By GARY GENTILE, Associated Press Writer
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. (AP) - The country duo Brooks & Dunn (pictured, right) have a brand new record.
The duo captured their record-breaking 16th trophy at the Academy of Country Music Awards by winning three honors Wednesday, including entertainer of the year, during an awards ceremony that abounded with patriotic themes.
Alan Jackson also won three awards, including two for his patriotic anthem "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)."
Brooks & Dunn, who also won awards for top vocal duo and best video, broke the record of 15 awards previously held by Merle Haggard.
"Playing for y'all is reward enough, but this is incredible," Kix Brooks said from the stage.
"It's sacrilegious to even compare what we do with Merle Haggard," he added backstage.
Patriotism was plentiful throughout the three-hour awards show that saw Jackson, also honored as top male vocalist, dedicating his awards for best single and song of the year to the victims of Sept. 11.
"I don't feel like I can accept the award for this song without sharing it and dedicating it to the thousands of people -- men, women and children -- who died and suffered and are still suffering all because of that cowardly and heartless attack on America and mankind," he said as he accepted the first of the awards.
Backstage, an emotional Jackson said the words reflecting the feelings of a shell-shocked nation just came to him.
"I didn't want to write a patriotic song," he said. "This song just came out of nowhere."
Martina McBride, named top female vocalist, thanked Reba McEntire, saying the country veteran "set the standard for all of females in country music. I'm taking this home in your honor," she said.
The soundtrack from the Coen Brothers film "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" won album of the year honors. The bluegrass album also won a Grammy earlier this year.
Lonestar, which put out the crossover hit "I'm Already There," led off the show by winning honors for top vocal group.
McEntire hosted the 37th annual Academy of Country Music Awards, which was broadcast on CBS-TV from the Universal Amphitheatre.
The show was music-heavy with scores of performances, including a tribute to Waylon Jennings, who died in February, and the presentation of the Pioneer award to Ronnie Milsap.
McEntire won the first-ever Home Depot Humanitarian Award for her charitable work.
A highlight of the show was a performance by hip-hop artist Kid Rock and country star Hank Williams Jr., who parodied their rebel images.
A surprise was veteran band Alabama's announcement backstage that the group is retiring from touring.
Toby Keith, who had last year's hit album "How Do You Like Me Now?," was nominated for six awards, but walked away empty-handed.
Brooks & Dunn also went into the show with six nominations.
Jackson, Tim McGraw and Travis Tritt each had four nominations, and all three competed for top male vocalist against Keith and Kenny Chesney.
Nominees and winners are picked by the 3,000 members of the academy.
The Academy of Country Music also presented trophies for radio station, disc jockey, nightclub, casino and promoter of the year.(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)