This Wednesday, November 5th, the 48th annual CMA Awards will take place. The Country Music Association is widely recognized as the biggest honor among country music awards. While many debate the merit of the awarding process, few will deny that a CMA Award is one of the crowning achievements of a country music career. This year’s show will be once again hosted by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood, and will once again be broadcast on ABC. There are many performances scheduled, including some head-scratching pop guests, Ariana Grande and Megan Trainor. For the third straight year, Keep It Country Kids has your complete nominees and predictions guide. Keep It Country Kids proudly presents: The 48th Annual CMA Awards: Who SHOULD Win and Who WILL Win.
Musician of The Year
Who SHOULD Win: Sam Bush is an absolute monster on the mandolin and should be a favorite anytime he is nominated. Paul Franklin recently had a rare honor of being a co-headliner on a major album, his Bakersfield album with Vince Gill. Paul is my pick.
Who WILL Win: Mac McAnally has owned this category of late, and will probably win again. If Mac doesn’t, Paul Franklin is a good bet as well.
Musical Event of The Year
“Meanwhile Back At Mama’s” –Tim McGraw featuring Faith Hill
“Somethin’ Bad” –Miranda Lambert & Carrie Underwood
“We Were Us” –Keith Urban featuring Miranda Lambert
“You Can’t Make Old Friends” –Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton
Bakersfield –Vine Gill and Paul Franklin
Who SHOULD Win: The fact that Vince Gill and Paul Franklin have an entire album should mean that they put the most work into their event. Also, the album is fantastic. This should be a big win for Vince, Paul, and traditional country. If they don’t win, I’m pulling for Tim and Faith. That is one great song.
Who WILL Win: This is tough. Technically, this award isn’t even televised, but it still matters. They usually go with the biggest star power, but all of these have it. My gut says Miranda wins, but I don’t know which partner she wins with. For the sake of good music, let’s hope it isn’t that awful Carrie Underwood duet.
New Artist Of The Year
Who SHOULD Win: Is this even a question? Brandy Clark put out one of the very best albums of 2013 with 12 Stories. She co-wrote some huge hits, and she earned an opening spot of Eric Church’s tour. That’s huge for an artist who has built her foundation on substance rather than flash. This shouldn’t even be a conversation.
Who WILL Win: I have a bad feeling about this one. Brandy is my first choice, but if she is out I’m hoping Brett Eldredge or Kip Moore can win. They have a few decent songs between them. I’m terrified that Cole Swindell or Thomas Rhett will win. I’m thinking they go with Thomas, and that would be devastating.
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
“Mine Would Be You” –Blake Shelton
Who SHOULD Win: “Automatic” has to be the favorite here. The song was well received by many traditional country fans, and had a lot of mainstream success. This is an easy choice.
Who WILL Win: I think Miranda will get this one. I think that it is telling that despite the massive success of a lot of the “bro-country” songs, none are up for this award. Song of The Year is reserved for writing and artistry, Single of the Year is generally rewarding radio success and popularity. The fact that all of the songs are more substantial even in this category is very interesting and positive.
Song of The Year
“Automatic” –Written by Nicolle Gaylon, Natalie Hembry, and Miranda Lambert. Performed by Miranda Lambert
“Follow Your Arrow” –Written by Kacey Musgraves, Brandy Clark, and Shane McAnally. Performed by Kacey Musgraves
“Give Me Back My Hometown” –Written by Eric Church and Luke Laird. Performed by Eric Church
“I Don’t Dance” –Written by Lee Brice, Rob Hatch, and Dallas Davidson. Performed by Lee Brice
“I Hold On” –Written by Brett James and Dierks Bentley. Performed by Dierks Bentley
Who SHOULD Win: “I Hold On” is my favorite. A good example of a modern song that sounds fresh, still fits in country music, and tugs at the heart. “Automatic” is a close second, with “Give Me Back My Hometown” my third favorite. I’m not crazy about “Follow Your Arrow”, and I like “I Don’t Dance”, but I don’t want to see Dallas Davidson anywhere near a CMA Award.
Who WILL Win: I think it’s a toss-up between “I Hold On” and “Follow Your Arrow”. It would be ironic if the CMA allows “Follow Your Arrow” to win after censoring it on their broadcast last year. I could see them making a statement with that song. For some reason, this just feels like it is going to be a big coming out party for Dierks Bentley and this could be a good spot to get him some well-deserved hardware.
Vocal Duo of The Year
Dan + Shay
Love & Theft
The Swon Brothers
Who SHOULD Win: No one. This category has become a farce.
Who WILL Win: Duhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Vocal Group of The Year
Eli Young Band
Little Big Town
The Band Perry
Zac Brown Band
Who SHOULD Win: The Zac Brown Band is the most talented of this group, but they had a little bit of a quieter year. Little Big Town will probably take this one; they have had the biggest year. I’m happy for their Opry membership but very disappointed in their new album. We will discuss that in a later post.
Who WILL Win: Little Big Town. The closest thing to a lock for the night outside of FLA-GA Line winning Duo.
Album of The Year
Crash My Party –Luke Bryan
Fuse –Keith Urban
Platinum –Miranda Lambert
Riser –Dierks Bentley
The Outsiders –Eric Church
Who SHOULD Win: My personal two favorites are Riser and Platinum. Either would be worthy winners, although it would be nice to see a nod to someone like Sturgill Simpson here whose album has been selling well and drawing tons of praise, or even Brandy Clark. But I can dream, right? This is my favorite category, and I hope they do a good job. Crash My Party is as bland as it gets, Fuse is also just decent to good, and although it’s very well done, The Outsiders isn’t really a country album.
Who WILL Win: I think Riser takes it. I just have this funny feeling that Dierks Bentley is going to clean house tonight. If he does, I’ll be happy for him. I’d say Fuse has the least chance of a win here.
Female Vocalist of The Year
Who SHOULD Win: Man, we have to get a pop star and a singer who hasn’t been on the radio in over half a decade to round this out. That is sad. Miranda Lambert will win this running away. It is a testament to her and Carrie (and Kacey too for that matter) that they have stayed relevant in such a male dominated industry right now. They both deserve a pat on the back.
Who WILL Win: Miranda. Carrie hasn’t had the year like Miranda has, and Kacey still doesn’t have that big radio smash to put her into that next level. It will come though.
Male Vocalist of The Year
Who SHOULD Win: The only two guys on here that I would enjoy seeing win are Dierks and Eric. Each of them have the guts to be different and do their own thing. I think Dierks has had a little bit of a bigger year, and I’m still feeling for him, so I’m rolling with Dierks.
Who WILL Win: I think Blake’s run rides out here. I also don’t think Keith has much of a shot, and Eric really has underperformed at radio this year. That leaves Dierks and Luke. Luke will probably beat him, but Dierks has a strong shot.
Entertainer of The Year
Who SHOULD Win: George Strait. He set records, sold out his tour, and did it all playing real country music. This shouldn’t even be a contest. The King has still got it.
Who WILL Win: I think that there is no way Luke Bryan goes home empty handed. If he loses Male Vocalist and Album, he may win here. It is a two man show between Luke and George. Miranda would be a nice upset, but I’m not seeing it. Blake and Keith would win if this was a TV show host-off, but their year is pale in comparison to the three favorites.
There you have it. The show should be interesting. There is a lot of potential for good music to show through and take some spotlight from the bro-crap. Tune in and watch the show and remember, Keep It Country, Kids!