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.
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.
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 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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.