Picking the CMA Nominees: Female Vocalist

As I work my way through these categories, it’s becoming apparent to me that this was a very weak year for country music. I’m struggling to come up with a list of five women who actually made a musical impact over the twelve months that make up the eligibility period.

Only two women have made any serious commercial impact this year, so I’m filling up the category with the women who put out solid music that also did reasonably well:

Patty Loveless

If the Grammys can acknowledge her, I don’t see why the CMA should overlook her. She made an excellent covers album that has sold as well as several major label efforts.  She was a surprise nominee in 2003 on the strength of Mountain Soul, and it would be nice to see the CMA show such good judgment again.

Dolly Parton

Also a surprise nominee in 2003, and very worthy of returning to the lineup this year. Not only did she sell out venues across Europe, she also earned a Tony nomination for Best Score.

Oh, and that independent album she released on her own label last year? It’s sold twice as much as the latest albums from Martina McBride and Lee Ann Womack, and outsold the albums of such radio staples as Trace Adkins, Montgomery Gentry, and Blake Shelton.

Taylor Swift

Let’s just say it now so we can be spared it being said over and over again in the comments:

Taylor Swift shouldn’t win a vocalist award because she can’t sing!

I understand this argument. After all, the same is true for Kenny Chesney and Shania Twain, who won Entertainer of the Year but not their respective vocalist awards. But they were still nominated, and rightfully so. You can’t tell the story of women in country music in 2009 without including Taylor Swift.

Carrie Underwood

Does she deserve to join the illustrious ranks of four-time winners in this category? You betcha. Given that Underwood’s a happy medium between Reba McEntire’s country-pop and Martina McBride’s power balladeering, she seems to fit in perfectly.

Oh, and if it seems too soon for Underwood to be in the same league as McEntire, remember that Reba wasn’t a superstar when she won those four trophies. She didn’t even earn a platinum album until two years after her winning streak ended.

Lee Ann Womack

Why Lee Ann Womack, and not Miranda Lambert? Each had a moody single go top twenty this year, but Lambert’s was off of an album released during the 2007 eligibility period.

Why Lee Ann Womack, and not Martina McBride?  Their albums have sold in similar numbers, but Womack’s was a good deal better.

Why Lee Ann Womack and not Julianne Hough or Kellie Pickler? If you’re asking that question, you must be new to Country Universe.

What five women do you think should be nominated for Female Vocalist this year?


  1. I would be very happy with that lineup. I think Lee Ann will be nominated, and I really hope Patty will.

    I’m not quite on the boat with Dolly Parton because her 9 to 5 musical stuff involves no country and no singing, therefore not applicable to this award in any way. Not to mention her last album feels really old and in the past to me. I would probably replace Dolly with Miranda.

  2. I totally disagree with your Underwood remarks. I don’t think she’s done anything at all to even justify her 3-time win, let alone 4. She just hasn’t had one song to really grab me and like others have stated, she’s only released 2 albums. How do you win an award 4 years in a row on the strength of 2 albums? I’d vote for Taylor Swift over her any day. Now bash me, Carrie fans …

    And I think Reba has a shot of being nominated this year – 1,000 to 1 shot at winning – but she has had the radio success and the sales too.

    Yours is still a great list and I wouldn’t be content with it. I just don’t think Dolly or Patty have a chance. I see Miranda and Reba getting their spots.

  3. Great picks, I would include Reba in as well. I remember in 2007 she got nominated, when she didnt really do anything besides a few tour dates and releasing ‘Because Of You’ to radio, so she has a shot. You can’t rule out Alison Krauss either, who in the last few years has been the go to girl to round out the category. My picks:
    -Miranda Lambert
    -Taylor Swift
    -Carrie Underwood
    -Lee Ann Womack
    *as long as Swift doesn’t win, I don’t care who else wins, even if 80’s pop-country singer Sylvia won on the strength of her singing her ’82 no.1 ‘Nobody’ in the shower during eligible voting period, im fine with that.

  4. I wondered who you’d choose for this category, as I thought the same thing about country music being weak in the past year, especially for females. I can’t argue with your choices, because there’s really nobody else to cover.

  5. Carrie Underwood is a shoe in for a nomination considering she’s been the most successful female artist in the past year besides Taylor Swift. I’m guessing they’ll both get nominated. Like Kevin said, Taylor will be nominated, but it’s not super likely that she’ll win it due to her inferior vocal ability. My guess is that she’ll get album or song/single of the year. Whether or not Carrie falls into everyone’s taste doesn’t erase the fact that she’s technically a proficient singer.

    The CMAs have not shown an ability to think outside the box in recent years. So, I’m not expecting any surprises, though the lack of wholly eligible female artists is lacking this year…so they might have no choice but to get creative.

  6. As far as I’m concerned this will be between Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift. Heidi Newfield might get a look along with Miranda Lambert and Lee Ann Womack. Does it really even mater? I’d love for Carrie to win her fourth in a row. I would not be shocked if Taylor took it in an upset.

    J R Journey, Carrie Underwood owned all three years she took the trophy and It wasn’t even close. Carrie Underwood in a walk every time and everyone knew it. Dude, I was laughing at your post.

  7. Do you think the fact that albums don’t sell like they used to helps some of the smaller independent artists for these award shows because their albums are selling just as much as some of the bigger, more mainstream artists?

  8. J.R. you have shown that you have absolutely no idea what a good vocalist is. Swift has no chance at winning this as she is a terrible vocalist.

  9. Will: Lambert, McEntire, Swift, Underwood, Womack
    Should: Lambert, Loveless, Swift, Underwood, Womack

    McBride’s been nommed since ’98, but she’s really underperformed. I would choose Newfield for one of the slots, but she’s on Curb, which hurts her chances. I don’t have the official definition in front of me; the criteria, though, include not just vocal performances, but also concert ticket sales, retail sales, artistic merit and general ambassadorship within the genre. That being said, I think the membership will hesitate to pick Swift because she doesn’t fit the model of the women who’ve won in the past.

    Underwood has won the last three years because she’s the format’s go-to female and the criteria are slanted to award someone who is posting big numbers. Even critical darlings like Loveless and Krauss were selling at least a million when they won their trophies. Three wins (or four, which I expect) is over-rewarding, I agree. There just have not been any alternatives lately that combine Underwood’s good vocal ability and jumbo numbers at retail. The CMA loves awarding the breadwinners of the industry.

    Carrie’s deserved to be acknowledged in some of these races (ACM, CMA, Grammy—she’s undefeated since CMA 2006), but it would be nice if the industry/genre could support more female talent and further reward artistic merit from a variety of sources. Carrie’s winning streak exposes this deficiency, but it shouldn’t become a personal attack on her.

  10. I agree with J.R., though. I’d prefer a system where winners and nominees received more consideration if they had released new recorded material, much like the Nashville Scene poll, in the previous year. You could still have repeat winners, but it would force the organization to take the contribution of new music (and its artistic merit) into consideration.

  11. “As I work my way through these categories, it’s becoming apparent to me that this was a very weak year for country music.”

    Gotta say, I kind of wish I could have started writing for the site during a different year, just because I’ve had to be so negative for most of this one. Makes me feel like a sourpuss.

    Anyway, this’ll be an interesting category to watch. Carrie, Miranda and Taylor will get their noms, and the rest is kind of up in the air, isn’t it? Although I expect Martina will squeeze in there somehow, just because she always seems to.

    Anyway, I like Kevin’s line-up yet again, although I’m pretty much indifferent about Patty’s latest album. Love a lot of those songs, but it somehow never clicked for me.

    I do find it annoying that Carrie is poised to earn Female Vocalist for a fourth time based on two albums, but as others have touched upon, that’s more a reflection on the state of the industry than on her own merits, although I’m not a big fan of her music so far, either. But whatever – it’s not like there’s a lot of options based on this year.

  12. Your picks are solid and I expect four of the five to be among the actual nominees

    Unfortunately, most of the really good records seem to be released by Indy labels and they rarely get nominations

    Patty Loveless – yes, but artists such as Mona McCall, Amber Digby, Miss Leslie seldom get nominations.


    The complaint that “Carrie is poised to earn Female Vocalist for a fourth time based on two albums…” is valid but that’s modern recording schedules. Had she been an artist in the 60s or 70s, by now she would have released a MINIMUM of eight (8) albums and you would have a better feel for her talents. In the seven years 1963-1969 inclusive, Loretta Lynn issued 13 solo country albums, 3 duet albums (with the legendary Ernest Tubb), 2 religious albums and a Christmas album.

    In 1970 Loretta issued 4 solo albums, plus an album of duets with Twitty. In 1971 only 1 album was released but then in 1972 Loretta had 5 solo albums hit the market. As long as her career was in high gear she continued to average about three albums per year

    Buck Owens issued 28 albums from 1961-1969 (including 3 hits collections and two Christmas albums)

    Ditto for Haggard, Robbins and other stars of the era. I miss those days – I really would like to hear MORE artists covering each other’s hits on their albums and less mediocre filler used to claim co-writer credits and / or because of the desire to record previously unrecorded songs eviously unrecorded. Beacause of the volume of music released you really got a better for an artist’s capabilities plus, you received a more authentic product since you couldn’t “airbrush” as thoroughly.

  13. Good, well reasoned list Kevin, especially, of course:

    “Patty Loveless

    If the Grammys can acknowledge her, I don’t see why the CMA should overlook her. She made an excellent covers album that has sold as well as several major label efforts. She was a surprise nominee in 2003 on the strength of Mountain Soul, and it would be nice to see the CMA show such good judgment again.”

    Because the Grammy’s usually have more integrity than the CMA’s? I was pleased to see you lead off with the choice of Patty Loveless, but I would be shocked if the CMA’s showed the good jugement you just demonstrated, although the ’03 Mounatain Soul prescident is reason for hope, as you stated.

    I’m terrible at predicting “will wins” but my list for “should wins” nominees would be:

    -Patty Loveless
    -Sara Evans (for Low, and for being robbed in the past, for being the Susan Lucci of the CMAs)
    -Lee Ann Womack
    -Miranda Lambert
    -Reba McEntyre

    I think Taylor Swift sings well *enough* to be included, and should be rewarded for her creativity, but by a Pop organiztion, not a Country one.

    And I agree with most of your comments J.R.

    But Patty deserves to be there as a “should win” even if her chances are not great. She’s more than earned inclusion.

  14. I actually wouldn’t be surprised to see Martina McBride’s name turn up. The CMAs are notoriously stagnant and she has been nominated every year since 1998. She also had a brand new album out this year (albeit not a very impressive one) that debuted at number one.

    My Prediction:
    McEntire, Womack, Pickler or Hough

  15. This past year has been weaker than I thought. Everytime I try to make my picks I realize that very few singers have wowed me this past year in country music.
    -Miranda Lambert
    -Reba McEntire
    -Lee Ann Womack
    -Carrie Underwood
    -Heidi Newfield

  16. It has been a fairly weak year for the ladies in country music. Here’s my list, I replaced Miranda Lambert with Patty Loveless because Patty released one of my favourite albums of last year. I also made an extra slot for Trisha Yearwood, simply because shes Trisha Yearwood.

    -Patty Loveless
    -Taylor Swift
    -Carrie Underwood
    -Lee Ann Womack
    -Trisha Yearwood

  17. On second thought I think that fifth slot may go to Kellie Pickler. I don’t like it but I think her label is still trying to push her to superstar status.

  18. I don’t understand your logic for including Taylor Swift. Admittedly, she’s had tremendous commercial success but it’s widely acknowledged that she can’t sing, and if that isn’t grounds for disqualifying her for a vocalist award, I don’t know what is. If she MUST be acknowledged, then nominate her for single, song, album or video of the year. For that matter, nominate her for Entertainer of the Year; it can be argued that she’s a good entertainer despite her lack of vocal ability (I would argue otherwise, but that’s beside the point). But there’s no way she deserves consideration for Female Vocalist of the Year.

  19. Razor,

    I think the point is that the Female Vocalist category isn’t just about rewarding vocals, though that’s a key part; it’s also about recognizing the genre’s most prominent women during the eligibility period. In that regard, she deserves consideration even if she could never (or should never) actually win, because she fulfills the other criteria of the category in ways most females artists have not this year.

  20. This again is another tough category to pick nominees for. IMO, there are only two locks for nominations and they are the two biggest female artists in country music right now, Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift.

    That leaves three nominations for other females like Miranda Lambert, Reba, Martina McBride, and Lee Ann Womack. Those four I think are the only ones that stand a chance at a nomination. I think Miranda will squeeze in because other than Carrie and Taylor, I think she’s been the next most successful. As far as the other two slots go, I would give them to Reba and Lee Ann. Martina has done little to nothing on radio for the past few years and her latest album definitely underwhelmed so I really don’t think she deserves a nom this year.

    My list:
    Miranda Lambert
    Reba McEntire
    Taylor Swift
    Carrie Underwood
    Lee Ann Womack

    Also, look for Carrie to win her 4th straight Female vocalist award. I think it would be a travesty if they awarded Taylor in this category.

  21. I forgot to add that I would be SHOCKED if the CMA’s included either Kellie Pickler or Julianne Hough in this category. I love Julianne but I don’t think she’s done enough to even be remotely considered in this category and Pickler has had very disappointing numbers at radio (no top 10’s with 5 singles and only 1 top 15). I think Pickler will go nomination-less this year and I think Julianne will get into the New Artist category (which I’m excited to see predictions on for that category so hopefully you guys do that category too!)

  22. Hmmmm… let’s see

    Reba is a great singer and can’t deny her country ambassador status

    Carrie’s vocals and success keep her in the forefront for this award

    Heidi because of her hit and the fact she
    was always known for good vocals

    Lee Ann is a good vocalist, had good success with her songs and the CMA’s like her

    and the 5th spot could be Miranda, Patty, Dolly or Trisha- it may have been a quiet year but there was noise from alot of the more mature country stars and it remains to be seen if the Academy sees fit to award them instead of the younger newbie set like Taylor or Ashton

  23. This is the criteria the award is based on.

    Female Vocalist of the Year:

    This award is based on individual musical performance on records or in person. Award to artist.

  24. You said only two women have made any serious commercial impact this year. Well that’s not the women’s fault. Carrie and Taylor have the most sales and radio play because the industry has always promoted and played them the most. Kellie Pickler is just starting to get more of the promotion and radio attention she has always deserved. Kellie and other females released songs that deserved #1 but most couldn’t get in the top 10. Why does radio play the same 2 females in the top 5 at all times? How many females vs. males have hit top 5 in the past year? The top 10 is always 8 males and 2 females with an occasional male and female group thrown in.

    Kenny Chesney and Shania Twain can’t sing? You have got to be kidding! They may not be the #1 vocalists but they sing well enough. If they can’t sing then most artists can’t.

    If you’re going to nominate Taylor Swift you have to nominate Kellie Pickler. Kellie is a better vocalist and she’s doing reasonably well. “Kellie Pickler” album sales remain steady at #81 on BB200 with total sales more than Dolly, Lee Ann, and Patty’s albums. Her second single “Best Days Of Your Life” is gold, soon to be platinum, and it’s one of a few female top 10 hits in the past few years. Only Carrie, Martina, Taylor, Heidi Newfield, and Miranda can claim the same. It might make top 5.

    Here’s how the females stack up on this week’s BB Top 25 County Albums:

    1 Taylor Swift

    3 Hannah Montana: The Movie Soundtrack

    11 Taylor Swift

    16 Kellie Pickler

    17 Carrie Underwood

    No I’m not nominating Hannah unless there’s a new Disney category.

    Carrie Underwood

    Miranda Lambert

    Taylor Swift

    Kellie Pickler

    Lee Ann Womack

  25. Michael says:
    On second thought I think that fifth slot may go to Kellie Pickler. I don’t like it but I think her label is still trying to push her to superstar status.

    You mean like labels “pushed” Carrie, Taylor, and everyone else who won this? Hardly. Face it, Kellie has always been a superstar and they are just starting to promote her a little more like one. Miranda had the same trouble until her seventh single. It took seven for her to make top 10 and five for Kellie. Most of Kellie’s singles have charted higher than Miranda’s and most other females in the past few years. Heidi had one top 20 and got five ACM nominations.

    Female Vocalist of the Year:

    This award is based on individual musical performance on records or in person. Award to artist.

    Anyone who questions Kellie’s vocal performance needs to go to her concert and read the reviews. She’s always getting props for her vocals. She sings better live than Heidi, Taylor, and others nominated for ACM or CMA top female.

  26. Paul,

    I’d prefer to go back to that model, too, or maybe some reiteration of it that incorporates digital distribution. I don’t see it happening anytime soon, because the modern mainstream recordings are so intricately produced that they take much longer to polish off, but as long as most artists aren’t making great cohesive albums anyway, why prolong the wait? Why not give the fans as much music from their favorites as possible?

  27. “Why Lee Ann Womack and not Julianne Hough or Kellie Pickler? If you’re asking that question, you must be new to Country Universe.”

    This gave me a good laugh!

    J.R. “I totally disagree with your Underwood remarks. I don’t think she’s done anything at all to even justify her 3-time win, let alone 4. She just hasn’t had one song to really grab me and like others have stated, she’s only released 2 albums. How do you win an award 4 years in a row on the strength of 2 albums? I’d vote for Taylor Swift over her any day. Now bash me, Carrie fans …”

    I’m going to disagree, not bash as a country music fan!!! Carrie has been the constint presance the past three/four years, and has deserved to win based on the criteria. How does she deserve it with only two records? That’s because her singles were spread out and her albums had a long shelf life. As for her vocals, they can’t be denied as the best right now, she can make the dictionary sound good. You may not like her songs but the vocals are there.

    My picks;

    Martina – has enjoyed a little comeback this year
    Reba – great first single, with a much anticipated album
    Carrie – consistant on the charts, appearances, and vocals
    Taylor – just because of the sales and they want the viewer rating!!!
    Patty/Lee Ann/Heidi/Miranda – all have had some attention,

  28. I’m not really understanding what the number of albums put out in a period of time has to do with the number of wins. I think it’s more about the strength of the singles and the staying power of the album(s). And, that’s just part of the award criteria.

  29. Carrie Underwood is most likely going to win this again, Taylor is the only other one I’d consider close to win it. Everybody else will be nominated because they have to fill up the category, but we all know they won’t win… I see the line up being.

    Carrie Underwood – Because She’s had another successful year.

    Taylor Swift – Though not a great singer she is the second most successful so she get’s her spot.

    Miranda Lambert – 3rd most successful of the last year though it’s a real long shot for her to win it.

    Kellie Pickler – Sony usually gets three of it’s artists in here and with Martina having a bad year and Sara Evans not doing much either looks like Kellie will be the third.

    Lee Ann Womack – UMG will want one of their artists to be in there and Lee Ann Womack is really the only close contender so in she goes.

    Dolly Parton – With her strong album sales and legendary status I can see her getting it. Plus Reba won’t be here cause Big Machine/Valory will be busy trying to get Taylor the win. (Same Goes For Trisha)

  30. in a perfect world, “female vocalist of the year” would be awarded to the female with the best vocals on her work in that year..thus, independent artists, unpopular artists, …. real deserving people would win. their nomination would introduce more people to them and they would become more popular…BUT, we don’t live in a perfect world.

    My nominations:
    1. Carrie Underwood: I’m not a fan of all of her songs, but i can’t deny the great vocals and the sales. I think she’s the one person who will definitely be on this list. She’s a true vocalist and this is her category!
    2. Miranda Lambert: 2009: More Like Her and Dead Flowers. Quality-wise: Two of the best songs of the year. Her vocals are pretty good. If she shouldn’t be nominated for such refined work, then we’re in deep shit. She doesn’t get enough radio attention, but then again radio is a mess.
    3. Lee Ann Womack: I love her and her work is pretty good. Surely, she won’t win this year, but i think she should be nominated.
    4. Reba: In another year, i wouldn’t have nominated her, but being such a dead year, we need fillers. i love her though, don’t get me wrong!
    5. Taylor Swift – no comment i just hope she doesn’t win, but she’ll definitely have a nomination.

  31. Rough year for the ladies. None of the women did anything for me this year, compared to 10-12 years ago where they ruled the singles and album charts….with good material. All I gotta say this year is thank god for Patty Loveless, and hurry back Trisha Yearwood.

  32. Tara,

    I dunno, it just seems strange to me that a person could match an all-time record of wins in a particular CMA category on the strength of two albums, however successful those albums may be. Again, it’s more of a knock on the industry than on Carrie, but she has less than 30 studio album tracks in her entire career, and she’s about to win Female Vocalist for the fourth time? I feel like we’ve barely gotten to know her.

  33. dan milliken, i totally agree with u. it’s soooo stupid that carrie who barely started singing is on her way of receiving her fourth win. but who’s the other option. of course not taylor! miranda? hopefully, i love her, but based on radio play..i dont think she has a chance.
    i really hope that next year we’ll have a bunch of great female vocalists who actually GET AIRPLAY!

  34. american idol producers announced that next year they’re hoping for a female win. i really hope it’ll be a country singer coz it seems to be the only way (besides producing pop music) to produce commercially successful female singers in country!
    so sad..

  35. I’m a new poster here but wanted to chime in on this discussion.

    I personally feel like Carrie’s streak could be coming to an end. We all know that the award is not based on just vocals, but what an artist has accomplished within that year too, and Taylor Swift has certainly been on top of her game this past year and is the “female” of the year, as far as I am concerned. Her singles darted to the top and her album sold 3 million last winter not long after release. She’s not my favorite vocalist and I like both her and Carrie so my opinion is not biased, just the way things go these days. She’s had more exposure this year than any of the other females combined, in my opinion.

    Heck if Olivia Newton John can win a country female vocalist award, like she did in the early 70’s, anything is possible right? And that was up against Loretta Lynn!!

    I think the nominees will shape up to be Carrie, Taylor, Martina, LeeAnn and Miranda. McEntire might sneak in, but I think it’s too early yet as her album hasn’t gotten released and she’s only had one top ten and that was late in the eligibility period, next year definetly. Martina might not have had the best year, but she did have a near top 10 and a new album release well in time to be nominated.

    A very weak year, I agree.

  36. I just remembered Reba did have a top ten with Brooks and Dunn on Cowgirls Don’t Cry too.. So if that’s taken into consideration she might just get the nomination

  37. How did I know that this would be the most popular of these threads?

    It may seem a bit much for Carrie to win four Female Vocalist trophies with only two albums in the marketplace, but those two albums have had complete life cycles at this point, and she’s had very little competition throughout the past three years.

    Garth Brooks, the Dixie Chicks and Shania Twain all won Entertainer of the Year after two successful albums, so it’s not unprecedented to get big awards early.

    Getting back to Female Vocalist, the category has an interesting history. There have only been a rare few times when women have gotten the award very early in their career:

    1968 – Tammy Wynette
    1974 – Olivia Newton-John
    1988 – K.T. Oslin
    2005 – Gretchen Wilson
    2006 – Carrie Underwood

    Three of these women only won once. In the case of Newton-John and Oslin, the CMA opted to honor a nominee that had been previously overlooked and award them for the next two years (Dolly Parton 1975-1976, Kathy Mattea 1989-1990.) Wilson, of course, was replaced by Underwood.

    In the cases of Tammy Wynette and Carrie Underwood, they both increased their levels of success over the next two years. Wynette won on the strength of “I Don’t Wanna Play House” and “D-I-V-O-R-C-E” in 1968, but after the CMA ceremony, she released “Stand By Your Man.”

    Wynette’s streak continued despite competition from Loretta Lynn, who won in 1967. But though Lynn would win in 1972 and 1973, it was Lynn Anderson who stopped Wynette’s streak at three. She triumphed on the strength of her massive crossover hit “Rose Garden.”

    Underwood hasn’t had any serious rivals during her run. Her first win was something of a surprise, as Sara Evans had won the ACM earlier that year, but in 2007 and 2008, only Miranda Lambert was a rival, and a distant one at that.

    If Underwood makes it to four, it wouldn’t be that different from Reba McEntire’s run from 1984-1987. McEntire’s first win was a surprise, as Anne Murray won two other major awards that night and McEntire hadn’t even released her first traditional album, My Kind of Country. But McEntire gained popularity over the next three years and easily dominated the race, with little in the way of credible competition, other than critical favorite Rosanne Cash.

    So I guess the question will be if the crossover success of Taylor Swift appeals to today’s CMA voters as much as Lynn Anderson’s did to yesterday’s CMA voters. I think Swift’s got a solid shot, but she’d be in better shape if she was on a major label and brought in more publishing revenue.

  38. As much as I would love Dolly to get a nomination, I am afraid the CMA will likely continue their slide toward bubblegum pop and hand the nominations to some girls in highschool lamenting about their “crush”.
    Looking back over the past year, I am amazed how lackluster country radio has been… mostly with the women. It is tough getting anything played on the radio at the best of times, but your chances rapidly decrease when you are “put out to pasture” by country radio – (Which occurs at approximately age 27 these days.)

    Dolly, Reba, Garth, and Alan should put their considerable collective wealth to good use and buy up America’s radio stations and then fire every program director over 30 and say “Take that!” heh heh heh…

  39. I just caught the news that Gretchen Wilson and Sony Records have parted ways. Female Vocalist only four years ago. Wow.

  40. KEVIN …. Since you have expressed an appreciation for Sugarland, I’m curious how you think Jennifer Nettles would fare in this category if she were a solo act? Thanks!

  41. Dan, fair enough, but if you look at each year on its own, and compare Carrie to the other females, I think she is as deserving as any, though maybe not the most deserving. It seems like a unique combination of her talent, commercial appeal, and lack of competition, as Kevin said, that has her poised to be a 4-time FVOTY. I also think Carrie has a certain element of ambassadorship that few of the other current female artists possess, and the industry recognizes this.

    Fadi, you might want to take that Idol logic up with Kristy Lee Cook.

  42. I hope Taylor Swift does not win in this category for a few reasons. She has been an ambassador for music, but NOT for country music; that job still belongs to Carrie Underwood.

    Taylor has remixed almost all her singles to cater to pop radio, and she has willingly appeared on MTV and the VMA’s. She remixed her entire Fearless album to cater to her pop fans overseas. Her label has even said they see her more like Avril Lavinge than a country artist.

    I personally don’t think someone who is being called more pop than country by her own label should be an ambassador for the genre she is slapping in the face.

    “Before He Cheats” went number one on country charts and top ten in pop without any manipulation. Carrie represents the genre without compromising her artistry, nor the genre of country. She won a talent show that was known for pop before her. Artists like Bucky, Kellie, Phil Stacey and Kristy Lee Cook have thanked Carrie for making it acceptable to sing country on a pop show. Her first album was the biggest by an female since Shania, and it was not remixed, remastered or re-released in any form to cater to pop fans.

  43. I guess the lack of success of lead singles for Wilson’s impending album didn’t do what they needed to in order to keep the label happy. In the past two years, I’d actually gone back and enjoyed her first album.

  44. Lol Tara, I totally forgot about her…urgh i guess i take my words back!!!
    K, I totally agree. I have nothing against crossover hits and country songs charting on pop charts, as long as they still sound country. Here in Lebanon, Taylor Swift’s remixed songs sound as bubblegum as Mandy Moore’s first album..THAT’s NOT COUNTRY!!!

  45. vp, Shania Twain is not that great of a vocalist.

    Soul Miners Daughter, I’m not Kevin but I do think that Jennifer Nettles could provide Carrie Underwood with quite a bit of competition if she was a solo act.

  46. Gretchen could still sell a healthy amount of albums if she released it independantly anyways. If I were her agent, I would be pairing her with Terri Clark on a co-headling tour and callin it ‘The Independant Women tour’ I wouldnt worry about her, they will do better on their own.

  47. Taylor Swift?!
    nyay.. I think it’s way too much
    (but if Swift won’t get a nomination, it is hard to fill the 5 nominees,)

    i agree,it is a weak year..

  48. Taylor Swift?!
    nyay.. I think it’s way too much
    (but if Swift won’t get a nomination, it will be hard to fill the slots)

    i agree,it was a weak year..

  49. Shame about Wilson. I’ve always liked her first album, too – the only track that I really don’t care for is “Homewrecker,” and even that one is at least listenable. Anyway, I certainly wish the best for her.

  50. …In that regard, she deserves consideration even if she could never (or should never) actually win, because she fulfills the other criteria of the category in ways most females artists have not this year.

    In other words, she’s being rewarded solely for her commercial success. I realize that success at radio and retail is a huge part of the equation, but it doesn’t compensate for the indisputable truth that she CAN NOT SING. As I said before, there are other ways to honor her. That being said, she very likely will be nominated and stands a good chance at winning as well. Carrie is the only real competition for her and her lack of new material this year may give Taylor an edge. Mainstream country has truly fallen into the abyss.

  51. Carrie Underwood
    Taylor Swift
    Miranda Lambert
    Reba McEntire
    Martina McBride

    Carrie for the win!! She has an incredible voice that can’t be topped!!

  52. Fadi, how popular is Country music in Lebanon? I think it’s awesome that you enjoy it so much and are posting here with us! :)

  53. Patty Loveless is clearly the best of the lot, and “Sleepless Nights” was better than anything released in the past year. But I have absolutely NO confidence in the CMA recognizing this peerless artistry. I like Carrie when she keeps it country (“I Told You So”), and I think she will win.

  54. Why is it that this is always the most debated subject when blogged, or is it just the meer mention of Carrie and Taylor?

    The arguments pertaining to Carrie have been the same one’s since she stepped onto the scene, I do wonder what it would take for the young lady to be accepted fully, how much does one actually have to prove, what is the criteria that all the nay sayers, think there is to deserve such appreciation?

  55. Swift will lose. The CMAs are not as crappy as the ACMs. The ACMs will probably let Swift win in the future but the CMAs will never bow to her.

  56. The way things are, you really can’t tell one country music awards show from another without a scorecard; they all begin to look the same after a while (IMO).

    I have the feeling that Taylor Swift will probably win because of the sales, the attention, and the fan base. But will that win give her the license to be more daring in what she writes and records in the future, or will it place her in a corner that doesn’t guarantee a career of any real longevity, namely that of a country teenybopper?

    Now comes the big question–the Voice, or the lack thereof, in a lot of people’s minds, when it comes to Taylor. Personally, the problem I have with her voice is that there is something absolutely irritating about it, especially on “Our Song.” She needs to seriously work on this aspect before I can possibly take her seriously as a singer, country or otherwise.

  57. Carrie Underwood
    Taylor Swift
    Martina McBride
    Reba McEntire
    Miranda Lambert/Kellie Pickler

    In my opinion Carrie Underwood is once again for the 4th year, the most deserving. Carrie Underwood is not only one of the most active in the category, she is also one of the supirior vocalists and the most successful in country music today.

    Taylor Swift is successful but is not a great vocalist and really isn’t “Country.” I really do think the voters will pull through and vote for Carrie again, but I believe her biggest threat is Taylor Swift.

    Martina McBride is by far one of the best vocalists of our time along with Reba, but niether have them have been active enough in the music industry for a win. Martina McBride has released a new album that has struggled to sell 100,000 copies, and has spawned 2 singles. Only one of which achieved some sort of radio success. Reba McEntire is releasing a new album in August and its lead single is struggling to make it into the top 10.

    Miranda and Kellie are both great vocalists. Miranda to me is more of an artist having wrote all of the material off of her past two albums and her upcoming release. However Kellie right now is doing quite well with album sales and radio success, considering females in Country music typically struggle to sell albums and score top 10 hits.

    Overall, my pick is Carrie Underwood. I really do think she will win, and it would be a huge upset if she didn’t.

  58. … The arguments pertaining to Carrie have been the same one’s since she stepped onto the scene

    And they are every bit as valid today as they were back then. She is one of the most soulless singers I’ve ever heard.

  59. Why does it always seem like the phrase “compromising artistry” implies tarditonalism?

    Carrie is country pop, and she has never been tarditional by means whatsoever.

    Underwood does not compromise her place as a country pop artist, and that is still respectable.

    She has said she has wanted to make pop country since American Idol, even though there were no respectable country artists from the show before her.

    She has refused to remix any of her songs, even when radio has tried to push her to. She says take them as they are, or don’t play them at all.

    Carrie has the respect of country legends, and she was invited as the youngest member of the Opry. Considering the people who picked her for this honor had enough faith in her to put in the same talent pool as country legends, I think her artistry is clearly respected.

    She respects the music she makes enough to keep it as it is-country pop or not.

    Taylor used country as her slate, but doesn’t respect it. She doesn’t care about whether she remixes her songs or albums. More money, album airplay and sales are what she gets, and she is showing that is more important than the music itself.

  60. Cory DeStein says: “….. All I gotta say this year is thank god for Patty Loveless….”

    Amen, Cory, amen.

  61. Good point by K on what compromising artistry really means. If you’re influenced by traditional and pop-country, along with eighties music in general, you’re not compromising your artistry by reflecting those influences in your music.

  62. I have to agree. It’s not compromising your artistry if you’re doing what you’ve set out to do in the first place. If Carrie had set out to be a traditional singer and then turned into a pop country singer, then she’d be compromising her artistry. But she’s been honest about what she’s wanted to do, even if it doesn’t fit everyone’s criteria for what country music should sound like. to me, someone like Pat Green has compromised his artistry, since the music that’s been pushed to country radio is so much different than his first few albums were. With that said, I think we should be careful about what we term as compromising artistry (I know I’m guilty of throwing the phrase around myself). It really just depends on the product for me…and even may be a subjective term when it comes right down to it. For instance, someone like Patty Loveless has sung multiple kinds of country music throughout her long career–some very traditional, some bluegrass and some (gasp!) pop country. To me, she’s done all of those things very well; I enjoy the music that she’s made from all of those eras. So, where is it that she compromised her artistry? The Blugrass? I’d say not. The traditional? No. The pop country? Not even that.

    So, I think what I’m ultimately trying to say is that when I hear a Carrie Underwood song, I know it’s meant to be within the country music genre. While I personally prefer traditional country music, as most people know, my country music tent is still pretty big (which is something that people may not know so much). Even when certain music doesn’t fit into what I want country music to sound like, I still recognize it as country music, if not begrudgingly.

    As far as Carrie Underwood being “the most soulless singer”, I can tick off plenty of singers, even on the current country charts, that fit that description much more accurately. Her voice is fine to me; it’s her choice of songs that I’d like to hear improved upon.

    I am not a Carrie Underwood enthusiast, but I recognize that she can sing, she’s a good ambassador for country music, she respects and is respected by the Opry, she is always on key live, she’s sincere and that she has potential for me to like her better someday. That’s pretty good for a person who does not fit into my personal taste preference.

    Aside from all of that, the whole Carrie sucks/Carrie is the best debate pretty much bores me at this point, which I realize may not be evident by this long winded comment.

  63. Steve, thanks for your welcome!you can pretty much say many people aren’t aware of what country music is in lebanon. it’s one of the least known and popular genres here. most people are into trance, pop, R&B, and pop-rock. you can find people who are into alternative and rock, but rarely country! on the radio however, the only country that i’m aware of in the past 10 years are faith hill, shania twain, leann rimes, carrie underwood and of course taylor swift!

    Leeann, “Her voice is fine to me; it’s her choice of songs that I’d like to hear improved upon”. I can’t agree more. But i have a feeling that in her next album, she’s gonna step it up and pick more mature songs. She already got the commercial success, i guess (hope) she knows it’s time to use that in promoting more mature songs in order to become memorable.

  64. Leeann and Kevin I think you both make good points about Carrie being true to her Pop Country ambitions, and therefor not betraying her “artistry”…

    But I think that I and some other Traditionalists here take issue with the word “artistry” being applied to pop-country music to begin with. “Art” and Pop” used in the same sentence makes our collective circuits go haywire, and seems an oxymoron. Does not compute.. ;)

    But I know this is all debatable and ultimately subjective, and I would call *some* pop-country music “art”.(Patty’s 90’s stuff, Sara’s Restless album, a lot of Trisha’s stuff, etc)..although the songs that fall into that category in my book I prefer to label as “contemporary Country”.

    Razor, I aggree with your characterization of Carrie’s vocals as lacking “soul” to my hearing as well. She is a technically brilliant singer, but I think Martina does that soaring pop/contemporary stuff even better, and with more soul, and more tastefully…..I think Carrie shows flashes of soul at times, (“How Great Thou Art” ) but to my hearing, I usually just don’t feel it when she sings. It is a quality that is ehhanced however, with time and experience, and she does have potential. But I think too many folks in the Country music world are mistaking potential for actual artistic accomplishment, and are rewarding Carrie far too much and way too prematurely. Her acclaim has far outrun her artistry, in my opinion, and that throws the Country music world and it’s revered institutions way out of kilter.

  65. Steve would you prefer they give the awards to Taylor with her so called “artistic” abilities, but yet a beyond lacking voice?

    Myself I think for being thrust into the spotlight, with such expectation, that she has adapted very well. She has said on many occasions how she has a lot to learn, and appreciates being on tour with the big names, because it gives her the opportunities to learn. Without a doubt you look at the Carrie that came off idol, to her first awards show, to her first set of concerts, to now and the two can’t be any more different. She has improved so much and I think and am confident that on her next album she will show everyone, how much she has grown and learn, musically, artistically, and in life!

  66. It may be sad that country music has its particular stars that shine, durning specific times, but it is and always been that way, certain people have their moment in the sun, while others only get a glimpse of it, and it is a direct reflection on the majority of listeners likes.

    Right now those are Taylor and Carrie, and although they are the prominant ones, it does not mean, Patty, Martina, Lee Ann etc, are gone unnoticed by all. They just don’t have the attention from the majority.

    I find country has been going through a youthful phase of fan bases ever since Carrie’s idol win. Which I think is good because our youth are smart and most will discover these other artist that are not as promoted, and will embrace them.

  67. No, VP, but there are other fine ladies of Country who cannot get radio airplay nowadays, in spite of making some or the best stuff or their careers. The preference for both Carrie and Taylor is throwing things way off kilter, IMO. But hey, I guess that is the market at work…I’m just glad that my heroes can still do what they love for a living, get their music to the fans, and even be recognized at the Grammy’s nowadays.

    I’m glad to hear of Carrie’s humility and progress as an aritst, performer and entertainer…that is encouraging…now if she would get some better material, contemporary or Tradtional, that woud be awesome.

    As for Carrie vs Taylor, I’d choose Taylor, in spite of the fact that Carrie is somewhat more Country and is a far better singer. I just think Taylor is more authentic, though I cannot really realte to the teenage expience thing at all…she does it very well.

    But I agree, a lot of the same criticisms I have about Carrie apply to Taylor as well..even more so perhaps, with her remixing and all, I don’t think she’s good for Country music, but she’s great for Pop music!…

    Vanessa, you are a fine advocate for your Carrie, I must say. ;)

  68. I love Carrie’s voice and her growth is impressive. I hope she keeps it up. We’ll get a better feel for Ms. Underwood the person if she continues to write more of her songs, I think/hope. I do question Taylor’s true heart for country music. She seems after the pop crown more than the country crown.

  69. Yes I believe you did Steve, I was drawn to country through mainstream country artist, Shania, Garth, B&D, Trisha, and that has always been my preference of country, as traditional is for many. But in no means do I cut my ties with country there, they gave me a platform to start with in discovering all different types of country, and I appreciate it so much more now.

    I am always open to suggestion of artist or new music, that is what I like about coming to CU! Also I can always agree to disagree (Taylor).

  70. Extending one’s arms into the air throughout the song does not qualify as singing with soul, in my book.

    Does singing with genuine emotion?

    I’m glad to hear of Carrie’s humility and progress as an aritst, performer and entertainer…that is encouraging…now if she would get some better material, contemporary or Tradtional, that woud be awesome.

    Steve, thanks for keeping an open mind. I do hope you end up liking her new material.

  71. Steve,
    The only reason I can’t agree that pop music can’t be termed as “artistry” is because I think there is some good pop music out there. In general, I think pop music is bland, but some people do it really well, even pop country (Taylor Swift, Shania Twain).

  72. I do agree there Leeann, and stated as much with my references to Patty’s 90’s stuff, Sara’s Restless album and much of Trisha’s catalog. Yeah, I think I could add some of Shania’s stuff as well as a lot of Martina’s to the finer “Contemporary Country” category.

    I guess there’s such a thing as “Pop-Art” in the world of painting and sculpture etc, but I would consider real, well done Traditional Country and Bluegrass, the “fine art” of the music world, along with the best of Jazz, Cajun, Blues, Reggae, Classical, etc. All genre’s with distinct identities, which most Pop does not possess, IMO. To me, Pop (with some exceptions) has always been a generic, none-of-the-above, amorphous, and miscellaneous type music.

  73. Yikes!! JT has spawned a lot of American-Idol singer wannabees and copycats…falsetto bordering on castratto!

  74. I think Carrie Underwood is great but, i’m not a hugge fan of hers. Now, for other female acts it has been struggle to grab attention from Nashville since CU has come to the forefront. But, I believe Miranda Lambert will win her first Female Vocalist Awards this year. With her current release “Dead Flowers” gaining a lot of Great Comments from the Critic’s, I beleive “Revolution” (Her third album) will be the album to bring her to the forefront.
    But, for my picks:
    1.Miranda lambert
    2.Carrie UnderWood
    3.Taylor Swift
    4.Lee Ann Womack
    5. Reba
    Pick to Win: Miranda Lambert

  75. I’d have to disagree about Carrie being “souless.” I think she has really connected with her last few singles, and I definatly think she has shown she is capable of believing what she sings.

    Some Examples:

    How Great Thou Art
    Jesus Take The Wheel, 2006 ACM’s
    Don’t Forget To Remember Me
    Just A Dream, 2008 CMA’s, Opry Live performance October 2009, Just A Dream, Jonesbro, Ark.

    “I Told You So” 2009 ACM’s

    “I Know You Won’t,” 2009 PCA’s; “I Know You Won’t Opry”

    “I Ain’t In Chacota Anymore,” 2007 OK Centenial

    “Last Name,” American Idol 2009; “Last Name,” Grammy’s 2009.

    I think Carrie has improved trememdously in terms of connecting with material, especially with the last few singles. It seems to me that Carrie is so shy that she doesn’t reslly much connection (nor as much personality, with two exceptions) when she sings upbeat material. She seems to connect better with emotional ballads, because she appears to be an emotional person, judging by all her awards acceptance speeches, iinterveiws and such.

  76. I think pop music at its best has just as much value as country, jazz, rock, hip-hop, etc. It’s very difficult to do pop well, but when it is done well, it has a transcendence that the other genres can’t achieve.

  77. Kevin J. Coyne says:
    July 30, 2009 at 5:26 pm
    I think pop music at its best has just as much value as country, jazz, rock, hip-hop, etc. It’s very difficult to do pop well, but when it is done well, it has a transcendence that the other genres can’t achieve.

    I dunno, I think Opera as well as the solo portions of Mozart’s Masses are more trancendent..but some of the finest pop is almost operatic in quality. I’m thinking Martina, Celine, Steisand etc here..

    But I think the finest Country and Bluegrass vocal performances easily match the best pop in vocal virtuosity..The complex harmonies of Bluegrass, (Daniel Prayed etc) And the measured Mountain melisma of much Bluegrass and Appalachian music. Patty Loveless is a master practitioner of the art, and as Ralph Stanley says, “you just can’t beat that Mountain sound.” The best Mountain Country and Bluegrass singers really plum the depths of emotion with their subtle melodic inflections..Listen to Patty’s “since you’ve gone, and left me alone, I just hear these sounds from now on..” The desperate loneliness she infuses in these lines is devastatingly convincing. (Sounds of Loneliness)

    I think some Pop singers, even the best of them, really overdo it with the melisma…improvising each melodic sylable to such a degree that the melodic line is lost and the song becomes almost unrecognizibe…but this it is a matter of taste, no doubt…their skill is undeniable.

    Yeah, I guess the key phrases are “done well” and “at it’s best”…but I think that Country (and Bluegrass) has an inherent advantage from the start with its instrumentation…Fiddle, steel, dobro, mandolin, acoustic and electric guitar can convey emotional shadings and nuance that pop (and many other genres including Rock) instrumentation cannot touch, no matter how much electronic and synthesized effects are thrown in…I think the virtuosity displayed by the average Bluegrass instrumentalist is only matched in Classical music, and Jazz..And the high flying harmonies that are part of Bluegrass and the best Country is seldom heard in Pop…

    But no doubt there are some very fine pop vocalists…and when Country artists sing in a well done pop-country style, we get amazingly transcendent performances like Patty’s “Thisty” Sara’s “Niagra” …But that same kind of transcendence can also be heard in Patty’s rendition of the hard core Country song “Cold Cold Heart”…

    I guess what I’ve been trying to say is that I feel that Pop as a genre has a distinct lack of a cohesive identity, and therefore it is difficult for folks like me to call it an art form, this in spite of the fact that it’s best practioners are extremely artful in the approach and excecution of their material.

  78. Carrie
    Martina McBride

    The spoiler is Pickler. She just scored her first Top 10 with “The Best Days Of Your Life”. She could kick out Lambert, Reba or Martina. The only locks are Carrie and Taylor.

  79. OK, I gotta admit it, I thought of another great Pop singer who is undeniably an artist to add to the likes of Martina, Celine, Steisand, and that is Bette Midler….

    Maybe I should re-think this whole Pop-is-not-art bias I have….I think the artists cited above are a clear indication that the best of it is. ;) Pretty sophisticated stuff.

    But don’t they call the stuff that they do “adult contemporary” ?

  80. They were pop at their peaks. As they got older, they became adult contemporary artists.

    Madonna, Michael Jackson, and ABBA are great examples of pop music at its best, where it can genuinely be called art.

  81. I’d have to argue with Celine, Steve. Now, there’s an example of sappy soullessness, in my opinion.

    I like Timberlake because he can actually sing when he wants to and his productions are pretty intricate. If AI people are trying to copy him, I really doubt they’re coming close to being successful. I don’t like a lot of what Midler does, but she’s got some things that I like, such as her swing stuff.

    As Kevin said, Adult Contemporary is pretty much the market for the artists who’ve aged out of the pop market. They’re all usually found on the same radio station with the AC being more heavily played at night on those call in shows.

  82. The AC station in NYC is often the highest-rated, since it’s the only one that can be played in all those office buildings!

  83. I’m certainly not going to argue for Celine, Leeann, I’ll give you that one, ;)..sappy, yes, but she can sing…not that familiar with a lot of her stuff, but so I’ve heard…But yeah, we can scratch her from the artists list…

    Sara Evans has gone from emulating Patty Loveless to citing Celine as her ideal duet partner (she used to cite Patty as her would be ideal) I think that says a lot about her former glory compared to her present offerings.

    Kevin, I like Abba too, they remind me of my college years. (don’t tell anybody)

    As for Timberlake, I have no doubt about his vocal ability, I just don’t care for that falsetto style that his imitators perpetuate on shows like Idol…it’s ubiquitous and cheapens his brand.

    “aged out of the pop market” = a more highly developed level of artistic maturity in my book. These grownups sing at an almost operatic level, Imo.

  84. But yeah, I guess “pop” is a broad umbrella term that encompasses soft rock, r&B, country-lite, adult contemporary, dance stuff, electronica, and there is a lot of strange as well as bland stuff that is covered therein, and I think the strange and bland damages the value of the word “pop” to such a degree that even artists like Martina, Steisand, Midler and even Sarah Brightman cannot entirely redeem.

    Now if we throw in Broadway and showtunes, there’s a whole new discussion!;)

  85. …I own the ABBA box set. And I’m not someone who just collects a lot of box sets. The secret has been eating away at me.

  86. Honestly, Gold is everything a casual fan would ever need, although I think “Honey Honey” and one or two other songs might be missing. But the diehard ABBA fans don’t like the remastering on Gold, which was the main reason I went for the box when I saw it for 13 bucks on eBay. But having listened through it, I doubt there’s really that big of a difference for anyone but the very pickiest.

  87. My brother and sister in law want me to watch the “Mamma Mia” movie with them…payback for their being good sports watching a lot of Patty stuff with me.

    I’ll have to tell them how much ABBA love there is here at CU!

  88. VP,
    I don’t think Razor was claiming that she doesn’t have a soul, but rather, referring to soul in her singing.

  89. After Miranda Lambert surprisingly failed to score a Grammy nomination this year, I wouldn’t be shocked to see her bumped from the Female Vocalist line-up at the CMAs. I still think she’ll make it in, but she isn’t the easy #3 pick that she was a year ago.

    I’d say Underwood, Swift, McEntire, and Womack are the top 4 in that order of likelihood, with Lambert edging out the surging Pickler for the 5th slot. Newfield and McBride may have an outside shot, as well.

    Based upon material released during the eligibility period, I’d vote for:
    – Neko Case.
    – Miranda Lambert.
    – Patty Loveless.
    – Lee Ann Womack.
    … and either Tanya Tucker and Wynonna, both of whom released inconsistent covers albums.

    Yeah. Not a great year for the solo female acts.

  90. My Noms:

    Reba McEntire
    Carrie Underwood
    Taylor Swift
    Miranda Lambert or Lee Ann Womack
    Martina McBride

    its a hard one, since the past year has not been kind to the female vocalists, but I’d go with Carrie or Taylor for taking the win, but my personal pick would be Reba or Carrie.

  91. “Why Lee Ann Womack and not Julianne Hough or Kellie Pickler? If you’re asking that question, you must be new to Country Universe.”

    made me LOL too.

    when doing these posts, i too, like kevin, found that country music was in a sad state of affairs from the late 2008-2009 year. I am now depressed over the state of country music now, with record sales in the toilet, females barely on radio, and radio music not being all that great. Recently ive found myself listening to CDs of my favorite artists such as The Judds, Wynonna, Faith Hill, and the Dixie Chicks; rather than listening to country radio.

    I LONG and would DIE for country music to go back to its 80’s and/especially 90’s heydays, or even back to 2005, when females were still a force to be reckoned with at radio. This category depresses me the most, for the female talent is not like before.

    My Noms in my previous post were the happy medium between what my hopes were and the reality of what WILL happen.

    My Hopes:
    -Reba McEntire (great first two singles, anticipated new CD AND proves she’s still a domineering force in country music)
    -Sara Evans (basically for “Low”)
    -Carrie Underwood (no explaination required, though her career has been quiet recently)
    -Lee Ann Womack (great album, and a top 20 song that was killer)
    -Dolly Parton (her recent achievements prove shes still an icon in America’s eyes, and she’s branched out)

    -Taylor Swift (No other female besides Underwood has been a force for the genre)
    -Underwood (no duh.)
    -Pickler (she’s picking up steam at radio)
    -McBride (a top 20 song and an #1 album, plus her vocal chops might be enough for her to land a slot)
    -McEntire or Lambert (both are the only other regular presences at radio)

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