by Sheri Boggs
Best Concert of the Past Year - The Dixie Chicks at the Arena
Ever since the Texas trio of Martie Seidel, Emily Robison and Natalie Maines hit the big-time scene, country music has never been the same. Their June 9 concert in the Spokane Arena last summer sold out weeks in advance, and the fact that the Dixie Chicks narrowly squeaked by the uber country couple of Faith Hill and Tim McGraw is proof that in the Inland Northwest, country seems to be king. And not the kind of country your grandpappy sang to driving the backcountry roads of the Palouse. We're talking power country, the strange musical love child of Country Themes (cheatin', dancin' and drinkin') and Rock Stylings (electric attitude and delivery). The Dixie Chicks made it cool for a lot of people to like country again, with their tousled bleached-blond 'dos and playful "chicks rule" stage personas. Incorporating fiddle, banjo and dobro into their seemingly effortless harmonies, the Chicks won the CMA's Entertainer of the Year Award in 2000 and the AMA's Favorite Band/Duo/Group Award this year. And now, even though they've surely never heard of The Inlander, they can add another honor to their list.
Second place: Faith Hill and Tim McGraw at the Arena
Third place: Dave Matthews Band at the Gorge
Best Local Band - Too Slim and the Taildraggers
Singer/songwriter Tim Langford, bassist Tom Grimm and drummer John Cage have been plying the denizens of the Spokane nightlife scene with their trademark blend of blues-and-rock for the past 16 years. And we just can't get enough of it. Winning this category two years ago, Too Slim is a big hit with Inlander readers. With a new CD, 9th Annual Sea Cruz, due out this July, Too Slim is also starting to beef up its spring and summer touring schedule.
Second place: Civilized Animal
Third place: The Randy Shaw Band
Best Arts Event of the Year - Art on the Green
It turns out there are few things we like better in the Inland Northwest than spending the day in the park. Winning the distinct honor of Best Arts Event of the Past Year is Coeur d'Alene's Art on the Green, which combines all the summery fun of a family picnic with one of the Northwest's finest arts festivals. More than 135 artists participated in this juried event, and the booths included watercolors, photography, carved wood, glass, oils, drawings, handwoven clothing and more. Artist demonstrations took place throughout the weekend, giving curious art lovers a chance to see how raku pottery is really made, or how a handful of fiber could be spun into yarn and then woven into a colorful throw. Live music was a big part of the weekend as well, with more than 15 acts, including Portland Taiko, Alex Bedini and Charlie Butts and the Filtertips. With food booths and plenty of room on the NIC campus for spreading out, Art on the Green was (and will be again this July) the perfect art outing for the entire family.
Second place: ArtFest
Third place: Art Walk in Sandpoint