The late Johnny Cash dominated the Country Music Association (CMA) Awards last night (Nov. 5) in Nashville, winning three awards for work done in the last year of his life. The nationally televised ev

The late Johnny Cash dominated the Country Music Association (CMA) Awards last night (Nov. 5) in Nashville, winning three awards for work done in the last year of his life. The nationally televised event also featured a touching tribute to the late "man in black."

Cash won album of the year for his American/Lost Highway studio set "American IV: The Man Comes Around" and single and music video of the year for his version of Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt." The album honor gave Cash his third victory in the album of the year category; the others came in 1967 and 1968.

In a honky-tonk driven show, the entertainer of the year honor went to Alan Jackson, who also won the award last year. Jackson also won male vocalist of the year and vocal event of the year for his duet with Jimmy Buffett, "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere."

Martina McBride won the female vocalist of the year honor.

The Horizon Award went to Joe Nichols, while Brooks & Dunn won vocal duo of the year. Randy Scruggs took musician of the year honors, and song of the year was "Three Wooden Crosses," written by Doug Johnson and Kim Williams. The song was recorded by Randy Travis, who took it to No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.

Toby Keith, who led the field with seven nominations, was shut out completely.

Also failing to win despite a successful tour this year were the Dixie Chicks, who lost to Rascal Flatts for the vocal group award. However, the three-member Rascal Flatts group surprised the audience by insisting on giving the trophy to the fellow nominee, retiring veteran country group Alabama, which they said deserved it more.

Cash, who died on Sept. 12 at the age of 71, had been nominated for four awards. A thunderous ovation greeted the musical tribute to him, which included renditions of his hit songs by Kris Kristofferson, Sheryl Crow, Willie Nelson, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Travis Tritt and Hank Williams Jr.

Backstage in the media room, John Carter Cash raised his father's awards over his head, saying "To the very end, he always stayed true to what he believed was right. This is not just about the music. It's about who he was as a human."

In response to questions about the period in which the Nashville labels dropped him when his sales were off, he responded that his father had not been bitter. During that period, Cash went on to make music with producer Rick Rubin for American Recordings.

Although women were largely ignored except for all female categories, they turned in noteworthy performances. Dolly Parton joined Norah Jones in a duet on "The Grass Is Blue" and Shania Twain dazzled the audience with "She's Not Just a Pretty Face."


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