For those who care…

…McGraw Has Top Single, Song at ACM Awards
LAS VEGAS – Leading nominee Tim McGraw took top single and song honors for his hit “Live Like You Were Dying” on Tuesday night at the 40th annual Academy of Country Music Awards.
Most of McGraw’s six nominations came from the song about living life to its fullest. It has special meaning for the singer because his father, former New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher Tug McGraw, died of cancer last year.
Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss also grabbed two trophies for their haunting duet “Whiskey Lullaby,” which won for best video and vocal event. Paisley said he had initially been concerned that radio wouldn’t play the song because of its dark themes.
“It’s death and drinking. It’s summertime for God’s sake,” he said.
The show had an international flavor, with several segments piped in via satellite. Camouflage-clad Toby Keith performed “As Good as I Once Was” for a crowd of clapping U.S. troops in Iraq, saying “Welcome to honky-tonk university, ya’ll. We’re in Baghdad.”
And Keith Urban accepted the top male vocalist and album honor for his “Be Here” from Belfast, Northern Ireland.
“I’m blown away,” Urban said. “It’s like 20 to two in the morning, but this is the best wake-up call I’ve ever had.”
Spunky newcomer Gretchen Wilson, who had the breakout hit of the year with “Redneck Woman,” took home honors for top new artist and female vocalist.
She cried as she accepted the second trophy, which had gone to Martina McBride each of the past three years.
“I don’t even really know what to say, except for thank you,” Wilson said.
Wilson, in jeans and a tank top, kicked off the show with a lively rendition of “Here for the Party,” the title song of her quadruple-platinum debut album.
Veterans Brooks & Dunn beat out several newcomers for top vocal duo, their record 19th career award.
“This sure felt like the year that ya’ll were gonna want to hear somebody else come up here and say thanks,” Kix Brooks said. “We don’t get it,” Ronnie Dunn added.
Another veteran, Faith Hill, ended a five-year hiatus from the awards show with a performance of “Mississippi Girl.” Wearing a sheer green blouse and jeans, Hill looked rejuvenated as she pumped her fist and strutted across the stage.
Retired superstar Garth Brooks was greeted by more than 20 seconds of applause as he walked onstage to honor his friend Chris LeDoux, who died March 9 of liver cancer.
“I’m not saying you’re saying this but, I’ve missed you too,” Brooks told the crowd.
Newlywed Kenny Chesney had five nominations, as did Krauss, who was not at the show.
Chesney’s earnest performance of “Anything But Mine” evoked his surprise wedding to Renee Zellweger last week. The stars of Nashville and Hollywood tied the knot on the Caribbean island of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where they were photographed barefoot on the beach. The song includes the line “she has to feel the sand beneath her feet.”
The fan-selected Humanitarian Award went to Neal McCoy, who said he was “tickled to death.”
Trophies were being presented in only 12 categories over three hours, allowing the performance-driven CBS telecast from the Mandalay Bay Resort to focus as much on entertainment as awards.
The honors were determined by the 3,000 members of the California-based academy, except for the humanitarian and video awards, which were decided by fans.