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Darius Rucker takes the Grammy Award for Best Country Solo Performance

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By Phyllis Pollack

The Best Country Solo Performance at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards was presented to Darius Rucker for "Wagon Wheel," his high-spirited song about being a weed toking trucker.

The song is from Rucker’s True Believers album on Capitol Records Nashville.

Despite almost every "new country" format song on radio mentioning alcohol, Rucker's song has the line, "Walkin' to the south out of Roanoke, I caught a trucker out of Philly had a nice long toke, but he's a-heading west from the Cumberland gap."

Backstage at the Grammys, I asked Rucker if he had caught any flack for the song's mention of smoking cannabis.

By his response, it seemed obvious that Rucker knew he could have been risking losing radio airtime, given the largely conservative audience listening to country radio. However, Rucker wanted to take a chance, because he strongly believed in the song.

After all, the Dixie Chicks had been blacklisted for criticizing then President Bush abroad.

"Amazingly not," Rucker reflected. "They actually played it on radio. I didn't have any problems at all."

Rucker added, "Most people probably didn't even notice it."

Other nominated tracks in the Best Country Solo Album category were the weeper "I Drive Your Truck" about mourning the death of a brother, by Lee Brice, from his Hard To Love album on Curb Records; the upbeat pop single “I Want Crazy," an upbeat pop song by Hunter Hayes from his Hunter Hayes Encore album.

Also nominated was the quirky post break-up song "Mama's Broken Heart" by Miranda Lambert on the RCA Records Nashville label.

Other stiff competition in the category included Another contender in the category was the ballad "Mine Would Be You" by Blake Shelton's Based On A True Story, released by Warner Bros. Records.

Phyllis Pollack is reporting live from the Grammy Awards.

Follow Phyllis on Twitter.


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