Garth Brooks, who has generated unprecedented record sales for a country artist in the past year, was named entertainer of the year and top male vocalist in the 27th annual Academy of Country Music Awards on Wednesday.
But Brooks, who took a record-setting six awards last year, shared the spotlight with Alan Jackson at the nationally televised ceremonies from the Universal Amphitheatre. Jackson's "Don't Rock the Jukebox" prevailed in the top album and top single categories.
Veteran Reba McEntire was named top female vocalist for the sixth time, and her video for "Is There Life Out There" won in the video category.
New faces also made a mark. Diamond Rio won as top vocal group, while Brooks & Dunn were named top duet--beating out perennial winners the Judds--and top new duet. Billy Dean was voted top new male vocalist, and his song "Somewhere in My Broken Heart," co-written with Richard Leigh, took the song of the year award. Trisha Yearwood was named top new female vocalist.
On his 59th birthday, Willie Nelson was presented with the Pioneer Award by his longtime colleague Kris Kristofferson. The award recognizes career achievement and innovation. Several participants expressed concern for singer Doug Stone, a nominee in the male vocalist category. Stone, 35, was scheduled to appear on the show, but underwent an emergency quadruple bypass operation in Nashville. An awards show representative reported that Stone was in good condition after the surgery.
The awards are presented by the 3,200-member Academy of Country Music, a Los Angeles-based organization of country music professionals.