CMA preview: Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan among many Georgia nominees

Luke Bryan

The CMA Awards will air from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville at 8 p.m. Wednesday on ABC. I’ll be live on site and posting dispatches and tweets throughout the day and night, so make sure to come back often and follow me on Twitter.

Here is what we know about the 47th Annual Country Music Association Awards:

Taylor Swift, one of the top nominees with six nods, will receive the prestigious Pinnacle Award, which was created in 2005 and previously given only to Garth Brooks. The criteria? The artist must have achieved worldwide success and recognition unique to country music.

OK, check.

Newcomer Kacey Musgraves has also wrangled an impressive – and entirely deserved – six nominations while Brad Paisley (a co-host again this year with Carrie Underwood) and Hunter Hayes were surprisingly snubbed.

We also know that Atlanta’s Zac Brown Band will play a brand new song during the show with an unlikely but completely welcome partner, Dave Grohl.

Speaking of Atlanta, if you want to keep track of Georgia’s significant showing of nominees, they’re in bold type in the lists below, but if you’re into consolidation, here you go: Florida Georgia Line (Tyler Hubbard is the Georgia half of the duo, hailing from Monroe) is up for four, including Single of the Year for the enduring “Cruise.”

Jason Aldean (he of Macon descent), could potentially snag three awards, including the prestigious Entertainer of the Year, where he will battle incumbent Blake Shelton, retiring George Strait, Swift and fellow Georgia boy Luke Bryan.

Leesburg’s Bryan is eligible for a trifecta as well – Entertainer of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year (where Aldean is also marked) and Musical Event of the Year for his participation on Aldean’s “The Only Way I Know” (also featuring Eric Church).

Little Big Town, whose  Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman have area roots, has been tapped for a trio of awards including Album of the Year for “Tornado.” One head-scratcher, though - their “Pontoon” won Single of the Year at last year’s ceremony, but it’s nominated again this year for Song of the Year for songwriters Natalie Hemby, Luke Laird and Barry Dean.

It was a relatively quiet year for Lady Antebellum, whose Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood are Georgia-bred UGA grads. They’ll take on Georgia brethren Zac Brown Band and Little Big Town for Vocal Group of the Year, and their “Downtown” is nominated for Music Video of the Year.

And then there are the solo nods – perennial Vocal Duo of the Year winners Sugarland will compete again in that category (they’ve won it five times). Jennifer Nettles is expected to be on hand to participate in the musical tribute to Kenny Rogers (along with Rascal Flatts and Darius Rucker).  

Vocal Group of the Year marks the lone nomination for Zac Brown Band, which has yet to win the category despite several nominations over the years.

And Tifton native Kip Moore, a Nashville-based songwriter for nearly a decade, released his debut album “Up All Night” last year and will vie for New Artist of the Year, which is widely expected to go to Florida Georgia Line or the critically adored Musgraves.

As for performances that will keep the Twitter-sphere buzzing, keep an ear out for the pride of Newnan, Alan Jackson, who will perform with Strait in a tribute to the late George Jones. Other interesting pairings include Hayes with Jason Mraz and Swift with Vince Gill and Alison Krauss.

Here is the complete list of nominees.

Entertainer of the Year

Blake Shelton

George Strait

Taylor Swift

Jason Aldean

Luke Bryan


 Male Vocalist of the Year

Jason Aldean

 Luke Bryan

 Eric Church

Blake Shelton

Keith Urban


Female Vocalist of the Year

 Kelly Clarkson

Miranda Lambert

Kacey Musgraves

Taylor Swift

Carrie Underwood


Vocal Group of the Year

 The Band Perry

Zac Brown Band

Lady Antebellum

Little Big Town

 Eli Young Band


Vocal Duo of the Year

 Big & Rich

Florida Georgia Line

 Love and Theft


The Civil Wars

Thompson Square


 New Artist Of The Year

 Lee Brice

Brett Eldredge

Florida Georgia Line

 Kip Moore

Kacey Musgraves


Album of the Year

 Blake Shelton, "Based on a True Story"

Carrie Underwood, "Blown Away"

Taylor Swift, "Red"

Kacey Musgraves, "Same Trailer Different Park

Little Big Town, "Tornado"


Single of the Year

 Florida Georgia Line, "Cruise"

 Tim McGraw With Taylor Swift & Keith Urban, "Highway Don't Care"

Miranda Lambert, "Mama's Broken Heart"

Kacey Musgraves, "Merry Go 'Round"

Darius Rucker, "Wagon Wheel"


Song of the Year -- award goes to songwriter(s)

"I Drive Your Truck" - Jessi Alexander, Connie Harrington, and Jimmy Yeary

"Mama's Broken Heart" - Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally, and Kacey Musgraves

"Merry Go 'Round" - Kacey Musgraves, Josh Osborne, and Shane McAnally

"Pontoon" - Natalie Hemby, Luke Laird, and Barry Dean

"Wagon Wheel" - Bob Dylan and Ketch Secor


Musical Event of the Year

 Blake Shelton Feat. Pistol Annies, "Boys 'Round Here"

Florida Georgia Line Feat. Nelly, "Cruise"

 Kelly Clarkson Feat. Vince Gill, "Don't Rush"

Tim McGraw With Taylor Swift & Keith Urban, "Highway Don't Care"

Jason Aldean With Luke Bryan and Eric Church, "The Only Way I Know"


Music Video of the Year

 Carrie Underwood, "Blown Away"

Blake Shelton Feat. Pistol Annies, "Boys 'Round Here"

Lady Antebellum, "Downtown"

 Tim McGraw, "Highway Don't Care"

Miranda Lambert, "Mama's Broken Heart

Little Big Town, "Tornado"


Musician of the Year

 Brent Mason

Dann Huff

Mac McAnally

Paul Franklin

Sam Bush

Most Read