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AWARDS NEWS: George Strait to Get Special Achievement Award (Click on More to view all articles)

George Strait will receive the prestigious Special Achievement Award at the 38th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards for achieving 50 #1 hits. This special award acknowledges unprecedented, unique and outstanding individual achievement in country music. In December of 2002, George Strait achieved a career milestone by scoring his 50th #1 hit, “She’ll Leave You With A Smile” from his 28th CD titled, “The Road Less Traveled”. This set a new record for #1 songs by a single artist in any genre, breaking the long-standing record of 49 held by Conway Twitty. Strait has sold more than 58 million albums during his ongoing and enviable career that has kept him at the top of the country charts for over two decades. In addition to the Special Achievement Award, he is also nominated for the sixth time in the “Top Male Vocalist” category and will be a featured performer on the telecast. The Special Achievement Award is not presented every year. In the Academy’s 38 year history, there have only been three previous honorees: George Burns (1980), Jeff Foxworthy (1995) and Garth Brooks (1997).

“We can think of no one with a more deserving career to acknowledge with this honor than the phenomenal accomplishments of George Strait,” commented Bob Romeo,
chairman of the Board of the Academy of Country Music. “We are also thrilled that George will be performing on the 38th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards Show. This year promises to be the best yet.”

The 38th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, hosted by Reba McEntire, will air live on the CBS Television Network on May 21 at 8:00 PM EST / Delayed PST. The West Coast based Academy, for the first time, will hold the highly-rated award show at the Mandalay Bay Resort &Casino in Las Vegas. Brooks & Dunn, Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith, Martina McBride and Willie Nelson are performing on the show. Toby Keith leads the award nominations with a total of eight. Alan Jackson received six nominations; Kenny Chesney and Trick Pony are tied with five; Brooks &Dunn, Dixie Chicks and Willie Nelson have three nominations each. The nominees for the second annual The Home Depot Humanitarian Award are Brooks &Dunn, Lonestar and Wynonna. This is the only fan-voted award on the telecast.

The 38th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards are produced by dick clark productions. Dick Clark and Al Schwartz are executive producers. R. A. Clark and Barry Adelman produce the show. Ron Weed is a co-producer.

Tickets can be purchased for $100, $300 or $350.

Michael W. Smith Wins Top Gospel Award & Major Winners for Gospel Music Awards

NASHVILLE, (AP) – For the second straight year, contemporary Christian singer Michael W. Smith earned the top award of best artist at the Dove Awards on Thursday night.

In all, Smith claimed four of Christian music's version of the Grammys — including best male vocalist — bringing his total to 41 since 1987.

"Somebody asked me backstage, 'Does this really ever get old? Do you ever really get tired of it?'" Smith said in accepting his third best artist award in five years.

"I said, 'You know what? I'll always be grateful because it is an honor and a great responsibility to be in this business and be about the things of God.'"

But money and awards don't bring peace, Smith said. "I just want to fall in love with God and be his man," he said.

Christian pop star Nichole Nordeman, expecting her first child this summer, won seven awards. She fought back tears after winning songwriter of the year.

"Amy Grant made me start crying and now it's just a hormonal train wreck," said Nordeman, whose other honors included best female vocalist and song of the year for "Holy."

The Dove Awards recognize everything from staid gospel quartets and country to rock, rap and teen pop. The 4,500 members of the Gospel Music Association nominate and vote for the winners.

PAX TV will air the show, which was not broadcast live, on April 19.

Six-time best artist winner Steven Curtis Chapman and Cece Winans, one of Christian music's best-loved divas, hosted the 34th annual event at the Gaylord Entertainment Center.

"We're here to celebrate the music that delivers the ultimate message of hope and peace," Winans said as the show opened.

The audience raised its hands in support of U.S. troops at the urging of Third Day — which won group of the year for the third straight year and best rock recorded song for "40 Days."

"I want to say real quick, there is freedom in Iraq tonight," Third Day member Mac Powell said, drawing cheers and a standing ovation.

After receiving nine nominations, Toby McKeehan of the group dc Talk settled for one award. McKeehan, who performs under the pseudonym tobyMac, won for short form music video for "Irene."

Other winners included the Paul Colman Trio as new artist of the year and Brown Bannister as producer of the year.

Bannister joined Vince Gill in producing Grant's "Legacy … Hymns & Faith," the inspirational album winner.

Grant and Gill, who are married, also won for country recorded song for "The River's Gonna Keep On Rolling," while Randy Travis's "Rise And Shine" was the country album winner.

Even if he hadn't won, Smith knew it would be a special night as the Gospel Music Association paid tribute to his 20-year career. He joined Point of Grace, Michael Tait, Anointed, Avalon and others in singing his signature song "Friends."

Smith described all the attention and awards as "another thing that I have to lay at the foot of the cross."

He said he was shocked to win best male vocalist for the first time.

"I'm being honest when I say this: I don't really think I'm a great, great, great singer. Who knows why I won it this year? But I really was not expecting to win it."


On the Net:

Gospel Music Association

Major Winners for Gospel Music Awards

Major winners for 2003 Dove Awards announced Thursday:

Artist: Michael W. Smith.

Male Vocalist: Michael W. Smith.

Female Vocalist: Nichole Nordeman.

Group: Third Day.

New Artist: Paul Colman Trio.

Producer: Brown Bannister.

Song (title; songwriter; publishing): "Holy," Nichole Nordeman, Mark Hammond; Ariose Music, Mark Hammond Music (ASCAP).

Songwriter of the Year: Nichole Nordeman.


On the Net:

Dove Awards

CMA to Honor International Artist with Global Artist Award

The Country Music Association will honor the recipient of the first Global Artist Award during CMA's Fan Fair,
June 5-8 in Nashville, TN. Initiated by CMA's Global Markets Task Force and approved by CMA's Board of Directors in 2002, the Global Artist Award recognizes outstanding achievement by a country music artist who has both
furthered the popularity of the format and brought attention to country music in their foreign-based territory.

Ten nominees have been designated from territories worldwide:

Tom Astor (Germany) has been active in the country music in Germany and Europe for 40 Years. With sales near 10 million, more than 30 albums to his credit, hit singles and television and radio show appearances, Astor is the most successful country artist in his territory. The German-American Country Music Federation has named Astor Best Male Vocalist of the Year 10 times. He was the first German artist invited to perform on Nashville's Grand Ole Opry stage. Astor regularly serves as producer on his records,
teaming with the best musicians in Nashville. He is the ambassador of country music in Germany and is the region's link to the Nashville music scene.

Anchise Bolchi (Italy) is among the most popular and most experienced country music artists in Italy. He tours the country playing popular American music on the fiddle. In 1989, he left a career as an industrial designer to become a full-time country artist, joining a country-rock band called Arizona. As word spread about Bolchi, he began
receiving offers to play on studio albums of many Italian artists; and he began appearing with American artists on tour. Bolchi launched his solo career in 1991, touring Italy with up to 150 dates each year. His 1997 debut
album, The Last Track, and his 2000 follow-up, The Space Fiddler, have demonstrated his skills and passion for country music, along with the immense creativity required to rearrange old hits with a very personal style.

John Brack (Switzerland) has become a leading figure of Swiss country music. Each of his last 22 albums has sold in excess of 350,000 copies, a record for Swiss country music. Brack performs more than 100 concerts a year, including international performances with shows in Bad Ischl/Austria,
Dublin, Frankfurt, Hamm/FRG, Holland, Las Vegas, Peterborough/UK and Silkeborg. Brack, who has been dubbed "Mr. Swiss Country" by the media, has also appeared at CMA's Fan Fair. In 1979, he signed a contract with EMI
Switzerland and signed with BMG Switzerland a decade later. In 2000, Brack celebrated 20 years in the country and gospel music formats.

Heidi Hauge (Scandinavia) started singing country music seven years ago in her Norwegian hometown. In 1997, a Showtime Records executive discovered Hauge, and she began working on her first album. Since 1999, Hauge has released five albums, four of which have reached gold or platinum status helping to earn her the affectionate title of "Country Queen of Scandinavia" from area entertainment magazines. Haug's last album was released in December 2002.

Ruud Hermans (The Netherlands) has been writing, recording and performing country music for more than 25 years. After starting out with a band called The Tumbleweeds, which was later renamed Tulsa, Hermans has toured worldwide and still plays concerts in Europe. He also takes part in various singer/songwriter sessions with Dutch and international artists, such as Dick van Altena, Rob Crosby, Frank Jansen and Nashville singer/songwriter
Victoria Shaw. Hermans has championed the Dutch Country Music Association Awards and has served as host for many years. In 2002, he was inducted in the Dutch Country Music Hall Of Fame.

Lee Kernaghan (Australia) has received many honors in his career, including 19 Golden Guitar awards and 2 ARIA awards. He's even been named Australia's Country Entertainer of the Year twice, and all of his albums have reached platinum status. Kernaghan boasts 20 Top 10 hits, 14 of which have gone to No. 1. Kernaghan has used his status to raise money for various charities with his "Pass The Hat Around" shows, and he has mentored many young country acts.

Jason McCoy (Canada) has released three albums on Universal Music Canada, including the 1999 gold-certified Playin' For Keeps. McCoy has received many SOCAN and Canadian Country Music Association awards. With 10 singles
reaching the top 15 and three No.1 singles, McCoy has proven chart success. He has toured Australia twice and played throughout Canada opening shows for artists including Terri Clark and Martina McBride.

Charlie Nagatani (Japan) started singing country music in 1956 at age 20. Nagatani and his band, The Western Cannonballs, began performing at U.S. Military Clubs in Japan, Okinawa, Taiwan, Guam, the Philippines and Thailand
until the Vietnam War ended. Upon his return to Kumamoto, Nagatani opened a country music saloon named "Good Time Charlie's," where he still entertains seven nights a week. In 1989, Nagatani organized the first Country Gold
festival, and in 1992, Nagatani travelled to Nashville to record his first album, which featured friends Emmylou Harris, Bill Monroe, Porter Wagoner and others. In 2001, an independent filmmaker produced a documentary of
Nagatani's life.

Replete Bros. (Greece), featuring brothers Antonis and Dimitris, are the only professional country music group in Greece working with record companies. As composers, lyricists, interpreters, performers, arrangers and producers of their own work, the Replete Bros. have performed live all over Greece and appeared in many television and radio specials. Their latest release, Crossroads, has been compared to recordings in the United States in both content and quality. Antonis serves as president of the Country Music Club of Greece.

Niall Toner (Ireland) has spent the greater part of his life promoting, presenting and performing country music. He formed his first country band in Dublin in 1961. In the 1970s, '80s and '90s, Toner was responsible for promoting live concerts featuring other artists, including Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Alison Krauss, Doc Watson and others. Along the way, Toner developed a passion for writing country songs and has since collaborated with many top writers. In January 2003, Toner released his Avalon Records debut, There's A Better Way. The 12-song acoustic country and bluegrass compilation has garnered Toner extensive radio airplay and excellent reviews in the Irish Press.

New York City Does Not Bid For 2004 Grammy Awards

The 2004 Grammy Awards will not be held in New York partially because Madison Square Garden will not be available next year due to home games of the New York Knickerbockers and New York Rangers according to the New York Daily News. "We didn't even put a bid in for them," deputy mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding Dan Doctoroff told the paper. The proposed date was February 8 about two weeks earlier than the Grammy's are usually held. With the Oscars being moved to late February from late March, it appears the Grammy Awards did not want to go head-to-head with the Oscars.

"It isn't just juggling the schedules of the Knicks and the Rangers," says an executive with Cablevision, which owns the Garden. "You have to take yourself out of the market for concerts. And the Grammys aren't just one night. It takes several weeks to get ready." The executive for Cablevision, which also owns Radio City Music Hall, says the event has outgrown the Musical Hall.

"The Garden is the right place for the Grammys," says Doctoroff. "And we hope to have them back in 2005."