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40th Annual CMA Awards


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2006 CMA Awards Nominees Announced

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Brooks & Dunn earned six CMA Award Nominations

with Ronnie Dunn leading with seven total

Stick a fork in the CMA Award nominations--they're Dunn. Brooks & Dunn and Brad Paisley were both nominated for six Country Music Association Awards, but Ronnie Dunn emerged as the leader with seven nominations, including one for the group's inspirational song "Believe."

The CMA Awards, which were held in New York City for the first time last year, return to their Nashville home on Monday, November 6 to celebrate their 40th anniversary. The show will air on ABC at 8 p.m.

Both Paisley and Brooks & Dunn were nominated for Entertainer of the Year, Single of the Year and Album of the Year, among other nominations. For Paisley, who was nominated for six Academy of Country Music Awards earlier this year, the CMA nominations underscore his hot streak.

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Brad Paisley received six CMA Award Nominations

"It has felt like a really good year, and getting these nominations, it feels really good because it feels like (I've) sort of grown into these clothes a little more, and that to me is one of the greatest feelings I've ever had," Paisley said in a phone interview with The Associated Press.

Other multiple nominees included Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban and "American Idol" winner Carrie Underwood, who had four nominations each. Rascal Flatts and Dolly Parton, who sang with Paisley on his tear-jerker hit, "When I Get Where I'm Going," were both nominated for three awards.

Both "Believe" and "When I Get Where I'm Going" are tunes that reference the afterlife and a person's waning moments on Earth; both were nominated for Single of the Year as well.

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Carrie Underwood earned four CMA nominations

"I think it's something that really relates to people who have ever lost someone," Paisley said of his song. "It really captures that universal emotion that you're trying to catch, that you really want people to share with people when you are singing it."

Other nominees for Single of the Year include Carrie Underwood's "Jesus Take the Wheel," Kenny Chesney's "Summertime" and "Better Life" by Keith Urban. The nominees for the songwriter's award in the Song of the Year category are "8th of November," by Big & Rich and "Believe," by Craig Wiseman and Ronnie Dunn.

Other Song of the Year nominations include "Jesus Take the Wheel," written by Hillary Lindsey, Brett James and Gordie Sampson; "Tonight I Wanna Cry," written by Urban and Monty Powell and "When I Get Where I'm Going," by Rivers Rutherford and George Teren.

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Hall of Fame Inductee George Strait

Harold Bradley will be inducted into the 2006 Hall of Fame in the "Recording and/or Touring Musician Active Prior to 1980" category, which is awarded every third year in a rotation with the "Career Achieved National Prominence Prior to World War II" and "Non-Performer" categories.

Sonny James will be inducted into the 2006 Hall of Fame in the "Career Achieved National Prominence Between World War II and 1975" category. George Strait will be the second artist inducted into the 2006 Hall of Fame in the "Career Achieved National Prominence Between 1975 and the Present" category, which was created last year.

Nominees in the first five categories were announced by Paisley and Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland, another CMA nominee, live on ABC's "Good Morning America" in New York. The rest of the nominees were announced later in the morning by Jason Aldean and Little Big Town in Nashville, Tennessee.

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Rascal Flatts garnered three 2006 CMA nominations

Nominees for Album of the Year are Brooks & Dunn for "Hillbilly Deluxe," Rascal Flatts for "Me and My Gang," Alan Jackson for "Precious Memories," Brad Paisley for "Time Well Wasted" and Kenny Chesney for "The Road and the Radio."

Nominees for Female Vocalist of the Year are Carrie Underwood, Gretchen Wilson, Faith Hill, Sara Evans and Martina McBride. For Male Vocalist of the Year, the nominees are Dierks Bently, Alan Jackson, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban and Kenny Chesney.

Besides Sugarland, nominees for Vocal Group include Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas, Little Big Town, Lonestar and Rascal Flatts. The male-centric field of nominees for Entertainer of the Year include Rascal Flatts, Brooks & Dunn, Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley and last year's winner, Keith Urban.

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Horizon Award Nominee Miranda Lambert

Miranda Lambert, nominated for the Horizon Award last year, was again nominated for that award, which celebrates the breakthrough of an emerging artist. Other nominees include Little Big Town, Josh Turner, Sugarland, also nominated last year, and Carrie Underwood, who made her triple-platinum debut last year.

Nettles was also nominated for musical event of the year for her duet with Bon Jovi on "Who Says You Can't Go Home," which made Bon Jovi the first rock band to have a No. 1 hit on the country charts. Nettles said that song boosted the success of Sugarland overall.

"That whole thing was such a gift," she said. "It was a win-win situation, where Bon Jovi fans can become Sugarland fans and Sugarland fans become Bon Jovi fans. . . . I think it's a definite testimony to the state of country music, it's just an exciting time to be a part of it."

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Country Awards Come Home to Nashville

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Sara Evans

After one year in New York, the 2006 Country Music Association Awards Show is coming home to Music City, where it will be met by enough drama for a sad country song. Brooks & Dunn and Brad Paisley are the night's leading nominees.

However, much of the off-stage talk at Monday's 40th Annual Country Music Association Awards will likely be about two of its high-profile nominees: Sara Evans and Keith Urban. Evans is going through a very messy divorce. Urban checked himself into rehab last month for alcohol abuse.

Evans dropped out of the reality TV show, "Dancing with the Stars" and filed for a divorce a few weeks ago, alleging that her husband committed adultery, was verbally and emotionally abusive, drank excessively and frequently watched pornography in their home.

Her husband, Craig Schelske, denied the allegations in court papers and said Evans filed for the divorce a day after he discovered her "intimate relationship" with another man and the two argued about it. Evans, 35, is nominated for female vocalist of the year and is scheduled to attend the awards show.

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Keith Urban

Urban, however, is not expected to be there. He cancelled his CMA appearance after announcing last month that he had checked into a rehabilitation treatment center. The revelation came less than four months after the Grammy-winning singer's marriage to actress Nicole Kidman.

Urban is nominated for four 2006 Country Music Association awards. He is nominated in the categories of Entertainer of the Year, Single of the Year for "Better Life," Song of the Year for "Tonight I Wanna Cry" and Male Vocalist of the Year.

Brooks & Dunn and Paisley each have six nominations. Both are nominated for Entertainer of the Year, Single of the Year and Album of the Year, among other awards. Other multiple nominees included Kenny Chesney and "American Idol" winner Carrie Underwood with four each and Rascal Flatts and Dolly Parton with three apiece.

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Dolly Parton

All three of Parton's nods come for her vocals on Paisley's hit, "When I Get Where I'm Going." The song is one of three spiritual tunes up for awards, the others being "Believe" by Brooks & Dunn and Underwood's "Jesus Take the Wheel." All three are nominated for Single of the Year along with "Summertime" by Chesney and "Better Life" by Urban.

Contemporary superstar George Strait will be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame during the show. Strait, 54, broke onto the charts in 1981 with "Unwound" and is still having hits, including his latest, "It Just Comes Natural."

The 40th Annual Country Music Association Awards, which were held in New York City for the first time last year, will air on Monday, November 6 from Nashville at 8 p.m. EST on ABC. The nominees and winners are determined by the 6,000 members of the Country Music Association.

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A Nashville native born January 2, 1926, Bradley and his older brother Owen (who was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1974) grew up to become instrumental in both Country Music and Nashville's music history.

Fascinated early on with the banjo, Bradley took his brother's advice and began learning guitar. He became so skilled with the guitar that he toured with Ernest Tubb and the Texas Troubadours during the summer between his junior and senior years in high school.

After graduation and service with the U.S. Navy, Bradley studied music at George Peabody College in Nashville while playing guitar for artists on the Grand Ole Opry. His first Country Music recording session was in Chicago in 1946 with Pee Wee King and the Golden West Cowboys.

As recording increased in Nashville, Bradley grew to become one of the busiest studio musicians in town, playing rhythm, lead and/or bass guitar as well as banjo. He was known for creating the "tic-tac" style of muting bass notes for the bass guitar.

In the late 1940s, Bradley and his brother, Owen, built Nashville's first recording facility, Castle Recording Studio. This studio lasted until 1955 when the brothers built a larger facility capable of stereo recordings known as the Bradley Film and Recording Studios on Sixteenth Avenue South in Nashville.

This was the first music studio on what would eventually be known as "Music Row." Because so many Country and pop hits were being recorded at the Bradley Studio, Columbia Records eventually bought it in 1962 and built their record label around it.

Through the years, Bradley became the most recorded guitar player in history and would come to be known as "the Dean of Nashville Session Guitarists." As one of the original "A Team" studio musicians of Nashville, his musical talents were heard on such recordings as "Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy" by Red Foley and "Do the Hokey Pokey" by Ray Anthony.

Bradley's talent could also be heard on "Ballad of New Orleans" by Johnny Horton; "Jingle Bell Rock" by Bobby Helms; "I'm Sorry" by Brenda Lee; "Crazy" by Patsy Cline; "Only the Lonely" by Roy Orbison and "King of the Road" by Roger Miller.

Other recordings include "Big Bad John" by Jimmy Dean; "Make The World Go Away" by Eddy Arnold and "Harper Valley PTA" by Jeannie C. Riley; "Stand By Your Man" by Tammy Wynette; "Coal Miner

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Born James Hugh Loden on May 1, 1929 in Hackleburg, Alabama (95 miles northwest of Birmingham), the boy who would grow up to be known as "The Southern Gentleman" was raised on a 300-acre farm. Both of his parents were musicians and his older sister, Thelma, was a singer and guitarist.

With such a musical household, the family regularly performed together on Saturday nights at the homes of friends, incorporating young James at age 3 by teaching him to sing and play a homemade mandolin made from a molasses bucket.

In 1933, the Loden Family began performing on the radio each Saturday on WMSD/Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The family also won a Mid South Champion Band contest, with the top prize being a two week performance stint on WAPI/Birmingham, Alabama.

Kate Smith, who was the headlining artist for the contest, held the young Loden backstage, giving him a silver dollar while telling him he would have a bright future in the entertainment business. This proved to be wise words from one entertainment legend to a young child who would grow up to become one himself.

The Loden Family, who by now had added young Ruby Palmer on vocals and bass, performed around the South, building a reputation in the region. They became regular performers on KLCN/Blytheville, Arkansas before moving on to stations in Greenwood and Columbus, Mississippi. After a stint at WJDX/Jackson, Mississippi, they moved to WNOX/ Knoxville, Tennessee in the mid-1940s.

The Loden Family performed on the daily "Midday Merry-Go-Round" and Saturday night "Tennessee Barn Dance" radio shows. At WNOX, they were part of a talent roster that at various times included Chet Atkins, Archie Campbell, Bill and Cliff Carlisle, Lost John Miller with his banjo player Earl Scruggs and Johnny Wright.

In 1946, the Loden Family moved to WPTF/Raleigh, North Carolina, where James roomed with Atkins. In 1949, they moved briefly to WSGN/Birmingham, Alabama before heading to WMPS/Memphis, Tennessee. After Thelma and Ruby both left the band to get married, the family retired from performing and moved back to Hackleburg to open a clothing store.

Loden joined the National Guard and finished high school before briefly performing with a friend on WHBQ/Memphis, Tennessee. In September 1950, he was called up to become a member of the first National Guard troops sent to Korea for the Korean Conflict.

While in Korea, Loden began seriously writing songs while playing both the guitar and fiddle. After two years overseas, Loden returned home and moved to Nashville where he looked up his former roommate Atkins who had become an established recording artist and session musician.

Atkins later secured an audition for Loden with Capitol Records' producer Ken Nelson, leading to a recording contract, a new stage name of Sonny James, which was based on Loden's teenage nickname and a new tagline

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Born May 18, 1952 in Poteet, Texas and raised in nearby Pearsall, Strait was the son of a junior high school teacher, who owned and operated a ranch that had been in his family for nearly 100 years. Growing up, he spent his weekdays in town and his weekends on the ranch outside Big Wells, Texas. Although he joined a garage rock band as a teenager, his musical preference was traditional Country.

After graduating high school in the late '60s and briefly attending college, Strait married his high school sweetheart, Norma. Enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1971, he moved to Hawaii two years later where he began playing Country Music with an Army-sponsored group called Rambling Country, which also played some dates off-base under the name, Santee.

After leaving the Army in 1975, Strait returned to Texas and enrolled in Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, where he graduated in 1979 with a degree in agriculture. While there he formed his Country band, Ace in the Hole. The band recorded a few albums for an independent label in Dallas in the late '70s, but had little success.

In 1979, Strait became friends with Erv Woolsey, a Texas club owner and former MCA Records employee. Woolsey invited MCA executives to watch Strait perform and in 1980 Strait was signed to MCA Records with Woolsey as his manager. Strait's debut single "Unwound" from his first album, "Strait Country," was released in 1981 and became a Top 10 hit.

Astonishingly, Strait has had at least one single hit the Top 10 every year since 1981. With songs including "If You're Thinking You Want a Stranger (There's One Coming Home)," "Fool Hearted Memory," "Amarillo By Morning," "You Look So Good in Love," "The Fireman" and "The Chair."

Other hit singles in the Top 10 include "Nobody in His Right Mind Would've Left Her," "Ocean Front Property," "All My Ex's Live in Texas," "You Know Me Better Than That," "If I Know Me" and "Love Without End, Amen," among others.

Strait established a reputation for consistently recording songs influenced by honkytonk and Western swing traditions. He also began co-producing his albums from 1984 onward, starting with his fourth album, "Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind."

Strait maintained his family's ranching traditions as well as his love of team roping by launching the George Strait Team Roping Classic in 1983. The annual event has grown to become among the largest and most prestigious open ropings on the circuit, regularly hosting the most prestigious names in the sport.

Strait, who is a card-carrying member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, remains an avid outdoorsman and an expert horseman. In 1992, Strait landed the lead role of the movie, "Pure Country," which brought him attention from new audiences.

His first box set, the four-disc, "Strait Out of the Box," was released in 1995 and within a year had become one of the five biggest-selling box sets in popular music history. He continued to record hit songs including "I Cross My Heart," "Carrying Your Love With Me," "Blue Clear Sky," "I Just Want To Dance With You," "Check Yes or No" and "Write This Down."

More hit songs are "She'll Leave You With A Smile," "The Best Day" as well as many more. "50 Number One Hits" was released in 2004, compiling the rare achievement of his first 50 No. 1 songs, as well as his 51st, "I Hate Everything," on two CDs. The project was a strong seller, eventually certified as 6x multi-Platinum by the RIAA.

In addition to conquering radio and sales charts, Strait became one of Country Music's top concert attractions of all time, with his appearances selling out auditoriums and frequently setting new attendance records. From 1997 to 2001, he assembled the "George Strait Country Music Festival," a day-long musical event, which packed stadiums around the nation.

Each year featured an amazing lineup of Country Music artists taking the stage throughout the day before Strait closed the show each night including Kenny Chesney, Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, Tim McGraw and more. The huge and enthusiastic crowds served as a launching pad for the young artists who latter headlined tours of their own.

Strait continues to tour annually, selling out venues and thrilling audiences nationwide. As of 2006, 25 years after releasing his debut single, Strait remains a dominant force in Country Music with sales exceeding 62 million albums. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has certified Strait with 13 multi-Platinum, 30 Platinum and 33 Gold albums.

According to the RIAA, he has received more Gold albums than any other artist in Country Music and is currently tied with Frank Sinatra in eighth place for the most Gold albums of any artist in any musical genre.

Strait has received 16 CMA Awards, including two consecutive Entertainer of the Year nods in 1989 and 1990, as well as five Male Vocalist of the Year Awards in 1985, 1986, 1996, 1997 and 1998.

Strait won three Album of the Year Awards. They are "Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind" in 1985, "Blue Clear Sky" in 1996 and "Carrying Your Love With Me" in 1997. His most recent CMA Award was in 2005 for Musical Event of the Year for his performance with Lee Ann Womack on the song, "Good News, Bad News."

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I love Faith's reaction to Carry Underwear winning Best Female

First, let me admit my bias, I adore Carrie Underwood. With that said, even I was surprised to see her honored in that category pretty much her first year out of the box. Although Carrie did get one of the few standing ovations from the auditorium so it looks like the Country crowd has truly embraced her as one of their new talents.

I also want to applaud Carrie's acceptance speeches. I do think they were both humble and touching. I thought she blended the proper amount of "What a lucky girl I am" with a little "I'm not worthy" thrown in for good measure. I think even she couldn't believe her winning in the second category.

However, I really believe Faith Hill's reaction was played for comedy though. Faith knew she was on camera since she had a handheld camera with a single cameraman pointed in her general direction. Since she's a very savvy entertainer, I don't believe she would show her upset on camera even if she wasn't very happy down deep inside.

Speaking of Carrie again, I can't believe how much I loved her performance outfit all decked out in a striking silver micro mini. I thought she looked young, fresh and sexy. I just can't believe how high the stilettos are that most of the women are wearing these days on stage. How they walk let alone perform in those stripper shoes is beyond me.

Overall, I thought the show lacked a certain "it" moment. It was a nice show but nothing that either tore the house down or brought a tear to my eye. I suppose they were counting on Sara Evan's performance as that moment but it just didn't do it for me.

It was also abundantly clear they didn't edit anything for the West Coast feed. I couldn't believe what a long silent patch of dead air that happened in the middle of the awards. Apparently, someone either missed their cue or didn't realize how to properly stall for time if things weren't going well behind-the-scenes.

Plus, even though I adore Kris Kristofferson, his presentation of the Hall of Fame Inductees seemed dull and rather lackluster to me. It didn't seem to fit the honor of being named to such an esteem group of Country musicians or the years of their career in the entertainment industry.

Anyway, that's my review in a nutshell. I also think the awards went to the Rock 'n Roll tip a few too many times especially with Miranda Lambert's smashing of her guitar at the end of her performance ala The Who circa '60 and '70s.

B.S. Did anyone catch who Carrie Underwood's date was for the CMAs? He looked an awful lot like "American Idol's" Anthony Federov. Could it have been? If anyone caught it and knows the answer, please post! Thanks.

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Brooks & Dunn Dominate at the CMA Awards

by John Gerome

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Hosts Kix Brooks & Ronnie Dunn were the big winners at the 40th

Annual CMA Awards

NASHVILLE, Tennessee -- Kenny Chesney won entertainer of the year and Brooks & Dunn's inspirational song, "Believe" won three trophies, including single and song of the year, at the 40th Annual Country Music Association Awards Monday night.

"This year has in ways been the most emotionally satisfying year and also the most emotionally draining year of my life," said Chesney, referring to his tumultuous year spent in and out of tabloid headlines. Chesney also won the honor two years ago.

Chesney, who went through a high-profile marriage and split with actress Renee Zellweger last year, seemed touched by the night's highest honor. "There have been so many ups and downs, it's been like a huge emotional roller coaster ride."

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Kenny Chesney was named Entertainer of the Year

One of the night's more poignant moments came from a winner who wasn't even there

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Faith Hill Says CMA Freakout Was a Joke

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Faith Hill performs at the 2006 CMA Awards

Faith Hill insists she's no Kanye West. The country music superstar says she was just joking when cameras showed her screaming "WHAT?" in apparent anger when she lost the Female Vocalist of the Year award to newcomer Carrie Underwood at the "40th Annual Country Music Association Awards" ceremony Monday night in Nashville, Tennessee.

"The idea that I would act disrespectful towards a fellow musician is unimaginable to me," Hill said in a statement. "For this to become a focus of attention given the talent gathered is utterly ridiculous. Carrie is a talented and deserving Female Vocalist of The Year."

Media outlets and blogs zeroed in on Hill's reaction after Underwood's name was announced at the ceremony. While other nominees Sara Evans, Gretchen Wilson, Martina McBride gave the typical gracious loser smile, Hill, who was standing backstage, turned to the camera and shouted, "WHAT?"

Although her voice could not be heard, it was clear from her lips what she said. She looked visibly upset and then it looked as if she was storming off. However, Hill said it was all a joke and her manager, Gary Borman, echoed that.

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Carrie Underwood's joyous reaction to receiving the Female Vocalist of the Year Award

Borman released a press statement, "I've worked with Faith for many years now and the idea that she would ever insult or undermine another artist, let alone another human being's success is absolutely preposterous."

"Those who know Faith know that she's incapable of such actions," Borman continued to explain Hill's reaction in the prepared press release. "Faith was being playful while the nominations were being read and playful after."

Underwood also didn't take it seriously, according to her publicist, Jessie Schmidt, who said that Hill spoke to Underwood after the show and that the two were fine. Underwood, the 2005 "American Idol" champ, has become a triple platinum success since releasing her debut album late last year. Hill is a longtime darling of country music with crossover pop appeal.

This is the second time in less than a week that an awards show loss has resulted in an (apparent) on-camera freakout by a loser. Last week, Kanye West stormed the stage at the "MTV Europe Music Awards" and interrupted the speech of the winners, claiming his video deserved the honor.

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