Country music's BIGGEST night is here! The 56th annual CMA Awards, starting at 8pm on ABC (channel 13 in Las Vegas) or you can listen to them here on 95-5 The Bull.
I like to think I have a pretty good sense of who is likely to win, but I'm often wrong. That said, here's who I predict will have a big night tonight!
We already heard two early winners. Vocal Event went to the Bull's Guitar Pull stars Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde for "Never Wanted To Be That Girl" and Music Video of the Year went to Cody Johnson "Til You Can't."
Let's start with the groups.
Vocal group of the year
Little Big Town
Zac Brown Band - MoJoe's Pick
I think this race is really between Old Dominion and Zac Brown Band, but as much as I love both groups, I think this is ZBB's year.
Vocal duo of the year
Brooks & Dunn
Dan + Shay - MoJoe's Pick
Maddie & Tae
I think it's really between Brothers and D+S, but I'm going with Dan + Shay for the win this year.
Let's move to the tougher categories...
New artist of the year
Lainey Wilson - MoJoe's Pick
Any one of them could win this award, they are ALL worthy! But there can only be one winner...unless there's a tie, but I digress. I'm going with our girl Lainey Wilson. She has put in the work and leads the pack with the most nominations this year, which makes me think this is her award.
Let's move on to the music awards.
Single of the year
Award goes to artist(s), producer(s) and mix engineer
“Buy Dirt” – Jordan Davis featuring Luke Bryan; producer: Paul DiGiovanni; mix engineer: Jim Cooley
“half of my hometown” – Kelsea Ballerini (feat. Kenny Chesney); producers: Kelsea Ballerini, Ross Copperman, Jimmy Robbins; mix engineer: Dan Grech-Marguerat
“Never Wanted to Be That Girl” – Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde; producers: Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne; mix engineer: Ryan Gore
“’Til You Can’t” – Cody Johnson; producer: Trent Willmon; mix engineer: Jack Clarke - MoJoe's Pick
“You Should Probably Leave” – Chris Stapleton; producers: Dave Cobb, Chris Stapleton; mix engineer: Vance Powell
What a great group of songs. Such a celebration and representation of the emotion and relatability of country music. It's a tough category, but since this is SINGLE of the year, I'm going with the biggest chart success of this group: Cody Johnson "Til You Can't."
Album of the year
Award goes to artist(s), producer(s) and mix engineer(s)
Growin’ Up – Luke Combs; producers: Luke Combs, Chip Matthews, Jonathan Singleton; mix engineers: Jim Cooley, Chip Matthews - MoJoe's Pick
Humble Quest – Maren Morris; producer: Greg Kurstin; mix engineer: Serban Ghenea
Palomino – Miranda Lambert; producers: Luke Dick, Miranda Lambert, Jon Randall, Mikey Reaves; mix engineer: Jason Lehning
Sayin’ What I’m Thinkin’ – Lainey Wilson; producer: Jay Joyce; mix engineer: F. Reid Shippen
Time, Tequila & Therapy – Old Dominion; producers: Shane McAnally, Old Dominion; mix engineer: Justin Niebank
Again, terrific albums. But Luke Combs is undeniable, gotta give it to him.
Song of the year
Award goes to songwriters
“Buy Dirt” — songwriters: Jacob Davis, Jordan Davis, Josh Jenkins, Matt Jenkins - MoJoe's Pick
“Never Wanted to Be That Girl” –songwriters: Shane McAnally, Ashley McBryde, Carly Pearce
“Sand in My Boots” — songwriters: Ashley Gorley, Michael Hardy, Josh Osborne
“Things a Man Oughta Know” — songwriters: Jason Nix, Jonathan Singleton, Lainey Wilson
“You Should Probably Leave” — songwriters: Chris DuBois, Ashley Gorley, Chris Stapleton
First of all, love seeing most of these songs co-written by the artists who perform them. And again, GREAT group of songs. Any one of these songs could win. I'm literally rolling the dice on this pick and going with "Buy Dirt."
Now for the top vocalist categories, starting with the ladies.
Female vocalist of the year
Carly Pearce - MoJoe's Pick
Again, any one of these ladies could take the trophy. But I'm going with a repeat of Carly Pearce for this award.
Male vocalist of the year
Morgan Wallen - MoJoe's Pick
Yeah, great group of guys. But I'm thinking it's Morgan's year to shine,
On to the top prize of the night...
Entertainer of the year
Luke Combs - MoJoe's Pick
This was an easy choice for me. Luke is our best in class. He's talented, entertaining, pure country and connected to his fans. Not to mention, he's never released a single that didn't go number one. Plus, and this is an important note, he is the ONLY artist in this category to visit the radio row interviews. You might say, who cares? In a world where the bigger you are, the less press you HAVE to do, the fact that he continues to stay humble and put in the work stands out to me. It's an elite quality that artists like Garth and Taylor have showcased. Luke stays grounded, grateful and connected to the country music community and THAT is why he's my pick for EOY.
Listen tonight, starting at 8pm, for the 56th Annual CMA Awards on 95-5 The Bull and see how many I get right!