Keith Urban and Kenny Chesney Reflect on Their CMA Nominations

Lady Antebellum and Darius Rucker Are Also Among This Year's Nominees

Between Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney, Lady Antebellum and Darius Rucker, there’s wide range of experience with awards shows. And all are grateful for the attention they received when the nominations for the 43rd annual CMA Awards were announced Wednesday (Sept. 9).

Urban received four nominations, including entertainer of the year and male vocalist. In addition his album of the year nomination for Defying Gravity, he and Brad Paisley share a video of the year nomination for “Start a Band.”

“This is absolutely awe inspiring,” Urban said. “I’ve never loved playing music as much as I have this year. The response to the new album has been divine and, given the crazy times we’re in, the celebratory atmosphere and positive energy night after night on this particular tour has been nothing short of a miracle … and we’re not even done yet.”

Chesney, whose CMA collection includes four trophies for entertainer of the year, is nominated for the honor again this year in a category with Brad Paisley, George Strait,
Taylor Swift and Keith Urban. He’s also nominated in the male vocalist division, and his collaboration with singer-songwriter Mac McAnally on “Down the Road” is nominated for musical event of the year.

“The more you do this, the more those nominations mean,” Chesney said. “You realize what it takes to receive an honor like this — especially from your peers who make it happen and know the work and commitment it takes. You’ve got to be humbled knowing what you do is recognized.”

The members of Lady Antebellum learned of their two nominations after arriving in Gstaad, Switzerland, for performances taking place Friday and Saturday (Sept. 11-12) at the Country Night Gstaad music festival. After winning the CMA’s new artist award last year, they’re now nominated for group of the year and single of the year for “I Run to You.”

“Being halfway around the world and hearing that we got two CMA nominations is totally surreal,” said band member Charles Kelley. “We’re so far from home, but we’re also really connected to Nashville because there are so many fans over here who absolutely love country music. Being in the group of the year category is just unbelievable because we feel like we’re only getting started. We still have so much to write about and say and do as artists. We honestly will never get used to seeing our name in the same category as the Eagles or Rascal Flatts.”

Prior to Rucker’s successful transition to mainstream country music, his tenure as lead vocalist for Hootie & the Blowfish included the band’s 1994 debut album, Cracked Rear View, which eventually sold 16 million copies. After scoring a series of No. 1 country singles from his country album, Learn to Live, Rucker has now received CMA nominations for new artist and top male vocalist.

“Everything with this record has been wild, and this really caps the year we’ve had with these two honors,” Rucker said.

This year’s CMA Awards show takes place Nov. 11 at Nashville’s Sommet Center and will be broadcast on ABC.