CMA Awards 2017 – Your Life In A Song Predictions

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It’s almost time for the prime of Nashville’s finest to converge for this year’s CMA Awards. Everyone who is anyone will be there and for the very first time our very own Dan Wharton will be reporting live from the Bridgestone Arena.

We have therefore studied form and these are our predictions for glory on Wednesday.

ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR

ERIC CHURCH

CHRIS STAPLETON

KEITH URBAN

GARTH BROOKS

LUKE BRYAN

Will we have a new name this year? Garth holds the crown from 2016. He has won this award on 3 previous occasions and must be a front runner again. Don’t forget he has been added to the line up as a performer.

Luke held the crown for 2 years before Garth’s victory and fits the bill nicely.

Eric Church has worked his butt off this year and has received praise for the sheer quality of his 3 hour live performances. Let’s stick our neck out and suggest it might just be Eric’s year.

OUR PICK       ERIC CHURCH

SINGLE OF THE YEAR

BODY LIKE A BACK ROAD    SAM HUNT

DIRT ON MY BOOTS     JOHN PARDI

TIN MAN     MIRANDA LAMBERT

BETTER MAN    LITTLE BIG TOWN

BLUE AIN’T YOUR COLOR      KEITH URBAN

This might be a tricky one. If it’s awarded for popularity and sales there is only going to be one winner.  Sam Hunt smashed all records and ‘Body Like A Back Road’ is the highest selling country single of all time.  However it also has its critics. Many despair that it’s even remotely ‘country’. ‘Tin Man’ is the polar opposite. Very country but modest airplay. We have to say that the sheer quality of the nominees in this category is mightily impressive. It’s been a good year for banging tunes but our money has to be on Sam.

OUR PICK    BODY LIKE A BACK ROAD     SAM HUNT

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

HEART BREAK     LADY ANTEBELLUM

THE NASHVILLE SOUND    JASON ISBELL AND THE 400 UNIT

THE WEIGHT OF THESE WINGS  MIRANDA LAMBERT

THE BREAKER    LITTLE BIG TOWN

CHRIS STAPLETON     FROM A ROOM   VOL 1

Another tricky category.  With the exception of Chris Stapleton has performed tracks from these albums live in the UK in the last few months. We saw Jason Isbell a matter of days ago and this album is so good. However, again if the criteria are based on sales, it has to be Chris Stapleton who continues to blow everyone away with units shifted.

However, we think that Miranda’s traditional support from the CMA voters will again stand her in good stead and we think that her double album will take the crown

OUR PICK    WEIGHT OF THESE WINGS    MIRANDA LAMBERT

SONG OF THE YEAR

BODY LIKE A BACK ROAD   ZACH COWELL  SAM HUNT  SHANE McANALLY JOSH OSBOURNE

BLUE AIN’T YOUR COLOR   CLINT LAGERBERG  HILLARY LINDSEY  STEVEN LEE OLSEN

BETTER MAN    TAYLOR SWIFT

TIN MAN   JACK INGRAM  MIRANDA LAMBERT JON RANDALL

DIRT ON MY BOOTS   RHETT ATKINS   JESSE FRASURE  ASHLEY GORLEY

With the possible exception of ‘Dirt On My Boots’ the field is wide open on this one. It’s not often that single of the year is the same as song of the year and we can’t see ‘Body Like A Back Road’ winning this one.

We think it’s between ‘Blue Ain’t Your Color’ and ‘Tin Man’ and with Miranda’s sway in Nashville, ‘Tin Man’ might just nick it.

OUR PICK    TIN MAN

FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR

REBA McENTIRE

MAREN MORRIS

CARRIE UNDERWOOD

KELSEA BALLERINI

MIRANDA LAMBERT

There have been times when we have watched the CMA awards and have been a tad disappointed when the award was given to Miranda. She won this award every year from 2010 to 2015 and it was a huge surprise when Carrie became Female Vocalist for 2016.

It seemed as though even Miranda was becoming a little embarrassed to win it judging by the acceptance speeches. However, we doubt if there will be any embarrassment if she wins it this year. Her return to form with her double album after the Blake split will have garnered her huge support again in Nashville.

For us it’s a two horse race. Carrie has had a quite year, Reba hasn’t surely done enough in 2016 to replicate her popularity in the mid eighties when she last won this award.  Maren Morris is certainly on the up but we need to see whether she can replicate the success of her debut album.

It’s Miranda and Kelsea in the driving seat, and because Miranda’s on a roll we think she will regain her crown

OUR PICK    MIRANDA LAMBERT

MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR

THOMAS RHETT

CHRIS STAPLETON

KEITH URBAN

DIERKS BENTLEY

ERIC CHURCH

Mr Stapleton is the holder of this award and has followed up ‘Traveller’ with another huge seller with part 2 around the corner. It could be his year again but for the same reasons that we suggested that Eric Church might be given entertainer of the year he might just make it a double.

Coming up very strongly on the rails is Thomas Rhett. He has had a stellar year and has huge connections in Music City.  He might be a very fancied outsider.

Does he have the vocal prowess to win the award? On balance probably not. It’s a tough one to call – anyone could win this.  We will have to stick to our guns here and our narrow choice has to be Eric.

OUR PICK   ERIC CHURCH

VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR

OLD DOMINION

RASCALL FLATTS

ZAC BROWN BAND

LADY ANTEBELLUM

LITTLE BIG TOWN

This is an impossible choice. We love all these artists. Zac deserves to win everything simply because it’s the Zac Brown Band.  There really isn’t any point discussing the merits or otherwise here. But who is likely to win? Little Big Town because they are rarely beaten to anything these days.

OUR PICK   LITTLE BIG TOWN

VOCAL DUO OF THE YEAR

FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE

DAN + SHAY

BROTHERS OSBORNE

MADDIE & TAE

LOCASH

It would be a huge surprise if Brothers Osborne beat Florida Georgia Line again wouldn’t it?

It surely has to be a two horse race. We love Dan + Shay but doubt if they will win. Similar with Maddie and Tae who need to regroup with their new recording deal. Locash are doing well with their latest single but FGL continue to dominate the charts and the arena venues.  It has to be them surely.

OUR PICK     FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE

MUSICAL EVENT OF THE YEAR

KILL A WORD   ERIC CHURCH ft RHIANNON GIDDENS

FUNNY HOW TIME SLIPS AWAY    GLEN CAMPBELL  WILLIE NELSON

CRAVING YOU     THOMAS RHETT ft MARON MORRIS

SPEAK TO A GIRL      TIM McGRAW   FAITH HILL

SETTING THE WORLD ON FIRE    KENNY CHESNEY    PINK

In the year of Glen Campbell’s passing it would be a fitting tribute if he wins this award. Its inclusion pays homage to a country music legend and we suspect that any of these other nominees will be rooting for Glen and Willie when this one’s announced.

OUR PICK   FUNNY HOW TIME SLIPS AWAY – GLEN CAMPBELL AND WILLIE NELSON

MUSCIAN OF THE YEAR

DANN HOFF   Guitar

DEREK WELLS    Guitar

MAC MCANALLY   Guitar

JERRY DOUGLAS    Dobra

PAUL FRANKLIN   Steel Guitar

Dann Hoff is the current holder of this award. He is a 3 time winner and is hugely popular in the industry.

From a purely biased point of view we would love Mac McAnally to win this one.  He appeared at C2C at the songwriters evening and is an awesome guy.

He‘s also a very fine musician.

OUR PICK      MAC MCANALLY

MUSIC VIDEO OF THE YEAR

CRAVING YOU    THOMAS RHETT

BLUE AIN’T YOUR COLOR    KEITH URBAN

BETTER MAN   LITTLE BIG TOWN

VICE    MIRANDA LAMBERT

IT AIN’T MY FAULT     BROTHERS OSBORNE

Another category that could go any way.  Totally impossible to predict but let’s plump for Miranda as we have already suggested that 2017 will be her year.

OUR PICK   VICE   MIRANDA LAMBERT

NEW ARTIST OF THE YEAR

JON PARDI

OLD DOMINION

BRETT YOUNG

LAUREN ALAINA

LUKE COMBS

Is Jon Pardi a new artist? He toured with Dierks Bentley in 2010 and his debut single ‘Missin You Crazy’ reached 29 in the charts in 2012.

He had a huge hit with ‘Head Over Boots’ in 2015 so why is he even nominated in this category?  Same for Old Dominion. They released their first EP in 2014.and ‘Break Me Up With Him’ was a top 3 single in 2015.

Lauren Alaina was runner up on American Idol in 2011. She might not have had a huge hit record until ‘Road Less Travelled’ in 2016 but has been releasing singles since 2011. Hardly a new artist.

For us it has to be between Luke Combs and Brett Young. Combs released his first EP on a major label in November 2015 and released ‘Hurricane’ last year. His debut album came out in June.

Brett Young’s first EP came out in February 2016 and his album was released in February this year. Purely for impact purposes, we suggest that the new artist should be Brett Young

OUR PICK    BRETT YOUNG

So there we go folks! Let’s see how accurate we will be. We sure would love to hear from you with your picks.

Graham Wharton

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