Eight Strait Nods Among 2007 ACM Nominees

George Strait is a Hall of Fame member who certainly hasn’t been put out to pasture. He dominates the 42nd Annual Academy of Country Music nominations list, which were announced today. Other artists garnering multiple nods include Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood, Brooks & Dunn, Big & Rich and Kenny Chesney.

Not a very exciting set of nominees, and no big surprises like last year’s list. It’s just a summary of what’s being played on country radio these days, so it’s as dull as would be expected. The 2007 nominees are:

Entertainer of the Year

  • Brooks & Dunn
  • Kenny Chesney
  • Tim McGraw
  • Rascal Flatts
  • George Strait

Who’s in: Tim McGraw, George Strait

Who’s out: Toby Keith, Keith Urban

A case can certainly be made for McGraw and Strait returning to the category; Keith and Urban belong more in the Vocalist slot anyway. What I don’t understand is either of those two men getting the boot before Brooks & Dunn, who continue to receive Entertainer nods, despite being long past their peak in all areas. Brad Paisley deserves to be in before them, too.

Top Male Vocalist

  • Kenny Chesney
  • Toby Keith
  • Brad Paisley
  • George Strait
  • Keith Urban

Who’s In: Toby Keith

Who’s Out: Dierks Bentley

Bentley’s promotion to the big category seemed premature at the time, and disappointing sales for his third album sealed his fate. Toby Keith should never have left this list. He’s one of the genre’s best vocalists.

Top Female Vocalist

  • Sara Evans
  • Faith Hill
  • Miranda Lambert
  • Martina McBride
  • Carrie Underwood

Who’s In: Faith Hill, Miranda Lambert

Who’s Out: Gretchen Wilson, Lee Ann Womack

Underwood is the obvious winner, but I’m surprised to see Wilson out only two years after winning the award. Seems a bit early for Lambert; I would’ve cited LeAnn Rimes for her comeback year.

Top Vocal Group

  • Diamond Rio
  • Emerson Drive
  • Little Big Town
  • Lonestar
  • Rascal Flatts

Who’s In: Diamond Rio, Emerson Drive

Who’s Out: Alabama, Sugarland

Perhaps voters can rally around breakthrough act Little Big Town to keep Rascal Flatts from winning their fifth in a row? Sugarland was always their biggest threat, but they’ve been moved to the Duo race.

Top Vocal Duo

  • Big & Rich
  • Brooks & Dunn
  • Montgomery Gentry
  • Sugarland
  • The Wreckers

Who’s In: Sugarland, The Wreckers

Who’s Out: Van Zant, The Warren Brothers

I never thought I’d see the day when the Duo category was more distinguished than the Group category. The sad thing is, the ACM will still probably give this to Brooks & Dunn, despite the presence of four other duos that are doing just as well, if not better.

Top New Male Vocalist

  • Rodney Atkins
  • Craig Morgan
  • Chris Young

Top New Female Vocalist

  • Miranda Lambert
  • Kellie Pickler
  • Taylor Swift

Top New Duo or Vocal Group

  • Heartland
  • Little Big Town
  • The Wreckers

Can somebody please explain to me when the rule changed that you could be nominated for the new artist award more than once? Lambert and Little Big Town lost to Carrie Underwood and Sugarland last year. Why do they get another go at it?

Album of the Year

  • Brooks & Dunn, Hillbilly Deluxe
  • Vince Gill, These Days
  • Rascal Flatts, Me and My Gang
  • George Strait, It Just Comes Natural
  • Carrie Underwood, Some Hearts

I give the ACM credit for noting the Gill project, but not much else to work with here. I’m suspecting that Underwood might be set up to sweep the ACM show like the Dixie Chicks owned last month’s Grammys.

Single of the Year

  • “Before He Cheats” – Carrie Underwood
  • “Give It Away” – George Strait
  • “I Loved Her First” – Heartland
  • “What Hurts the Most” – Rascal Flatts
  • “Would You Go With Me” – Josh Turner

Underwood has far and away the best single nominated. She could repeat her win last year for “Jesus, Take the Wheel.”

Song of the Year

  • “Amarillo Sky” – writers: John Rich, Big Kenny, Rodney Clawson, Brat Pursley; artist: Jason Aldean.
  • “Before He Cheats” – writers: Chris Tompkins, Josh Kear; artist: Carrie Underwood.
  • “Give It Away” – writers: Bill Anderson, Buddy Cannon, Jamey Johnson; artist: George Strait.
  • “If You’re Going Through Hell (Before the Devil Even Knows)” – writers: Sam Tate, Annie Tate, David Berg; artist: Rodney Atkins.
  • “Would You Go With Me” – writers: Shawn Camp, John Scott Sherill; artist: Josh Turner.

Slightly stronger list than the single category, but hard to pick a winner. None of them really stand out as a Song of the Year to me.

Video of the Year

  • “8th of November” – Big & Rich
  • “Amarillo Sky” – Jason Aldean
  • “Before He Cheats” – Carrie Underwood
  • “Hillbilly Deluxe” – Brooks & Dunn
  • “Seashores of Old Mexico” – George Strait

If you’re going to award the videos on actual merit, Big & Rich are the only serious choice to go with here.

Vocal Event of the Year

  • “Burning Bridges” – Brooks & Dunn with Vince Gill and Sheryl Crow
  • “I Don’t Want To” – Ashley Monroe & Ronnie Dunn
  • “Me and God” – Josh Turner featuring Dr. Ralph Stanley and Marty Roe, Dana Williams and Gene Johnson of Diamond Rio
  • “Politically Uncorrect” – Gretchen Wilson with Merle Haggard
  • “That’s How They Do it in Dixie” – Hank Williams Jr. with Gretchen Wilson, Big & Rich and Van Zant



  1. A couple of notes on these:

    – I assume the rule for the “New” categories is the same for the ACMs as it is for the CMAs– you get two shots at it. Which would explain Little Big Town and Lambert join a not-so-short list of repeat nominees in recent years.

    – Interesting that Alan Jackson was completely shut out of the nominations– I expected the CMAs to shun his Like Red on a Rose project but thought that the ACMs might go for it. How far back would you have to go to find either an ACM or a CMA line-up without Jackson in it?

    – Lambert’s nomination for Female Vocalist is a surprise, since I thought that the voter base for the ACMs consists mostly of radio industry people, and Lambert’s never had a major radio hit. Of course, I’m biased and think she fully deserves the recognition, so I’d dump either Hill or McBride in favor of LeAnn Rimes.

    – As always, the Duo and Group categories should be combined to trim the fat. Diamond Rio? Really? In 2007?

    – Do the ACMs actually have eligibility guidelines? Because it’s now March 2007, and the awards will be handed out in May 2007. Yet Underwood’s Some Hearts was released in November 2005, and, even more egregious, Brooks & Dunn’s Hillbilly Deluxe was released in August 2005. The ACMs apparently know something about the curvature of space-time that they’re keeping from the Physicists of the world.

  2. Jackson didn’t get any nominations in 2006, either. “Like Red” wasn’t eligible for the 2006 CMA’s (“Precious Memories” was, and received a nomination.) It will be eligible for the 2007 CMA’s. Whether or not it gets nominated is another story, though there aren’t many high-profile albums for it compete with. The lineup for CMA Album later this year could conceivably be Jackson, Gill, Urban, Strait, and some fifth album that I can’t think of right now.

    Good question about ACM guidelines. It was always supposed to be for the previous calendar year – the awards given out in May will say “2006” on them, if tradition holds – so the Underwood and B&D albums shouldn’t be eligible.

    The ACM is significantly less prestigious than the CMA & the Grammy, so don’t expect anyone to call “foul” on them. The whole show is just a way to boost country record sales every spring, and it serves that purpose nicely, at least when it’s not on opposite Idol.

  3. Also regarding Lambert, I agree that ACM usually picks the women who have had big radio hits, but there just aren’t any women besides Carrie Underwood who have been consistently getting radio play. I bet even the ACM voters were confused this time around.

  4. The good news about the repeat nominations for new artist is that Lambert is overdue for a major industry award. This is her best shot — and probably last — shot at a new artist award, with no Carrie Underwood in the category like the last two times. Still, Taylor Swift may very well take it, especially if “Teardrops on My Guitar” breaks through on radio.

    I also give ACM credit for nominating Vince Gill’s album, but both CMA and ACM lose credibility for nominating the awful “Me and My Gang.” “Hillbilly Deluxe” isn’t deserving either; in fact, Brooks and Dunn don’t deserve major industry awards right now, one of the things that made last year’s CMAs disappointing.

  5. ACM’s, not as bad as the CMA’s, but the voting has nothing to do with the fans or how goos of a year the artist had. It all boils down to which suit in Nashville has the most votes. People get caught up in thinking the nominees and the winners actually have something to do with how the artist did in the past year.

  6. I think the CMA’s have far more credibility than the ACM’s for a couple of reasons. One, it represents the country music industry as a whole – yes, the suits are getting too much power again as a result of label consolidation, but better music is generally honored by the CMA than the ACM; and two, the CMA has a clear, transparent and democratic selection process for the nominees. The ACM used to post its preliminary nominee list, but stopped doing that; but they’ve always had some random nominees that didn’t quite make sense. The ACM is more likely to give awards for radio/commercial success than the CMA or NARAS.

    Personally, if I was a recording artist, I’d covet the Grammy the most, since that’s the most prestigious and is voted solely by people who actually create music, not those who market it. For country awards, the CMA over the ACM any day.

  7. i so think that reba should have been nominated this year for her song “because of you”. yeah, she may be older, but still, shes alot better then carrie underwood….

  8. ~Bit annoyed over the treatment of the Dixie Chicks, for a country that sings about being the land of the free and free speach, its very alarming. It seems as though people are only singing about free speach to make people buy their records, but in reality they seem to be very judgmental and that you can have free speach, as long as you dont say it out loud, which is very two faced, the dixie chicks had the best album and song of the year and only lost out because they expressed their opinion. This just seems very wrong for a country that prides its self on being land of the free!!!

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