George Strait, Kenny Chesney Top Early List of Nominees for CMA Awards

Darius Rucker and Lee Ann Womack Announce Initial Nominations on Good Morning America

George Strait and Kenny Chesney received three nominations each when the first five categories were announced Wednesday morning (Sept. 9) for the 43rd annual CMA Awards.

The initial list was revealed by Darius Rucker and Lee Ann Womack during a telecast of Good Morning America at the ABC News studios in New York. Singer-songwriter Randy Houser will join CMT personalities Cody Alan and Alecia Davis at CMT’s studios in Nashville to announce the remaining finalists during Insider Special Edition: 2009 CMA Awards Nominations airing at 10 a.m. ET on CMT.

Strait and Chesney are both nominated in the entertainer of the year category with Brad Paisley, Taylor Swift and Keith Urban. Strait and Chesney are also both nominated in the male vocalist field with Paisley, Rucker and Urban.

And Strait and Chesney also find themselves nominated for musical event of the year — Strait for “Everything but Quits” (a duet with Womack featured on her Call Me Crazy album) and Chesney for “Down the Road” (a collaboration with Mac McAnally). The other musical event nominees are “Cowgirls Don’t Cry” (Brooks & Dunn featuring Reba McEntire), “I Told You So” (Carrie Underwood featuring Randy Travis) and “Old Enough” (the Raconteurs featuring Ricky Skaggs and Ashley Monroe). The Raconteurs are a band featuring White Stripes frontman Jack White, who previously produced Loretta Lynn’s Van Lear Rose album.

In addition to her first entertainer of the year nomination, Swift is also in the female vocalist category with Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire and Carrie Underwood.

Rucker, who found fame as the lead vocalist for Hootie & the Blowfish, garnered his first CMA nominations Wednesday. Aside from his male vocalist mention, he is also nominated for new artist of the year, a category that includes Houser, Jamey Johnson, Jake Owen and the Zac Brown Band.

Paisley and Underwood will host this year’s CMA Awards on Nov. 11 at Nashville’s Sommet Center. The show will be broadcast on ABC.

Calvin Gilbert has served as’s managing editor since 2002. His background includes stints at the Nashville Banner, Radio & Records and Westwood One.