'O Brother,' McGraw Top CMAs

It was a red, white, and bluegrass night at the 35th Country Music Association (CMA) Awards in Nashville, with the soundtrack to "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" winning two awards during a show steeped i

It was a red, white, and bluegrass night at the 35th Country Music Association (CMA) Awards in Nashville, with the soundtrack to "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" winning two awards during a show steeped in patriotism. Tim McGraw won the best entertainer last night (Nov. 7) at the Grand Ole Opry House, while Toby Keith was named best male vocalist and Lee Ann Womack won best female vocalist. All were first-time winners in their categories.

In any other year, the success of the "O Brother" soundtrack, which won best album and single for "I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow," would have been the talk of the show. The album has sold more than 2 million copies and features bluegrass, blues, mountain, and other traditional American music. While it received little radio airplay, the soundtrack benefited from a hit movie starring George Clooney, and has topped Billboard's Top Country Albums chart for 24 non-consecutive weeks.

But this year the CMA Awards weren't really focused on who won awards. From the opening number, "Only in America," by Brooks & Dunn, to the sing-a-long closer "America the Beautiful," the show was all about responding to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

America needed "all the red, white and blue we can get these days," said Vince Gill, hosting the event for the 10th straight year. "In times like these, we need music more. It's always such a huge part of our American heritage. Throughout history, music has always lifted our spirits in times of struggle."

The Dixie Chicks performed a new ballad "Travelin' Soldier," addressing the events of Sept. 11 and Alan Jackson debuted his song, "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)," which he wrote after the attacks. "Did you go to the church and hold hands with some strangers, or stand in line and give your own blood," Jackson sang. "Faith, hope, and love are some good things [God] gave us, and the greatest is love."

Other performers included Garth Brooks teaming up with George Jones for their rollicking hit single "Beer Run," and Willie Nelson and pop star Sheryl Crow, who sang a reggae-tinged number, "I'll Be There for You."

Brooks & Dunn took home their ninth award for best duo, and Horizon Award winner Keith Urban became the first Australian to take home a CMA trophy since Olivia Newton-John in 1974. Guitarist Dan Huff was named musician of the year, and Lonestar was named best group. "We are so proud to be part of country music," said the group's Dean Sams. "Thanks for letting us be a part of what's healing this country right now."

Here is a list of winners for the 35th CMA Awards:

Entertainer of the year: Tim McGraw
Female vocalist of the year: Lee Ann Womack
Male vocalist of the year: Toby Keith
Horizon Award: Keith Urban
Single of the year: "I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow," the Soggy Bottom Boys featuring Dan Tyminski (T. Bone Burnett, producer)
Album of the year: "O Brother, Where Art Thou?," various artists (T. Bone Burnett, producer)
Vocal group of the year: Lonestar
Vocal duo of the year: Brooks & Dunn
Music video of the year: "Born to Fly" by Sara Evans (Peter Zavadil, director)
Song of the year: "Murder on Music Row" by Larry Cordle and Larry Shell (Pier Five Music, Wandachord Music, Shell Point Music, publishers)
Vocal event of the year: "Too Country" by Brad Paisley, George Jones, Bill Anderson, and Buck Owens
Musician of the year: Dan Huff

For more information, including the winners of the CMA's broadcast awards for radio stations and personalities, visit the official CMA Awards Web site.

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