George Strait wins the big one at the CMAs

In his final two years of touring George Strait returned to the CMA Awards yesterday evening to be named Entertainer of the Year. It was his third win in the category, but his first since 1990. The 61-year-old Texan is retiring from touring and is currently involved in his The Cowboy Rides Away tour. “This blows me away,” he said as he accepted the award. “This means the world to me, I appreciate it. Thank you.” Fellow Texan Miranda Lambert won her fourth straight Female Vocalist of the Year Award while her husband, Blake Shelton, won Album Of The Year and Male Vocalist—a category he also won for the fourth year in a row. “I really didn’t think this was going to happen this year,” Lambert said before thanking each of the other nominees. The husband and wife have been favourites of the CMA’s 6,000 voters for the last three years and Wednesday was no different. Shelton’s Album Of The Year win for BASED ON A TRUE STORY… was a bit of a surprise, a year after taking entertainer of the year. “I had mentioned earlier today that if there was an award that would mean the most to me tonight, it would be Album of the Year,” said Shelton. Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley scored single and vocal duo of the year. Their quick tally was more proof the so-called bro country movement is the sound of the moment in mainstream country. FGL kicked off the show performing a fist-pumping medley with Luke Bryan, and very quickly returned to the stage to take the trophy for single of the year for their Cruise remix featuring Nelly. They also played their new song, Round Here. Meanwhile, Kacey Musgraves—who, along with Taylor Swift, led all nominees with six—won the New Artist Trophy, beating a field including Florida Georgia Line. With smart songwriting, a progressive bent and a strong sense of self like country’s other top women, Musgraves made an auspicious mainstream country debut this year with her album SAME TRAILER DIFFERENT PARK. “This first year for me has just been indescribable,” said Musgraves, who set a record for nominations for a woman in her first year on the show. Taylor Swift later performed a sombre, acoustic version of her hit Red with Vince Gill, Alison Krauss and Sam Bush and was given the CMA’s Pinnacle Award. The award goes to artists who take country music to a worldwide audience. Garth Brooks is the only previous winner. He won in 2005. The CMA brought a star-studded welcoming group out on stage for Swift that included George Strait, Rascal Flatts, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Keith Urban and Brad Paisley—all of whom gave Swift a chance to open for them on the road as a teenager. A video salute followed with appearances by Justin Timberlake, Julia Roberts, Reese Witherspoon, Ellen DeGeneres, Carly Simon, Ethel Kennedy and Mick Jagger—whose appearance made Swift shout. Accepting the award, the 23-year-old Swift said: “You’ve made me fell so special right now, thank you.” George Strait and Alan Jackson joined together to salute the late George Jones with a rendition of She Stopped Loving Him Today. And in one of the night’s most anticipated moments, Kenny Rogers received the CMA’s Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award and was saluted by Jennifer Nettles, Rucker and Rascal Flatts. Rogers sat on stage and mouthed along as Rascal Flatts sang Just Dropped In (to See What Condition My Condition Is In), the crowd helped Rucker sing The Gambler and Nettles and Rogers finished the tribute by singing Islands in the Stream. “It’s been a hell of a month,” Rogers said. “The (Country Music) Hall of Fame last week, this this week. I can’t wait to see what’s coming next week.” CMA 2013 Award Winners Entertainer of year: George strait Male Vocalist: Blake Shelton Female Vocalist: Miranda Lambert Album of the Year: BASED ON A TRUE STORY – Blake Shelton Single of the Year: I Drive Your Truck – Lee Brice Song of the Year: Cruise – Florida Georgia Line Duo of the Year: Florida Georgia Line Group: Little Big Town Best New Artist: Kacey Musgraves Musician of the Year: Mac MacAnally Video of Year: Highway Don’t Care – Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift and Keith Urban Vocal event of Year: Highway Don’t Care – Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift and Keith Urban

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