The Country Music Association Award for Song of the Year recognizes an artist for their artistic achievement in songwriting and is determined by votes cast from members of the country music community.
On Wednesday night at the 56th annual CMA Awards, some of country music’s biggest stars were honored. Luke Combs won Entertainer of the Year while Lainey Wilson received New Artist and Female Vocalist of the Year honors.
Songwriter of the Year
The Country music association Award for Song of the Year recognizes songwriters who create hit songs that become essential parts of country music’s mainstream repertoire. This award is one of the most coveted and sought-after in the music industry.
Since its founding, the Country Music Association (CMA) has hosted an annual awards show to recognize excellence in country music. Awards are presented by a committee made up of songwriters, musicians and other music industry professionals, with network television coverage. Nominations for each award category are selected by an expert panel.
Many of the top songwriters in country music work tirelessly to craft songs that will become timeless hits, be they romantic ballads or songs about grieving loved ones who have died.
As the world was shaken by September 11 terrorist attacks, country artists wrote songs that spoke to what they were feeling – including Alan Jackson’s hit “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning).” The song earned Song of the Year at 2002 CMA Awards and became one of the most beloved tracks across country music.
Glen Campbell’s “Rhinestone Cowboy”, Kenny Rogers’ “Lucille”, and George Jones’s “He Stopped Loving Her Today” all won this prestigious honor; all songs reached number one on international charts worldwide and their writers received awards.
Numerous songwriters have also won multiple Song of the Year awards and they should all be acknowledged for their contributions to country music. Don Schlitz and Paul Overstreet won twice for Randy Travis’ “On The Other Hand,” one of their major successes that went on to become one of his signature hits.
The Country music community always looks forward to the CMA Awards held annually in Nashville. These spectacular ceremonies showcase an incredible range of musical performances and award recipients from across the nation.
Song of the Year
The Country Music Association Award for Song of the Year is one of the most coveted accolades in country music. Not only does it recognize artists for their hard work, but they also honor songwriters – this honor goes out to those whose lyrics play such an integral role in shaping an artist’s career and success.
Established in 1958, the Country Music Association is the pioneering trade organization dedicated to advancing country music. Representing professionals who make their living from its production, and serving as an umbrella body for leadership – this association works towards spreading its genre internationally while simultaneously publicizing it.
Apart from hosting an annual CMA Awards show, the country music association also hosts other projects and initiatives designed to advance country music globally. One such project is the CMA Music Festival held each June in Downtown Nashville that draws thousands of country fans from across the world.
Close Up magazine is another important facet of the Country Music Association that keeps readers up-to-date with artistic and commercial developments in country music.
Country Music Association’s main source of information for songwriters. It includes interviews with top country songwriters as well as articles on current industry trends.
The Country music association also hosts a Broadcast Award program to recognize country radio stations for their contributions to the industry. Each station receives one or more Broadcast Awards depending on their market size (major, large, medium or small).
Lori McKenna hit gold once more in 2016 with her emotional hit “Humble and Kind,” written alongside co-writers Jimmy Robbins and Laura Veltz. The song made an enormous impression at country radio, winning McKenna the CMA Song of the Year Award once more.
Some songs have won multiple CMA Song of the Year awards over time. One such example was Freddie Hart’s 1971 single, “Easy Loving,” which garnered both Single of the Year and Song of the Year awards at one ceremony – making its way onto country music charts for the first time!
Album of the Year
The Country music association Album of the Year Award is considered one of the highest honors in the industry. It recognizes artists, composers, songwriters and producers for an album considered to contain some of the finest collections of songs this year.
This award is selected by members of the association and considered the unofficial equivalent to winning an Oscar for best picture.
This award recognizes any artists, composers, songwriters or producers involved with creating an album released for public release within a calendar year and has played out publicly for at least 33% of its duration.
Notable recipients of this prestigious award include George Strait, Chris Stapleton, Eric Church and Luke Combs; in addition, albums by Lainey Wilson, Miranda Lambert and Old Dominion have received this recognition as well.
Formerly, this award only honored the artist of an album; but now it recognizes all members of its production team, including both artists, producers and sound engineers who were part of creating its tracks.
Bruno Mars’ album 24K Magic took home this award in 2018. Additionally, it was nominated for Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Rap Album of the Year awards.
Though many legendary musicians have received this honor, not always has. For example, in 1984 Anne Murray was nominated for her album A Little Good News against albums from George Strait, Alabama, and Merle Haggard.
In 2000, The Dixie Chicks beat Faith Hill, Lee Ann Womack, and Alan Jackson for Album of the Year with Fly. This successful release sold over 3 million copies worldwide while spending time on Billboard Top 20 list for seven weeks.
Tim McGraw, Hank Williams Jr. and Ronnie Milsap have also won this prestigious honor. Additionally, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band took home this prize in 1989 for their album Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Volume 2. Kentucky Headhunters won in 1990 with Pickin’ on Nashville.
Male Vocalist of the Year
Since 1967, when it first debuted at the CMA Awards ceremony, this honor is bestowed to an artist based on their individual musical performance on a solo country single or album release as well as overall contribution to country music. Many notable performers, including Jack Greene, George Strait, Vince Gill and Alan Jackson have won back-to-back male vocalist of the year awards.
Chris Stapleton became the most decorated artist ever in Male Vocalist of the Year history at Wednesday night’s 56th Annual CMA Awards with six wins – becoming the most decorated Male Vocalist ever! While accepting his award he paid tribute to fellow nominees Luke Combs, Eric Church, Cody Johnson and Morgan Wallen while giving special thanks to fans over 15 years.
Stapleton wasn’t alone in earning multiple CMA Awards nominations: Brothers Osborne claimed vocal duo of the year for a fifth time, Old Dominion won vocal group of the year six times, Lainey Wilson became only the fourth first-time nominee ever to garner multiple nods and win new artist of year and musical event of year for her chart-topping duet “Never Wanted To Be That Girl.”
Miranda Lambert earned her ninth Female Vocalist of the Year nomination this year, as well as Video and Vocal Event of the Year nominations for her song with Carrie Underwood “Somethin’ Bad.”
On Wednesday at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, the Academy of Country Music will present the 56th Annual CMA Awards show with performances by some of country music’s premier acts – Luke Combs, Cody Johnson, Reba McEntire, Cole Swindell are all set to take the stage and deliver memorable performances!
Rascal Flatts stands a good chance of winning Vocal Group of the Year with 10 nominations, followed by Kenny Chesney with four and Reba McEntire with four each, Kenny Dalton receiving five nods and Blake Shelton achieving five in Male Vocalist of the Year category.