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The Dixie Chicks latest CD, Taking the Long Way, was named Album of the Year by USA TODAY in its Dec. 26 Year in Review.

"It was a calculated risk that paid off," wrote the national newspaper. The USA TODAY reviewers noted that even though the group had alienated many country fans with their 2003 anti-President Bush statements, they defiantly forged ahead with an album that did not beg for forgiveness. "But throngs of new fans . . . were enthralled by the stance and, more important, the rich, textured music the trio and producer Rick Rubin cooked up," the story adds.

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