Topping the list of final nominees with five nominations each for The 45th Annual CMA Awards are Jason Aldean, Brad Paisley, Blake Shelton, and Taylor Swift. Right on their heels are The Band Perry and Zac Brown Band, who each received four nominations as a group, while individual members Kimberly Perry (of The Band Perry), Coy Bowles and Zac Brown (of Zac Brown Band) each earned a solo nod as a songwriter.
“‘Country Music’s Biggest Night(tm)’ is shaping up to be a tight race with an outstanding group of new and established nominees topping the list,” said Steve Moore, CMA Chief Executive Officer. “With no clear frontrunner there will be a heightened level of excitement and anticipation for the CMA Awards in November.”
The 45th Annual CMA Awards will be hosted for the fourth time by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood and broadcast live from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 8-11 p.m. Eastern on ABC.
For the sixth year, the announcement of the final nominees in five of the 12 CMA Awards categories was made live on ABC News’ Good Morning America with The Band Perry and Jake Owen delivering the news from the heart of New York City’s Times Square. Finalists in the other seven categories were announced by Jerrod Niemann and CMA Vocal Duo and New Artist of the Year nominees Thompson Square from the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, which was home to the first broadcast of the CMA Awards in 1968.
Jason Aldean received first-time nominations in five categories in 2011 including Entertainer; Male Vocalist; Album for My Kinda Party, produced by Michael Knox; and Single and Musical Event of the Year for “Don’t You Wanna Stay” with Kelly Clarkson, also produced by Knox. Jason has two prior nominations including the Horizon Award in 2007 and in 2008 when the category changed names to CMA New Artist of the Year. Kelly was last nominated in 2007 for Musical Event of the Year with Reba McEntire for “Because of You.”
CMA’s reigning Entertainer of the Year, Brad Paisley, received five nominations for Entertainer; Male Vocalist; Album for This is Country Music, which was produced by Frank Rogers; Musical Event and Music Video of the Year for “Old Alabama,” featuring Alabama and directed by Jim Shea. Brad’s nominations keep him in the No. 3 spot for the most career nominations in CMA Awards history. He has been nominated every year since 2000 and has amassed an incredible 57 career nominations to date. Only George Strait (81) and Alan Jackson (80) have more. With their two nominations Alabama has 41 career nods. The supergroup has won nine CMA Awards including three for Entertainer of the Year. The group received its last nomination in 2004 in the Vocal Group of the Year category.
CMA’s current Male Vocalist, Blake Shelton also received five nominations including Entertainer; Male Vocalist; Album for All About Tonight, produced by Scott Hendricks; and Single (produced by Hendricks) and Music Video of the Year for “Honey Bee,” directed by Trey Fanjoy.
Taylor Swift also received five nominations including Entertainer; Female Vocalist; Album for Speak Now, which was produced by Swift and Nathan Chapman; Music Video for “Mean,” which was directed by Declan Whitebloom; and Song of the Year for “Mean,” written by Swift, her first nomination as a songwriter. Taylor received five nominations, but can receive an additional trophy as producer of her album. She won the Horizon Award in 2007 and two years later was named Entertainer of the Year (2009).
The Band Perry received their first nomination in 2010 and they are back in 2011 with four nominations including Vocal Group; New Artist; Single for “If I Die Young,” produced by Paul Worley; and Music Video of the Year for “If I Die Young,” directed by David McClister. In addition, lead singer Kimberly Perry received one solo nomination for penning “If I Die Young,” nominated for Song of the Year.
Zac Brown Band garnered four nominations for Vocal Group; Album for You Get What You Give, produced by Keith Stegall and Zac Brown; Musical Event for “As She’s Walking Away” with Alan Jackson; and Single of the Year for “Colder Weather,” produced by Stegall and Brown. Additionally, bandmates Brown and Coy Bowles each received a nomination for Song of the Year for writing “Colder Weather” with Wyatt Durrette and Levi Lowrey. Zac could also pick up an additional two trophies for producing the nominated Album and Single of the Year.
Rounding out the Entertainer of the Year category with Jason, Brad, Blake and Taylor is Keith Urban, who won the trophy in 2005. Keith is also nominated for Male Vocalist of the Year, which he has won three times (2004, 2005, and 2006).
Four-time CMA Entertainer of the Year Kenny Chesney received three nominations including Male Vocalist; Musical Event and Music Video of the Year for “You and Tequila” featuring Grace Potter and directed by Shaun Silva. Matraca Berg and Deana Carter each received a nomination for Song of the Year for penning the No. 1 hit. These are Grace’s first CMA Awards nominations.
Sara Evans, who received her last CMA Awards nomination in 2006, was nominated for Female Vocalist and Single of the Year for “A Little Bit Stronger,” produced by Tony Brown. Brown leads the list of nominees among non-performers with 39 career nominations.
CMA Awards co-host Carrie Underwood received her sixth nomination for Female Vocalist in 2011. Carrie won Female Vocalist of the Year in 2006, 2007, and 2008. If she wins the Female Vocalist of the Year trophy again, it will tie her with Martina McBride (1999, 2002-2004) and Reba McEntire (1984-1987) for most wins in this category. Martina is nominated in the category again in 2011, with Sara, reigning Female Vocalist Miranda Lambert, and Taylor Swift.
Miranda received a second nomination along with Sheryl Crow and Country royalty, Loretta Lynn for Musical Event of the Year for their performance of the classic “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” The song, which tells the story of Loretta’s humble beginnings, was nominated for Song of the Year in 1971. The subsequent soundtrack for the movie by the same title won CMA Album of the Year honors in 1980. Loretta, who was CMA’s first Female Vocalist of the Year in 1967 and first female Entertainer of the Year in 1972, received her last CMA Awards nomination in 1994 for Musical Event of the Year with Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette for “Silver Thread and Golden Needles.”
Husband/wife duo Thompson Square received their first nominations in 2011 for Vocal Duo and New Artist of the Year. In all, there were new names among the nominees in 10 of the 12 CMA Awards categories including Entertainer, Male Vocalist, Album, Vocal Duo, Single, Song, Music Video, Musical Event, Musician, and New Artist.
Another duo making their CMA debut in the Vocal Duo of the Year category is The Civil Wars. Joining them are Montgomery Gentry, who won the Award in 2000, Steel Magnolia, Thompson Square, and Sugarland, who has won the trophy four times (2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010).
In addition to The Band Perry and Thompson Square, the New Artist category also includes Luke Bryan, Eric Church, and Chris Young. Luke and Chris were nominated in the category in 2010. This is Eric’s first CMA Awards nomination. Artists can only be included in this category two times.
Every finalist in the Vocal Group of the Year category has been previously nominated including The Band Perry, the reigning Vocal Group of the Year Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Rascal Flatts, and Zac Brown Band.
The Musician of the Year category included first-time nominee Sam Bush (mandolin) along with Jerry Douglas (dobro), Paul Franklin (steel guitar), Dann Huff (guitar), and Mac McAnally (guitar).