2007-02-15 / Front Page

Hillary Lindsey wins Grammy

'Jesus Take the Wheel' provides 'intense' experience

Hillary Lindsey accepts her Grammy Award for Best Country Song along with co-writers Gordie Sampson and Brett James. Photo by Michael Caulfield/WireImage.com Hillary Lindsey accepts her Grammy Award for Best Country Song along with co-writers Gordie Sampson and Brett James. Photo by Michael Caulfield/WireImage.com Hillary Lindsey was "about to have a panic attack" as she and her co-writers waited through the announcements for 84 other categories at Sunday's 49th Annual Grammy Award presentations. Then they called her name as winner for Best Country Song.

It was her first Grammy and the only Grammy ever won by a native of Washington, Georgia. She was thrilled and the whole town was thrilled with her.

"It was awesome. It was really really cool," she said as she prepared to return to her home in Nashville, Tenn. The enormity of it all had not quite sunk in and she knew it.

"It's still sort of surreal," she said, almost in disbelief. "It's crazy to think I'm a Grammy Award winner and it's hard to believe."

She remembered the time leading up to the announcement better than she remembers what happened after. The long wait during the program was "intense" and one of her co-writers told her that her eyes were crossing and he was worried about her a little bit.

She said she actually had to run to the stage in order to keep up with her co-writers, Brett James and Gordie Sampson, who were not wearing high heels. On stage, Hillary said she doesn't really remember what she said other than she mentioned her hometown of Washington and her mom and dad.

Mom and Dad are Ricky and Kathy Lindsey of Washington. Ricky is owner of Washington Ford Mercury, "The Ford Place" in town.

"It's really a dream come true. I can't believe it," Ricky said after the announcement was made. The family had gathered at the home of Hillary's younger sister, Lauren Fowler, in Statesboro to listen for the results on XM radio. "She got one. Now maybe she'll get another one ... who knows?!" Ricky added.

The winning song, "Jesus Take the Wheel," was written early in 2006 and began to be noticed when American Idol winner Carrie Underwood performed it in the fall of that year on her album Some Hearts. "Jesus Take the Wheel" spent six weeks at No. 1 on the charts and in 2006 was named Song of the Year by the Country Music Association and also by the Nashville Songwriters Association International.

In mid-December the song was nominated in two Grammy categories: Best Country Song and Song of the Year. The Dixie Chicks won for Song of the Year with their "Not Ready to Make Nice." But "Jesus Take the Wheel" was also a Grammy winner for Carrie Underwood

who got the prize for Best Female Country Vocal Performance.

"This is the culmination of many many years of dedication to her music," Ricky said of his daughter's accomplishment. "And she owes a lot of her success to her roots in Washington," he continued. "She still considers Washington her home and she loves this town. The support she has received from everybody here has really meant a lot to her."

Hillary will be performing in Washington this spring during the Festival of Music and Art in April.

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