Monthly Archives: August 2010

For Your Consideration: CMA New Artist of the Year

Our For Your Consideration series’ third installment will be looking at the CMA New Artist of the Year category. This year we’ve seen plenty of new talent shoot to the top of the charts with smash singles and great selling albums proving they can hang with country’s superstars. As usual, we will pick five artists we think have a shot to land a nomination in this category.

Last year Darius Rucker nabbed his first CMA nominations, one for New Artist and the other in the Male Vocalist field. On the night of the awards show, he walked away with the New Artist trophy, beating out fellow nominees Randy Houser, Jamey Johnson, Jake Owen, and the Zac Brown Band. This year, we could see one of those artists nominated again, and could possibly walk away with the win. Here are the five artists we think have the best shot at getting nominated.

Zac Brown Band

In this category, artists are allowed to be nominated two times if they don’t win in their first nomination. Last year, the Zac Brown Band enjoyed its first nomination in this category, but didn’t win. This year, they will go into the ceremony as the frontrunner if they are nominated. Their album, The Foundation, has stayed inside the top five for most of this year. That album has yielded three consecutive number one singles in “Toes,” “Highway 20 Ride,” and “Free.” The band is currently on tour headlining shows at festivals and fairs.

Luke Bryan

This year Luke Bryan has experienced a breakthrough year. His album, Doin’ My Thing, debuted at number two on the country albums chart and has since sold over 300,000 copies. He had back-to-back singles peak inside the top two on the singles chart with “Do I” and “Rain is a Good Thing” (which hit number one). Earlier this year, he won his first ACM award for New Artist of the Year beating out Joey + Rory, and Gloriana. Right now he’s the supporting act on Jason Aldean’s Wide Open tour.

Chris Young

Chris Young has been around for a few years now but he’s finally gaining success in the industry. This year, he’s had back-to-back number one singles with “Getting You Home (The Black Dress Song)” and “The Man I Want to Be.” Both singles are off his sophomore album, The Man I Want to Be, which has sold over 300,000 copies since its release last September. He enjoyed his second ACM nomination for Top New Solo Vocalist and has been on the road with Rascal Flatts.

Easton Corbin

Easton Corbin has had an incredible debut year. His self-titled debut album, Easton Corbin, debuted at number four and has since sold over 200,000 copies since its release in March. The album’s lead single, “A Little More Country Than That,” shot straight to number one, making Corbin the first solo male country artist to have a debut single go number one since Dierks Bentley did it in 2003 with “What Was I Thinking.” Easton has been tapped as a supporting act on Brad Paisley’s H2O World Tour.

Steel Magnolia

Steel Magnolia came to light after winning CMT’s Can You Duet talent competition and has since found success on the singles chart. The duo’s debut single, “Keep On Lovin’ You,” peaked inside the top five and found itself on the motion picture soundtrack for the movie Valentine’s Day. Earlier this year, the duo received its first ACM nominations for Top Vocal Duo and Top New Vocal Duo. Steel Magnolia is also among the many supporting acts on Brad Paisley’s H2O World tour.

Bubbling Under

David Nail
David Nail’s hit single “Red Light” became his first top 10 hit and nabbed him his first ACM nomination for Single Record of the Year. His follow up single “Turning Home” became his second top 20 hit and he’s been tapped for the opening act on Lady Antebellum’s fall Need You Now Tour.

Jamey Johnson
He was nominated last year after the massive critical acclaim for his album, That Lonesome Song, and his smash single “In Color.” However, he hasn’t had a big impact on the charts this year which could find him left off the list of nominees.

Gloriana
Gloriana has had a top 15 hit with its debut single “Wild At Heart.” The group’s self-titled album debuted at number two and they’ve toured with Taylor Swift on her Fearless tour. The group also won last year’s American Music Award for Breakthrough Artist as well as this year’s ACM for Top New Vocal Group.

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For Your Consideration: CMA Female Vocalist of the Year

In our third installment of our For Your Consideration series, All Things Country is examining the CMA’s Female Vocalist of the Year category. This year saw only four women enjoy big success at both radio and in retail stores. In a year where the nominations for Entertainer of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year could see big changes, the opposite can be said for the Female Vocalist field. Find out who we think deserves a nomination in this category.

Last year, we saw the coronation of Taylor Swift as 2009’s Female Vocalist of the Year. Swift beat out veterans Reba McEntire and Martina McBride as well as favorites Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert. This year, we could see those same five women be nominated once again. Here are our picks for the final five.

Miranda Lambert

For the first time in her career, Miranda Lambert is walking into this category as the clear favorite. During the eligibility period, Lambert scored back-to-back number one singles with “White Liar” and “The House That Built Me,” the latter spent four weeks atop the singles chart. Both singles come off her ACM award-winning album, Revolution, which has sold nearly 800,000 copies since its release last September. During this year’s ACM ceremony, Lambert also picked up her first Top Female Vocalist trophy as well as Video of the Year for “White Liar.” CMA night could be another big night for her as she could walk away with several trophies including this one.

Carrie Underwood

Once again Carrie Underwood has proven she’s a force to be reckoned with at country radio. During the eligibility period, Underwood scored three more number one singles with “Cowboy Casanova,” “Temporary Home,” and “Undo It” all reaching the top spot on the singles chart. Her third studio album, Play On, has sold over 1.7 million copies since its release last November. Her Play On 2010 tour has been one of the most attended and among the highest grossing tours of the year. In a year that has been all about Miranda Lambert, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Carrie Underwood came back to win her fourth Female Vocalist trophy in just five nominations.

Reba McEntire

Reba McEntire has been considered the Queen of Country music for some time, but after the year she’s had I think she claims the title of the Comeback Queen of Country as well. Reba’s career is experiencing a huge resurgence thanks to her album Keep on Loving You. Since its release, it has sold over 500,000 copies and produced her longest running number one single, “Consider Me Gone,” which had a 4 week run atop the singles chart. Along with “Gone,” the album has produced a top 15 hit in “Strange,” and a top ten hit in “Keep On Loving You.” Along with making headlines at radio and in retail stores, Reba was apart of a sold-out concert tour with fellow superstar, George Strait.

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift has had a quiet year on the singles charts. She only charted two songs, “Fifteen” and “Fearless,” that failed to reach the top five (both were top 10 hits). Her 2008 sophomore album, Fearless, continues to remain inside the top 10 on the country albums chart even after nearly two years since its release. Her accompanying tour was once again one of the highest attended and grossing tours of the past year. She won this award last year, but with Lambert and Underwood having stronger years, look for Swift to just be nominated this year.

Martina McBride

Martina McBride has had extremely mild success on the singles chart this year. She had two top 20 singles with “I Just Call You Mine” and “Wrong Baby Wrong,” both from her 2009 Shine album. She also embarked on the Shine All Night Tour, which she co-headlined with Trace Adkins.

Bubbling Under

Kellie Pickler
Kellie didn’t release an album during the eligibility period but she did continue her run of top 15 singles with “Didn’t You Know How Much I Loved You” peaking at number 14. She also held the opening act slot on Taylor Swift’s Fearless Tour.

Leann Rimes
Leann released her cover of John Anderson’s “Swingin'” and is readying the release of her covers album, Lady and Gentlemen.

Lee Ann Womack
Lee Ann released “There is a God” to country radio during November of last year. She spent most of the year as the opener on George Strait and Reba McEntire’s co-headlining tour.

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For Your Consideration: Male Vocalist of the Year

For the greater part of this decade, the CMA Male Vocalist of the Year nominations have included either one of or all of the four following men: Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, George Strait, and Keith Urban. This year could see all four of them nominated once again with several deserving male artists fighting for the final fifth spot. In our second installment of our For Your Consideration series, we’re making our picks for this year’s Male Vocalist of the Year category.

Last year, the field of nominees included the four incumbant nominees of Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, George Strait, and Keith Urban and also Darius Rucker who claimed the coveted fifth spot. On the night of the awards it was Brad Paisley who picked up his third straight Male vocalist trophy, becoming just the fourth artist to win the award three times in a row.

This year we could possibly see one of the four usual nominees left off the list while artists who have been over looked for the past couple years could finally breakthrough for their first nominations in this elite field. Here are my picks for who I think should be included in this year’s Male Vocalist field.

Jason Aldean

With artists like Brad Paisley and Keith Urban grabbing headlines this year, it’s hard to believe that it’s Jason Aldean who has had better success at radio and in retail than Paisley and Urban. Aldean’s had three straight top two singles (2 of them which went to number one) and his album, Wide Open, has reached platinum status. Jason has been all but ignored at awards shows (his only CMA nominations came in 2007 and 2008 for the Horizon Award), but I think he has a great shot at breaking through for his first time this year.

Brad Paisley

With three consecutive wins, Brad Paisley is the clear favorite to win this category for a fourth year. This year Brad has continued to be a dominant force at country radio. He’s added another number one song to his credit (“Water”) and two more number two singles (“Welcome to the Future” and “American Saturday Night”). His album, American Saturday Night, has been certified gold since its release last year and he’s continued to be a popular attraction on his tours. Brad is a virtual lock for another nomination, and possibly a win, this year.

Blake Shelton

Blake Shelton is having the best year of his career this year. He released a six song EP, Hillbilly Bone, which debuted at number 2 while the title track became his sixth number one song while the follow up track, “All About Tonight,” reached the top 10 (during the eligibility period but has since gone number one). Shelton also nabbed his first ACM award back in April with his win in the Vocal Event category for his duet with Trace Adkins, “Hillbilly Bone.”

Keith Urban

Though Keith Urban did not release an album during the eligibility period, I think he still has a shot at getting a nomination mainly because he’s won this award three times. However, that’s not the only reason. Urban’s had a decent year at radio. He had a number 1 hit with “Only You Can Love Me This Way” while he had top five singles with “I’m In” and “‘Til Summer Comes Around.” He’s also been on the road for most of the summer on his Summer Lovin’ tour.

George Strait

This year George Strait had another consistent year. He released his 25th studio album, Twang, which has been certified gold and he’s had decent radio hits with “Twang” and “I Gotta Get to You.” What could catapult Strait into this category, as well as the Entertainer race, is his huge sold out concert tour with fellow superstar, Reba McEntire.

Bubbling Under

Kenny Chesney
This year we could see Kenny Chesney left off the list of Male Vocalist nominees since he hasn’t released a new studio album since 2008’s Lucky Old Sun. He did, however, have two top 10 hits with “I’m Alive” and “Ain’t Back Yet.”

Dierks Bentley
Thought Bentley has been quiet at radio (only one number 1 single with “I Wanna Make You Close Your Eyes”) he’s one of the few male artists who released a new album during the eligibility period. Not to mention he took a big risk by releasing a bluegrass album.

Luke Bryan
He’s had a huge breakthrough year with back-to-back number one singles (“Do I” and “Rain is a Good Thing”) but he also released his sophomore album, Doin’ My Thing, which is nearing sales of 500,000. He’s still relatively new but I think he could have a shot at breaking into this category.

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Billboard Chart Flash: Week of Aug. 9 – 15

This week marks the first time an artist not named Lady Antebellum has held both the top spots on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs and Country Albums charts simultaneously in one week this year. Find out who achieved that milestone in this week’s Chart Flash.
Blake Shelton is the king of the charts this week as his second six pack album, All About Tonight, debuts at number one on the Country Albums chart, becoming his first album to debut at number one. Shelton sold an impressive 32,600 copies to knock Lady A’s Need You Now to number two for just the second time since its January release. Falling down one spot to number three is the Zac Brown Band’s The Foundation while Miranda Lambert stays put at number four with Revolution. Rounding out this week’s top five best selling albums is Jerrod Niemann’s Judge Jerrod and the Hung Jury.

On the Hot Country Songs chart, Shelton’s “All About Tonight” leaps over Keith Urban to take over the number one spot becoming his second consecutive chart-topping single. Holding steady in the runner-up position is Keith Urban’s “I’m In” while last week’s number one single, Zac Brown Band’s “Free,” falls to the third spot. Leapfrogging up three spots to number four is Billy Currington’s latest hit, “Pretty Good at Drinkin’ Beer,” which becomes his fourth consecutive top five single. Rounding out this week’s most played country songs is Lee Brice’s “Love Like Crazy” which spends its second week in the number five spot.

Leading this week’s debut singles is the Zac Brown Band’s duet with Alan Jackson, “As She’s Walking Away,” which debuts at number 32. Following the band is Laura Bell Bundy’s “Drop On By” which comes in at no. 58 and Blaine Larsen’s “Leavin'” which bows in at no. 59. Making the biggest leap up the charts this week is Taylor Swift’s latest single, “Mine,” which rockets up nine spots to number 17.

Next week we could see a change on the albums chart as Lady Antebellum could regain the number one spot depending on if Blake Shelton can have a great second week of sales. Over on the songs chart, Keith Urban is trying to nab another number single but he has to unseat Shelton’s “All About Tonight.” Find out what happens in next week’s Chart Flash.

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For Your Consideration: CMA Entertainer of the Year

It’s official, awards season is right around the corner. On September 1, all of country’s biggest stars will be tuning in to the announcement of the CMA awards nominations. To sort out who we think deserves a nomination in the major categories, All Things Country is kicking off our For Your Consideration series with the most prestigious award of the night, Entertainer of the Year. Find out who we think deserves a nomination in the first installment of the series.

Last year teen queen Taylor Swift claimed the coveted fifth spot when the nominations were announced. She was joined by the usual four man lineup of Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, George Strait, and Keith Urban. When CMA night came, Swift was the big winner by not only claiming the Entertainer of the Year trophy but three others as well including Female Vocalist of the Year. At only 19, Swift became the youngest winner of the Entertainer of the Year award.

This year I think we could see a major shake up in the Entertainer lineup. With the genre’s biggest stars having quiet years, its allowed other artists to have breakthrough years that could lead to them earning a nomination for this coveted award. Here are a few artists I think deserve to be nominated this year. Sidenote: the CMA eligibility period is July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010 which will be used for all data and numbers in this series.

Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood has been the face of country music for the past few years. After a quiet 2009, Underwood came back this year with a new album which has been certified platinum and three number one singles.  Her Play On Tour has been one of the most attended country concert tours so far this year and she’s had appearances on tv shows such as How I Met Your Mother and American Idol. After claiming her second Entertainer of the Year trophy at April’s ACM awards, a CMA nomination in the same category is long overdue. Look for her to be the frontrunner to win this award if she secures a nomination.
Lady Antebellum
Lady Antebellum has had one hell of a breakthrough year this year. Their smash hit single, “Need You Now,” spent five weeks atop the country singles chart and also crossed over to the adult contemporary chart where it had a longer stay at number one. Their sophomore album, Need You Now, has been certified double platinum since its release in January and has spent 27 weeks atop the country albums chart. They’ve toured with Tim McGraw and just announced their first headlining tour this fall which has already sold out in most cities. If the CMA was to throw in a darkhorse this year, look for it to be Lady Antebellum.

Brad Paisley
Brad Paisley has been country’s leading man since Keith Urban seemingly hit a wall with his past couple albums. This year, Paisley reached the top two on the singles chart with three songs which included his 15th number one single. He’s played for over a million fans throughout his 2009 and 2010 American Saturday Night Tour and he’s embarked on his H20 World Tour this year. With his fourth win as Male Vocalist of the Year at this year’s ACM awards, it’s easy to consider Paisley a lock for another Entertainer of the Year nomination.

Keith Urban

Keith Urban has been a staple in this category for the better part of this decade. This year, he’s had three top five singles and saw his album, Defying Gravity, get certified gold. Keith is also currently on two tours including his Summer Lovin’ 2010 tour as well as opening on the Eagles 2010 tour along with the Dixie Chicks. 

Taylor Swift

It’s a rarity for winners of the Entertainer of the Year award to not be nominated the next year. That means Swift is a virtual lock for a nomination; however, it won’t be undeserved. Though she’s had a quiet year this year, she’s still had one of the best selling albums and one of the most successful tours in her Fearless tour. 

Bubbling Under

Here are a few artists who I think are on the outside looking in, but could snag a nomination.
Miranda Lambert
She’s had her best year to date with two number singles and three ACM award wins including her first Top Female Vocalist trophy. 

Kenny Chesney
He’s one of the four incumbents in this category but a year without a big tour, album, or number one single could hurt his chances at getting a nomination.
George Strait
He’s been nominated in each of the past three years but without claiming a number one second this year he’s left on the outside. However, having a sold out tour with Reba McEntire could sway voters.  

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Billboard Chart Flash: August 2 – 8

Last week saw Jerrod Niemann’s “Lover, Lover” leap into the number one spot on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart while Lady Antebellum’s Need You Now held onto the number one spot on the Country Albums chart. This week saw one of those two artists lose their number one ranking. Find out who it is in this week’s Chart Flash.

Lady Antebellum’s seemingly unstoppable album, Need You Now, sold another 28,000 copies to remain atop the Country Albums chart for a 27th non-consecutive week. The album’s total sales are just short of the 2.5 million mark. The remainder of the albums chart is the same as last week’s with Zac Brown Band’s The Foundation holding strong in the number two spot. Hold his place in third is Jerrod Niemann’s former number one album, Judge Jerrod and the Hung Jury. Following Niemann are country’s leading ladies Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood. Lambert’s Revolution holds at number four while Underwood’s Play On stays inside the top five. With the release of Blake Shelton’s All About Tonight expected to make a debut at number one, look for a bit of a shake up in next week’s chart.

On the Hot Country Songs chart, the Zac Brown Band’s “Free” finally rises to the number one spot after bubbling under for the past couple weeks. This is the band’s third consecutive number one and fourth overall. Moving up one spot to number two is Keith Urban with his latest smash, “I’m In.” After cracking the top five last week, Blake Shelton’s “All About Tonight” leaps two spots to number three. Meanwhile, last week’s number one song, Niemann’s “Lover, Lover,” slides down three spots to number four. Making his first appearance in the top five at number five this week is Lee Brice with his hit “Love Like Crazy.”

Leading this week’s debut singles is Taylor Swift’s “Mine” which comes in at number 26. Following Swift are singles by Jason Aldean (“My Kinda Party” at no. 41), Brad Paisley (“Anything Like Me” at no. 42), and Clay Walker (“Where Do I Go From You” at no. 60). This week’s biggest leap comes from Rascal Flatts whose latest single, “Why Wait” jumps up seven spots to number 27.

Next week should see a new number one album with Blake Shelton taking over the top spot. However, we’ll see if the Zac Brown Band can hold onto the number one spot on the singles chart or if Keith Urban can take over the top spot. Find out in next week’s Chart Flash.

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Rascal Flatts, "Why Wait"

After shocking the music industry by announcing their move to Big Machine Records, Rascal Flatts are now releasing their first single from their first Big Machine album release, Nothing Like This. With their recent singles not reaching “super hit” status, the Flatts boys are hoping “Why Wait” will help them start off on the right foot at Big Machine. Does the song have what it takes to return Rascal Flatts back to the top of the charts?
A couple weeks ago the country music industry was blindsided by the announcement of Rascal Flatts’ move to Big Machine Records, the label home of pop country starlet Taylor Swift. Once the announcement was made, the group left no time for speculation as to whether they would find a new sound and style. Instead, they unveiled the lead single from their upcoming Nothing Like This album, “Why Wait.”

The production on “Why Wait” is an interesting one to me. When I first heard the song, I thought it was probably the most pop production I’ve heard from the trio. But, as I listened to the song more, I also found myself saying that its the most country production I’ve heard from them in recent years. I think the guitar lines, drumbeat, and melody make it extremely pop yet the fiddle and slight steel guitar riffs keep it in the country realm. It’s somewhat refreshing to hear something like this from the group since they’ve been stuck in a bit of a funk lately.

The production, however, is probably the best part of the song and really saves it from being country pop fluff. The lyrics are beyond cheesy and are some of the worst we’ve heard from the band since “Bob That Head” or “Me and My Gang.” They tell the unromantic story of a man whose idea of popping the question is asking his mate why they should wait another a day and why not just go to a church where he knows a preacher who can “hook” them up. The vocals are average but I have to give kudos to lead singer Gary LeVox for not trying to over sing the song and for staying within his vocal range.

“Why Wait” fits the stylings of Rascal Flatts perfectly but once again they fall short of reaching the same artistic potential they showed on earlier singles like “I’m Moving On” and “Bless the Broken Road.” However, I think this is the perfect song choice as the lead off single from the upcoming album and I’m going to say it’ll take them back to the top of the charts.

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