November 10, 2010 12:00 PM

TALKING WITH Toby Keith

Country’s favorite rebel, who just released his 15th album, Bullets in the Gun, opens up

The first record I ever bought was…Crocodile Rock by Elton John. It was 99 cents.

The song I wish I’d written is…”Look What You’ve Done to Me” by Boz Scaggs. It’s so romantic.

I like to read…fact over fiction. I read true stories. I like forensic science and those John Douglas books about profiling serial killers.

I’ve never finished…my Spanish tapes. I go to Mexico a lot so I bought one of those kits to teach you Spanish. It has 20 discs and I’ve been on disc 1 for a year.

My favorite movies are…Lonesome Dove and One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest-probably seen them both over 25 times.

I’m totally obsessed with…oil painting. For my birthday my daughter Krystal bought me a full kit of easels and paints. I’m doing pretty good. Me and Picasso are going to make a run for it.

When I doodle, I draw…a rodeo bull. A big steroids-looking, muscley beast with scars on his side and the points of his horns cut off.

My good luck charm onstage is…the dog tags soldiers have given me. A lot of guys or girls will give me their dog tags at shows. Or family members will say, “We lost our son, and we’d like to give you his dog tags to say thank you for supporting the troops.” I wear them onstage as a memorial.

GOODBYE BROOKS & DUNN!

Shed no tears for Brooks & Dunn: “This isn’t a funeral. We showed up to party!” Kix Brooks told the Nashville audience at the duo’s final show on Sept. 2, which was packed with hits and a surprise visit from Reba. “To the people who have paid our rent the last 20 years, all I can say is thanks,” Dunn said.

FALL MUSIC PREVIEW

It’s the season for superstars! Mark your calendar for these new releases…

Oct. 19

SUGARLAND

The Incredible Machine

The duo’s Jennifer Nettles says the CD takes risks and offers “really beautiful stuff.”

Oct. 25

TAYLOR SWIFT

Speak Now

Will her third, self-written effort match up to Fearless? If anyone can, Taylor can.

Nov. 2

JASON ALDEAN

My Kinda Party

The good-timin’ Aldean likens the new CD to “the party we throw at our shows.”

Nov. 2

BRAD PAISLEY

Hits Alive

A double CD of Brad’s big hits, half studio versions, half live recordings.

Nov. 9

Coal Miner’s Daughter: A Tribute to Loretta Lynn

Stars like Carrie, Faith and Miranda honor Lynn.

Nov. 9

REBA

All the Women I Am

On her 34th studio album, Reba brings hits and surprises-a Beyonce cover!

Nov. 16

KEITH URBAN

Get Closer

Inspired by marriage and fatherhood, Urban promises more intimate love songs.

Nov. 16

RASCAL FLATTS

Nothing Like This

The heavy-hitting trio debuts their seventh studio album on a new label.

Watch the CMAs, Nov. 10, 8 p.m. ET, on ABC!

Who’ll win the CMA AWARDS?

Hey, Miranda, Lady A and Brad: Get ready for a little more bling! We predict who’s going to own the night

Red denotes ‘PEOPLE Country Picks’

ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR

Lady A is a powerhouse and Keith Urban has won here before, but this should be Brad’s year to take home the night’s biggest honor.

LADY ANTEBELLUM

MIRANDA LAMBERT

BRAD PAISLEY

KEITH URBAN

ZAC BROWN BAND

FEMALE VOCALIST

Yes, Carrie is tough competition and Taylor took it last. Still, we think this is Miranda’s year.

MIRANDA LAMBERT

MARTINA McBRIDE

REBA McENTIRE

TAYLOR SWIFT

CARRIE UNDERWOOD

MALE VOCALIST

Will Brad make it a four-peat? Looks like a lock to us.

DIERKS BENTLEY

BRAD PAISLEY

BLAKE SHELTON

GEORGE STRAIT

KEITH URBAN

ALBUM

Lady A’s chart-topper aside, Miranda has momentum.

NEED YOU NOW LADY ANTEBELLUM

PLAY ON CARRIE UNDERWOOD

REVOLUTION MIRANDA LAMBERT

TWANG GEORGE STRAIT

UP ON THE RIDGE DIERKS BENTLEY

NEW ARTIST

They’re hardly new (“Chicken Fried” came out in ’08!), but the Zac Brown Band is hard to beat.

LUKE BRYAN

EASTON CORBIN

JERROD NIEMANN

CHRIS YOUNG

ZAC BROWN BAND

VOCAL GROUP

Should be an easy win for Lady A for the second year in a row.

LADY ANTEBELLUM

LITTLE BIG TOWN

RASCAL FLATTS

THE BAND PERRY

ZAC BROWN BAND

VOCAL DUO

It’s the duo’s last rodeo, so they’ll be sentimental faves.

BROOKS & DUNN

JOEY + RORY

MONTGOMERY GENTRY

STEEL MAGNOLIA

SUGARLAND

SONG OF THE YEAR

We get teary just humming Miranda’s “House.” A lump-in-your-throat winner.

“A LITTLE MORE COUNTRY THAN THAT”

“NEED YOU NOW”

“THE HOUSE THAT BUILT ME”

“TOES”

“WHITE LIAR”

SINGLE

Undeniably the big hit, “Need You Now” is unstoppable.

“A LITTLE MORE COUNTRY THAN THAT”

EASTON CORBIN

“HILLBILLY BONE”

BLAKE SHELTON FEATURING TRACE ADKINS

“NEED YOU NOW”

LADY ANTEBELLUM

“THE HOUSE THAT BUILT ME”

MIRANDA LAMBERT

“WHITE LIAR”

MIRANDA LAMBERT

MUSICAL EVENT

With their delightfully saucy “Bone,” Blake and Trace are a pairing made in hick heaven.

“BAD ANGEL”

DIERKS BENTLEY FEATURING MIRANDA LAMBERT AND JAMEY JOHNSON

“CAN’T YOU SEE”

ZAC BROWN BAND FEATURING KID ROCK

“HILLBILLY BONE”

BLAKE SHELTON FEATURING TRACE ADKINS

“I’M ALIVE”

KENNY CHESNEY WITH DAVE MATTHEWS

“TILL THE END”

ALAN JACKSON WITH LEE ANN WOMACK

Country Cousins

With dark, wavy tresses and almond-shaped eyes, these two could play sisters on the big screen!

GRETCHEN WILSON

CATHERINE ZETA-JONES

Garth’s TV Movie!

Twenty years after he took “Unanswered Prayers” to No. 1 on the charts, Garth Brooks is turning the song into a Lifetime movie starring Eric Close, Samantha Mathis and Madchen Amick. The movie will air in November.

GONE COUNTRY!

Animal rescuer Lucas Hoge may have his own reality show (Animal Planet’s Last Chance Highway), but the Nebraska native sings too. “I was raised on traditional country music,” says Hoge, who describes his upcoming debut CD as “new country with an edge.”

FREE MUSIC!

Get his single “Shake the Trailer” at people.com/free

FANS WANTED!

KATIE ARMIGER

Armiger’s third album, Confessions of a Nice Girl, is in stores now, but the Nashville-based singer has more to offer listeners than just a pretty voice

1. SHE’S HONEST

“I don’t have a filter…. There is nothing that I don’t tell people,” says Armiger, 19, who tweeted to fans “when I thought I wiped myself with poison ivy” during a bathroom break on a hike.

2. SHE IS A GLASS-HALF-FULL (AND PLATE-LICKED-CLEAN) GIRL

“I always look at the bright side of things. Plus, I love to eat dessert-and that is the best kind of friend you can have….I’m talking cheesecake, cupcakes, cookies. Everything.”

3. SHE’S ARTISTIC…SORT OF

“I love songwriting. I’m constantly doing it,” says the singer, who penned all but four songs on her new album. “And I love doodling. I’m a horrible, horrible artist, but I draw ligers-an animal that’s half lion and half tiger-over and over. That and palm trees.”

FREE MUSIC!

Get her song “Movin’ On” at people.com/free

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