Luke Combs: Backstage Before the CMA Awards

Two Nominations "Ain't Bad Either," He Says

Pretty staggering. That’s how Luke Combs sums up his past year.

His debut single “Hurricane” is only two years old, so he fits perfectly into the new artist category at Wednesday’s (Nov. 14) 52nd annual CMA Awards. And yet, with all of four of his singles released from that first album shooting to the top of the charts, Combs is also poised to take home the male vocalist of the year CMA Award, too.

When he looks back at everything that’s happened for him in 2018 — selling out two nights at the Ryman Auditorium, touring with Jason Aldean — he says it’s hard to pinpoint his biggest moment of the year. “Honestly, being nominated for two CMAs ain’t bad either,” Combs said in a backstage interview during rehearsals for the show.

“I’m just gonna try to keep the magic rolling a little bit, you know? This is everybody’s dream: to be here and to be asked about it is a dream come true. I don’t think winning is everything. Making your statement through your performances on stage: that for me is the biggest thing. I think we’ve won just simply based on the fact that we get to play our songs on the biggest night in country music,” he said.

(And if he doesn’t win a CMA Award? Well, he still has that Polaris Ranger that Aldean gave him at the end of their tour.)

On a night like tonight, when Combs should be reveling in the fact that he already has three CMA nominations (two this year and one last year) under his belt, he’s actually already starting to think about what’s next. And that’s the new music he’s been working on “feverishly.”

“It’s just a best-song-wins thing for me,” he said of how he’ll pick the songs for his next album. “There’s nothing I’m chasing. That was the formula for my first record, so I don’t see any point in changing it.”

Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley host the 52nd annual CMA Awards live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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