Kenny Chesney repeated as entertainer of the year, winning the top prize for the fourth time in five years. Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood also repeated in the male and female vocalist of the year categories.
Chesney kept his lock on the top prize. In addition to his CMA triumphs, he's been named entertainer of the year at the Academy of Country Music Awards four years in a row. His new Island-flavored album is called "Lucky Old Sun."
Country legend George Strait won album of the year for his 2008 release "Troubadour," taking home the prize a few minutes after performing the album's laid-back "River of Love."
For the third consecutive time in her young career, "American Idol" champ Underwood won female vocalist of the year. She took the stage to receive her award minutes after singing the tragic war ballad "Just a Dream."
"Mom, it's real hard to sing when you're in the second row crying," Underwood said from the podium.
Paisley, who hosted the show with Underwood, won male vocalist of the year for the second consecutive year. He's been nominated in the category eight times.
The country-rock trio Lady Antebellum took the best new artist trophy, and Sugarland was recognized as the vocal duo of the year.
Broadcast live on ABC, the Country Music Awards can have a profound effect on sales. Last year the show pulled in nearly 16 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research, and in the week afterward, Billboard chart director Silvio Pietroluongo said country album sales rose 24% from the week before.
Country upstart Taylor Swift, for instance, benefited from last year's awards with a 156% sales boost. Artists such as Keith Urban and Sugarland saw double-digit sales increases.
The eligibility period for the 2008 CMA Awards was from July 1, 2007, to June 30, 2008. The 5,000 members of the Country Music Assn. decide the winners.
Martens is a Times staff writer.