There will be a lot of familiar faces accepting awards at this year s CMA Awards show on Nov. 6, but there s also a chance that some of country s newer artists might steal some of the hardware.
When the finalists were announced on Wednesday, there was a good mix of industry veterans and up-and-comers.
For the first time, the announcement of some of the finalists was made on Good Morning America, and it turned out the guy doing the announcing got to say his name a number of times.
Brad Paisley, who was on the show with Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland, is the most nominated solo artist for country music s most prestigious awards show.
Paisley is a finalist for Entertainer of the Year, Male Vocalist, Album, Single, Musical Event, and Music Video of the Year.
This is great, I m ecstatic, Paisley said.
He now has 33 career CMA nominations, moving him ahead of Chet Atkins, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Conway Twitty.
Ronnie Dunn and Kix Brooks of Brooks & Dunn also received six nominations. They were nominated for Entertainer, Vocal Duo, Album, Single, Music Video, and Musical Event of the Year. The duo will once again be hosting the show.
It s good to feel the love out there, Dunn said. Kix and I realize how privileged we are to be accepted by the fans and the people that surround us within the industry.
Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, and newcomer Carrie Underwood each had four nominations.
Underwood, who was nominated for Female Vocalist, the Horizon Award, Single, and Music Video of the Year, is one of several newer artists getting a lot of attention from the 6,000 CMA voters. Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, and Sugarland each received two nominations. Also, after having the same nominees for several years in Vocal Duo, there s a new finalist this year. Michelle Branch and Jessica Harp of the Wreckers received their first nomination in the category. Coincidentally, the group also had its first No. 1 hit this week as Leave the Pieces reached the top of the charts.
Another artist making major strides this year was Dierks Bentley, who received his first Male Vocalist nomination. He will be competing against Chesney, Alan Jackson, Paisley, and Urban.
I m honored and humbled at the same time. There are heroes and friends in this category, Bentley said.
That news wasn t the only good news Bentley has had recently. His upcoming album, Long Trip Alone, has been moved up twice because of the chart success of the first single, Every Mile a Memory, which is already closing in on the top 10 after only nine weeks on radio.
The new album will be in stores on Oct. 17.
Last week while Dierks was out on tour with Kenny Chesney, he sat down with me for a little while and talked about the upcoming album.
It will be his third album and, more than likely, his third straight platinum album.
When you re on the road for 300 days of the year, you have a lot of thoughts and questions. I ve had time to reflect on things that have happened this year. That song [and album title] is about all the relationships you have in your life, not only personal but spiritual, and how it really would be a long trip alone out here without all those great people you have around you.