CMA Awards heats up with new generation of stars
By Jim Hagerty
A new breed of country music stars is taking the industry by storm in much the same fashion the likes of Garth Brooks, Travis Tritt and Shania Twain did in the 1990s. To exactly what degree will be decided tonight (Wednesday, Nov. 11) at the 42rd annual CMA Awards.
Teen sensation Taylor Swift is the talk of Nashville, Tenn., of late, selling 3 million copies, and counting, of her second album, Fearless, a second to only Michael Jackson. Swift is nominated for four awards, including Entertainer of the Year and the top female vocalist.
Kenny Chesney, Entertainer of the Year the last three years, is nominated again for the award and three other categories, while guitar slinger Brad Paisley is nominated in seven slots. Combined, Paisley and Chesney have scored 17 CMA Awards.
Making the leap from the American Idol stage to chart-topping stardom, Carrie Underwood has sold more than 10 million copies of her first two releases. She’s the first country artist to ever score 10 No. 1 singles from a debut and sophomore release. Since 2005, Underwood has won five CMA Awards, including the last three top female vocalist honors.
While the new generation is flaunting its twangy chic, seasoned veterans are still heavily in the mix. Country music legend George Strait, who has reeled in 22 CMA Awards since the 1980s, is nominated for three awards, while the fun-loving Reba McEntire and country mainstay Martina McBride are both in the Female Vocalist of the Year ring. If the draw turns favorable for Keith Urban, he could become a nine-time winner tonight, adding to his six CMA Awards. Urban challenges the field in three categories: Entertainer of the Year, Album of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year.
No stranger to the awards show game, Darius, sometimes-referred-to-as Hootie, Rucker, who led the Blowfish to international stardom in the 1990s, became the first country artist in 16 years to reach No. 1 with his first three singles. The feat was last reached in 1992 when Wynonna Judd fired off three top songs from her debut release. Rucker is nominated in the Male Vocalist and New Artist categories.
The CMA Awards air at 7 p.m. on ABC. A complete list of nominees, past winners and roster of presenters is available at www.cmaawards.com.
From the November 11-17, 2009 issue
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