Nov. 07--Even with the emergence of rising stars and the resurgence of venerable favorites, Tishomingo power couple Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert still came out winners at Wednesday night's CMA Awards.
Shelton was named the Country Music Association's male vocalist of the year for the fourth time, while his wife brought her streak in the female vocalist category to four, too.
"I really didn't think this one was gonna happen this year. I sit here every time, and I'm just so thankful to be here. I watch this category go by and I can't believe. I have to pinch myself," Lambert said, praising each of her fellow nominees.
Her spouse gratefully recounted his rise up country music's superstar ranks as he collected his hardware during the ceremony, which was broadcast live from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn., on ABC.
"I really swear I did not think this was gonna happen this year, but it did," he said. "Let me first thank my record label Warner Bros. because they have worked their butts off, man. We have been at the bottom before and somehow dug our way out and (now) I'm up here talking about this."
The Ada native also scored his first victory in the album of the year category for his chart-topping March release "Based on a True Story ... " He shared the award with his producer, Clinton native Scott Hendricks.
"I mentioned earlier today that if there was one award that would mean the most to me tonight, it would be album of the year," Shelton said. "Scott has contribute more to country music in the last, what, 20 years, than probably all of us in this room, man, combined."
Among the up-and-comers, singer-songwriter Kacey Musgraves was named new artist of the year, while Florida Georgia Line won single of the year for their breakout smash "Cruise," as well as vocal duo of the year. Lee Brice's emotional ode to a fallen soldier "I Drive Your Truck" won song of the year for writers Jessi Alexander, Connie Harrington and Jimmy Yeary.
Several august performers were honored as well. Longtime quartet Little Big Town was named vocal duo of the year, while Tim McGraw earned musical event and video of the year for "Highway Don't Care," his collaboration with Taylor Swift and Keith Urban.
Texas troubadour George Strait was visibly surprised when he received the top award, entertainer of the year. The star-studded crowd gave the King of Country Music -- who completed the first leg of his two-year farewell tour this year -- a raucous standing ovation.
"What? Oh my gosh, never in a million years. Thank you so much. My dad's been having some pretty good conversations up there I have to say," he said, casting his eyes upward. "You guys that were nominated are so powerful, such powerful entertainers, I'm just so thrilled even to be nominated again."
Strait, who notched his 60th No. 1 single just before his 61st birthday in May, also participated in two of the show's big tributes. He and Alan Jackson sang "He Stopped Loving Her Today" in honor of George Jones, who died in April.
Plus, Strait, Urban, McGraw, Faith Hill, Brad Paisley and Rascal Flatts helped present Swift with the Pinnacle Award for "an artist who has achieved both national and international prominence through concert performances and record sales at levels unique in country music." Swift became just the second recipient of the Pinnacle Award; the first was Oklahoman Garth Brooks in 2005, when the prize was created.
In addition, Rascal Flatts (which includes Picher-bred guitarist Joe Don Rooney), Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles and Darius Rucker paid homage to newly inducted Country Music Hall of Famer Kenny Rogers, who garnered the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award.
Checotah native Carrie Underwood and Paisley co-hosted the CMA Awards for the sixth straight year, and both superstars performed on the show in addition to delivering funny comedy bits about Obamacare, country music feuds and Lambert and Shelton's tabloid baby rumors.
Other performers included Lambert with Urban, Oklahoman Vince Gill and Alison Krauss with Swift, Zac Brown Band with Foo Fighter Dave Grohl, Hunter Hayes with Jason Mraz, Lady Antebellum, The Band Perry, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan and Eric Church.
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