For nearly eight years, the Kinleys - twins Jennifer and Heather - worked as waitresses and played music on the side, hoping they'd get their break.

Their reward came a couple of weeks ago when the duo was named Best New Group or Duo at the Academy of Country Music Awards."That was a pretty emotional time for us," Heather Kinley said during a phone call from Santa Ana, Calif. "It was a culmination of all the hard work."

"It was our first real chance for our dreams to come true," Jennifer Kinley said. "We had been watching award shows like that since we were kids and they were bigger than life then. They still are, but we were a part of this one."

The Kinleys will play the Dee Event Center in Ogden tonight. The sisters and their band will open the evening's bill that will top off with Clint Black. Trace Adkins will also perform this evening. The concert will begin at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $22.50 and can be purchased at the Dee Events Center box office, the Ogden City Mall and the Golden Spike Arena in Ogden or at all Smith'sTix outlets. Tickets are also available by phone at 801-626-8500, 467-TIXX or 1-800-888-TIXX.

The Kinleys' road to the Country Music Awards began in Philadelphia, Pa.

"Mom and dad always had some sort of music playing," Heather said. "They had a lot of '40s and '50s music. Then Jen and I got into the `Grease' soundtrack. I believe that's what sparked our interest in singing."

During the time when Jennifer sang Sandy's roles and Heather did her take on Rizzo, the girls discovered the Everly Brothers.

"It was their country roots that steered us toward country music," Heather said.

"The Judds became our idols," Jennifer said. "They inspired us to sing with each other."

Although Heather and Jennifer knew they wanted to land a record deal as soon as they could, the women took the old-fashioned route to getting signed.

"Our goals were taken one thing at a time," Heather said. "We would go from one show to the next. It was really an unspoken goal to get to the next step. We just knew we were serious."

"The next step for us, now, is to keep going," Jennifer said. "We are working continuously on improving our stage show. And we're starting to focus on what our next album is going to be like. That includes taking time to start writing songs."

"Another thing we look forward to is the next single," said Heather.

The Kinleys' debut album, "Just Between You and Me," was released Sept. 23, 1997. Since then, the album has spawned three singles - the Grammy-nominated "Please," which peaked on Billboard Magazine's country charts at No. 43, "Just Between You and Me," that reached No. 22 and the new single "Dance In the Boat," which was just released Monday.

And being the hands-on artists they profess to be, the women co-wrote five of the 10 songs on the album.

"Inspiration comes from topics that move me," Heather said. "When I see a story, it is sometimes autobiographical. But I also know that I'm writing a song that many different people will hear, so there has to be meaning for them, too.

"A number one single is definitely one of our aspirations. And we're still amazed at all that's happened in the last year."

Not only were the Kinleys nominated for and received the CMA award, the singers have appeared on television with Rosie O'Donnell and Regis & Kathy Lee and visited more than 170 radio stations nationwide.

"It's been crazy," Jennifer said. "I think the hardest part, at least for me, is to be out on the road, away from home. But the rewards are satisfying. It tells us something when people sing along with us and reach up to shake our hands at the end of a concert; or when people meet us and either cry or shake - something Heather and I did a few years ago."

As for sibling rivalry, the singers may have their quarrels, but both know they are a team.

"There was never any real competition between us," Heather said. "If something bad happens to one of us, it actually is a bad thing for us.

"Sure we fight like sisters and disagree - we're sisters, but we also can be brutally honest with each other and still respect each others' opinions."