The two most successful artists at the Academy of Country Music Awards continued their winning ways Wednesday as Alan Jackson captured album of the year for “Drive” as well as a video honor and Brooks & Dunn were named top vocal duo.
But in a program laced with patriotism, some in country music showed that they were not prepared to forgive the Dixie Chicks’ Natalie Maines for remarks critical of President Bush and the war in Iraq.
The Dixie Chicks were nominated in three categories but went home empty-handed. Vince Gill dropped his voice in announcing their nomination for entertainer of the year and it was roundly booed by the Las Vegas audience.
The award to Brooks & Dunn extended their collection of the awards to a record 17. Jackson’s tally rose to 11.
Kenny Chesney captured two major awards -- male vocalist of the year and record of the year for “The Good Stuff,” ending a six-year drought since he was named new male vocalist in 1997.
Jackson, who won three honors including male vocalist a year ago, had six nominations this year -- two behind Toby Keith and one ahead of Chesney.
Keith avoided a second straight shutout by taking entertainer of the year, but had left the venue before the presentation was made.
Martina McBride was named female vocalist for the second consecutive year. Joe Nichols, who is touring with Jackson, captured new male vocalist honors, riding back-to-back hits “The Impossible” and “Brokenheartsville.”
New female vocalist honors went to Kellie Coffey, a former backup singer to Barbra Streisand whose first hit was “When You Lie Next to Me.”
Canadian singers Emerson Drive, named top new duo or group, thanked the American crowd for listening to their music.
Willie Nelson competed against himself in the vocal event of the year category and won it for “Mendocino County Line,” with Lee Ann Womack.
The show, moved to Las Vegas this year for the first time in the event’s 38-year history.
The awards, hosted by Reba McEntire, were determined by the 3,000 members of the California-based academy.