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Music

Maren Morris leads CMA Awards nominations, and Lil Nas X scores a nod too

Country music star Maren Morris
Maren Morris at the CMT Music Awards in Nashville in June.
(Sanford Myers / Associated Press)

Maren Morris has a chance to win up to eight trophies, including album of the year, at the 2019 Country Music Assn. Awards thanks to her work as an artist, songwriter and producer.

With the success of her album “Girl,” which Morris co-produced, the Grammy winner scored nominations for single, song and female vocalist of the year. The album’s title track, which Morris co-wrote, topped Billboard’s country airplay chart this year, the first time a solo female artist had a No. 1 hit on that chart in well over a year.

The CMAs also announced Wednesday that Dan Smyers of Dan + Shay could win up to six awards for his work as an artist and co-producer of their self-titled third album and as a co-writer of their crossover hit “Speechless.” Shay Mooney of the Grammy-winning duo earned three nominations, including duo of the year.

Carrie Underwood, Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire will host the annual CMA Awards, amid controversy over the lack of female artists on country radio
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Carrie Underwood returned to the top category, entertainer of the year, for the first time since 2016, alongside Garth Brooks, Eric Church, Chris Stapleton and last year’s winner, Keith Urban. There were no women nominated in the top category in 2018 and 2017.

The biggest song of 2019, “Old Town Road” by rapper Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus, will compete for musical event of the year, also earning a nomination for Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, who is listed as a co-producer of the No. 1 hit (“Old Town Road” samples Nine Inch Nails’ “34 Ghosts IV”).

It marks Cyrus’ first nomination since his own breakout country-dance hit, “Achy Breaky Heart,” was nominated in 1992.

Brothers Osborne picked up four nominations, including two for their collaboration with Dierks Bentley on “Burning Man”; one for “All My Favorite People,” a duet with Morris; and duo of the year.

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Brooks & Dunn received their first CMA nominations since 2010: They picked up nominations for duo of the year and musical event of the year for a new version of “Brand New Man” featuring Luke Combs. The veteran duo, who released a collaborative hits album this year, have a record 14 wins for duo of the year.

Also making history this year is Jenee Fleenor, a fiddle player who is the first woman to be nominated for musician of the year, a category that began in 1988.

Underwood is returning to host the CMAs, which will air live on Nov. 13 on ABC. Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire will join Underwood as special guest hosts at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

Here’s the full list of nominees.


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