Sunday Discussion: CMA Album, 2008

I'm sure the actual category will be some mishmash of major artist releases from the eligibility period. A little Carrie here, a little Chesney there, with a dose of Strait and Flatts for good measure. Underwood's album is decent, as was Strait's, but these are my five favorite albums from the eligibility period (July 1, 2007-June 30, 2008.) Do they have a prayer of being nominated? Who knows. Even the long shots have been nominated when they were core radio acts, so maybe fate will be kind.

Kathy Mattea, Coal
I suspect that when 2008's Best of Lists are compiled, this album is going to be featured prominently on them. The album works as both entertainment and historical record, and is essential listening for those with even a passing interest in Mattea, mountain music, the working class and coal mining.

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Raising Sand
If there was a more interestin

g album or surprising success story this past year, I can't think of one. The lead singers of Led Zeppelin and Union Station combined to make a roots album that honors the history of both rock and country music without being limited by the past.

LeAnn Rimes, Family
She wrote an entire album for the first time, and instead of it being a hubris-laden disaster, it was her best album to date. She's a better interpreter of her own material than she is of others, which is no small feat, given the impressive vocal performances she has under her belt.

Josh Turner, Everything is Fine
He's got a set of material worthy of his rich baritone on this, his third album. The singles have only hinted at the good stuff here.

Trisha Yearwood, Heaven, Heartache, and the Power of Love
All of Yearwood's albums have been of high quality, but this one is excellent even by her lofty standards. It's her strongest set overall since 2000's Real Live Woman.



  1. Of those 5…. LeAnn Rimes would get my vote. Trisha’s title track is just too bad for me and I don’t think, despite how good it may be, that Alison Krauss’ duet album is Country enough for the voters.

    My favorite albums from 2007/08 not mentioned (and I don’t know if/don’t think they qualify)….
    Little Big Town – A Place to Land (not the right type of album to win an award)
    Miranda Lambert – Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
    Lady Antebellum – [2008] Lady Antebellum
    Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson – [2008] Rattlin’ Bones

  2. “Heaven, Heartache, and the Power of Love” deserves to win, although “Family” is a worthy runner-up.

    Lovin’ the new design by the way.

  3. I like your choices, Kevin. I’m afraid Plant/Krauss’ best chance is at the grammies though, along with Mattea’s Coal. If the CMAs have any integrity left at all, however, they’ll prove me wrong.

    I’d replace Turner with somebody else, but keep Yearwood and Rimes for sure.

  4. I adore Josh Turner’s album, his voice is startling. But I’d have to agree and go with Alison and Robert- this album has been so successful internationally and across genres. Love it.

  5. Hey, where’s Jypsi’s debut album on the list?! (just kidding….)

    Being the strange duck I am I’d rather listen to Ashton Shepherd’s “Sounds So Good” and the original version of Jamey Johnson’s “That Lonesome Song” (which qualifies for the release period) more than any of the five albums listed here. I prefer straight ahead old-timey country over tha high falutin’ stuff…..(hey, I said I was strange! lol)

  6. I really hope Trisha wins this one, her album is just really great and it’d be a crime if it didn’t win. LeAnn’s is the runner up for me. All the rest are good choices though, I can’t say any of them aren’t worthy of nomination, too bad the ACM people won’t have this kinda list.

  7. Nice new layout, gang.

    This is the category that I’m most curious to see, since I do think they have a chance to recognize some excellent work.

    My personal ballot would include: Coal, Kathy Mattea; Family, LeAnn Rimes; The Good Life, Justin Townes Earle; Heaven, Heartache, & The Power of Love, Trisha Yearwood; and That Lonesome Sound, Jamey Johnson.

    Of what’s in the running for the award, I could live with nominations for Yearwood and Rimes, plus Gary Allan’s Living Hard, Little Big Town’s The Road to Here, and Ashton Shepherd’s Sounds So Good. I have a fairly broad definition of what I consider “country,” but I think it’s a stretch to classify the Krauss / Plant album as such. I do think it will receive Grammy nominations for Album of the Year and Pop Vocal Album, though.

    As for what will actually be nominated here, this category is trickier to predict than many of the others. I could conceive of a ballot that includes Carnival Ride Carrie Underwood; Duets, Reba McEntire; Good Time, Alan Jackson; Poets & Pirates, Kenny Chesney; and Troubadour, George Strait.

  8. I agree with Jonathan’s list for who will actually be nominated. Gary Allan or Josh Turner *might* sneak in with a nod. Honestly, this looks like a very lackluster group of nominees this year. If Miranda were eligible, I believe she would win in a walk.

    My personal favorites for Album:
    Everything is Fine, Josh Turner
    Heaven, Heartache and the Power of Love, Trisha Yearwood
    That Lonesome Song, Jamey Johnson (The original, digital release dates August 29, 2007.)
    A Place to Land, Little Big Town
    Raising Sand, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss

  9. My Favorites to get nominated:

    Lady Antebellum – Lady Antebellum
    Troubadour – Strait
    Raising Sand – Plant & Krauss
    Heaven, Heartache & The Power of Love – T.Y.
    Family – LeAnn Rimes

    These will be nominated:
    Troubadour – Strait
    5th Gear – Brad Paisley
    Carnival Ride – Carrie Underwood
    Good Time – Alan Jackson
    Raising Sand – Plant & Krauss

  10. Kevin’s list clicks with me, though I’d personally swap out Josh Turner for Ashton Shepherd.

    But wait…a new layout, a new writer, AND everyone’s using full names now? This site went through some serious puberty this weekend!

  11. Dan,

    I think that’s who I want to take Turner’s place as well. I like Josh Turner, but I didn’t love this particular album. There are some great songs on it though.

    Yeah, we’re going through some exciting changes!

  12. These categories are always very hard for me to predict but again I’m gonna give it my best shot!!

    “Troubadour” George Strait-no doubt he’ll get a nom here. I can also see him being the frontrunner…this was one of my favorite albums of the year.

    “Good Time” Alan Jackson-again, I think this year we will see the traditionalists (Strait and Jackson) among the top nominees and no doubt Alan will get a nom here.

    “Poets and Pirates” Kenny Chesney-I think they’ll put Kenny in this category because it seems like he gets an album nomination almost every year.

    “Love on the Inside” Sugarland-I would love for Sugarland to get a nom in this category. This album is definitely their strongest to date and deserves a nomination here.

    “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” Miranda Lambert-I’m not sure about Sugarland and Miranda in this category. I think the CMA might follow the ACM’s suit and nominate Lambert in this category.

    “Raising Sand” A. Krauss and R. Plant
    “Carnival Ride” C. Underwood
    “Lady Antebellum” Lady Antebellum

  13. I’d forgotten about Sugarland until Aaron brought them up, but I think they’ve got a very good chance of a nomination and even possible win here. What with the glowing endorsement from Chet Flippo, the huge first week sales, and just the general hype about this album and Sugarland themselves, I’d be shocked to see it get ignored by the CMA. It wouldn’t crack my personal top five, but it sure beats some of the other albums that are likely to receive nominations.

  14. COAL is a terrific album

    I’ve listened to most of the Plant/ Krauss collaberation, and I just cannot stand Robert Plant’s voice for very long – no doubt the Grammy’s will reward the album but the CMA’s should not.

    I agree with Rick about the Ashton Shepherd and Jamey Johnson CDs

  15. Lambert is too early (May ’07), Sugarland is too late (July ’08) and Johnson is just right (Aug ’07), but that’s counting his digital release. Of course, with all the hype surrounding it, it seems a lot of the country music industry is pretending the album is brand new.

    COAL is wonderful, but it is just a notch below Mountain Soul IMO.

  16. Love the new look but if you go to having to own an iPod to view it I’m toast! ;-)

    What it’s gonna’ be?
    George Strait
    Alan Jackson
    Kenny Chesney
    Carrie Underwood

    With Strait winning.

    I like your list of what it should be although I’d switch Carrie for Josh. And you knew I would! ruh-roh! With Trisha winning (I really like that album!).

    J.H. Dad

  17. Would they have to specify which Johnson album was being nominated, since there are some song changes? If so,would it be unprecedented for a digital album to be nominated?

  18. Dan M. said “This site went through some serious puberty this weekend!” LMAO @ Dan! You crack me up on here, Dan. Now the site has to shave every day …

    Back to albums, I am going to agree with Jonathan and his picks for who will be nominated: Carnival Ride, Carrie Underwood; Duets, Reba McEntire; Good Time, Alan Jackson; Poets & Pirates, Kenny Chesney; and Troubadour, George Strait.

    With the exception of Garth and The Eagles, those are probably the 5 biggest-selling albums in the eligibility period. Though my top 5 for personal picks would include Trisha Yearwood, LeAnn Rimes, and Brooks & Dunn’s new releases. And then I’d have to nix three and I would choose Chesney, Jackson, and flip a coin for Reba and Strait …

  19. The chances of Johnson earning a nod are so slim as it is. I would love to see it, but I’m not sure the committee is ready to commit to a digital album just yet. It is technically possible, though.

  20. Blake, I think you’re right. It would be cool, but I don’t know if the CMA would even want to acknowledge a digital album just yet.

  21. My descision from when I started thinking about album of the year was “Heaven, Heartache, and The Power Of Love” for the win….

    my list:
    1. “Heaven, Heartache, And The Power Of Love” Trisha Yearwood
    2. “Family” LeAnn Rimes
    3. “Carnival Ride” Carrie Underwood
    4. “Reba Duets” Reba (just because of her stellar picks on the album)
    5. “Raising Sand” A. Krauss & R. Plant
    (these were in order of who I wanted to win)

    WhO I think will be nominated:
    -“HHPOL” T. Yearwood
    -“Carnival Ride” C. Underwood
    -“Family” L. Rimes
    -“Troubadour” or “Raising Sand”
    G. Strait A. Krauss & R. Plant
    -“5th Gear” B. Paisley (but I think that It is not eligible, right?- in which case “JWIA:P&P” K. Chesney)
    (Reba Duets has a slim chance…)


  22. Oh ya I didn’t see the eligibility period. So without Sugarland in the running…this is George’s to lose…just my opinion.

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