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Toby Keith tops list of country music nominees

| Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2003

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Toby Keith got seven nominations for Country Music Association Awards on Tuesday, with Johnny Cash picking up four, two involving his rendition of a song by rock act Nine Inch Nails.

Keith led all nominees, with nods for best entertainer, male vocalist, and album of the year for "Unleashed." "Beer for My Horses," a collaboration with Willie Nelson, was nominated for best song, single, music video and vocal event.

The nominations were announced at the Grand Ole Opry House, where the awards show will be held Nov. 5. Martina McBride and the group Rascal Flatts made the announcement.

Cash, 71, has been battling health problems in recent years and is mourning the death in June of his wife, June Carter Cash.

He is also nominated for six MTV Video Music Awards and may attend that show in New York on Thursday.

CMA voters nominated Cash for best single and video for "Hurt," a song about drug addiction written by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. The video features a frail Cash along with his wife at his now-closed museum in Hendersonville, Tenn.

Cash also was nominated for best album ("American IV: The Man Comes Around") and vocal event of the year for "Tears in the Holston River" with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

Brooks & Dunn and Brad Paisley also received four nominations each.

Besides Keith, the other nominees for entertainer of the year were Brooks & Dunn, Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson and Tim McGraw. Best male vocalist nominees were Keith, Chesney, Jackson, McGraw, Paisley and George Strait. There are six instead of five nominees in that category because of a tie in preliminary voting.

Crossover stars Faith Hill and Shania Twain were shut out of the best female vocalist category. Nominated were McBride, Terri Clark, Alison Krauss, Patty Loveless and Dolly Parton.

Gary Allen, Buddy Jewell, Joe Nichols, Blake Shelton and Darryl Worley were nominated for the Horizon Award, which goes to an act that CMA voters believes has a bright future.

Alabama was nominated for best vocal group as the quartet continues its farewell tour. Other nominees in the category are Diamond Rio, Lonestar, Rascal Flatts, Lonestar and the Dixie Chicks.

The Dixie Chicks were also nominated for best album for "Home," in a year in which negative comments about President Bush by lead singer Natalie Maines caused some radio stations to stop playing their music.

"Nothing comes close to illustrating the enormous depth and appeal of our format than this outstanding collection of nominees," said Ed Benson, executive director of the CMA.

The CMA is a trade organization which promotes country music. About 6,000 members nominate and vote for award winners.

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