Eric Church, Maren Morris, and Chris Stapleton top the list of final nominees for “The 50th Annual CMA Awards” with five nominations each. This year’s finalists represent the depth and range of Country Music over the past five decades from soulful traditionalists to contemporary groundbreakers.
“I am very excited about this year’s list of nominees,” said Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer. “We have artists who received their first CMA Awards nominations decades ago alongside first-timers; we have critically-acclaimed songwriters and artists who have reset the bar for Country Music. This is going to be an exciting year in addition to celebrating the 50thAnniversary of the CMA Awards.”
Dierks Bentley, Carrie Underwood, and Keith Urban received four nominations and Tim McGraw received three nominations for trophies that will be handed out on Country Music’s Biggest Night™.
“The 50th Annual CMA Awards” will be hosted by Brad Paisley and Underwood and broadcast live from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Wednesday, Nov. 2(8:00-11:00 PM/ET) on the ABC Television Network.
For the first time on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” the announcement of the final nominees in six of the 12 CMA Awards categories was made live from the historic stage of the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, which was home to the annual CMA Awards broadcast from 1974 to 2004. The announcement was made by Bentley, Cam, and Urban. Following “Good Morning America” the six remaining categories were announced by the nominated trio of artists on GoodMorningAmerica.com on Yahoo! as well as the “Good Morning America” Facebook page through Facebook Live – making the announcements a complete ABC takeover for the second year.
Church’s nominations include Male Vocalist; Album of the Year for Mr. Misunderstood, which was produced by Jay Joyce and Arturo Buenahora, Jr.; Single of the Year for “Record Year,” which was produced by Joyce and mix engineered by Joyce and Jason Hall; Song of the Year for “Record Year,” which was written by Church and Jeff Hyde; and Music Video of the Year for “Record Year,” which was directed by Reid Long and John Peets. Church is a top nominee for the second year in a row, matching the five nominations he received in 2015. He now has a total of 22 nominations since his first in 2011 for New Artist of the Year.
Morris didn’t just score her first nomination this year; she scored five, which ties her with Deana Carter (1997), K.T. Oslin (1988), and Gretchen Wilson (2004) for five nods in a debut year by a female artist. Only Kacey Musgraves has more, having received six nominations in 2013.
Morris received nominations for Female Vocalist; Album of the Year for Hero, which was produced by busbee, Brad Hill, and Morris; Single of the Year for “My Church,” which was produced by busbee and Morris and mix engineered by busbee and Dave Clauss; Song of the Year for “My Church,” which was written by Morris and busbee; and New Artist of the Year. Morris only receives one nomination each for Album and Single of the Year, but can receive additional trophies as producer.
After Stapleton’s breakout year in 2015 when he had three nominations and went home with four trophies for Album (including producer), Male Vocalist, and New Artist of the Year, he is back in 2016 with five nominations, including his first for Entertainer of the Year.
His list of nods this year also includes Male Vocalist; Single of the Year for “Nobody To Blame,” which was produced by Stapleton and Dave Cobb and mix engineered by Vance Powell; Music Video of the Year for “Fire Away,” which was directed by Tim Mattia; and Musical Event of the Year with life and stage partnerMorgane Stapleton (her first nomination) for “You Are My Sunshine.” Stapleton only receives one nomination for Single of the Year, but can receive an additional trophy as producer.
Bentley, a 20-time nominee and two-time winner including the Horizon Award in 2005 (now New Artist of the Year) and Music Video of the Year in 2014 for “Drunk On A Plane,” will vie for Male Vocalist; Album for Black, which was produced by Ross Copperman and Buenahora; Music Video for “Somewhere On A Beach,” which was directed by Wes Edwards; and Musical Event of the Year for “Different for Girls” with Elle King (her first CMA Awards nomination).
Underwood is a first-time nominee in the Entertainer of the Year category. She also received nominations in Album of the Year for Storyteller, which was produced by Joyce, Mark Bright, and Zach Crowell; and Musical Event of the Year for “The Fighter” with Urban. She is also nominated for Female Vocalist, which she has won three times (2006-2008).
Urban, who has been a nominee every year since 2004, received four CMA Awards nominations in 2016 including Entertainer of the Year, which he won in 2005. Urban’s other nominations include Male Vocalist; Album of the Year for Ripcord, which was produced by Urban, Dann Huff, Jeff Bhasker, Tyler Johnson, Greg Wills, Nile Rodgers, busbee, K-Kov, Nathan Chapman, andJonny Price; and Musical Event of the Year for “The Fighter,” featuring Underwood. Urban only receives one nomination for Album of the Year, but can receive an additional trophy as producer.
Urban has won the Musical Event category four times including “Start A Band” with Paisley (2009); “Highway Don’t Care” with McGraw and Taylor Swift (2013); “We Were Us” with Miranda Lambert (2014); and “Raise ‘Em Up,” featuring Church (2015).
McGraw, a 38-time CMA Awards nominee, received three nominations including Male Vocalist (his last nomination in the category was 2003); Single of the Year for “Humble and Kind,” which was produced by McGraw and Byron Gallimore (Gallimore also mix engineered the song); and Music Video of the Year for “Humble and Kind,” which was directed by Edwards. He last won the Music Video category in 2013 for “Highway Don’t Care” with Swift and Urban. McGraw only receives one nomination for Single of the Year, but can receive an additional trophy as producer.
Artists receiving two nominations include Kelsea Ballerini, Luke Bryan, Cam, Old Dominion, Brothers Osborne, and Thomas Rhett.
Ballerini, who received her first CMA Awards nominations in 2015, received her second nods for both Female Vocalist and New Artist of the Year.
Bryan, who is the reigning Entertainer of the Year, is nominated again in 2016 (he received his first nomination in the category in 2013). He is also nominated for Musical Event of the Year for “Home Alone Tonight,” featuringKaren Fairchild of Little Big Town.
Cam is a first-time nominee in 2016 with recognition from the industry for Song of the Year for “Burning House,” which she wrote with Johnson and Bhasker; and Music Video of the Year for “Burning House,” which was directed by Trey Fanjoy. In addition to announcing the final nominees on “Good Morning America,” Cam also notified CMA Broadcast Award finalists for Personality and Radio Station of the Year via personalized video messages.
Old Dominion is also a first-time nominee in 2016, contending for Vocal Group and New Artist of the Year.
Brothers Osborne are nominated for Vocal Duo and New Artist of the Year.
Thomas Rhett’s two nominations included Single of the Year for “Die a Happy Man,” which was produced by Huff and Jesse Frasure and mix engineered by Justin Niebank; and Song of the Year for “Die a Happy Man,” which was written by Thomas Rhett, Sean Douglas, andJoe Spargur.
A member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Garth Brooks returns to the Entertainer of the Year category after being nominated in 2015. He has won four times (1991, 1992, 1997, 1998) tying him with Kenny Chesney for the most wins in the category. He has a career total of 11 CMA trophies and 32 nominations.
Miranda Lambert, who is the most awarded female in CMA Awards history with 12 wins and 39 nominations, received a nomination for Female Vocalist of the Year (she is a six-time, consecutive winner in the category).Kacey Musgraves, who won New Artist of the Year in 2013 and Song of the Year in 2014, is also nominated for Female Vocalist of the Year.
Joining Old Dominion in the Vocal Group of the Year category are several returning winners including Lady Antebellum, who have won three times (2009-2011);Little Big Town, who have won four times (2012-2015);Rascal Flatts, who have won six times (2003-2008); and Zac Brown Band, who have been nominated every year since 2009.
Joining Brothers Osborne in the Vocal Duo of the Year category are returning nominees Dan + Shay who received their first nomination in 2014; Joey + Rory, who were nominated twice (2009-2010); Maddie & Tae, who received their first nomination in the category in 2015; and Florida Georgia Line, who have won three consecutive years (2013-2015).
With three acts debuting in the New Artist of the Year category (Brothers Osborne, Morris, and Old Dominion) two are returning: Ballerini, who was nominated for New Artist for the first time in 2015 and Cole Swindell, who was a New Artist nominee in 2014. Artists can only be included in this category twice.
Rounding out the Musical Event of the Year category is the No. 1 Chris Young and Cassadee Pope duet, “Think of You,” which marks Pope’s first CMA Awards nomination.
Lori McKenna, who won Song of the Year in 2015 with Liz Rose and Hillary Lindsey for “Girl Crush,” is nominated for Song of the Year again in 2016 for McGraw’s “Humble and Kind.” Song of the Year is presented to the songwriters.
The Musician of the Year category includes Jerry Douglas (dobro/lap steel guitar), Paul Franklin (steel guitar), Huff (guitar), Brent Mason (guitar), and first-time nominee Derek Wells (guitar).
A full list of CMA Awards nominations is below:
Entertainer Of The Year
Single of the Year
(Award goes to Artist, Producer(s), and Mix Engineer(s))
“Die a Happy Man,” Thomas Rhett
Produced by Dann Huff and Jesse Frasure
Mix Engineered by Justin Niebank
The Valory Music Co.
“Humble and Kind,” Tim McGraw
Produced by Byron Gallimore and Tim McGraw
Mix Engineered by Byron Gallimore
Big Machine Records
“My Church,” Maren Morris
Produced by busbee and Maren Morris
Mix Engineered by Dave Clauss and busbee
Columbia Nashville/Sony Music Nashville
“Nobody To Blame,” Chris Stapleton
Produced by Dave Cobb and Chris Stapleton
Mix Engineered by Vance Powell
Mercury Nashville/Universal Music Group Nashville
“Record Year,” Eric Church
Produced by Jay Joyce
Mix Engineered by Jay Joyce and Jason Hall
EMI Records Nashville/Universal Music Group Nashville
Album of the Year
Dierks Bentley, Black
Maren Morris, Hero
Eric Church, Mr. Misunderstood
Keith Urban, Ripcord
Carrie Underwood, Storyteller
Song of the Year
(Award goes to Songwriter(s))
“Burning House,” Camaron “Cam” Ochs, Tyler Johnson, Jeff Bhasker
“Die a Happy Man,” Sean Douglas, Thomas Rhett, and Joe Spargur
“Humble and Kind,” Lori McKenna
“My Church,” busbee and Maren Morris
“Record Year,” Eric Church and Jeff Hyde
Female Vocalist of the Year
Male Vocalist of the Year
Vocal Group of the Year
Little Big Town
Zac Brown Band
Vocal Duo of the Year
Dan + Shay
Florida Georgia Line
Joey + Rory
Maddie & Tae
Musical Event of the Year
“Different For Girls,” Dierks Bentley feat. Elle King
[Capitol Records Nashville / Universal Music Group Nashville]
“Home Alone Tonight,” Luke Bryan featuring Karen Fairchild
[Capitol Records Nashville / Universal Music Group Nashville]
“The Fighter,” Keith Urban (featuring Carrie Underwood)
[Hit Red Records / Capitol Records Nashville / Universal Music Group Nashville]
“Think Of You,” Chris Young (duet with Cassadee Pope)
[RCA Nashville / Sony Music Nashville]
“You Are My Sunshine,” Morgane Stapleton with Chris Stapleton
[Low Country Sound / Elektra Records]
Musician of the Year
Jerry Douglas, Dobro / Lap Steel Guitar
Paul Franklin, Steel Guitar
Dann Huff, Guitar
Brent Mason, Guitar
Derek Wells, Guitar
Music Video of the Year
“Burning House,” Cam
“Fire Away,” Chris Stapleton
“Humble and Kind,” Tim McGraw
“Record Year,” Eric Church
“Somewhere On A Beach,” Dierks Bentley
New Artist of the Year