James Brown's never been big on the country music charts, but for the second year in a row, one of his hits could serve as the theme song for the annual Country Music Assn. Awards: "It's a Man's Man's Man's World."
Showing just how far the pendulum has swung back from country's explosion of chart-topping female performers in the early '90s, male nominees for this year's CMA Awards outnumber females more than 5 to 1 -- although it may slip by unnoticed on Tuesday's telecast at 9 p.m. on CBS amid the many female presenters and performers, among them Dolly Parton, Shania Twain, Sheryl Crow, Sara Evans, Jo Dee Messina, LeAnn Rimes and Wynonna Judd.
But outside the five contenders for female vocalist of the year, only three female acts appear among 50-plus nominees in the other 11 categories. That's down significantly even from last year's numbers, when 13 women and 54 men were among the nominees. Just two years ago, 25 women got CMA nominations, compared to 44 men.
It's a reflection of how male acts are dominating the country charts as the industry shops for a new crop of female acts to take over after Twain, Faith Hill, Rimes and others who had been regulars on those charts a decade ago have focused on the broader pop audience.
This year, the Dixie Chicks show up in two categories: album (for "Home") and vocal group. Martina McBride's "Concrete Angel" is nominated for video of the year, and Crow shares a nod in the vocal event slot with her duet partner on the single "Picture," Kid Rock.
The highlight figures to be an all-star tribute to Johnny Cash, who died Sept. 12. Cash also is up for best single, and his album "American IV: The Man Comes Around" is vying for top album with those by the Chicks, Tim McGraw, Keith and Joe Nichols.
-- Randy Lewis