Sting, Toby Keith, Alan Jackson, Tim McGraw, and LeAnn Rimes Among Performers on 31st Annual CMA Awards

The 31st Annual CMA Awards will be chock-full-of firsts, with pop superstar Sting and Toby Keith's first performance of "I'm So Happy I Can't Stop Crying," and Alan Jackson and Tim McGraw debuting new singles. The awards will be televised live on CBS Television Network Wednesday, September 24 at 8:00 p.m. (Eastern) from the Grand Ole Opry House.

Yes, that is Sting, from The Police, on the Country Music Awards. He will be joined by Toby Keith for a premier performance of their duet for the Sting penned "I'm So Happy I Can't Stop Crying." The song appears on both Sting's A&M album Mercury Falling and Keith's Mercury Nashville album Dream Walkin. On the show, Sting will even sit-in with the Musician of the Year nominees exhibiting his own bass chops.

Other performers set for the star studded telecast include: John Berry, Trace Adkins, Alan Jackson, Tim McGraw, LeAnn Rimes, Deana Carter, Terri Clark, Mindy McCready (wonder if Superman will be spotted), Lorrie Morgan, George Strait, Shania Twain, Pam Tillis, Travis Tritt, Bryan White and Lee Ann Womack.

The Nominees:

The top nominees for this years awards are Deana Carter and George Strait who both snagged five nominations. Deana Carter, who is a first time CMA Award nominee, is nominated for the Female Vocalist of the Year as well as the Horizon Award. Carter's multi-platinum debut Did I Shave My Legs For This? has been nominated for Album of the Year, and her first smash hit single "Strawberry Wine," has been tapped in both the Single of the Year and Music Video of the Year categories. The song, which was written by Matraca Berg and Gary Harrison, is also nominated for Song of The Year.

Strait, who won three CMA Awards in 1996, is nominated for the big daddy of them all, Entertainer of The Year, which he has won twice before in 1989 and 1990. After winning the 1996 Male Vocalist of the Year for the first time in 10 years, Strait is once again nominated in the category. Amazingly, he received two nominations in the category of Single of The Year for "Carried Away" and "One Night At A Time." Strait's platinum, No. 1 album, Carrying Your Love With Me, is nominated in the Album of the Year category. Over the course of his stellar career, Strait has earned 42 CMA Award nominations, only one less than country music legend Merle Haggard, who leads with 43 total nominations.

Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, Tim McGraw, LeAnn Rimes, and Pam Tillis each received three nominations. Jackson is nominated for Entertainer of the Year for the sixth consecutive year, and Male Vocalist of the Year for the seventh consecutive year. He is also in the running for Album of the Year for Everything I Love.

Pam Tillis, who is celebrating the release of her new Greatest Hits album, received nominations for Single of the Year and Music Video of the Year for the hit single from the project, "All The Good Ones Are Gone." The song, written by Dean Dillon and Bob McDill, is also nominated for Song of the Year.

Newcomer LeAnn Rimes earned three nominations in the categories of Female Vocalist of the Year, Album of the Year for Blue, and the Horizon Award. Bill Mack, writer of the song "Blue" received a nomination for Song of the Year.

Newlyweds Tim McGraw and Faith Hill each received three nominations for their smash duet "It's Your Love." The duo is nominated for Single, Vocal Event, and Video of the Year.

Trace Adkins, Vince Gill, Brooks & Dunn, Kathy Mattea, and Trisha Yearwood all grabbed two nominations each.

The awards are voted on by 7,000 professional members of the Country Music Association worldwide. The ballots are tabulated by the accounting firm of Deloitte & Touche LLP.

Last October's CMA Awards on CBS was the second highest-rated television special of 212 specials which aired on all major networks during the 1996-97 season, trailing only the Academy Awards. Telecast a week earlier this year, the event will air for the first time during premiere week.


The Nominees for the 31st Annual CMA Awards Are . . .

Entertainer Of The Year

•Brooks & Dunn

•Garth Brooks

•Vince Gill

•Alan Jackson

•George Strait


Male Vocalist Of The Year

•Vince Gill

•Alan Jackson

•Collin Raye

•George Strait

•Bryan White


Female Vocalist Of The Year

•Deana Carter

•Patty Loveless

•LeAnn Rimes

•Pam Tillis

•Trisha Yearwood


Horizon Award

•Trace Adkins

•Deana Carter

•Terri Clark

•LeAnn Rimes

•Lee Ann Womack


Vocal Group Of The Year


•Diamond Rio

•The Mavericks


•Sawyer Brown


Vocal Duo Of The Year

•Bellamy Brothers

•Brooks & Dunn

•Raybon Brothers

•Thrasher Shiver

•John & Audrey Wiggins


Album of the Year

Album Title

Artist - Record Label

Blue LeAnn Rimes - MCG/Curb

Produced by: Wilbur Rimes

Carrying Your Love With Me George Strait - MCA

Produced by: Tony Brown/George Strait

Did I Shave My Legs For This? Deana Carter - Capitol Nashville

Produced by: Chris Farren/Jimmy Bowen/

John Guess

Everybody Knows Trisha Yearwood - MCA

Produced by: Garth Fundis

Everything I Love Alan Jackson - Arista

Produced by: Keith Stegall


Musician Of The Year

•Eddie Bayers - Drums

•Paul Franklin - Steel Guitar

•Brent Mason - Guitar

•Matt Rollings - Keyboards

•Brent Rowan - Guitar


Single Of The Year

Song Title

Artist - Record Label

•All The Good Ones Are Gone Pam Tillis - Arista

Produced by: Billy Joe Walker, Jr./

Pam Tillis

•Carried Away George Strait - MCA

Produced by: Tony Brown/George Strait

•It’s Your Love Tim McGraw (with Faith Hill) - Curb

Produced by: Byron Gallimore/

James Stroud/Tim McGraw

•One Night At A Time George Strait - MCA

Produced by: Tony Brown/George Strait

•Strawberry Wine Deana Carter - Capitol Nashville

Produced by: Chris Farren


Vocal Event Of The Year


Record - Record Label

•The Charlie Daniels Band with

special guests John Berry &

Hal Ketchum Long Haired Country Boy

Blue Hat Records

•Clint Black and Martina

McBride Still Holding On - RCA

•George Jones and Kathy Mattea You’ve Got A Friend In Me - Disney

•Lee Roy Parnell Featuring

The Fairfield Four John The Revelator: Peace In The

Valley - Arista

•Tim McGraw (with Faith Hill) It’s Your Love - Curb


Song Of The Year

Song Title

Songwriter - Publisher

•All The Good Ones Are Gone Dean Dillon/Bob McDill

Acuff Rose Music/PolyGram International

Publishing/Ranger Bob Music

•Blue Bill Mack

Ft. Knox Music/Trio Music

•Butterfly Kisses Bob Carlisle/Randy Thomas

Diadem Music/PolyGram International


•Strawberry Wine Matraca Berg/Gary Harrison

Longitude Music/August Wind Music/

Great Broad Music/Georgian Hill

•Time Marches On Bobby Braddock

Sony Tree Publishing


Music Video Of The Year


Artist - Director

•455 Rocket Kathy Mattea - Steven Goldmann

•All The Good Ones Are Gone Pam Tillis - Steven Goldmann

•Every Light In The House Trace Adkins - Michael Merriman

•It’s Your Love Tim McGraw (with Faith Hill) -

Sherman Halsey

•Strawberry Wine Deana Carter - Roger Pistole

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