2015 CMA Award Nominees Revealed

Facebook/Christ Stapleton, Flickr/Disney,ABC Television Group

On Wednesday morning, Steven Tyler and Kelsea Ballerini announced the nominees for the 2015 CMA Awards.

The mix of this year’s nominees include most of the usual suspects, but there are two artists you should keep an eye on. The first is Chris Stapleton, the Nashville songwriting veteran who made his solo debut this year with Traveller, which is nominated for Album of the Year. Stapleton also earned nominations for Male Vocalist of the Year and New Artist of the Year.

Stapleton’s voice and style are unlike anything on country radio. He’s not a pretty boy, he’s not bro-country. He’s soulful with all the authenticity and bite of traditional country music. The fact that he’s nominated for three major CMA Awards shows that the current wave of traditional country is resonating with the masses and the industry is taking notice.

The other notable artist is Ballerini, nominated for Female Vocalist of the Year and New Artist of the Year. Ballerini is sort of the heir apparent to Taylor Swift. Talented, pretty, and undeniably pop. The industry is pushing for Ballerini to be one of the faces of modern country. Expect to see a lot more of her in 2016.

There’s been a lot of room in country radio for artists like Ballerini and Sam Hunt who don’t sound much like country at all, and no space for artists like Stapleton who keep the spirit of the art form alive. If Stapleton wins, the implication is that similar artists like Sturgill Simpson and Jason Isbell will find a place on the radio. We’re interested to see how it all shakes out.

Here is the complete list of nominees.

Entertainer of the Year

Garth Brooks
Luke Bryan
Kenny Chesney
Eric Church
Miranda Lambert

Album of the Year (Awarded to Artist and Producers)

Old Boots, New Dirt, Jason Aldean
Pageant Material, Kacey Musgraves
Pain Killer, Little Big Town
The Big Revival, Kenny Chesney
Traveller, Chris Stapleton

Female Vocalist of the Year

Miranda Lambert
Kacey Musgraves
Carrie Underwood
LeAnn Womack
Kelsea Ballerini

Male Vocalist of the Year

Dierks Bentley
Luke Bryan
Eric Church
Blake Shelton
Chris Stapleton

Vocal Group of the Year

Lady Antebellum
Little Big Town
Rascal Flatts
The Band Perry
Zac Brown Band

Song of the Year 

“American Kids,” Kenny Chesney
“Girl Crush,” Little Big Town
“Like A Cowboy,” Randy Houser
“Like A Wrecking Ball,” Eric Church
“Take Your Time,” Sam Hunt

Vocal Duo of the Year

Brothers Osborne
Dan + Shay
Florida Georgia Line
Maddie & Tae
Thompson Square

New Artist of the Year

Sam Hunt
Maddie & Tae
Thomas Rhett
Chris Stapleton
Kelsea Ballerini

Single of the Year

“American Kids” Kenny Chesney
“Girl Crush,” Little Big Town
“I Don’t Dance,” Lee Brice
“Take Your Time,” Sam Hunt
“Talladega,” Eric ChurchMusical Event of the Year

Music Video of the Year

“Biscuits,” Kacey Musgraves
“Girl Crush,” Little Big Town
“Girl In A Country Song,” Maddie & Tae
“Little Red Wagon,” Miranda Lambert
“Something In The Water,” Carrie Underwood

Musician of the Year

Sam Bush, Mandolin
Jerry Douglas, Dobro
Paul Franklin, Steel Guitar
Dann Huff, Guitar
Mac McAnally, Guitar

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2015 CMA Award Nominees Revealed