Country Artists React to ACM Nominations

From the high seas to the offices and recording studios of Nashville, country music artists reacted to their nominations for the 38th annual Academy of Country Music Awards. The nominations were announced Tuesday (March 4) in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Kenny Chesney found out about his five nominations while sailing in the Atlantic Ocean. Admitting that he had temporarily forgotten that the ACM announcement was being made Tuesday, Chesney said, “You’re out in the middle of all this blue water, not a cloud in the sky and nothing for miles, and you’re sure it can’t get any better than this. … Then you realize what today is, and you get worried, because even though you know it’s not about nominations, you really hope that people are going to recognize what you’re doing. You don’t quite know whether you want to call in or not, but you know you kinda gotta.”

Brooks & Dunn won three of the seven ACM trophies they were nominated for last year. This time, they’re nominated for three awards, including the Home Depot Humanitarian Award. Referring to their tour, Kix Brooks said, “We took the Neon Circus on the road and kept working our record. It’s not about the cycle of our releases for us, it’s about getting out there and rocking the fans. When we roll into a town, we want to leave knowing people had a good time …and the rest of it just makes us glad to still be here.” Partner Ronnie Dunn added, “What keeps us in the game is the ability to make music and to make people happy. That’s where the rubber meets the road to us … and that’s what makes the nominations mean so much to us. They tell us people are still glad we’re here and are into what we’re doing.”

Terri Clark was recording “Walkin’ After Midnight” for a Patsy Cline tribute album when she learned that she is nominated for top female vocalist. Referring to the fact that this marks only her first ACM nomination, Clark said, “Truthfully, I was a little annoyed. I wasn’t even thinking about [the ACM press conference] because when you’ve done this as long as I have and you’re never really nominated, you learn to defend yourself from disappointment by assuming the awards aren’t your thing. Making the music was more than plenty for me.” At first, Clark thought her manager was pulling a prank when he told her of the nomination. “I actually thought it was kind of a sick practical joke — and sort of told him so,” she said. “But he was like, ’No, Terri. You’re nominated.’ Thankfully, vocals [for the recording session] are tomorrow, because I can’t imagine the shrieking did great things for my voice.”

After scoring a recent Grammy nomination, Joe Nichols is nominated as the ACM’s top new male vocalist. “What a year,” Nichols said. “To think that this time last year my first single [“The Impossible”] was just shipping to radio, and now just a year later to be recognized by the ACM as a top new male vocalist nominee is just incredible.”

Commenting on her nomination for top new female vocalist, Kellie Coffey noted, “To say I’m honored and excited is an understatement. This has been such a wonderful year already and it’s only March. We’re goin’ to Vegas baby!”

Lonestar , the ACM’s reigning top vocal group, picked up a fifth nomination in the category, but they’re also nominated for the Home Depot Humanitarian Award. “It is certainly an honor to be recognized in the top vocal group category again this year,” lead vocalist Richie McDonald said. “It is also very gratifying to be nominated in the humanitarian category because the different charities we have supported throughout the years are all very close to our hearts. It has always been a great reward for us to be able to help others, especially children. We just hope that this draws extra attention to these causes and encourages others to do their part to help out.”

Responding to their song of the year and top vocal group nominations, Rascal Flatts members Gary LeVox, Jay DeMarcus and Joe Don Rooney issued a press release stating, “We have always felt that ’I’m Movin’ On’ deserved this nomination. Not because of us, but because of the lives that it changed. And it’s great to be nominated in any category, particularly with the company we are in.”

Hometown News — the duo of Scott Whitehead and Ron Kingery — snagged a vocal duo nomination in a category with Brooks & Dunn, Montgomery Gentry , Sons of the Desert and the Bellamy Brothers . “We’re thrilled,” Whitehead said. “We thought last year was a great year. 2003 is looking even better.” Kingery is ready for the awards show in Las Vegas. “I’m looking forward to bringing my wife Kerrie,” Kingery said. “We never really had a chance to go on a honeymoon because I’ve been on the road.”

The ACM Awards show is set for May 21 at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. Reba McEntire will host the CBS broadcast.