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Published: Thursday, 7/12/2007

Tim McGraw top-selling artist for first half of year

Country superstar Tim McGraw is leading the way for country artists during the first half of the year.

Based on Nielsen Soundscan figures, McGraw sold 1.4 million records in the first six months of 2007. The majority of those are from his current album, "Let It Go," which has sold more than 1 million copies.

McGraw continues to tour with his wife, Faith Hill, as part of the Soul2Soul Tour 2007. The tour is on track to sell more than 500,000 tickets this summer.

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Martina McBride currently has the best-selling tour for any female country artist. She trails only Gwen Stefani for all genres. In country music, only Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, and the Rowdy Frynds Tour (Hank Williams Jr. and Lynryd Skynyrd) are drawing more fans.

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This week, Big & Rich reached the top of the radio charts with "Lost in This Moment," surprisingly, the first No. 1 single of their career.

The song was penned years ago by John Rich, Rodney Clawson, and Keith Anderson.

"It s been sitting around in a catalog for four, five, six years now," Rich told CMT Radio. "It just didn t seem like, early on, something we would sound good doing.

But we listened to it on the bus, and I said I always thought this was a pretty good song. And Kenny said, I ve always loved that song. So, we said let s cut it and see how it turns out."

The guys are also going to be awarded the President s Award for Excellence in the Arts on Wednesday during the opening ceremonies for the Vietnam Veterans of America s national convention in Springfield, Ill. The award is in honor of the duo s 2006 hit, "8th of November," which tells the story of a Vietnam War battle waged by the 173rd Airborne Brigade.

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In an unusual request, Tracy Byrd is asking his fans to be on the lookout for any of his Tracy Byrd Tiny Town Products. The line of spices and marinades was formerly carried by Wal-Mart and Kroger stores. The firm that used to distribute the material is no longer in business, so Byrd is concerned that if any of the products are on shelves, they could be past the expiration date.

He s asking people to e-mail support@fan-clubhouse.com with the location of any stores that might have the product on shelves.

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Chris Cagle is preparing to return to radio with "What Kinda Gone," the first single off of his fourth Capitol Nashville album. It will be released to radio on Tuesday.

Chris will be heading to Korea at the end of this month to perform for troops.

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And Trisha Yearwood will be returning to radio on July 30 with the release of her first Big Machine Records single, "Heaven, Heartache, and the Power of Love."

Beginning today, fans can preview the single on her Web site, www.trishayearwood.com and her MySpace page, www.myspace/trishayearwood.

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Congratulations to George Strait, who recently tied Conway Twitty for the most No. 1 singles with 55. George achieved that honor with "Wrapped," which is the third single to go to No. 1 off his current album, "It Just Comes Natural."



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