Look for Lee Ann Womack and Brad Paisley to get some profile-raising recognition when nominations for the 34th CMA Awards are announced at 11 a.m. ET Tuesday (Aug. 1).
Womack will be on hand, along with Lonestar, to read the list of nominees
during a press conference at Nashville's Adelphia Coliseum. Country.com will bring you news of the nominations as soon as
they are made public. Expect the Dixie Chicks, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, George Strait, Trisha Yearwood, Lonestar and Montgomery
Gentry to have a good day at the ballot box, too.
Womack, though, could pick up as many as five nominations, on the
strength of her chart-topping single and video for "I Hope You Dance," and the CD of the same title. She's a strong contender
for Single of the Year, Album of the Year, Female Vocalist of the Year, Vocal Event of the Year (the song also features Sons
of the Desert) and Music Video of the Year (an award she would share with director Gerry Wenner).
In addition to
topping Billboard's Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart for six weeks and counting -- longer than any single in 2000
-- the affecting song, with its wish of a fulfilling life experience, has been played at graduations and weddings. Songwriters
Mark D. Sanders and Tia Sillers, composers of "I Hope You Dance," would seem to be shoo-ins for a Song of the Year nomination.
Womack will be a big story of the day, but she won't be the only story. Brad Paisley, already an industry award winner
at the Academy of Country Music Awards and Country Weekly Presents the TNN Music Awards, could come out with as many
as six nods. Paisley would appear to have a lock on a nomination for the CMA's Horizon Award. In fact, it's not a great stretch
to say Paisley is a prohibitive favorite to win the award, though he'll have some competition. Among the other artists with
a good shot at a nomination: Montgomery Gentry, Chad Brock, The Wilkinsons, Clay Davidson, Andy Griggs, Eric Heatherly, SHeDAISY,
Mark Wills and Chely Wright.
The success of "He Didn't Have to Be" also makes Paisley a contender for Single, Song
(with co-writer Kelley Lovelace) and Video of the Year (with directors Robert Deaton and George Flanigen). His debut CD, Who
Needs Pictures, could contend for Album of the Year, and with all that momentum it's not unreasonable to think Paisley
could come in for a slot in the Male Vocalist of the Year field. He also is eligible for Entertainer of the Year, but it may
be too early in his career for the young West Virginian to register there.
Of course, the Dixie Chicks, winners of
three CMA awards last year, will be back, with a lot to crow about. They could have as many as seven nominations. In the midst
of their first headlining tour, the trio will earn nominations for Entertainer of the Year, Vocal Group of the Year and Album
of the Year, for Fly. They also can pick up nods for Single of the Year, Song of the Year, Vocal Event of the Year
(for a collaboration with Asleep at the Wheel) and Music Video of the Year. Their controversial "Goodbye Earl" is up for Single
and Video of the Year. "Ready to Run" vies for Song and Video of the Year, while "Cowboy Take Me Away" is up for Single and
Song of the Year.
Country power couple Tim McGraw and Faith Hill will get their share of nominations. McGraw, reigning
Male Vocalist of the Year, will vie for Entertainer of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year. Hill will get a nod for Female
Vocalist of the Year and has a good shot at Entertainer of the Year and Album of the Year (for Breathe). The McGraw-Hill
collaboration "Let's Make Love" should come in for a nod for Vocal Event of the Year.
"Breathe" is on the ballot for
Single and Music Video of the Year (director Lili Zanuck would share the honor). "Breathe" songwriters Holly Lamar and Stephanie
Bentley could find themselves nominated for song of the year.
In McGraw's song catalog, "My Best Friend" and "Something
Like That" could pull Single and Song of the Year nominations. In the competition for Song of the Year, songwriters Aimee
Mayo and Bill Luther would get the nomination for "My Best Friend," while Rick Ferrel and Keith Follese would qualify if "Something
Like That" draws a nomination. "My Best Friend" also is up for Music Video of the Year. McGraw would share the nomination
with director Scott Sherrill.
Having undertaken another massively profitable stadium tour this year, George Strait
will qualify for Entertainer of the Year and he's always a threat for Male Vocalist of the Year. Strait and Alan Jackson could
come in for a nomination for Vocal Event of the Year for their collaboration on "Murder on Music Row."
likely nominees: Toby Keith's "How Do You Like Me Now?" and Trisha Yearwood's "Real Live Woman" for Single of the Year; Asleep
at the Wheel's Ride With Bob and Yearwood's Real Live Woman for Album of the Year; and "Amazed" (Marv Green,
Aimee Mayo and Chris Lindsey, writers) and "Murder on Music Row" (Larry Cordle and Larry Shell, writers) for Song of the Year.
Look for Martina McBride, Jo Dee Messina and Trisha Yearwood for Female Vocalist of the Year; Toby Keith for Male
Vocalist of the Year; Lonestar for Vocal Group of the Year; Brooks & Dunn, Montgomery Gentry and the Kinleys for Vocal Duo
of the Year; Clint and Lisa Hartman Black's "When I Said I Do" for Vocal Event of the Year; and Montgomery Gentry, The Wilkinsons
and SHeDAISY for Horizon Award.
And count on a few surprises. Winners will be announced Oct. 4 during The 34th CMA
Awards, broadcast live by CBS-TV from the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville.