Five artists are leading the nominees for The 45th Annual CMA Awards. Previous winners Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley and Taylor Swift each scored five nominations in the various categories, which tied first-time nominee Jason Aldean for the most nominations. Right behind them are The Band Perry and Zac Brown Band, who scored four nominations as groups with The Band Perry’s Kimberly Perry scoring a songwriter solo nod for writing “If I Die Young” while Coy Bowles and Zac Brown each earned solo nods as songwriters for their song “Colder Weather” (co-written with Wyatt Durrette and Levi Lowrey).
Aldean scored nominations in the Entertainer of the Year Category, Top Male Vocalist, Single of the year for “Don’t You Wanna Stay,” Album of the Year for My Kinda Party and the Musical Event of the Year for “Don’t You Wanna Stay” with Kelly Clarkson. Aldean’s recent chart-topping hit of this past summer, “Dirt Road Anthem” scored Colt Ford and Brantley Gilbert songwriter nominations for writing the tune.
Shelton scored nominations for Entertainer of the Year, Top Male vocalist, Album of the Year for All About Tonight, Single of the Year for “Honey Bee” and music video of the year for “Honey Bee.”
Paisley scored nominations in Entertainer, Male Vocalist, Album of the Year for This Is Country Music, and for Musical Event and Video of the Year (with Alabama) for “Old Alabama.”
Swift scored Entertainer, Female Vocalist of the Year, Album of the Year for Speak Now, and single, song and video of the year for “Mean.”
The Band Perry scored nods for Single of the Year for “If I Die Young,” Best New Artist, Music video of the Year for “If I Die Young,” and Best Vocal Group.
The Zac Brown Band scored CMA Nods for Musical Event of the Year with Alan Jackson for “As She’s Walking Away,” Single of the Year for “Colder Weather,” Vocal Group and Album of the Year for You Get What You Give.
The Entertainer of the Year category this year is Keith Urban, who won the same award in 2005 while in the midst of a three year run as Male Vocalist of the Year, an award he’s also nominated for this year.
Kenny Chesney scored three nominations this year, one for Male Vocalist, Musical Event with Grace Potter for “You And Tequila” and Video of the Year with Potter for “You And Tequila. The song also scored CMA Nods for songwriters Matraca Berg and onetime CMA Female vocalist of the year, Deana Carter.
Sara Evans return is complete with a nod for Female Vocalist and Single of the Year for “A Little Bit Stronger,” a song produced by Tony Brown, who leads the nominees among non-performers with 39 career CMA Nominations (wow!).
Carrie Underwood scored her sixth nomination for Female Vocalist of the Year, an award she won in 2006-2008 and if she were to win the category this year, she’d tie Martina McBride (1999, 2002-2004) and Reba McEntire (1984-1987) for most wins in the category.
Miranda Lambert is joined by McBride in rounding out the Female Vocalist category. She won the award last year along with Album of the Year for Revolution. She was also nominated in the Musical Event of the Year category for her performance with Loretta Lynn and Sheryl Crow on “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”
Thompson Square scored two nominations today as well with slots being held in both the Vocal Duo and New Artist of the Year Categories (They announced the final set of nominees with Jerrod Niemann).
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the whole list of final nominees – to us at least – is the inclusion of indie band The Civil Wars in the Duo of the Year category. They are joined by Thompson Square, Montgomery Gentry (who won in 2000), Steel Magnolia and Sugarland, who has won the award four years running.
Thompson Square and The Band Perry are joined by a tight, and strong stable of new artists with Luke Bryan, Chris Young and Eric Church rounding out the list. Bryan and Young were nominated in the former Horizon Award category last year while it’s the first nomination for Eric Church. Artists are allowed to be nominated in this category two times (as long as they aren’t nominated for Album or Male/female/group/duo or single of the year categories as well).
Mandolin ace Sam Bush is a first time nominee of the Musician of the Year category, joining Dobro all-star Jerry Douglas, steel guitar king Paul Franklin, Producer/guitarist Dann Huff and producer/guitarist Mac McAnally.
The CMA Awards will be broadcast on November 10, 2011 on ABC TV at 8pm Eastern/Western.