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March 29, 2016

CMA Awards are Tomorrow!

George Strait accepting the 2013 Entertainer of the Year award. (photo by, CMA Awards)

Hey country music fans are you ready for an award show?
The 47th annual CMA Awards are tomorrow night, live at 8 p.m. on ABC.
Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood are back as hosts for the 7th year in a row.
There will be performances by Blake Shelton, George Strait, Florida Georgia Line and more. For full details on who’s performing at the longest-running, annual music awards show on television, visit
Awards in 12 categories will be given out at the event, including “Album of the Year,” “Male Vocalist of the Year” and “Female Vocalist of the Year” as well.
And to present those awards: Steven Tyler, Garth Brooks, Tim Tebow and more. Yes, you read that right.
Now, let’s take a look at this year’s contestants while we, or at least I, drink some homemade sweet iced tea listening to Florida Georgia Line’s long-awaited second album, “Anything Goes.” The duo is up for “Duo of the Year.”
Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert, Dierks Bentley and Eric Church have albums in the running for the “Album of the Year.”
This writer personally has all of the new albums by these artists and I’ve seen them all perform songs off the albums in person. It’ll be surprising to see who takes this category. Each album tells its own story and has its own personality.

Miranda Lambert – Platinum 

"Platinum," Miranda Lambert (photo from
“Platinum,” Miranda Lambert (photo from

There’s an edginess to Miranda Lambert’s album “Platinum,” just listen to the title song. This record is also much more personal and it’s worth giving it a good listen. “Priscilla” and “Little Red Wagon” are two sassy tracks, and two of my favorite songs. In “Priscilla” Lambert compares her marriage to country king, Blake Shelton, to that of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis Presley and Priscilla Presley. It’s a difficult thing being Queen to the King / And I feel ya / Priscilla. There are actually several singles with some attitude behind them like “Bathroom Sink,” “Old Sh!t,” and “Gravity is a B**ch.” But, “Automatic” takes me back to those simple days during my childhood where people weren’t constantly connected to technology. It’s nostalgic and the video for the song is also up for “Music Video of the Year.”

Luke Bryan – Crash My Party 

"Crash My Party," Luke Bryan (photo from
“Crash My Party,” Luke Bryan (photo from

Luke Bryan is a very close second in this category for me, and some of my friends would be shocked that I picked anyone to top Bryan’s “Crash My Party,” an album that I have bought twice. “Drink A Beer,” a song Bryan wrote about losing his brother and sister, is a heart-tugging ballad by the country boy known for party anthems like “Country Girl Shake It For Me” and, well, the whole “Spring Break… Here To Party” album. This song has a special place for me, and I would not be surprised if Bryan took home the “Album of the Year” award tomorrow night. With other songs like “Roller Coaster,” “Play It Again” and “Dirt Road Diary” this balances out as one of Bryan’s best albums, in my opinion. Bryan is also nominated for “Entertainer of the Year” and “Male Vocalist of the Year.” He has not won in either of these categories at the CMA’s.

Dierks Bentley – Riser 

"Riser," by Dierks Bentley (photo from
“Riser,” by Dierks Bentley (photo from

Dierks Bentley is also nominated for “Entertainer of the Year.” The Arizona native is making his way into the hearts of country music fans more so this year with his new album “Riser,” nominated for “Album of the Year.” The hit single, “Drunk on a Plane,” is up for two awards – “Music Video of the Year” and “Single of the Year.” And don’t get me wrong, “Drunk on a Plane” is such a catchy, fun song. I walked around singing it for days. But, Bentley’s first song on “Riser” is titled “Bourbon in Kentucky,” a ballad about forgetting someone. Maybe it’s just because he sings about one of the Kentucky’s greatest traditions, but this song pulls at your heart. However, the best song on the album, to me at least, is “I Hold On.” I was able to see Bentley perform this song live, among other, at the CMA Fest over the summer and it’s got everything you’d want in a country song – an old truck, an old guitar, singing in bars, the stars and stripes, freedom. The chorus: To the things I believe in / My faith, your love, our freedom / To the things I can count on / To keep me going strong. That basically sums up the essence of country music. Plus, Bentley’s voice is, well, just pleasant to listen to.

Keith Urban – Fuse 

"Fuse," Keith Urban (photo from
“Fuse,” Keith Urban (photo from

Keith Urban’s “Fuse” is the fourth album up for “Album of the Year.” The Australian native knows how to produce good music. I’ve enjoyed the music as much as the lyrics in this album. “Cop Car” was one of the biggest hits from this record, but there are so many other good songs on the record worth listening to multiple times. “Even the Stars Fall 4 U” and “We Were Us,” featuring Miranda Lambert, are two of my personal favorites. “We Were Us” featuring the reigning female vocalist of the year, is nominated for “Musical Event of the Year.” Urban is up for “Entertainer of the Year,” an award he won back in 2005. He’s also up for “Male Vocalist of the Year” as well, which he’s snagged three other times.

Eric Church – The Outsiders 

"The Outsiders," Eric Church (photo from
“The Outsiders,” Eric Church (photo from

Eric Church has the last album up for the award, “The Outsiders.” Church won this award with his previous album “Chief” in 2012. This album has a stronger rock ‘n’ roll influence than “Chief” did. The title song on the album is gritty and a good song to turn up when you feel like listening to an old school type of jam session. “That’s Damn Rock & Roll” featuring Lizzy Hale, the front woman for the Grammy award-winning rock group Halestorm, is another song reminiscent of that classic 70s rock ‘n’ roll vibe. Both are jams, but Church shows a softer side with his song nominated for “Single of the Year” — “Give Me Back My Hometown.” Church may be a rocker, but he doesn’t forget where he comes from, and this song makes us all love our hometowns just a little bit more. Thinkin’ about you sittin’ there sayin’ I hate this, I hate it / If you couldn’t stand livin’ here why’d you take it, take it / Give me back my hometown / ‘Cause this is my hometown. The hometown homage is also nominated for “Song of the Year.” Church is also up for “Male Vocalist of the Year.”
That covers five of the biggest artists of the year, but here’s the list of all the awards and there nominees, minus “Album of the Year.”
Entertainer of the Year: Blake Shelton, George Strait, Keith Urban, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert
Female Vocalist of the Year: Carrie Underwood, Kasey Musgraves, Martina McBride, Miranda Lambert, Taylor Swift
Male Vocalist of the Year: Blake Shelton, Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, Keith Urban, Luke Bryan
Music Video of the Year: “Automatic,” Miranda Lambert; “Bartender,” Lady Antebellum; “Drunk on a Plane,” Dierks Bentley; “Follow Your Arrow,” Kasey Musgraves; “Somethin’ Bad,” Miranda Lambert duet with Carried Underwood
Musical Event of the Year: “Meanwhile Back At Mama’s,” Tim McGraw featuring Faith Hill; “Somethin’ Bad,” Miranda Lambert duet with Carried Underwood; “We Were Us,” Keith Urban featuring Miranda Lambert; “You Can’t Make Old Friends,” Kenny Rogers duet with Dolly Parton; “Bakersfield,” Vince Gill and Paul Franklin
Musician of the Year: Dann Huff (guitar), Jerry Douglas (dobro), Mac McAnally (guitar), Paul Franklin (steel guitar), Sam Bush (mandolin)
New Artist of the Year: Brandy Clark, Brett Eldredge, Cole Swindell, Kip Moore, Thomas Rhett
Single of the Year: “Automatic,” Miranda Lambert; “Drunk on a Plane,” Dierks Bentley; “Give Me Back My Hometown,” Eric Church; “Meanwhile Back At Mama’s,” Tim McGraw featuring Faith Hill; “Mine Would Be You,” Blake Shelton
Song of the Year: “Automatic,” Miranda Lambert; “Follow Your Arrow,” Kasey Musgraves; “Give Me Back My Hometown,” Eric Church; “I Don’t Dance,” Lee Brice; “I Hold On,” Dierks Bentley
Vocal Duo of the Year: Dan + Shay, Florida Georgia Line, Love and Theft, The Swon Brothers, Thompson Square
Vocal Group of the Year: Eli Young Band, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, The Band Perry, The Zac Brown Band
For more information and to read and watch almost everything you can about the CMA Awards visit

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CMA Awards are Tomorrow!