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CMA Smiles On Tim McGraw

Tim McGraw was nominated for seven Country Music Association awards Tuesday and will compete with 1998 winner Garth Brooks for the top award of best entertainer.

McGraw's other nominations were for best male vocalist, album (A Place in the Sun), single (Please Remember Me) and music video (Just to Hear You Say That You Love Me). He'll get two trophies if he wins the best album or single awards, as a producer.

Singers Brenda Lee, Sherrie Austin and Brad Paisley announced the nominees in the courtyard of the Grand Ole Opry House. The winners will be announced Sept. 22 during a ceremony broadcast live on CBS-TV.

Vince Gill, who has won the most awards (17) in CMA history, will be host of the show for the eighth straight year. He got five nominations: best male vocalist, album (The Key), song (If You Ever Have Forever in Mind) and two nods for best vocal event for duets with Patty Loveless and Sara Evans.

Nominees for best entertainer, along with Brooks and McGraw, were George Strait, Shania Twain and the Dixie Chicks. Joining McGraw and Gill in the best male vocalist category were Strait, Alan Jackson and Steve Wariner.

Best female vocalist nominees were Twain, Faith Hill, Martina McBride, Jo Dee Messina and Trisha Yearwood.

The most notable breakthrough this year was that of the Dixie Chicks -- Natalie Maines and sisters Martie Siedel and Emily Erwin. Along with the best entertainer nomination, the group's Wide Open Spaces is up for best single and video. They'll also compete with Alabama, Diamond Rio, Lonestar and The Wilkinsons for best vocal group.

The late country music singer Roger Miller was nominated for best song for his 1966 hit Husbands and Wives, which was returned to the charts by Brooks & Dunn. George Jones continued his comeback from a near-fatal car wreck with a nomination for best single for Choices.

Pop singer Linda Ronstadt was nominated for best vocal event along with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris for their Trio II album. Parton will be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame during the awards show, along with the late singers Conway Twitty and Johnny Bond.

About 6,800 workers in the country music industry nominate and vote for CMA winners. The CMA awards began in 1967.

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