Kenny Chesney, the Country Music Association’s reigning entertainer of the year, dominated the CMA Award nominations on Wednesday with seven, including album of the year.
Chesney was also nominated for entertainer of the year again, a category he has won for the past two years. Other nominees for the award included Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, George Strait and Sugarland.
“Mornings like this is where you know the music that means so much to you means something to other people, too,” Chesney said.
Strait and Sugarland each received five nominations, including single of the year — Strait for “I Saw God Today,” and Sugarland for “Stay.”
Other multiple nominees included Paisley, Urban, Carrie Underwood and Alan Jackson.
Underwood’s “Carnival Ride,” Chesney’s “Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates,” and Jackson’s “Good Time” were nominated for album of the year along with Strait’s “Troubadour” and Brooks & Dunn’s “Cowboy Town.”
Other CMA nominees included Taylor Swift and Rascal Flatts, who were on hand to reveal some of the nominees during a live announcement on Wednesday’s ABC’s “Good Morning America” in New York.
The 18-year-old Swift, who last year won CMA’s Horizon award for upcoming acts, giggled excitedly when her name was read as a nominee for female vocalist of the year, a category that included Alison Krauss, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride and Underwood, who won the award the past two years.
“I can’t believe it!” Swift said. “I’m having a really good morning.”
Underwood said she always hopes the music she records will touch people’s lives.
“There is nothing more rewarding than to be recognized by your peers and to know your fans are enjoying the same ride,” she said.
Nominees for male vocalist included Chesney, Jackson, Strait, Urban, and Paisley, last year’s winner.
“In the same category as the Eagles!” exclaimed Dave Haywood, Lady Antebellum’s guitarist, when he heard the group’s nomination on TV.
“Oh, my word!” cried singer Hillary Scott.
Lady Antebellum also were nominated for new artist of the year, alongside Jason Aldean, Rodney Atkins, James Otto and Kellie Pickler.
The bulk of the nominees were announced in Nashville on the CMT network. The CMA awards are set for Nov. 12, and will air on ABC.
Besides entertainer, album of the year and male vocalist, Chesney’s nominations were for single of the year for “Don’t Blink;” two musical event nominations, one with Reba McEntire for “Every Other Weekend” and one with Strait for “Shiftwork;” and music video for “Don’t Blink.”
“We work so hard on this music, the tours, the videos. It’s so much the focus of what I do, how I live,” Chesney said. “It’s always a thrill to see that people are not just noticing, but recognize what we’re all trying to do.”
Strait’s fifth nomination was for musical event for his project with Chesney. He now has 75 career CMA award nominations, trailing only Jackson’s 79.
Sugarland’s other nominations are for vocal duo, which they won last year; musical event for “Life in a Northern Town” with Little Big Town and Jake Owen; and music video of the year for “Stay.” Singer Jennifer Nettles also has a solo nod for writing “Stay,” which is nominated for song of the year, a category that goes to the songwriter and publisher.
“I almost spilt my tea this morning as I was watching,” Nettles said. “Being in the Entertainer Of The Year category is such an honor. We’ve been lucky enough to be out on the road with Kenny Chesney for a couple of tours over the last two years. Looks like rock by osmosis really does work!”
Musical partner Kristian Bush called the nominations “simply awesome.”
“It is one thing to play shows every week of the year and imagine ourselves striving to become entertainers of the year and another thing altogether to have the voting members of the CMA believe that it is possible,” Bush said.