Lucky Lindsey

The brightness of Grammy Awards night shone a ray of light in the CSRA on Sunday.

That's because a talented ray of light of our own - Wilkes County's own Hillary Lee Lindsey - won the coveted recording honor for Best Country Song, for co-writing the hit Jesus, Take the Wheel.

"As a little girl, my daddy kept telling me, 'One day you're gonna win a Grammy,' " Hillary said in a phone interview Saturday.

"And she did," a jubilant Ricky Lindsey said Sunday. "And she's got plenty of more."

He could be right. It's not like Hillary's songs haven't been sung by big-name artists before - Martina McBride, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Lee Ann Womack.

Can we be more proud of such a promising homegrown talent? Well, possibly so - when we write the editorial about the next Grammy that Hillary wins.

Jesus, Take the Wheel so impressed Grammy judges that the song's performer, singing star Carrie Underwood, won an award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for her rendition.

The song tells of a troubled young woman and a frightening moment in her life that couldn't have taken more than 30 seconds in real time. But the beautiful song explores the young mother's circumstances in common country music themes - lonesomeness, despondency, tragedy, survival, spiritual redemption.

It's a powerful song.

So powerful, in fact, that Hillary's hit could have gotten the Song of the Year Grammy, too.

Unfortunately, the judges were too busy whistling Dixie. As in Chicks.

That's who got Song of the Year. The same group who raised the hackles of untold patriotic Americans with their outspoken - most would say needlessly spoken - comments against President Bush and the Iraq war.

Their song that won? Not Ready to Make Nice, the Chicks' music-enhanced polemic about the backlash they received as a result of their unpopular war stance. As the title makes clear, they haven't changed a bit.

Whatever. It's much more of a pleasure to dwell on what was good about the Grammys - that a girl from Washington-Wilkes High School can pull down some of the hottest hardware the entertainment industry can bestow on an artist.

One fun part of this is that you may have seen an actual Grammy winner perform in your own back yard. Maybe you saw Hillary sing at First United Methodist Church in Washington. Maybe you glimpsed her during a Kiwanis Club-sponsored talent event.

And if any of you remember seeing the state 4-H Club's Clover and Company arts group perform the musical compilation I've Got the Music In Me in 1992, chances are you saw Hillary take the stage.

It's interesting that one of America's newest Grammy winners can't read music. Ah, well. The same goes for another CSRA Grammy winner - James Brown.

"Seems like you create music from the heart when it resonates from your soul - minus the music notes," Hillary said.

However she does it, we're the better for hearing her music.

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