OFFSTAGE: Chris Young: “Nomination Blindsided Me”

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

“If you look at that category for male vocalist, it really doesn’t change from year to year,” Chris Young told me when he was in Chicago a few weeks ago. We were talking about his two nominations for the upcoming Academy of Country Music Awards — for male vocalist of the year and single record of the year (“Tomorrow” ). He’s honored to be in both categories, but he’s surprised to be in the male vocalist field with Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley and Blake Shelton. “The male vocalist nomination blindsided me because I am just now out of range for being in the new artist category,” he said. “So I’m the only one in there who’s never been nominated for male vocalist before. And it’s something kinda special for me. I’ve always gone out of my way to sound live exactly like I sound on my records, and I don’t think that gets old. Anybody that does what we do for a living has stood in front of their mirror and practiced playing guitar and looked like complete idiot. But this is really all I ever wanted to do. So this is gonna make it a lot of fun to be at ACMs this year.”

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