Georgia buddies and touring mates Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean appeared live from New York Wednesday morning to announce this year’s nominees for the 46th annual Country Music Association Awards.
(Lady Antebellum was expected, but after weather delayed their flight from Nashville, Bryan stepped in.)
The guys will compete against each other – along with Eric Church, Blake Shelton and Keith Urban – for Male Vocalist of the Year.
Aldean, who had a mammoth two-year cycle with his top-selling “My Kinda Party” album (which nabbed the Album of the Year CMA last year) and tour, will also vie against Shelton, Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley and two-time winner Taylor Swift for the coveted Entertainer of the Year trophy.
Aldean’s “Dirt Road Anthem” is also nominated for Single of the Year along with Shelton’s “God Gave Me You,” Dierks Bentley’s “Home,” Little Big Town’s “Pontoon” and Eric Church’s “Springsteen.”
Bryan, a Leesburg native, and Lady Antebellum, who maintain deep ties to Georgia, are both up for Album of the Year with “Tailgates and Tanlines” and “Own the Night,” respectively.
While last year’s ceremony wasn’t fruitful for the Zac Brown Band – five nominations but no wins – the Georgia favorites will have two chances this year. ZBB is up against Eli Young Band, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town and The Band Perry (who have a history with Atlanta vocal coach extraordinaire Jan Smith) for Vocal Group of the Year.
ZBB and fellow Georgian Alan Jackson also received notice for their collaboration “Dixie Highway,” which will compete for Musical Event of the Year against joint offerings from Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw, Willie Nelson and Snoop Dog/Lion, Swift and the Civil Wars and Lionel Richie and Darius Rucker.
Sugarland’s lone nod this year comes in the category they are quite familiar with – Vocal Duo of the Year, which they have won the past five years. This time, Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush will face off with Big and Rich, the Civil Wars, Love and Theft and Thompson Square.
Also representing Georgia: Brantley Gilbert, from Jefferson, who is up for Best New Artist against Lee Brice, Hunter Hayes, Love and Theft and Thompson Square.
The 46th annual CMA Awards will be broadcast live from Nashville Nov. 1 on ABC with Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood hosting for the fifth time.
(Check out a gallery of some of the nominees.)