An absent George Strait was named the top entertainer in country music last night (June 13) at the TNN & CMT Country Weekly Music Awards in Nashville, and shared three fan-voted awards with Alan J

An absent George Strait was named the top entertainer in country music last night (June 13) at the TNN & CMT Country Weekly Music Awards in Nashville, and shared three fan-voted awards with Alan Jackson for their duet, "Murder on Music Row." The pair won best single, song, and collaborative event for the track, which decries the lack of support of older country music styles.

"This song probably rubbed a few people wrong, but I'm glad there's still a lot of people out there that still like what it says," Jackson said. "I don't mean everything on country radio has to sound like Hank Williams, but maybe some now and then."

Jackson was the top award winner, winning six of the eight categories in which he was nominated. He was named best male vocalist, and won best album for "When Somebody Loves You" and best video for "www.memory." Faith Hill won for best female vocalist. The Dixie Chicks, who weren't present, won best duo/group.

"It's been a pretty good night so far," Jackson said. "I wish George [Strait] was here to say something." Strait also won the Impact Award, for expanding the influence of country music in other mediums. He has done a series of commercials for Chevrolet trucks.

Kathy Mattea won an award for charitable work named after late country humorist Minnie Pearl. She was one of the first country music artists to speak out about AIDS. "I really don't know what to say except to dedicate this to my friends who've died, and my father who is battling cancer now," said a tearful Mattea.

Vince Gill was also emotional as he received the Country Weekly Career Achievement Award, established by Country Weekly magazine last year to honor an artist who has made a lasting contribution to country music over 15 years or more. The first one went to Kenny Rogers.

"I was given some godly gifts," Gill said. "And I thought the only righteous thing to do with them was to share them. And I have for 44 years."

Pop singer Jewel sang along with John Michael Montgomery on his hit "The Little Girl," and young performer Jessica Andrews gave an impassioned performance of her breakthrough ballad "Who I Am." Cowboy singer Chris LeDoux made his first television appearance since a liver transplant in October, performing "For Your Love" with fellow singers Charlie Daniels and Keith Urban in the backup band. LeDoux demonstrated his fitness by riding a mechanical bull as part of the performance.

The event is one of three major awards shows featuring country music stars each year, and the only one in which fans vote for the winners. Thousands of fans in Nashville for the annual Fan Fair country music festival cheered on their heroes.

"It's fun," said singer Phil Vassar. "It's a lot more fun when you have a bunch of fans out there, instead of a bunch of music people in tuxes."


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