Tuesday Open Thread (Part Deux): CMA Male Vocalist, 2008

Starting today, open threads will be posted in the evening as an end-of-day feature.

Tonight's topic:

Who do you think should be this year's five nominees for Male Vocalist of the Year at the CMA Awards, and why?

My Picks:

Gary Allan
He's overdue. Long overdue, to the point where it's a travesty. He's the best male singer of the past ten years who hasn't been nominated at least once for this award.

Dierks Bentley
He might be the strongest singer-songwriter on the radio today, and since his album was nominated last year, this is the race where he s

hould be acknowledged for that.

Brad Paisley
I'm still not really a fan, but he deserves to be acknowledged for his continuing and consistent success. He may have reached a plateau artistically and commercially, but it's a fairly elevated one.

Josh Turner
This traditionalist keeps getting better, and uses lower register very effectively. He's simply a great singer.

Keith Urban
Three-time winner Urban has another year of great singles behind him. He's been able to retain his signature sound while still building on it, too.     He has three of these already, though, so I'd be cool with this slot going to fellow multiple winners  Alan Jackson or George Strait instead.



  1. I would love this line-up; wouldn’t change a thing about it. I think Gary would even have something of a shot this year if not for George, Alan and that darn Kenny…which will make it all the more painful when some of those dudes block him yet again.

  2. Also, can’t wait to do this for the New Artist award. There’s been a heck of a lot of great new talent this year, although a lot of it won’t be properly commercially recognized until next year (if ever).

  3. I’m going to wait for Dierks Bentley’s bluegrass album before I pass judgment on him. Most of his songs sound the same to me. (Although I have to admire a guy who can make it through 4 years of Vandy – I tried and couldn’t do it!)

    I have not liked Gary Allan’s recent singles, but thanks to this thread, I checked out his other stuff. Wow! I just found the guy who sang some of my favorite older songs. I had no clue. Apparently, I’m a Gary Allan fan (at least some of the time). :)

    Brad’s greatest album, IMO, was his Christmas album. I’d be content if he stuck with that.

    Josh Turner was nominated for the Horizon Award twice? His albums have done really well, but I feel like he flies under the radar. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s the Alan Jackson or George Strait of the future – very consistent, never flashy.

    Other than that, I wouldn’t be surprised if Trace Adkins was up for one this year. He’s been everywhere and very popular. Hayes Carll has had a bunch of buzz. Or is he too independent and Americana (whatever that means)?

    What’s the eligibility period?

  4. I wouldn’t think that Hayes Carll could win vocalist of the year, as his vocals aren’t exactly his strong suit, in my opinion.

    I’d love for Gary to be nominated, but I don’t know if his career has been big enough. Lynn, what songs of his do you like? I’m glad you’ve been partly converted.:)

    I agree with everyone on your list, Kevin.

    I can’t think of any other really viable options at this point.

  5. I like Hayes Carll but I can’t imagine that he’s sold anywhere near enough units to garner any consideration for Male Vocalist, or even New Artist. But he is up for two Americana Music Awards (song and album).

  6. Excited for CMA time again, even though I know it will lead to disappointment.

    Who Will Be Nominated:
    Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, Brad Paisley, George Strait, Keith Urban

    Who Should Be Nominated:
    Gary Allan, Dierks Bentley, Alan Jackson, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban

    This year’s possiblities are much more dynamic than in previous years. The commercial and touring success of Paisley, Chesney and Urban make them locks for nominations. Jackson is one of country’s finest-ever singers and his album was well-received critically and commercially. That leaves one spot open.

    Turner, Gary Allan and Trace Adkins all had one major hit in the voting period, but were rather quiet otherwise (if you don’t count The Apprentice!). Turner was nominated last year, but lost a little momentum after “Firecracker”. so I think he will settle for a Vocal Event nomination with Trisha. Even though George Strait had another stellar year, I would vote for the most artistically appealing of three, Gary Allan, for a career acknowledgment as much as recognition for his year. And if Bentley could not receive a nod last year with an Album of the Year nod, I’m not sure what will change so quickly in the voters’ mind, but unique touring (Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, etc.) and consistent radio and retail success warrant some sort of recognition, though. Still think Strait will slide in, though, unless the CMA decides to make this a year of transition.

    Also, Hayes Carll is the cat’s pajamas. And so is this feature!

  7. I’m too lazy for why’s but I think these guys should be up for the award:
    Gary Allan
    Brad Paisley
    Josh Turner
    Dierks Bentley
    Alan Jackson

  8. I largely agree with your list, although I’d probably bump Dierks Bentley off and replace him with Alan Jackson, whose current CD represents a welcome return to form after two relatively lifeless efforts

  9. brad paisley will be vocalist of the year – he’s been the pace-setter. there’s no way that alan jackson and george strait won’t be nominated, they proved once again that they are still outstanding, period. i can’t imagine that the industry will let down kenny chesney. keith urban and trace adkins are tight contenders for the last spot but i think trace adkins will make it – he’s overdue.

    it’s just hard luck for great voices like josh turner and joe nicols or fine vocalists like gary allan, dierks bentley or rodney atkins that the “mighty old warhorses” strait and jackson are still capable to decide battles when they show their presence, like they did this year.

    tim mcgraw’s new album will be out too late to make him a serious contender this year.

  10. I just got back from Lollapalooza in Chicago over the weekend, and I’m catching up on the posts on here.

    For those of you who don’t know, Lolla is a rock festival (three LONG days with 150 artists). As a side note, I was drug to it by a friend, but had a blast discovering new/interesting artists.

    Most important to this blog though, Dierks Bentley was on the line up. Not only did he play on one of the two main stages (with a pretty good time slot on Saturday afternoon), but his crowd was pretty big and definitely comperable (if not more) than other artists in similar spots. As primarily a country fan, I was proud to see the genre represented at such a venue. The crowd responded well, and there was lots of singing along to his hour set. (I have the set list if anyone is interested.) Additionally, I was happy to see that Dierks stayed true to his type of country. His songs were not “rocked out” versions, and he still featured the banjo and slide guitar.

    It doesn’t totally fit in with the CMA vocalists discussion, but this appearance should score him some points, IMO.

  11. It’s almost become a running joke how basically THE. SAME. acts are nominated every year.
    What I wouldn’t give for the CMA (or ACM for that matter) to DARE step out and really recognize the deserved.
    It’s not an issue of anything being “fair” but more about… “Really? Them? … This year??”.
    Perhaps putting a little more thought into the process.

    One of my greatest CMA moments was Sugarland’s response to winning “Duo” last year. They looked as genuinely surprised as the rest of us.
    I’m hoping they will debut their new single as they usually do at award shows.

    On topic? …. I would have to say Josh Turner.
    I like the other guys mentioned but this guy just has that “something” that sets him apart.

  12. As much as I like Alan Jackson, I did not like his newest album as much as I had hoped. Much of it just seemed slapped together, even though he had plenty of time to make something great. So, I was disappointed. That’s why I wouldn’t put him on this list this year. I just don’t think he’s come close to making the best music in the past year. Of course, I’m not an industry person, so my opinion isn’t exactly the basis upon which such decisions are made. No matter what though, he still has one of my favorite male voices. So, it’s not like I’d be upset by a nomination or anything either.

  13. I am the biggest Gary Allan fan you’ve never met–he is LONG overdue, but it ain’t gonna happen. I have given up on the “industry” realizing what a talent he is. I think Brad Paisley will take it this year. Leeann, I’m with you–I have NO idea what those that vote base their votes on. would love to hear from one of them.

  14. I prefer Keith Urban to win because to me he sounds as good live as his CDs! If not him then I will go with Alan Jackson…..he sings as good live too! Dierks songs all sound the same to me and I do not like to see him perform live…the last time I saw him perform live he acted so goofy!

  15. hmmm.

    I love the idea of Dierks and Gary betting nominated but sadly I think they’ll sit aside as Alan Jackson, George Strait, Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley and Keith Urban get nominated.

    I also wonder if Jamey Johnson might somehow sneak in a nomination for vocalist.

  16. Paul already said what I was going to … I think your list is right on except replacing Dierks Bentley with Alan Jackson. Gary Allan definitely deserves the nod – and the award too in my opinion. I’ve been a GA fan since ‘Her Man’ sometime in the mid to late 90s … He’s a great artist with his own sound and style, not to mention he consistently records great songs and has kept his identity through everything.

    A truly underrated artist – THE single most underrated artist in country music these days.

  17. gary allan’s fate in country music will be, either dying as one of the most undeservedly underrated artists in the history of country music or coming up with the smash album that will make the whole world scramble also for his previous work. chances are actually about 50 : 50.

  18. I just can’t understand why he can’t get to be the superstar that Kenny or Rascal Flatts are! He’s leagues better than them in all capacities and his songs would still fit on the radio.

  19. Tom, I think he’ll probably remain underappreciated pretty much his whole life, but I bet music critics and historians are going to really champion him, just as they seem to be doing with Dwight Yoakam and similarly-snubbed artists now. Good music tends to leave its due legacy.

  20. dan,
    for gary allan’s sake, i hope he’s not going down that “famous” painting-artist’s career-path. everything’s there basically, which gives me the feeling that a major home run is quite possible rather sooner than later. but that’s just my humble view/hope.

  21. Gary Allan – way, way overdue
    Trace Adkins – again, way, way overdue
    Brad Paisley
    Kenny Chesney
    Keith Urban

  22. Leeann,

    I just figure that given all the love for Jamey’s record he could actually sneak in there given that the industry around here loves his stuff too. He might actually be precluded from winning or being nominated for Horizon award given that he won Song of the Year last year for “Give It Away.”

  23. Would he really be precluded from being nominated for the Horizon award based on winning song of the year, since he didn’t actually sing the song? I don’t know, but it seems that there are probably some rules for being nominated for Male Vocalist, which would probably include having some serious success, at least on the level of Miranda Lambert, which hasn’t quite happened yet.

    I really like Johnson’s new album, so I hope for the best for his career. I just think it’s going to take him a little longer to be nominated for a big award like Male Vocalist.

  24. Gary Allan’s label – MCA – puts all of their support in the nomination process behind George Strait. The CMAs are all about block voting by labels.

  25. Maybe Gary would benefit from a label switch. It seems Big Machine is scooping up MCA artists …

  26. now, I’m waiting for the females version cuz I have a clear picture in my head but I’m waiting for Martina’s new single to have a clearer picture but as the males go I don’t know who will be nominated but I want Brad Paisley to be nominated cuz he has had so much success! and I think Keith Urban also should be nominated for the same reason as for the others I don’t know for sure, but I feel Chesney might get another nomination…. hmm you never know….. But I must say I like the line up posted : D

  27. Right now, I’d say that country’s male contingent is making less interesting, less exciting music than their female counterparts, not that radio playlists are any indication of that.

    My personal ballot for Male Vocalist would be: Gary Allan, Dierks Bentley, Hayes Carll, Jamey Johnson, Dale Watson.

    Of artists who I feel actually have a snowball’s chance of making the shortlist, I’d be perfectly happy to see the exact list Kevin came up with. Allan’s current album isn’t his greatest work, but it’s better than what many of his more celebrated peers can come up with on their best days. The last couple of singles from Bentley’s excellent Long Trip Alone fall within the eligibility period. I don’t care for Paisley’s 5th Gear much at all, but he balances quality work with commercial success fairly well. Turner’s yet to produce more than a couple of good-to-great singles, but he’s continuing to develop into a terrific singer who actually knows how to make use of his distinctive voice. And, while I think that his voice is showing increasing signs of wear and that his recent work is just awful, I still rank Urban as a superior vocalist and artist to other acts of his stature, so I don’t object to his inclusion.

    How I think the actual Male Vocalist line-up will look: Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, Brad Paisley, George Strait, Keith Urban. With Trace Adkins acting as the most likely spoiler to bump Urban from the list.

  28. Much will depend on whether the CMA is in the mood to shake things up or, in this volatile time for the record industry, cling to the tried and true. My guess is the conservative nature of the CMA will lead them to cling to the tried and true.

    Kenny Chesney – He is too big of a commercial force to ignore. He has also stayed fairly humble while achieving his success. CMA voters like humble artists.

    Alan Jackson – While some here may not think much of “Good Time”, I believe it is exactly what the CMA voters were looking for. They wanted Alan back making traditional country and up-tempo traditional country music at that. The fact he has scored two #1 hits this year makes it even more likely he gets nominated

    Brad Paisley – This is the prime of his career. He selling well, touring well, and winning awards. He is a lock for a nomination.

    Keith Urban – Another artists in the prime of his career though his award winning days may be behind him. However he still has it in him to make that classic album that will be remember for years to come. I look forward to hearing new music from Keith.

    The last spot is probably between George Strait, Dierks Bentley, and Josh Turner. Since I stated earlier that the CMA would likely cling to the tried and true, George Strait has to be the pick as there is no one more tried and true.

  29. I can’t help but wonder if he were a solo act, would Ronnie Dunn be a regular in this category.
    In other words, how many of those “Duo” awards are his “Male Vocalist” award?

    Just typing outloud…. ;-)

  30. My picks are: Tim, George, Brad, Alan, and Trace…I know he’s a very darkhorse, but the man has a very distinctive voice.

    I think, of those 5, Alan or Brad should win.

    Probbably, Kenny or Keith will win

  31. LJ,

    Ronnie Dunn may very well get a nomination next year after his solo album comes out. I can’t imagine it won’t do well (perhaps he’ll sell better too?)


    I don’t know for sure about rules but I do know that “Horizon” blocks anyone who’s won a major award from being nominated in the future. As for male vocalist, the only rule is that you had to release something within the eligibility period.

  32. My picks for Male Vocalist are (in order):

    -Josh Turner
    -Trace Adkins
    -Alan Jackson
    -George Strait
    -Brad Paisley

    —I would love to see Randy Travis or Toby Keith be nominated, but I would think Randy’s album is to new for a nomination and I don’t think Toby gets along real well with the CMA’s.

  33. My predictions for the nominees are:

    Kenny Chesney
    Alan Jackson
    George Strait
    Keith Urban
    Brad Paisley

    As much as I would love to see Dierks and Josh included in this category, I think the Kings of Country (Alan and George) will knock them out. I mean they’ve both had great albums this year a number 1 singles. So those five are my picks for the noms and the win should and most likely will go to Brad.

  34. As newly registred member i just wanted to say hi to everyone, even though i know that noone really cares :-)

  35. outwatuts,

    Welcome! We hope you’ll come back often! Who do you wish would be nominated for CMA male vocalist?

  36. My predictions for Male Vocalist Nominees (CMA):

    George Strait
    Brad Paisley (although I do not think he sings well, but because of his success, he’ll get a nod).
    Josh Turner
    Gary Allan
    Keith Urban
    *My pick is King George. He still reigns and one never tires of his singing.

    Album of the Year: Without a doubt, TROUBADOUR.

    Single/Song of the Year: I Saw God Today.

    Duet: House of Cash/Geo Strait/Patti Loveless.

    Entertainer of the Year: Kenny (but it should be George)

  37. I just do not think Kenny C should be nominated for a Male Vocalist award. EOTY, yes. Kenny does not have the greatest vocal chords in the industry–neither does Brad P.

    Josh Turner has an exciting, different set of vocal chords. Keith is good–but not exciting (still think he’s more rock-n-roll than Country).
    Gary Allan is a unique singer. I say, skip Brad & kenny and throw in josh & Gary.

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