Brad Paisley cemented his status as country music’s reigning male star Wednesday, capturing six nominations for the 43rd annual Country Music Association Awards. Paisley, reigning Male Vocalist of the Year, will co-host the event alongside last year’s Female Vocalist of the Year Carrie Underwood. ABC (WKRN-2) will air the event live from the Sommet Center Nov. 11 at 7 p.m.
Paisley’s other nominations come in the categories of Album of the Year, Single and Song of the Year and Music Video. An array of emerging stars and new faces are included in numerous categories, another sign that the genre’s infusion of contemporary talent continues. That list includes Zac Brown as well as Jamey Johnson. Those two and crossover sensation Taylor Swift received four nominations as well as established superstar George Strait.
Indeed, a secondary storyline involves Swift, among the hottest stars in any format. Her four nominations include one for Entertainer of the Year. It’s been a decade since a woman won this award (Shania Twain in 1999), but Swift has spent the year not only atop the country charts but also riding high on numerous pop surveys. Her other nominations include the categories of Female Vocalist, Album of the Year and music Video.
A third subplot involves Kenny Chesney, still a big draw on the concert trail, but not as big a presence in the CMA nominations list as in past years. But he was nominated again for Entertainer of the Year, and he’s won that hone the past three years plus 2004. Another win breaks his tie with Garth Brooks for all-time honors in that category. Male Vocalist and Musical Event (with Mac McAnally) are Chesney’s other nominations.
Though not quite as dominant as Chesney, Carrie Underwood has earned three consecutive Female Vocalist of the Year awards, and is again nominated. Should she win, she ties Martina McBride and Reba McEntire for most wins in this field. McBride and McEntire as well as Miranda Lambert line up opposite Underwood in this year’s race.
They may be ending their long run as a duo, but Brooks and Dunn still enjoyed enough clout and appeal to earn yet another Vocal Duo nomination. They’ve won this award 14 times, but right now Sugarland, last year’s winner and 2009 nominees as well, loom as favorites to repeat. Brooks & Dunn also earned a nomination for Musical Event (with Reba McEntire), while Sugarland’s Love On the Inside is an Album of the Year nominee.
Urban is also an Entertainer of the Year nominee, as well as contending for Album of the Year, Male Vocalist and Music Video. He might even earn a Musician of the Year citation and a second award as a producer in the Album of the Year battle (he co-produced Defying Gravity with Dann Huff). Likewise, Swift could also get a producer award for her efforts in conjunction with Nathan Chapman.
Strait, whose CMA nomination total is now up to 79 (his victory amount of 22 tops everyone and he’s tied with Alan Jackson for most nominations), also will be competing for Entertainer of the Year, Music Video, Musical Event (with Lee Ann Womack) and Male Vocalist.
Jamey Johnson and Zac Brown are both first-time CMA nominees. Johnson’s tabbed in the categories of New Artist of the Year, Single, Song and Album of the Year. Brown shares three awards with his band, those for New Artist, Vocal Group and Single of the Year. His fourth nomination came as a co-writer of “Chicken Fried” with Wyatt Durrette.
Other new names among nominees include The Raconteurs (nominated with Ricky Skaggs and Ashley Monroe in the Musical Event category), Jory + Rory (Vocal duo of the year nominees), plus Randy Houser, Jake Owen, and Darius Rucker in the New Artist category. Rucker, enjoying a banner year with three consecutive number one hits, was also nominated in the Male Vocalist of the Year category, and would be the first black winner since Charlie Pride in the ‘70s.
A complete list of all nominees is available at cmt.com. Anyone who missed this morning’s announcement of award contenders by Darius Rucker and Lee Ann Womack on Good Morning America or the Inside: Special Edition 2009 CMA Awards Nominations presented by CMT television and hosted by Cody Alan and Alecia Davis can see them presented again Saturday at 12:30 and Sunday at 10 a.m. on CMT.
Tickets go on sale Saturday at 10 a.m. They can be purchased either in person at the Sommet Center box office, 501 Broadway, or at ticketmaster.com (800-745-3000). They begin at $110 for Upper level.