For the second half of the preview, I start with Album of the Year:
Album of The Year
This category is unfair for me to judge because I've only heard the albums by Brad Paisley (5th Gear) and George Strait (It Just Comes Natural]. Either one of those would be a good choice, and I think Strait will win it. The other nominees are Dierks Bentley (Long Trip Alone), Vince Gill (These Days) and Keith Urban (Love, Pain and The Whole Crazy Thing)
Single of The Year
I'm kind of disappointed with the choices but I'd like to see "Before He Cheats" by Carrie Underwood win it. I also think it will win. Other nominees are: "Lost In This Moment" by Big & Rich, "Anyway" by Martina McBride, "Ticks" by Paisley and "Wrapped" by Strait.
Song of The Year
What do you know? Three of the songs for single of the year - "Anyway", "Before He Cheats" and "Lost In This Moment" - are in this category too. I see "Before He Cheats" winning it, but I'd like to see Strait's "Give It Away' get the nod. Great songwriting collaboration by the legendary Bill Anderson, newcomer Jamey Johnson and longtime producer/songwriter Buddy Cannon.
"Stupid Boy" by Urban is the other nominee.
Musical Event of The Year
Hello, the Strait/Jimmy Buffett/Alan Jackson collaboration on "Hey Good Lookin'" already took place a few years ago, even though the album was released last winter, so as much as I enjoy that trio, I'd have to disqualify the entry. Alison Krauss is competing with herself in the category, but neither her duet with Gill "The Reason Why" or with pop singer John Waite, "Missin' You" will win. The award will go to Reba McEntire and Kelly Clarkson for "Because Of You" because the CMA loves when country stars cross over. They'll ignore the underdog, Tracy Lawrence. Lawrence started an independent label and had a hit with "Find Out Who Your Friends Are", a true country song in theme and style in which he collaborated with superstars Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney. That would be my pick. Also, it's nice to see that McGraw and Chesney haven't forgotten their old contemporary, Lawrence. In the early 1990's, Lawrence was having more success than the two struggling artists. It's good to see they've remained friends through the ups and downs of their respective careers.
Musical Video Of The Year
My vote would be for "Online" by Paisley, and I think it'll win. The video, which includes guests Jason Alexander, William Shatner, Kellie Pickler and Taylor Swift is hilarious. Other nominees are: "You Save Me" by Chesney, "Moments" by Emerson Drive, "Anyway" by McBride and "Before He Cheats" by Underwood. I'm disappointed that "Moments" didn't get nominated for song or single of the year. I think it's a very deserving song.
Well, for those of you that tune in Wednesday night, E-mail me and let me know the good, bad and ugly from the CMA Awards show