OFFSTAGE: Analyzing the ACM Nominations

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

Let me preface this by saying I am genuinely thrilled for all of the ACM nominees . But a big part of me wishes that each category had room for about 10 more names. I love that there are so many newer artists on the lists this year. Seeing nominees such as Jason Aldean (entertainer of the year), The Band Perry (top vocal group), Emily West and Colt Ford (with separate nominations in the vocal event category) Easton Corbin (single record of the year) reminds me that new artists keep the genre interesting. But then I think, is it really time to push the old guard out yet? Like where is Tim McGraw in top male vocalist? And why is Toby Keith up for EOTY but not even in the top male vocalist field? And the same with Carrie Underwood. Is she seriously not a contender for EOTY this year? And then there is Rascal Flatts. How is it possible that they are not considered a top vocal group of the year, but Little Big Town and the Randy Rogers Band are — even though they’ve sold a lot fewer albums and concert tickets than Rascal Flatts? Like them or hate them, it’s hard to argue with the successes they’ve had. And for that matter, why is Keith Urban‘s Get Closer not up for album of the year when its lead single, “Put You In a Song,” is on the radio almost every five minutes. I would definitely consider that record an “outstanding country music album during the prior calendar year of December 1st to November 30th.” Maybe the release date was too close to the end of the eligibility window, but still. And one last observation. How is it that Kenny Chesney can have a song so impactful (“The Boys of Fall” ) that it makes both the video and single record of the year and his Hemingway’s Whiskey is up for album of the year, yet Chesney himself isn’t nominated for male vocalist? I guess I’ll just have to agree to disagree with some of the ACM’s decisions. How about you?

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.