49th CMA Awards nominations


So it's that time of year again! The nominations were announced earlier this week and, as with the past few years, Tara from www.thedailycountry.com and I have combined our thoughts on who should win and who will actually win below. Let us know what you think!
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ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR
Garth Brooks
Luke Bryan
Kenny Chesney
Eric Church
Miranda Lambert
KASEY'S PICKS

WHO WILL WIN: Luke Bryan comes into this year's awards as the reigning Entertainer, I think this becomes between him and Garth Brooks. Whilst I've not seen Garth live, Luke doesn't really grab me as a live performer. Luke gets male vocalist but I don't think he's had a big enough year, this one goes to Garth. I will say, Eric could be an interesting outsider here.

WHO SHOULD WIN: I'd love to see Kenny take this. He had a huge tour kick-off show in Nashville that received an amazing amount of press and seems to have ridden the wave throughout all of his tour so far. He's incredibly popular with both fans and press but always seems a bit of an underdog when it comes to awards.

TARA'S PICKS

WHO WILL WIN: Garth has this one in the bag.

WHO SHOULD WIN: Eric Church. I have seen all of the nominations live and no one comes close to Eric. From dive bar to stadium, Eric’s energy and electricity on stage are unparallelled (although I could have done without the “devil” on this tour). He gives you 110% and you give it right back, so that by the time the show is over, you’re exhausted, but in a good way.

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FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
Kelsea Ballerini
Miranda Lambert
Kacey Musgraves
Carrie Underwood
Lee Ann Womack
KASEY'S PICKS

WHO WILL WIN: As seems to be the case for the past few years this comes down to Carrie and Miranda in my opinion. Miranda is the obvious pick but Carrie has had some very successful tracks. I think, taking past record into account, Miranda takes this.

WHO SHOULD WIN: Lee Ann please! Love seeing her included on this list, great album, great live performance, definitely deserving!

TARA'S PICKS

WHO WILL WIN: Even though Platinum wasn’t the best album Miranda has released, she is still the one to beat.

WHO SHOULD WIN: I have to agree with Kasey and choose Lee Ann. Incredible vocalist both on record and live.


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MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
Dierks Bentley
Luke Bryan
Eric Church
Blake Shelton
Chris Stapleton
KASEY'S PICKS

WHO WILL WIN: I really don't understand why Blake is nominated this time. I reckon this goes to Luke, Blake has next to nothing behind him this year.

WHO SHOULD WIN: I really would love to flip this category on it's head, Will Hoge and Kristian Bush missing out on well deserved nominations in my opinion (Kip Moore and Brett Eldredge would be great too but they didn't have current albums at the time of nominations). I'm edging towards Dierks out of this list, whilst Riser is a (relatively) old album now, it's still really strong and he deserves the recognition.

TARA'S PICKS

WHO WILL WIN:I don’t think Chris’s nomination was just a kind gesture, and I think he has the ability to pull this one off. Critically lauded for good reason, he has the true vocal chops the others don’t.

WHO SHOULD WIN:I would love to see Dierks or Eric walk away with an award. As a long-time fan of both, their voices sound great whether they’re singing fun songs or straight up emotional ballads. They always seem to believe what they sing and make me believe in the process.

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VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR
Lady Antebellum
Little Big Town
Rascal Flatts
The Band Perry
Zac Brown Band
KASEY'S PICKS

WHO WILL WIN/WHO SHOULD WIN: It's got to be Little Big Town for this. Only three of the five groups have current albums (Lady A, LBT and ZBB) and Little Big Town have continued to go from strength to strength with an incredibly strong release in Pain Killer. Zac Brown Band always get nominated but never win, Lady A may challenge but it feels as though there has been a lot more buzz about LBT.

TARA'S PICKS

WHO WILL WIN/WHO SHOULD WIN: Again, have to agree with Kasey. Little Big Town for the win.

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VOCAL DUO OF THE YEAR
Brothers Osborne
Dan + Shay
Florida Georgia Line
Maddie & Tae
Thompson Square
KASEY'S PICKS

WHO WILL WIN: Whilst Maddie & Tae are strong contenders, I think it's going to be another Florida Georgia Line win. With the release of their debut album, Maddie & Tae could make next year interesting but I don't feel like they've got enough behind them yet.

WHO SHOULD WIN: To be honest, I feel a little uninspired by this category. Whilst there aren't actually many duos around at the moment I don't feel as though any of these duos have done enough to really shine. Anyone other than Florida Georgia Line would be interesting.

TARA'S PICKS

WHO WILL WIN: With all of the talk of Saladgate and females on the radio, I think Maddie & Tae will take this one home. I’m an outlier who is not particularly a fan, but think it is theirs to lose.

WHO SHOULD WIN: Brothers Osborne. True, it wasn’t a “break out” year like M&T, but if we are going for quality, these guys win hands down.

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NEW ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Kelsea Ballerini
Sam Hunt
Maddie & Tae
Thomas Rhett
Chris Stapleton
KASEY'S PICKS

WHO WILL WIN: This could be a very close category, each artist here has their own plus points and minus points. I think Kelsea takes this - she's had an incredible year, with her Opry debut, new album, touring and hitting number one. Thomas Rhett and Sam Hunt have been nominated here before and haven't done anything to really push themselves forward enough, Chris is an interesting addition and, in my opinion, Maddie & Tae are Kelsea's closest competition.

WHO SHOULD WIN: I'm not really a fan of Thomas Rhett and Sam Hunt so I'd truthfully prefer they didn't win from a personal point of view. It would definitely be nice to see Chris win, he deserves to take something from the awards.

TARA'S PICKS

WHO WILL WIN: This has got to be the toughest category this year. Trying to choose from an objective perspective, I really feel they all have a chance (whether I like them or not) as all have had an incredible year. Sam just pushes the limits and say what you will about him, he is a good songwriter. Thomas is beloved by many, but I just don’t feel he’s “new” enough. The ladies may cancel one another out, but if I had to venture a guess I would say Kelsea, although she leans heavily to pop and for some reason I can’t take artists who are played on Radio Disney seriously.

WHO SHOULD WINChris. He’s real honest to God country music and represents what these awards are meant to honour.

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ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Old Boots, New Dirt - Jason Aldean
Pageant Material - Kacey Musgraves
Pain Killer - Little Big Town
The Big Revival - Kenny Chesney
Traveller - Chris Stapleton
KASEY'S PICKS

WHO WILL WIN/WHO SHOULD WIN: Well Jason is the artist who has won this award most recently (2011) with Little Big Town, Kacey and Chris never having won. This is going to be a very tough category for certain. Whilst they haven't won for previous albums and whilst it doesn't compare to some of the other albums here in terms of chart success, Pain Killer deserves this win. It's a brilliant album from a group who are (slowly) gaining more recognition for their music. The fact that they are tied for the most amount of nominations shows some of what the response has been to Little Big Town this year and the buzz that was there leading up to the release of Pain Killer has continued through, helped by three great singles.

TARA'S PICKS

WHO WILL WIN: Good grief, couldn’t they go outside the box a bit and look to other (WAY) better albums released this year?? Jason? Come on. Kacey? The album was a re-hash of Same Trailer Different Park. Kenny was Kenny. LBT, who had a lot of press with Girl Crush, made a splash, but Chris made a country album and might just pull out the win (although I am not sure these awards honour true country).

WHO SHOULD WIN: I would have like to have seen other albums get nominated, but out of these five, I have to go again with Chris and Traveller.

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SINGLE OF THE YEAR
American Kids - Kenny Chesney
Girl Crush - Little Big Town
I Don't Dance - Lee Brice
Take Your Time - Sam Hunt
Talladega - Eric Church
KASEY'S PICKS

WHO WILL WIN/WHO SHOULD WIN: This is a very tough category and requires a lot of thinking to predict! I don't think Lee Brice or Sam Hunt even challenge here. American Kids is a great track but Kenny never seems to win, Talladega seemed to be released and then vanish with no real buzz and Girl Crush is still going strong (I'm going with a Girl Crush win). Little Big Town deserve to have an award for Girl Crush, the vocal performance is absolutely brilliant and the overall song works incredibly well.

TARA'S PICKS

WHO WILL WINWhy is “I Don’t Dance” here? Doesn’t that seem way old? Sam, too pop. Kenny was a good song, but not single of the year worthy. Gotta go with “Girl Crush” being awarded for originality and news-worthiness.

WHO SHOULD WINEric. Yes, “Talladega” kind of reminds me of “Springsteen,” but hey, that was, and is, an incredible song. Here he captures nostalgia with well written, vivid lyrics that even non-racing fans can connect with.

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SONG OF THE YEAR
American Kids - Rodney Clawson, Luke Laird, Shane McAnally
Girl Crush  - Liz Rose, Lori McKenna, Hillary Lindsey
Like A Cowboy - Randy Houser, Brice Long
Like A Wrecking Ball - Eric Church, Casey Beathard
Take Your Time - Sam Hunt, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne
KASEY'S PICKS

WHO WILL WIN/WHO SHOULD WIN: Girl Crush all the way. Written by three very talented song-writers, the lyrics are incredibly clever and, whilst seeing some controversy in terms of radio airplay, the song suits Little Big Town incredibly well and has been incredibly popular. With Song of the Year traditionally going to the more emotional, heartfelt songs, Girl Crush undoubtedly deserves this win and is certainly a logical choice.

TARA'S PICKS

WHO WILL WIN:There’s a wild card in here that I did not expect and that’s Randy Houser, who should be in the male vocalist category at some point in his career because he can sing. It’s LBT all the way for all of the reasons Kasey said.

WHO SHOULD WINI’m not usually a fan of over the top sexual songs in my country music, but there is just something about the lyrics (and delivery) of “Like A Wrecking Ball,” which at times make me feel uncomfortable, but in a “get me a fan quick” kind of way.

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MUSICAL EVENT OF THE YEAR
Django and Jimmie - Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard
Lonely Tonight - Blake Shelton featuring Ashley Monroe
Raise 'Em Up - Keith Urban featuring Eric Church
Smokin' And Drinkin' - Miranda Lambert featuring Little Big Town
Wild Child - Kenny Chesney with Grace Potter
KASEY'S PICKS

WHO WILL WIN: Keith is seemingly a popular winner in this category (having taken the award for the past two years with We Were Us and Highway Don't Care). Admittedly Miranda is the other reigning artist and is included on the list but I feel like Smokin' And Drinkin' didn't make the impact that it really should. The Kenny/Grace combo is a possibility (with You & Tequila) previously taking the award but I reckon the combination of Keith and Eric takes this.

WHO SHOULD WIN: Whilst it didn't make a huge impact (quite possibly due to all the confusion around Miranda's single at the time), Smokin' AndDrinkin' is a really strong track. I'd be happy with that or Wild Child winning.

TARA'S PICKS

WHO WILL WIN/WHO SHOULD WIN: It will be a crime if Nelson and Haggard do not win.

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MUSIC VIDEO OF THE YEAR
Biscuits - Kacey Musgraves
Girl Crush - Little Big Town
Girl In A Country Song - Maddie & Tae
Little Red Wagon - Miranda Lambert
Something In The Water - Carrie Underwood
KASEY'S PICKS

WHO WILL WIN: Interestingly the only nomination for Something In The Water, I'm certain this is going to Carrie. Whilst it is always hard to predict video of the year, it was a huge track for her and both the track and it's atmospheric video were incredibly well received. I also find it incredibly unlikely Something In The Water will end up with no awards to it's name.

WHO SHOULD WIN: From the point of view of a fan it'd be great to see Girl Crush win this. It's very strong in it's simplicity and is really effective in black and white, working nicely with the soul feel to the track.

TARA'S PICKS

WHO WILL WINAgain, not a huge fan of any of these songs, but have a feeling M&T might emerge the winners--not because the song is great, but because they’re the darlings of the moment, and that kind of stuff gets rewarded.

WHO SHOULD WINI am hoping Carrie pulls this one off. She’s a strong vocalist and the song means something.

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MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR
Sam Bush
Jerry Douglas
Paul Franklin
Dann Huff
Mac McAnally
KASEY'S PICKS

WHO WILL WIN/WHO SHOULD WIN: Not knowing too much about any of these musicians I always find it difficult to pick a winner so I'm going to simply say Mac McAnally returns his 'crown' and wins again.

TARA'S PICKS

WHO WILL WINMac McAnally

WHO SHOULD WINI adore Same Bush. He is incredibly, amazingly talented, playing an instrument I only wish I could play 1/1000th as well.

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KASEY'S WINNERS
Entertainer of the Year: Garth Brooks
Female Vocalist of the Year: Miranda Lambert
Male Vocalist of the Year: Luke Bryan
Vocal Group of the Year: Little Big Town
Vocal Duo of the Year: Florida Georgia Line
New Artist of the Year: Kelsea Ballerini
Album of the Year:Pain Killer - Little Big Town
Single of the Year:Girl Crush - Little Big Town
Song of the Year:Girl Crush - Liz Rose, Lori McKenna, Hillary Lindsey
Musical Event of the Year:Raise 'Em Up - Keith Urban featuring Eric Church
Music Video of the Year:Something In The Water - Carrie Underwood
Musician of the Year: Mac McAnally

TARA'S WINNERS
Entertainer of the Year: Garth Brooks
Female Vocalist of the Year: Miranda Lambert 
Male Vocalist of the Year: Chris Stapleton
Vocal Group of the Year: Little Big Town
Vocal Duo of the Year: Maddie & Tae
New Artist of the Year: Kelsea Ballerini
Album of the Year: Traveller - Chris Stapleton
Single of the Year: Girl Crush - Little Big Town
Song of the Year: Girl Crush - Liz Rose, Lori McKenna, Hillary Lindsey
Musical Event of the Year: Django and Jimmie - Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard
Music Video of the Year: Girl In A Country Song - Maddie & Tae

Musician of the Year: Mac McAnally

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