The 40th annual Country Music Association (CMA) Awards were presented November 6 in Nashville, Tennessee. Veterans and newcomers shared the spotlight on the stage of the Gaylord Entertainment Center.
The first honor presented at the 40th annual Country Music Association Awards went to the show's hosts Brooks and Dunn. The duo won the Single of the Year trophy for "Believe," one of several Country songs with spiritual themes that became big hits during the past year. "Believe" also brought Brooks and Dunn the Music Video of the Year award and the Song of the Year honor, which Ronnie Dunn shared with his co-writer Craig Wiseman. And, Brooks and Dunn took home their 14th CMA award for Vocal Duo of the Year.
For the fourth year-in-a-row, Rascal Flatts walked off with the Vocal Group of the Year award. The trio's latest album, Me and My Gang, is the best-selling Country album of 2006.
After moving to New York City in 2005, the Country Music Association Awards returned to Nashville for their 40th anniversary ceremony. And what a party it was. During the three-hour live telecast, many of today's biggest stars performed, including Brooks and Dunn, Vince Gill, Rascal Flatts, Martina McBride and Alan Jackson.
Noticeably absent from this year's CMA ceremony was multiple nominee Keith Urban, who recently entered a rehabilitation center for treatment of alcohol abuse. Keith was one of this year's most-nominated artists. He went into the race with mentions in the Single of the Year and Song of the Year categories, as well as Male Vocalist of the Year and Entertainer of the Year, an award he won in 2005. For the third year-in-a-row, Keith was named Male Vocalist of the Year.
Among the highlights of the telecast was Kris Kristofferson's presentation of this year's Country Music Hall of Fame inductees. They included producer and musician Harold Bradley, legendary singer Sonny James and George Strait.
During the past year, newcomer Carrie Underwood went from winning the 2005 "American Idol" title to becoming a multi-million-selling Country star. The first-time CMA nominee won two trophies, the Horizon Award (honoring career growth in the preceding 12 months) and Female Vocalist of the Year.
Brad Paisley also earned two awards. He shared the Musical Event of the Year honor with Country legend Dolly Parton for their duet "When I Get Where I'm Going." The song appears on Brad's latest album Time Well Wasted, which brought him this year's CMA award for Album of the Year.
The 40th annual Country Music Association Awards ended up with Kenny Chesney being crowned this year's Entertainer of the Year. Kenny's latest album The Road and the Radio includes "Summertime," which earned him a Single of the Year nomination.