Brad Paisley Leads Finalists with Seven Nominations for
"The 43rd Annual CMA Awards," Country Music's Biggest Night

Keith Urban Receives Five Nominations; Zac Brown, Jamey Johnson, George Strait, and Taylor Swift Receive Four Nominations Each; Fresh Faces in Nearly Every Category Including Entertainer, Male, Group, Duo, and Album of the Year


NASHVILLE – Sep. 9, 2009 – The final list of nominees for “The 43rd Annual CMA Awards” features fresh faces in 10 of the 12 CMA Awards categories with new artists layered throughout the finalist field, the continued dominance of the established superstars, and crossover favorites making huge gains in 2009.

“The 43rd Annual CMA Awards” will be broadcast live from the Sommet Center in Nashville, Wednesday, Nov.11 (8:00-11:00 PM/ET) on the ABC Television Network. Reigning CMA Male and Female Vocalist of the Year Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood return for a second year to host “County Music’s Biggest Night™.”

“It is great for the format and speaks to the strength of our music and talent of our artists that there are so many new faces on the list of nominees this year,” said Tammy Genovese, CMA Chief Executive Officer. “With more than a quarter of the nominees making their debut in 2009, representing a variety of major and independent labels, there will be a heightened level of excitement and anticipation for the CMA Awards in November.”

For the fourth year, the announcement of the final nominees in five of the 12 CMA Awards categories was made on ABC News’ “Good Morning America.” Darius Rucker and Lee Ann Womack delivered the news from the “Good Morning America” studios in the heart of New York City’s Times Square. The remaining categories were announced by Randy Houser on “Insider Special Edition: 2009 CMA Awards Nominations” live from CMT’s network studios in Nashville, hosted by CMT personalities Cody Alan and Alecia Davis.

At the conclusion of the announcements, Paisley led the list of finalists with seven nominations. Paisley was nominated for Entertainer; Male Vocalist; Album for American Saturday Night, which was produced by Frank Rogers and Chris DuBois; Single and Song for “Then” (DuBois and Ashley Gorley are also nominated as songwriters); and Musical Event and Music Video for “Start A Band” with Keith Urban, which was directed by Jim Shea.

Urban’s nominations include Entertainer; Male Vocalist; Musical Event and Music Video for “Start A Band” with Paisley; and Album of the Year for Defying Gravity. Urban is eligible to win a second trophy in the Album category for producing Defying Gravity with Dann Huff. Huff is also a nominee for Musician of the Year.

Jamey Johnson, George Strait, Taylor Swift, and Zac Brown (frontman of the Zac Brown Band), each received four nominations.

George Strait received nominations for Entertainer; Male Vocalist; Music Video for “Troubadour” directed by Trey Fanjoy; and Musical Event with Lee Ann Womack for “Everything But Quits” (a category they won in 2005 with “Good News, Bad News”). Strait now has 79 career CMA Awards nominations, which ties him with Alan Jackson for the most nominations to date. He leads the trophy count with 22.

Taylor Swift has four nominations including her first for Entertainer of the Year. The last time a solo female artist was nominated for Entertainer of the Year was Faith Hill in 2000. Shania Twain was the last female artist to claim the trophy in 1999. Swift, who won the Horizon Award in 2007, is also nominated for Female Vocalist (she received her first nomination in the category in 2008); and Music Video for “Love Story,” which was directed by Trey Fanjoy. In another first for the 19-year-old artist, she is nominated for Album of the Year for Fearless. Swift may also receive a second trophy for producing Fearless with Nathan Chapman.

Jamey Johnson’s list of nominations includes New Artist; Single and Song for “In Color” (which Johnson co-wrote with Lee Thomas Miller and James Otto); and Album of the Year for That Lonesome Song, which was produced by The Kent Hardly Playboys. These are Johnson’s first artist nominations. In 2007, as a songwriter he won Song of the Year for George Strait’s “Give It Away,” which he co-wrote with Bill Anderson and Buddy Cannon.

Zac Brown claims his first CMA Awards nominations in 2009 – three with his self-named group and one for penning their hit “Chicken Fried.” The Zac Brown Band received nominations for New Artist; Vocal Group; and Single of the Year for “Chicken Fried,” which was produced by Keith Stegall. Zac Brown picked up the additional nomination for Song of the Year for writing “Chicken Fried” with Wyatt Durrette.

A powerhouse in the Entertainer of the Year category, Kenny Chesney has won the trophy in 2004, 2006, 2007, and 2008, which ties him with Garth Brooks for the most wins in the category. Chesney is nominated again in 2009, in addition to nods for Male Vocalist and Musical Event with Mac McAnally for “Down the Road.” McAnally is also nominated for Musician of the Year along with Eddie Bayers, Paul Franklin, and Brent Mason.

Darius Rucker wasn’t only handing out the good news today, he was a recipient. The lead vocalist and songwriter for the pop group Hootie & The Blowfish, received his first CMA Awards nominations as a solo Country artist in 2009 for New Artist and Male Vocalist of the Year. He performed on the 2008 CMA Awards.

After winning Female Vocalist of the Year in 2006, 2007, and 2008, Carrie Underwood is back in 2009 with two nominations for Female Vocalist and Musical Event for “I Told You So,” featuring Randy Travis. Travis picked up a second nomination for Song of the Year, for writing “I Told You So.” Travis’ version of the hit song was nominated for Single and Song of the Year in 1988.

If Underwood wins the Female Vocalist trophy again, it will tie her with Martina McBride (1999, 2002-2004) and Reba McEntire (1984-1987) for most wins in this category. McBride and McEntire are each nominated in the Female Vocalist category in 2009. Miranda Lambert is also a Female Vocalist nominee.

McEntire scored a second nomination for her performance with Brooks & Dunn on “Cowgirl’s Don’t Cry” for Musical Event of the Year. In doing so, she retains her position as the female artist with the highest number of nominations in the 43-year history of the CMA Awards with 48.

Brooks & Dunn have been presented 19 trophies during their career. In 2009, Brooks & Dunn have nomination for Musical Event with McEntire for “Cowgirls Don’t Cry” and are nominated for Vocal Duo, a category they have won a record 14 times.

The reigning Vocal Duo crown is in Sugarland’s hands. The duo was nominated in the category again in 2009 and also picked up a nomination for Album of the Year for Love on the Inside. Kristian Bush and Jennifer Nettles may also win an additional trophy each for producing the album with Byron Gallimore.

A new entry in the Vocal Duo of the Year category this year is Joey + Rory. Also nominated are Big & Rich and Montgomery Gentry.

Until 2008, there was a long dry spell for the Eagles between nominations for Vocal Group of the Year (1976, 1977, 2008) but they are back in 2009. The Zac Brown Band is the new addition to the category along with returning nominees Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, and Rascal Flatts, who have swept the Vocal Group of the Year category the past six years.

Reigning New Artist of the Year Lady Antebellum received a second nomination for Single of the Year for “I Run To You,” which was produced by Victoria Shaw and Paul Worley.

Artists making their debut in the New Artist of the Year category (formerly the Horizon Award) include  Randy Houser, Jamey Johnson, Jake Owen, Darius Rucker, and the Zac Brown Band. Artists can only be included in this category two times.

Houser received a second nomination for Music Video of the Year for “Boots On,” which was directed by Eric Welch. Rounding out the Music Video category is Billy Currington’s “People Are Crazy,” which was directed by The Brads. The song hit a chord with CMA Awards voters and picked up additional nominations for Single and Song of the Year for writers Bobby Braddock and Troy Jones. Currington, who has two nominations, can receive an additional trophy for producing the Single of the Year with Carson Chamberlain. Currington’s last nomination was in 2005 for Musical Event with Shania Twain for “Party for Two.”

Making their debut in the Musical Event category are The Raconteurs with Ricky Skaggs, and Ashley Monroe for “Old Enough.” Raconteurs’ frontman Jack White, of The White Stripes and The Dead Weather, is no stranger to the format as the producer of Loretta Lynn’s critically hailed album Van Lear Rose. Skaggs received his last nomination in this category in 1999 for “Same Old Train,” which included a veritable who’s who of Country stars.  

The 2008 CMA Awards, held in Nashville during November Sweeps (Nov. 12), ranked behind only the Academy Awards and Grammy Awards during the 2008-2009 season for awards shows among total viewers. With “The 42nd Annual CMA Awards,” ABC won Wednesday evening in both total viewers (15.9 million) and adults 18-49 (5.0/13). According to Nielsen research, 34.6 million unique viewers 2+ watched six minutes or more of the program. 

The CMA Awards nominees and winners are determined by the 6,000 plus industry professional members of CMA, which was the first trade organization formed to promote an individual genre of music in 1958. The first “CMA Awards Banquet and Show” was held in 1967. The following year, the CMA Awards were broadcast on NBC television for the first time – making it the longest running, annual music awards program on network television. The show aired on NBC through 1971 and on the CBS Television Network from 1972 through 2005 before moving to ABC in 2006. 

Winners of “The 43rd Annual CMA Awards” will be determined in a final round of voting by eligible voting members of the Country Music Association. CMA Awards balloting is officiated by the international accounting firm of Deloitte & Touche LLP.

In addition to live coverage of today’s events, “Insider Special Edition: 2009 CMA Awards Nominations” will re-air on CMT immediately following the live broadcast at 10:30 AM ET/PT (9:30 AM/CT); and Saturday, Sept. 12 at 1:30 PM ET/PT (12:30 PM/CT) and Sunday Sept. 13 at 11:00 AM ET/PT (10:00 AM/CT). will stream the nomination special following its on-air premiere and post breaking news coverage on the site in a special online edition of “Insider News Now.”

A video news release including footage of the nominee announcements, exclusive interviews, music video clips, and more will be serviced today, Wednesday, Sept. 9, (2:00-2:30 PM/ET; 1:00-1:30 PM/CT). The VNR package will be available by Galaxy 28 – Transponder 19 (C-Band) Analog; Downlink Frequency – 4080 V.

If you have difficulty picking up the VNR feed, please contact David Sands with On The Scene Productions at (323) 930-5387; or Maria Eckhardt at CMA (615) 664-1637, or by e-mail at

Tickets for the 2009 CMA Awards will go on sale to the public on Saturday, Sept. 19 (10:00 AM/CT), and can be purchased by logging on to;  calling (800) 745-3000; or in person at the Sommet Center box office, 501 Broadway (corner of Fifth Avenue and Broadway, in Nashville). Ticket prices begin at $110 for Upper Level. All ticket prices include sales tax but exclude applicable service/handling fees.

“The 43rd Annual CMA Awards” is a production of the Country Music Association. Robert Deaton is the Executive Producer, Paul Miller is the Director, and David Wild is the writer. The special will be shot in high definition and broadcast in 720 Progressive (720P), ABC’s selected HDTV format, with 5.1 channel surround sound.

The final nominees for the 2009 CMA Awards are:


• Kenny Chesney
• Brad Paisley
• George Strait
• Taylor Swift
• Keith Urban


• Miranda Lambert
• Martina McBride
• Reba McEntire
• Taylor Swift
• Carrie Underwood


• Kenny Chesney
• Brad Paisley
• Darius Rucker
• George Strait
• Keith Urban


• Randy Houser
• Jamey Johnson
• Jake Owen
• Darius Rucker
• Zac Brown Band


• Eagles
• Lady Antebellum
• Little Big Town
• Rascal Flatts
• Zac Brown Band


• Big & Rich
• Brooks & Dunn
• Joey + Rory
• Montgomery Gentry
• Sugarland

(Award goes to Artist and Producer)

• “Chicken Fried”
Zac Brown Band
Produced by Keith Stegall
Atlantic Records

• “I Run To You”
Lady Antebellum
Produced by Victoria Shaw and Paul Worley
Capitol Records Nashville

• “In Color”
Jamey Johnson
Produced by The Kent Hardly Playboys
Mercury Nashville

• “People Are Crazy”
Billy Currington
Produced by Carson Chamberlain and Billy Currington
Mercury Nashville

Brad Paisley
Produced by Frank Rogers and Chris DuBois
Arista Nashville

(Award goes to Artist and Producer)

• American Saturday Night
Brad Paisley
Produced by Frank Rogers and Chris DuBois
Arista Nashville

• Defying Gravity
Keith Urban
Produced by Dann Huff and Keith Urban
Capitol Records Nashville

• Fearless
Taylor Swift
Produced by Nathan Chapman and Taylor Swift
Big Machine Records

• Love On The Inside
Produced by Byron Gallimore, Kristian Bush, and Jennifer Nettles
Mercury Nashville

• That Lonesome Song
Jamey Johnson
Produced by The Kent Hardly Playboys
Mercury Records

(Award goes to Songwriter(s))

• “Chicken Fried”
Zac Brown/Wyatt Durrette

• “I Told You So”
Randy Travis

• “In Color”
Jamey Johnson/Lee Thomas Miller/James Otto

• “People Are Crazy”
Bobby Braddock/Troy Jones

• “Then”
Brad Paisley/Chris DuBois/Ashley Gorley

(Award goes to each Artist)

• “Cowgirls Don’t Cry”
Brooks & Dunn featuring Reba McEntire
Arista Nashville

• “Down The Road”
Kenny Chesney (with Mac McAnally)
Blue Chair Records, LLC & BNA Records

• “Everything But Quits”
Lee Ann Womack (duet with George Strait)
MCA Nashville

• “I Told You So”
Carrie Underwood featuring Randy Travis
19 Recordings/Arista Nashville

• “Old Enough”
The Raconteurs featuring Ricky Skaggs and Ashley Monroe
Third Man Records/Warner Bros. Records

• “Start A Band”
Brad Paisley (duet with Keith Urban)
Arista Nashville

(Award goes to Artist and Director)

• “Boots On”
Randy Houser
Directed by Eric Welch

• “Love Story”
Taylor Swift
Directed by Trey Fanjoy

• “People Are Crazy”
Billy Currington
Directed by The Brads

• “Start A Band”
Brad Paisley (duet with Keith Urban)
Directed by Jim Shea

• “Troubadour”
George Strait
Directed by Trey Fanjoy


• Eddie Bayers– Drums
• Paul Franklin – Steel Guitar
• Dann Huff – Guitar
• Brent Mason – Guitar
• Mac McAnally – Guitar
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