The 2019 CMA Awards' Nominations Guide, Led By Maren Morris, Brothers Osborne

ISSUE 23 2019 - DO NOT REUSE
Stephen Lovekin/Shutterstock
At the 52nd annual CMA Awards, Morris (left) and Mavis Staples joined Stapleton and others in a rendition of The Staple Singers’ “I’ll Take You There.”

The nominations for the 53rd annual Country Music Association (CMA) Awards include both veterans who dominate the field and rising stars moving the genre forward. Maren Morris leads this year’s slate with six nominations, while nine other acts received three or more nods, including Blake Shelton, Dierks Bentley and the hottest breakthrough artist in recent years, Luke Combs, who took home new artist of the year in 2018. Brothers Osborne are the top duo or group with four nominations, while Dan + Shay scored three, including album and single of the year. In addition, a trio of producers -- Scott Hendricks, Dann Huff and Greg Kurstin -- each received three nods this year. Following are 2019’s standouts.

Maren Morris, GIRL
Six nominations including album, single, song of the year

Morris is the only act to earn six nominations, including single, song and album of the year. The “My Church” singer is just the second female vocalist (following Miranda Lambert) to sweep the top three categories more than once. GIRL, Morris’ sophomore major-label effort, entered Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart at No. 1 in March. Morris (who took home new artist of the year in 2015) also earned nods for musical event, music video and female vocalist of the year (for the fourth consecutive time).

Brothers Osborne, Port Saint Joe
Four nominations including vocal duo, single of the year

T.J. and John Osborne’s 2018 sophomore album, named after the coastal Florida town where it was recorded, peaked at No. 2 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart last year. Port Saint Joe record earned them four nominations, including vocal duo (for the fifth consecutive time) and musical event of the year (for “All My Favorite People,” featuring Morris). The brothers received two additional nods for “Burning Man,” their 2018 collaboration with Bentley, which won last year’s musical event honor. The hit now will compete for single and music video of the year.

Dierks Bentley, The Mountain
Three nominations including single, male vocalist of the year

Bentley collected his seventh No. 1 on Top Country Albums with 2018’s The Mountain, his ninth full-length studio album. This year, he received nods including male vocalist of the year -- his eighth time in the category -- as well as his third one for single of the year for “Burning Man,” featuring Brothers Osborne, which also was nominated for music video of the year. He was previously nominated for “Home” (2012) and “Drunk on a Plane” (2014) in the category.

Eric Church, Desperate Man
Three nominations including album, entertainer of the year

The “Springsteen” singer’s sixth studio release, Desperate Man, spent its first two weeks at No. 1 on Top Country Albums. In its first week of release last October, the set earned 116,000 equivalent album units, with 103,000 of that sum in traditional album sales, according to Nielsen Music. Church’s nominations include album (for the fourth time) and entertainer of the year (for the third). He previously won in the album category with 2011’s Chief and 2015’s Mr. Misunderstood. He also is nominated for music video of the year (“Some of It”).

Luke Combs, This One's for You Too (Deluxe Edition)
Three nominations including male vocalist, song of the year

 

In March, Combs made chart history as the second act to simultaneously lead all of Billboard’s main country rankings: Hot Country Songs, Country Airplay, Country Streaming Songs, Country Digital Song Sales and Top Country Albums. (On the latter, his breakthrough album, This One’s for You, has since logged 48 weeks at No. 1.) Following his win for new artist of the year in 2018, he earned his second consecutive male vocalist nomination, as well as nods for song (“Beautiful Crazy”) and musical event of the year for “Brand New Man,” a Brooks & Dunn collaboration.

Dan + Shay, Dan + Shay
Three nominations including vocal duo, single of the year

Despite 10 career nominations, Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney have yet to take home a CMA trophy. This year, the pair received its first album of the year nod for third effort Dan + Shay, which entered Top Country Albums at No. 1 in July 2018. The act also received its sixth consecutive nomination for vocal duo and its second consecutive single of the year nod (for “Speechless”), following “Tequila” last year. The latter track earned Dan + Shay their first Grammy Award in January, for country duo/group performance.

Kacey Musgraves, Golden Hour
Three nominations including female vocalist, song of the year

Last November, Musgraves began her Golden Hour award season blitz with a CMA win for album of the year. After beating out pop hitmakers including Drake, Post Malone and Cardi B for the top prize at the Grammys in February, Musgraves received nominations for music video and song of the year for “Rainbow,” which she co-wrote alongside Shane McAnally and Natalie Hemby. The singer, who made her Coachella debut in April, also earned her sixth female vocalist of the year nod out of the past seven years.

Blake Shelton, "God's Country," "Dive Bar"
Three nominations including single, musical event of the year

Shelton received three nominations, including music video and single of the year (both for “God’s Country”). He also received a nod for musical event for “Dive Bar,” a top 20 Country Airplay hit alongside Garth Brooks, which will compete against Lil Nas X & Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Old Town Road (Remix),” among others. Shelton previously won in that category in 2010 for “Hillbilly Bone.”

Chris Stapleton, "Millionaire"
Three nominations including male vocalist, entertainer of the year

A 10-time CMA winner, Stapleton is vying for his fifth consecutive male vocalist of the year trophy. The feat would make him only the third man, following Shelton and Vince Gill, to win the category five years in a row. Stapleton also secured his fourth consecutive entertainer of the year nod as well as his third single of the year listing with “Millionaire.” He won in that category last year with “Broken Halos.”

Carrie Underwood, Cry Pretty
Three nominations including entertainer of the year

Underwood holds the distinction of being the first female in three years to receive an entertainer of the year nomination. The onetime American Idol winner also will defend her 2018 title as female vocalist, a category she has won five times -- a total surpassed only by seven-time winner Lambert. Underwood is also nominated for album of the year for her sixth studio title, Cry Pretty, which spent its first two weeks at No. 1 on Top Country Albums. It’s her fifth consecutive record to be nominated for album of the year and her first-ever as a co-producer.

This article originally appeared in the Sept. 28 issue of Billboard.


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