George Strait, Blake Shelton big winners at country music awards
By Vernell Hackett
NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Reuters) - George Strait won the coveted entertainer of the year prize at the Country Music Association awards on Wednesday, while Blake Shelton took home the album of the year and male vocalist of the year awards.
Strait, 61, won the top prize for the third time and for the first time since 1990. Strait, who has said he will retire from touring next year, has won 17 CMA awards.
"What? Oh my gosh, never in a million years," a surprised Strait said accepting the award. "This blows me away, I cannot believe it. ... This means the world to me I appreciate it."
Strait, who shot to prominence in 1981 with a back-to-roots sound, released his 27th album, "Love Is Everything," this year.
Shelton, Taylor Swift, Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan were also nominated for entertainer of the year.
Shelton, who has become a crossover star since joining the judging panel on the TV singing contest "The Voice" in 2011, was honored as male vocalist of the year and album of the year for "Based on a True Story..."
"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 in accepting the award.
Shelton, who won entertainer of the year last year, has taken home a total of eight CMA awards. His wife, Miranda Lambert, won the female vocalist of the year award. Continued...