Alan Jackson's 10 Country Music Association nominations resulted largely from "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)," a song he wrote in response to the Sept. 11 tragedy. Brad Paisley, on the other hand, is quick to acknowledge that his nominations this year stemmed from a much lighter subject.
Paisley's "I'm Gonna Miss Her (The Fishin' Song)" pulled in song, single and video of the year nominations at the 36th annual CMA Awards, set for Nov. 6 at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville. The three-hour show will be broadcast live on CBS.
"Up until now, I've had a large following for ballads and things that are little deeper than this," Paisley told CMT News. "This song isn't going to save anyone's life. The most it's going to do is make you laugh, and it's a thrill to have something like that recognized." Paisley is also nominated for male vocalist of the year.
Toby Keith is nominated in six different categories, but his work as co-producer of his own records and primary publisher of his own songs gives him the potential of winning nine trophies. Keith won his first CMA award last year in the male vocalist category. This year he's nominated for entertainer of the year and male vocalist. Keith's "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)" is nominated for single and song of the year, and he also got an album of the year nomination for Pull My Chain. Keith got a video of the year nod for "I Wanna Talk About Me."
When told of the nominations, Keith said, "That's great. Congrats to my supporters. These things usually take care of themselves when you work hard and we are. I'm having a blast."
Kenny Chesney is nominated in three CMA categories, including entertainer of the year and male vocalist. His No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems is also nominated for album of the year. Noting that everything in his career "just gets better and better," Chesney said, "Entertainer of the year, that's the big one. That's the one everyone dreams about. There aren't even words for it. Album of the year is really something. So many people have helped me make this music. To get a nomination like that, to me, recognizes the incredible musicians, songwriters, A&R people and most importantly, [producers] Buddy Cannon and Norro Wilson, who have been in this with me for years."
Nominated for vocal duo and entertainer of the year, Brooks & Dunn responded to the nominations with a reference to Dixie Chicks' ankle tattoos of chicken feet to commemorate career landmarks. "Chicks got those little chick things on their ankles," Ronnie Dunn noted from the Hartford, Conn., airport. "We have matching tattoos, too.
Don't ask me where they are, though, because you don't want to know. Instead of 'Mama' or 'Born to Ride,' they say 'Born to Entertain.' No matter who wins on CMA Awards night, that baby belongs to us."
Montgomery Gentry again find themselves nominated with Brooks & Dunn in the vocal duo category, which also includes the Bellamy Brothers, Sons of the Desert and -- somewhat surprisingly -- The Warren Brothers. "This week has been one hell of a week," Troy Gentry said. "Our album, My Town, came out on Tuesday. We had a party last night celebrating its release -- plus we were presented gold and platinum albums for our first two CDs. And now a CMA nomination. Does it get any better than this?" Partner Eddie Montgomery added, "We're doing what we love to do -- playing for the people. If that gets us a nomination, then we can't be any more thankful."
Rascal Flatts and Lyric Street labelmates SHeDAISY announced the CMA nominations during a Thursday (Aug. 29) press conference in Nashville. In addition to a vocal group nod, Rascal Flatts wound up with a coveted Horizon Award nomination. "We were a little nervous waking up this morning but honored to have been asked by the CMA to even participate in today's events," said band member Gary LeVox. "I must say, my heart pounded heavily when our name was read." Jay DeMarcus noted, "These nominations are like pats on the back from our peers. It's the pinnacle of what you dreamed about as an 8-year-old singing your heart out in the garage."