album of all new and original songs since the country-minded The Road to Ensenada in 1996. This is a mixed blessing—several songs sound like retreads from Lovett’s earlier efforts, even as a listener welcomes the reprised syncopated, hep cat, Louis Jordan-meets-Sister Rosetta Tharpe signatures that help define his quirky style. While a key tune, “In My Own Mind,” turns around…

Album:Run That By Me One More Time

Run That By Me One More Time

Willie Nelson, Ray Price

In September of 1961, Ray Price was a superstar and Willie Nelson was his bass player. As part of Price’s Cherokee Cowboys, Willie played on Price’s pioneering Bob Wills tribute LP San Antonio Rose. Twenty years later, after Willie had become superstar in his own right, the two re-teamed for a second San Antonio Rose, this one a set of honky-tonk and Western swing duets that yielded two Top 10 singles. Twenty-two years after that release, they’re back for yet another exquisite, relaxed romp through the same Texas-Southwestern axis. The tunes are…

Album:Up!

Up!

Shania Twain

Give Shania Twain points for honesty. Up!, her first new release in five years, offers both pop and country versions of the same 19 songs, the red disc boasting pop renditions while the green proffers country. It’s a smart idea, since it allows Twain the freedom to dress a song in whatever arrangements and instrumentation she pleases—without setting herself up for criticism as to whether Canada’s Queen of the Bare Midriff spat on the Holy Grail of Nashville. Often, the only difference is the substitution of pedal steel, fiddle, and banjo for…

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