Eric Church & Chris Stapleton Lead 55th Annual CMA Awards Nominations: Full List

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Chris Stapleton

Eric Church  and Chris Stapleton are the top nominees for the 55th Annual CMA Awards, with five nods each, the Nashville-based Country Music Association announced on Thursday (Sept. 9).

Other top nominees are Gabby Barrett, mix engineer Jason Hall and producer Jay Joyce, with four nods each, and Brothers Osborne, Kane Brown, Luke Combs, Miranda Lambert, Ashley McBryde, Maren Morris and Chris Young, with three nods each.

That makes Barrett this year’s most-nominated woman and Brothers Osborne this year’s most-nominated duo or group. Two artists of color, Brown and Mickey Guyton, received their first CMA Awards nominations.

Church, Stapleton, Combs, Lambert and Carrie Underwood are up for the top award, entertainer of the year. This marks the first time in more than four decades that two female solo artists been among the nominees for the top award two years running. Lambert and Underwood were also nominated last year. The last time two female solo artists were among the nominees in consecutive years was in 1978-79. Dolly Parton and Crystal Gayle were nominated in 1978. Gayle and Barbara Mandrell were nominated in 1979.

This is Underwood’s only nomination this year. It’s very rare for an artist to be nominated for entertainer of the year and in no other categories.

Church and Stapleton are each nominated for album, single and song of the year. This is the fourth time Church has swept nominations in all three of these marquee categories. Only two other artists — Alan Jackson and Lambert — have swept these Big Three nods four times. This is the second time that Stapleton has received nods in each of these categories in one year.

Two Black artists, Jimmie Allen and Guyton, are nominated for new artist of the year for the first time in CMA history. Allen was also nominated in the category last year. This year’s other nominees are Ingrid Andress, Barrett and HARDY. Like Allen, Andress and Barrett were also nominated in this category last year. (The CMA gives artists two cracks at this award.) Just one Black artist has won in this category – Darius Rucker in 2009.

Barrett is nominated for single of the year for the second year in a row. She’s nominated this year for “The Good Ones” after being nominated last year for “I Hope.”

Most artists repeated their 2020 nominations in key categories, but there was a bit of turnover. Stapleton took Keith Urban’s spot in entertainer of the year. Dierks Bentley replaced Urban in male vocalist of the year. Barrett and Carly Pearce replaced Kacey Musgraves and Underwood in female vocalist of the year. Zac Brown Band replaced Rascal Flatts in vocal group of the year. There were no changes from last year in the vocal duo of the year category.

Several artists climbed higher on the ladder of all-time top nominees in their categories. Brooks & Dunn landed their 22nd nod for vocal duo of the year, which lengthens their lead in that category. Little Big Town landed their 16th nod for vocal group of the year, a total topped only by Alabama, with 21 nods in that category. Lambert landed her 15th nod for female vocalist of the year, which puts her behind only Reba McEntire (18) and Martina McBride (17). She is tied with Underwood (15), who wasn’t nominated in that category this year.

Lambert’s three nominations this year brings her total of solo nominations to 58, which ties Brad Paisley for third place in total career nominations. George Strait leads with 83 nods, followed closely by Alan Jackson with 81. (Lambert’s total doesn’t include two nods she received as a member of Pistol Annies.)

Joyce is competing against himself in two top categories. He is nominated for album of the year as producer and mix engineer on both Church’s Heart and Brothers Osborne’s Skeletons. He is nominated for single of the year as a producer and mix engineer on both Church’s “Hell of a View” and McBryde’s “One Night Standards.”

Morgan Wallen, who won new artist of the year at last year’s ceremony and then had a year marked both by great success and huge controversy, received his first album of the year nomination for Dangerous: The Double Album, which was far and away the year’s most successful country album.

All five song of the year nominees were co-written by the artists who popularized them, a sign of the times.

“This year, we have the opportunity to honor the superstars, new artists and emerging creators who are paving the way for country music,” Sarah Trahern, CMA’s CEO, said in a statement. “These nominees exemplify the creativity, passion and heart that make our country music community unlike any other genre.”

The eligibility period for the 55th annual CMA Awards was July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021. Winners will be determined in a final round of voting by eligible voting CMA members. The third and final ballot will be emailed to CMA members on Thursday, Oct. 1. Voting for the final ballot ends on Wednesday, Oct. 27.

The 55th Annual CMA Awards will air live from Nashville on Wednesday, Nov. 10 (8:00 – 11:00 p.m. EST) on ABC. Hosts, performers and presenters will be announced in the coming weeks.

The 55th Annual CMA Awards is a production of the Country Music Association. Robert Deaton is executive producer,  Alan Carter is director and David Wild is head writer.

Here’s the complete list of nominees:

Entertainer of the year
Eric Church
Luke Combs
Miranda Lambert
Chris Stapleton
Carrie Underwood

Female vocalist of the year
Gabby Barrett
Miranda Lambert
Ashley McBryde
Maren Morris
Carly Pearce

Male vocalist of the year
Dierks Bentley
Eric Church
Luke Combs
Thomas Rhett
Chris Stapleton

Vocal group of the year
Lady A
Little Big Town
Midland
Old Dominion
Zac Brown Band

Vocal duo of the year
Brooks & Dunn
Brothers Osborne
Dan + Shay
Florida Georgia Line
Maddie & Tae

New artist of the year
Jimmie Allen
Ingrid Andress
Gabby Barrett
Mickey Guyton
HARDY

Musician of the year
Jenee Fleenor – Fiddle
Paul Franklin – Steel Guitar
Aaron Sterling – Drums
Ilya Toshinskiy – Banjo
Derek Wells – Guitar

Album of the year
(Award goes to artist, producer(s) and mix engineer(s))

29
Carly Pearce
Producers: Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne and Jimmy Robbins
Mix engineer: Ryan Gore
Big Machine Records

Dangerous: The Double Album
Morgan Wallen
Producers: Dave Cohen, Matt Dragstrem, Jacob Durrett, Charlie Handsome and Joey Moi
Mix engineer: Joey Moi
Big Loud Records / Republic Records

Heart
Eric Church
Producer: Jay Joyce
Mix engineers: Jason Hall and Jay Joyce
EMI Records Nashville / Universal Music Group Nashville

Skeletons
Brothers Osborne
Producer: Jay Joyce
Mix engineers: Jason Hall and Jay Joyce
EMI Records Nashville / Universal Music Group Nashville

Starting Over
Chris Stapleton
Producers: Dave Cobb and Chris Stapleton
Mix engineer: Vance Powell
Mercury Nashville / Universal Music Group Nashville

Single of the year
(Award goes to artist(s), producer(s) and mix engineer(s))

“Famous Friends”
Chris Young with Kane Brown
Producers: Corey Crowder and Chris Young
Mix engineer: Sean Moffitt
RCA Nashville

“The Good Ones”
Gabby Barrett
Producers: Ross Copperman and Zach Kale
Mix engineers: Chris Galland and Manny Marroquin
Warner Music Nashville

“Hell Of A View”
Eric Church
Producer: Jay Joyce
Mix engineers: Jason Hall and Jay Joyce
EMI Records Nashville / Universal Music Group Nashville

“One Night Standards”
Ashley McBryde
Producer: Jay Joyce
Mix engineers: Jason Hall and Jay Joyce
Warner Music Nashville

“Starting Over”
Chris Stapleton
Producers: Dave Cobb and Chris Stapleton
Mix engineer: Vance Powell
Mercury Nashville / Universal Music Group Nashville

Song of the year
(Award goes to songwriter(s))

“Forever After All”
Luke Combs, Drew Parker, Robert Williford

“The Good Ones”
Gabby Barrett, Zach Kale, Emily Landis, Jim McCormick

“Hell Of A View”
Casey Beathard, Eric Church, Monty Criswell

“One Night Standards”
Nicolette Hayford, Shane McAnally, Ashley McBryde

“Starting Over”
Mike Henderson, Chris Stapleton

Musical event of the year
(Award goes to artist(s) and producer(s))

“Buy Dirt”
Jordan Davis and Luke Bryan
Producer: Paul DiGiovanni
MCA Nashville / Universal Music Group Nashville

“Chasing After You”
Ryan Hurd with Maren Morris
Producers: Aaron Eshuis and Teddy Reimer
Arista Nashville

“Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home)”
Elle King & Miranda Lambert
Producer: Martin Johnson
RCA Records / Columbia Nashville

“Famous Friends”
Chris Young with Kane Brown
Producers: Corey Crowder and Chris Young
RCA Nashville

“half of my hometown”
Kelsea Ballerini (featuring Kenny Chesney)
Producers: Kelsea Ballerini, Ross Copperman and Jimmy Robbins
Black River Entertainment

Music video of the year
(Award goes to artist(s) and director(s))

“Chasing After You”
Ryan Hurd with Maren Morris
Director: TK McKamy

“Famous Friends”
Chris Young with Kane Brown
Director: Peter Zavadil

“Gone”Dierks Bentley
Directors: Wes Edwards, Travis Nicholson, Ed Pryor, Running Bear and Sam Siske

“half of my hometown”
Kelsea Ballerini (featuring Kenny Chesney)
Director: Patrick Tracy

“Younger Me”
Brothers Osborne
Director: Reid Long

 
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