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McGraw, Gill, Chicks Lead Nominations for 1999 CMA Awards
Thirteen years have passed since Reba McEntire was named the Country Music Association's Entertainer of the Year, but now two other female superstar acts are poised to recapture the prestigious, male-dominated category.

Shania Twain and female trio the Dixie Chicks will contend against Garth Brooks, George Strait and Tim McGraw for this year's Entertainer of the Year trophy at The 33rd Annual CMA Awards.

McEntire, Barbara Mandrell, Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn are the only women who have ever been honored as top Entertainer in the long history of the CMA awards. It has been four years since a female (McEntire) has been nominated in the field, and it has been more than a decade since the category has included two nominated female acts (McEntire and the Judds in 1988).

The three-hour CMA Awards program will be telecast live on the CBS Television Network on Sept. 22 from the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville.
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Country Music Hall of Fame member Brenda Lee and country newcomers Sherrié Austin and Brad Paisley announced the nominees in a dozen categories Tuesday morning during a news conference at the Opry House.

Perennial favorite Vince Gill, who holds the record for the most CMA wins with 17, will host the annual awards show for the eighth consecutive time.

McGraw leads this year's pack of nominees with seven citations. In addition to his Entertainer of the Year nod, McGraw is up 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"). McGraw's remaining nominations come from his work as co-producer on the album, which includes the single "Please Remember Me." The recent No. 1 single also competes for Song of the Year, but the actual nominations in that category go to songwriters Rodney Crowell and Will Jennings.
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Vince Gill, close behind McGraw, picked up five nominations. However, Gill is running against himself in the Vocal Event of the Year field.

Following McGraw and Gill in this year's tally are the Dixie Chicks (Natalie Maines and sisters Martie and Emily Erwin) with four nominations.

Reigning Male Vocalist George Strait, the most nominated artist in CMA history with 50, was honored in three categories.

Acts earning dual nominations include Shania Twain, Alan Jackson, Patty Loveless, Steve Wariner, Faith Hill, Jo Dee Messina, Trisha Yearwood, Emmylou Harris, and first-time nominees Kenny Chesney, Sara Evans, The Wilkinsons, Lonestar and Mark Wills.

It took the Dixie Chicks only one year to go from being Horizon Award winners to Entertainer of the Year contenders. Garth Brooks experienced the same rapid rise in the beginning of the decade. Brooks won the Horizon Award in 1990 and then took Entertainer in '91. Now he has a record total of four victories in the coveted field with a chance to win number five this year.

The 6,100 professional members of the Country Music Association elect winners of the CMA Awards.

Dolly Parton and late country stars Conway Twitty and Johnny Bond will be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame during this year's awards show.

The CMA Awards was the first music awards special to be carried on network television in 1968. Last September's gala event on CBS topped the night in the ratings race for the network with nearly 36 million viewers.

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