There’s nothing like a killer voice and knockout punch at the cash register to win Grammy voters’ hearts, and that’s what 14-year-old LeAnn Rimes pulled together in winning best new artist and female country vocal awards for herself and the country song award for Bill Mack, the composer of her crossover hit “Blue.”
Rimes’ show-stopping vocal, complete with yodels, had “classic” stamped on it from the get-go. The extra nod to Mack for his 30-year-old tune, written with Patsy Cline in mind, seems more a reflection of Rimes’ amazing singing than of the song’s inherent lyrical or musical virtues.
Where voters may have given in to sentiment in that category, they zeroed in on the clear standout in the country album field with Lyle Lovett’s “The Road to Ensenada,” a characteristically insight-filled Lovett work that probably was the least commercially successful in the batch.
Vince Gill maintained his lock on any vocal categories he touches, taking male vocal for the poignant heartbreak ballad “Worlds Apart” and winning in best collaboration (with Alison Krauss & Union Station) on his paean to bluegrass music, “High Lonesome Sound.”