Josh’s Jukebox Journal — Country Hits: 2006

Once upon a time there was a popular feature on this blog called The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music and it’s sister feature The Past Pulse of Mainstream Country Music. It was an enjoyable feature for both you and I, before I decided to take a hiatus from blogging. My own enjoyment of the feature had waned, but I’ve wanted to return to a feature like this ever since.

Kyle over at Kyle’s Korner Blog took over the torch for The Current Pulse and is doing a fantastic job with it, so please go check it out if you haven’t done so. But I was wanting to do a Past Pulse. Unfortunately as I’ve discovered, Billboard has become greedy and decided to lock past charts behind a paywall. Quite an asinine decision in my view. So with this stupid decision by Billboard, I obviously can’t do The Past Pulse. But that sent me down the idea rabbit hole and I got to thinking how I could re-adapt the Past Pulse into something new. Combined with another feature idea I had been tinkering with, I’ve come up with Josh’s Jukebox Journal.

Josh’s Jukebox Journal is a brand new feature on the blog that will be similar to The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music, but with a twist. Rather than rely on past charts from Billboard instead I will look at playlists. This could be from any genre, from any year, past or present, various artists or just one artist. I will run through the playlist giving a thumbs up (let it play), shrug (essentially playlist filler) or a thumbs down (skip it). The best song will get two thumbs up and the worst will get two thumbs down. At the end I will give a grade for the quality of the playlist. These playlists can come from any of the streaming services (preferably Spotify, Apple Music or YouTube).

This feature won’t have a set day or time of when it releases. It will essentially be when I want to do one. And of course I want to hear playlist ideas for future versions of Josh’s Jukebox Journal in the comments! Today I will take a look at the Apple Music playlist Country Hits: 2006…

    • Rodney Atkins – “If You’re Going Through Hell” 👎
    • Rascal Flatts – “What Hurts the Most”🤷
    • Josh Turner – “Your Man” 👍
    • Carrie Underwood – “Jesus, Take the Wheel” 👍
    • Jennifer Nettles & Bon Jovi – “Who Says You Can’t Go Home”🤷
    • Brad Paisley – “When I Get Where I’m Going (feat. Dolly Parton)” 👍
    • Jason Aldean – “Why”🤷
    • Kenny Chesney – “Summertime”🤷
    • Phil Vassar – “Last Day of My Life” 👍
    • LeAnn Rimes – “Something’s Gotta Give”🤷
    • George Strait – “She Let Herself Go”🤷
    • Jack Ingram – “Wherever You Are” 👍
    • The Wreckers – “Leave the Pieces” 👍
    • Kenny Chesney – “Living In Fast Forward” 👍
    • Brad Paisley – “The World” 👍
    • Carrie Underwood – “Before He Cheats” 👍
    • Trace Adkins – “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” 👎👎
    • Rascal Flatts – “My Wish (10th Anniversary)” 👎
    • Blake Shelton – “Nobody But Me” 👍
    • Dierks Bentley – “Settle for a Slowdown” 👍👍
    • Steve Holy – “Brand New Girlfriend” 👍
    • Josh Turner – “Would You Go With Me” 👍
    • Little Big Town – “Bring It On Home” 👍
    • Sugarland – “Want To” 👍
    • Toby Keith – “Get Drunk and Be Somebody” 👎

Thumbs up: 15
Shrugs: 6
Thumbs down: 4

Grade: 7/10

This is a pretty solid playlist (until you see a lot of the songs missing I list below that I would have added and then you’re going to get angry like me). I was actually a little surprised, but then as I listened to it more not so much because I remember every single one of these songs vividly. I was 14/15 years old when these songs were popular and this was when my brother and I would watch the CMT music video countdown show every week. So I definitely got some nostalgia running through this playlist. And I can’t get over how much mandolin was allowed on country radio back then!

So many great songs to choose from for the best. Josh Turner was absolutely on fire during this time. I really enjoyed Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley’s material at that time too. Underwood of course just released her debut album and it’s arguably still her best record. Paisley helped Dolly get another hit and that’s always great. But I had to go with Dierks Bentley’s “Settle For a Slowdown” from the excellent Modern Day Drifter album. The ominous and dark atmosphere created by the guitars and the descriptive lyricism that so perfectly lays out the longing heartbreak taking place in the song made me choose it as best.

Not a lot of bad songs to choose from on this playlist, which is nice of course. I enjoyed all of Rodney Atkins biggest hits at first, including the one above, but thank country radio and grocery stores for overplaying them to the point I cringe when I hear them. I don’t mind Rascal Flatts’ “My Wish,” but for some bizarre reason they put a flat and bad 10th anniversary version on this playlist. Long-time readers know how I feel about post-9/11 Toby Keith. But picking Trace Adkins’ “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” as the worst was a slam dunk choice. This song was everywhere, well rather the remix version, which I’m surprised isn’t what was chosen for this playlist. It’s an annoying novelty song that will only age worse with time. (That I’ll also admit that teenager me loved at the time)

Songs I Would Have Added to the Playlist

  • Billy Currington – “Must Be Doin’ Somethin’ Right” (Currington was so good during this time and his omission is bad)
  • Dierks Bentley – “Every Mile a Memory”
  • Brooks & Dunn – “Believe”
  • Little Big Town – “Boondocks” (A cult classic!)
  • George Strait – “Give It Away” (How in the hell was this not on the playlist, yet the sleepy Strait hit was chosen?!?)
  • Emerson Drive – “A Good Man”
  • Eric Church – “How ‘Bout You” (Not a single Church song on the playlist is criminal!)
  • Kenny Rogers – “I Can’t Unlove You” (Rest in peace Mr. Rogers. Also people forget this was a top 20 song for him in 2006 and definitely worthy of this playlist)
  • Gary Allan – “Life Ain’t Always Beautiful” (Why was this not on the playlist either?!)
  • Alan Jackson – “Like Red on a Rose” (I’m just getting more angry at what was not on this playlist)
  • Jack Ingram – “Love You”
  • Van Zant – “Nobody Gonna Tell Me What to Do”
  • Eric Church – “Two Pink Lines” (Incredible song!)
  • Keith Urban – “Once in a Lifetime”
  • George Strait – “The Seashores of Old Mexico”
  • Joe Nichols – “Size Matters (Someday)”
  • Tim McGraw – “When the Stars Go Blue” (Not a single McGraw song on the playlist, especially not this one?! Come on)
  • Billy Currington – “Why, Why, Why”
  • Jake Owen – “Yee Haw”
  • Kenny Chesney – “You Save Me” (Take the two songs he has on the playlist and replace them with just this one, his best hit of the year)

Be sure to weigh-in with your thoughts on the playlist and what you would have added to the playlist too below!

The Hodgepodge: How Mainstream Country Music Came To Be a Laughing Stock

The Dixie Chicks
Photo Credit: twice25, Wikimedia Commons, CC Attribution Share-Alike 2.5 license, no changes

If you’ve been following this blog for a while or even just a little bit, you can deduce that I’m not happy with the current state of mainstream country music. How many weeks in row now has the Pulse been in the negatives? I’ve lost track. One discussion I’ve seen pop up from time to time is how mainstream country music got to be such a laughing-stock. For those who would argue otherwise, there are stats that back up my claim that people are hating mainstream country music more and more (kudos to Saving Country Music for bringing this data to light). Traditional country fans have been warning for years that trend chasing would catch up to genre eventually and turn fans against them. I warned against it months ago. Now we’re starting to see some true backlash to the genre’s decision-making.

But before we figure out how mainstream country music will regain people’s trust, I wanted to figure out how it has gotten to the state its in currently. After all you can learn a lot about the future if you look to the past to see what mistakes were made and how to avoid them again. I’ve seen a lot of theories and ideas thrown around as to when mainstream country music began to slip and I’ve thought a lot about each of them. But none of them represent what I feel was the turning point of this genre. Many love to argue that mainstream country music began it’s down turn upon the dawning of the Garth Brooks era. While the pop country of Garth and Shania Twain certainly didn’t help, I’ve found that during their heyday that they were more the exception to the rule instead of the norm. Look throughout the 90s and I think many would agree with me that the quality of country music for the most part was overwhelmingly good. I certainly spent more time listening to country radio than skipping over it like I do now. (This is all subjective of course)

The point where I think mainstream country music started its downward spiral was on March 10, 2003. That was the infamous day where country super group Dixie Chicks denounced the war in Iraq at a concert in London. I’m not going to get into this situation too much because of the political nature and my preference to avoid politics on here. I’ll just leave you with this quote from country icon Merle Haggard:

I don’t even know the Dixie chicks, but I find it an insult for all the men and women who fought and died in past wars when almost the majority of America jumped down their throats for voicing an opinion. It was like a verbal witch-hunt and lynching. Whether I agree with their comments or not has no bearing.

I believe this is the starting point that set off the events that led to today’s state of country radio. First let me give you an idea of how important and big this was for the Dixie Chicks and country music. Up until 2003, the Dixie Chicks won four Grammy awards, 10 CMA Awards, six Billboard Music Awards, two American Music Awards and eight ACM Awards. Their 1998 album Wide Open Space Spaces sold over 10 million copies and was certified platinum 12 times. Their 1999 album Fly sold over 8 million copies and was certified platinum 10 times. The only country artists to ever sell this many albums or more are Garth Brooks, Kenny Rogers, Patsy Cline and Shania Twain. So when country music fans, radio stations, award associations and artists ran the Dixie Chicks out of the genre, they ran out the top act in country music. Throughout the course of music history has another genre blackballed their top artist like country music did to the Dixie Chicks.

So all of a sudden there’s a giant void at the top of the genre, since the Dixie Chicks haven’t had a significant presence in the genre since they were blackballed. This brings us to the next point, which is the rise of Toby Keith, who had a public feud with Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines over his single “Courtesy of the Red, White & Blue (The Angry American).” Maines called the single “ignorant” and said it “makes country music sound ignorant.” A couple of months after the incident in London, Maines wore a t-shirt to the ACM Awards with the acronym “F.U.T.K.” While Maines’ manager said it stood for “Friends United in Truth and Kindness,” many believed it stood for “Fuck You Toby Keith.” Keith went on to win Entertainer of the Year over the Dixie Chicks, despite the Dixie Chicks’ latest album outselling Keith’s latest album by a wide margin.

The Dixie Chicks’ spiral downwards allowed Toby Keith’s stature rise to new highs. The blatant patriotism he injected in his songs from the early 2000s onward and still puts into his music to this day, let him be the anti-thesis to Dixie Chicks. The swell of patriotism in the United States after 9/11 caused country artists to inject more references to country pride and freedom into music and led to it becoming one of the most used clichés in country music. Toby Keith was the poster boy for it. Also it’s kind of ironic that an indifference over political ideas and 9/11 that led to more patriotism in country music gave rise to politicians liking country music more. This explains why you see Presidential candidates talking about why they love country music so much and incorporate it into their campaign. Remember this next time you complain about it.

So Keith rises to new heights. From 2003 onward, he won three American Music Awards (one before 2003) and four ACM Awards (three before 2003). He sold more records than ever before and had several badly written singles go to top 15 at country radio, including doozies such as “Get Drunk and Be Somebody,” “High Maintenance Woman,” “Get My Drink On,” “She’s A Hottie,” “American Ride,” “Every Dog Has It’s Day,” “Made In America” and “Red Solo Cup.” That last one is on my list of worst country songs ever. All of these bad songs had lots of success on country radio and in my opinion were apart of the dumbing down of country music throughout the 2000s. Instead of well thought out lyrics with heart and meaning, we get pandering to patriotism, references to getting drunk and classifying women solely by their looks.

What’s significant about all of these singles I cite above is they all precede or happen around the years 2011-2012. Why is this significant? This leads right into the bro country era, the successor to the checklist era of Toby Keith. Checklist country like Keith’s music evolved into bro country. In 2011, Luke Bryan released “Country Girl (Shake It For Me)” as a single. It went to #1 and launched Bryan into superstardom. In 2012, Florida Georgia Line burst onto the scene with their mega-hit “Cruise.” Bro country becomes a huge trend and the rest they say is history. Bro country had a good run from 2011-2014 before now being replaced by the R&B, pop stylings of Sam Hunt.

Now I know some of you are wondering why I failed to mention the rise of Taylor Swift happening. Well I believe Swift had no bearing on the most popular trends of the genre. Other acts and labels figured out quickly they could not replicate Swift’s music. And pop country is something that had existed in the genre for years. Swift had nothing to do with checklist country nor bro country, despite her music also bringing the quality of the genre down. She has left country music now and is in the genre where she belongs, which is something I respect her a lot for and wish her the best.

So as you can I see I believe that the blackballing of Dixie Chicks is what led to country music becoming the laughing-stock it is today. Just think for a second if that incident in London doesn’t happen. The Dixie Chicks were really just hitting their stride and showed no signs of slowing down. They could have went on to become one of the biggest acts in country music history. They were so popular that they crossed over into pop and alt-country with their music. The Dixie Chicks were a group that appealed to casual fans and hardcore fans. If the Dixie Chicks stick around they continue to release quality music and in the process dilute the presence of checklist country music at country radio. Toby Keith doesn’t become as big of a deal. Bro country maybe doesn’t become a thing and therefore R&B country doesn’t become a thing. This is all speculation. We will never know how much of an impact Dixie Chicks could have made on country music. But at the end of the day the dismissal of the Dixie Chicks from country music ultimately hurt the genre.

Upcoming/Recent Country Music & Americana Releases

  • The Voice alumnus Jake Worthington will release his self-titled debut EP tomorrow.
  • Chris Janson’s next single being sent to radio is “Power of Positive Drinkin’.”
  • After weeks of speculation, it’s confirmed that Maddie & Tae will be releasing “Shut Up & Fish” as their next single.
  • Stoney LaRue will release an album he calls a “tribute to his fans” tomorrow called Us Time.
  • Carrie Underwood will be releasing her new album Storyteller next Friday.

Great Music Currently at Country Radio

The very best of country radio right here in a nice playlist. In order for a song to be added to the list, it must currently be in the top 60 of the Billboard Country Airplay chart, so this will be updated weekly.

Throwback Thursday Song

Eddie Rabbitt – “Drivin’ My Life Away” – Now here’s a classic song many forget about. Some might consider this song “too pop,” but I don’t care. I enjoy it and it’s the perfect traveling song.

Non-Country Suggestion of the Week

Father John Misty – “The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apartment” – I’m pretty sure Derek recommended this in The Hodgepodge before, but I’m going to do it again. You need to check out Father John Misty’s album I Love You Honeybear. It is my favorite album of the year across all genres. Above is my favorite song from it and he just released this video for it. A little warning: his videos can get weird and NSFW, so proceed at your own volition.

Tweet (s) of the Week

https://twitter.com/KaceyMusgraves/status/653812441961340928

https://twitter.com/KaceyMusgraves/status/653812927129088000

Another reason to like Kacey!

iTunes Review That Rocks

You Suck, Toby Keith

I promise I didn’t write this (my username on there is CountryPerspective). But when I saw it I knew it would go perfectly with this Hodgepodge. Beating a dead horse is a good summation of the last decade or so of Keith’s career.

Thanks for reading and be sure to weigh in below! 

The Past Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [March 2000]

Toby Keith 2000

Every week I take a look the Billboard Country Airplay chart from years ago and grade the top 30 songs. Each week will be a different year. It could be 10 years ago, 20 years ago or even further back. The grading format I use each week is every song will receive either a +1, -1 or a 0. These will then be tallied up for an overall score, or pulse of the past top thirty country songs, with the highest possible score being a +30 and the lowest possible score being a -30. How do I determine if a song is rated a +1, -1 or 0? The rating it received on the site by either Derek or myself will determine this. If it hasn’t been rated yet, then I will make the call. Songs rated between 7 and 10 receive a +1. Songs rated between 5 and 6.5 receive a 0. Songs rated 4.5 or lower receive a -1.

The goal of this exercise is to evaluate the past state of mainstream country music and determine if it was better or worse compared to now. To see the full list of the top 30 country airplay songs for this week, click here. This week I take a look at the top 30 on the Country Airplay Chart from March 25, 2000.

  1. Toby Keith – “How Do You Like Me Now?!” 0
  2. George Strait – “The Best Day” +1
  3. Tim McGraw – “My Best Friend” +1
  4. Tracy Lawrence – “Lessons Learned” +1
  5. Mark Wills – “Back at One” +1
  6. Martina McBride – “Love’s The Only House” 0
  7. Lonestar – “Smile” 0
  8. Clint Black & Steve Wariner – “Been There” +1
  9. Jo Dee Messina – “Because You Love Me” +1
  10. Dixie Chicks – “Cowboy Take Me Away” +1
  11. Phil Vassar – “Carlene” 0
  12. SheDaisy – “This Woman Needs” +1
  13. Faith Hill – “Breathe” +1
  14. Andy Griggs – “She’s More” +1
  15. Faith Hill – “The Way You Love Me” 0
  16. Chely Wright – “It Was” +1
  17. Kenny Rogers & Alison Krauss – “Buy Me A Rose” +1
  18. Garth Brooks – “Do What You Gotta Do” +1
  19. Montgomery Gentry – “Daddy Won’t Sell The Farm” 0
  20. Kenny Chesney – “What I Need to Do” +1
  21. Trisha Yearwood – “Real Live Woman” +1
  22. Vince Gill – “Let’s Make Sure We Kiss Goodbye” +1
  23. Brad Paisley – “He Didn’t Have to Be” +1
  24. Jessica Andrews – “Unbreakable Heart” +1
  25. Collin Raye – “Couldn’t Last A Moment” 0
  26. Dixie Chicks – “Goodbye Earl” +1
  27. Yankee Grey – “Another Nine Minutes” 0
  28. Clay Walker – “The Chain of Love” +1
  29. Clay Davidson – “Unconditional” +1
  30. Brad Paisley – “Me Neither” +1

The Past Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: +22

Last week we looked at 2010 and it was only at +4. This week we go back 10 years before in the year 2000, where it’s a whopping +22. Clearly a much better environment at country radio at this time. This score is right around the 2005 score we looked at a few weeks back and 26 spots higher than the current pulse. Fun fact: three different artists had two songs charting at the same time on the March 28, 2000 chart. The three artists are Brad Paisley, Faith Hill and the Dixie Chicks. By the way how creepy does Keith look in that cover photo?

As for my thoughts on the songs, I decided I want to do this different from here on out. Instead of me throwing my thoughts out on the songs I want to talk about I would rather just let you all ask me questions on the ones you want further clarification on and my thoughts on. It saves me time and I would rather spend more time conversing with you the reader. Sound good? Fire away with any questions below!

My Thoughts on The 2014 CMA Award Nominations

Earlier this morning the nominations for the 2014 CMA Awards were announced on Good Morning America and in an official press conference. The 48th edition of the CMA Awards will air on November 5 at 8 pm ET live on ABC. Here are all of the nominees:

Entertainer of the Year
Luke Bryan
Miranda Lambert
Blake Shelton
George Strait
Keith Urban

Once again it’s going to come down to Luke Bryan and George Strait for the top award. If you recall earlier this spring, Bryan fans took to social media in droves to complain about Strait winning because he was retiring from major touring. I really don’t see the other three artists even having a shot to win. I want to say Strait is going to win again and I hope he does for the sake of traditional country music, but you just never know. I’m sure Bryan’s team is going to be making an all out effort to help him win.

Female Vocalist of the Year
Miranda Lambert
Martina McBride
Kacey Musgraves
Taylor Swift
Carrie Underwood

Anyone who thought seeing Taylor Swift get nominated, despite going to pop music, is a surprise obviously doesn’t understand how these awards shows work. Country music is going to do everything it can to keep her, like the ex-lover clinging to your leg as you leave them out the front door. She could win the award as country music’s attempt to get her to show, but I think that would make the CMA look pretty foolish. Then again it wouldn’t shock me they would do something stupid. Lambert is the favorite to win the award, as she has the most nominations out of everyone with nine total nominations. Kacey Musgraves has a great chance too, as she’s already won two Grammys and the CMA Album of the Year in 2014. I’ll be fine with Lambert or Musgraves winning. If Swift wins I’ll be outraged.

Male Vocalist of the Year
Dierks Bentley
Luke Bryan
Eric Church
Blake Shelton
Keith Urban

This is Luke Bryan’s award to lose. He’s easily the front-runner. If I was making the choice I think Dierks Bentley is the most deserving out of the five. While “Drunk on a Plane” is an absolute dud, the rest of his album was great. I hope I get a chance to do a proper review on it because there are a lot of hidden gems on it. No Jason Aldean? Considering he has the #1 song out right now I figured he would at least be nominated.

Album of the Year
Crash My Party, Luke Bryan
Fuse, Keith Urban
Platinum, Miranda Lambert
Riser, Dierks Bentley
The Outsiders, Eric Church

This group is interesting and I think it’s a tossup on who wins Album of the Year. Obviously I think Bentley should win this award too, but him and Keith Urban are probably the least likely to win. I could see Church getting this one to appease his massive ego.

Vocal Group of the Year
Eli Young Band
Lady Antebellum
Little Big Town
The Band Perry
Zac Brown Band

No question I think Zac Brown Band is deserving of this award. The most likely winner though is Lady Antebellum. After picking up Taylor Swift’s ex-producer for their new upcoming album and their single “Bartender” staying in the top five on the Hot Country Billboard chart all summer, they’re the favorites. Little Big Town may have a shot, depending on how their new album is received.

New Artist of the Year
Brandy Clark
Brett Eldredge
Kip Moore
Thomas Rhett
Cole Swindell

The most pleasant surprise out of all of the nominees is Brandy Clark being nominated for New Artist of the Year. This is a big deal for traditional country music fans everywhere and Clark is certainly deserving of the nomination. She’s definitely the underdog for this award and the only female artist too. In a perfect world, she’s a shoe-in for this award. But we live in a world where bro country has dominated for years. Cole Swindell is the definite favorite. I know I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that Clark is able to pull off the upset.

Vocal Duo of the Year
Dan + Shay
Florida Georgia Line
Love and Theft
The Swon Brothers
Thompson Square

None of these artists deserve to win. I would choose either First Aid Kit or Shovels & Rope. If Florida Georgia Line doesn’t win, I’ll eat my hat.

Single of the Year (Award goes to artist and producer)
“Automatic,” Miranda Lambert
“Drunk on a Plane,” Dierks Bentley
“Give Me Back My Hometown,” Eric Church
“Meanwhile Back at Mama’s,” Tim McGraw featuring Faith Hill
“Mine Would Be You,” Blake Shelton

I think this one is a tossup too. I could see any of these winning. My choice would be “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s.” I’ll need some time to think about this one for my predictions.

Song of the Year (Award goes to songwriters)
“Automatic,” written by Nicolle Galyon, Natalie Hemby and Miranda Lambert
“Follow Your Arrow,” written by Kacey Musgraves, Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally
“Give Me Back My Hometown,” written by Eric Church and Luke Laird
“I Don’t Dance,” written by Lee Brice, Rob Hatch, and Dallas Davidson
“I Hold On,” written by Brett James and Dierks Bentley

This is another tough one to predict. I would say “I Don’t Dance” is the favorite because I’m sure the CMA wants to make sure Dallas Davidson wins an award. I think “Follow Your Arrow” should win this award for its different theme, as well its traditional country elements. I would be fine with “I Hold On” winning too because it’s one of the best off Bentley’s album and it did pretty well on radio for a while.

Musical Event of the Year
“Bakersfield,” Vince Gill and Paul Franklin
“Meanwhile Back at Mama’s,” Tim McGraw and Faith Hill
“Something Bad,” Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood
“We Were Us,” Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert
“You Can’t Make Old Friends,” Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton

There’s two classic country nominations in this fight. I feel like “You Can’t Make Old Friends” doesn’t get enough credit for how well written and performed it is by Rogers and Dolly. It would be fantastic to see Vince Gill and Paul Franklin win. The one I don’t want to see win and is the most likely winner is “Something Bad.” It’s such a horrible song, but it sat in the top ten for so long and it reached #1 on Billboard so it’s the obvious favorite.

Music Video of the Year
“Automatic,” Miranda Lambert
“Bartender,” Lady Antebellum
“Drunk on a Plane,” Dierks Bentley
“Follow Your Arrow,” Kacey Musgraves
“Something Bad,” Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood

Four out of the five nominations have a female artist, which to me is the second biggest surprise of the nominees. I’m shocked “This is How We Roll” and “Dirt” didn’t get nominated. Nevertheless this one is tough to call too and another one I have to think about for my predictions.

Musician of the Year
Sam Bush
Jerry Douglas
Paul Franklin
Dann Huff
Mac McAnally

Another one I’m going to have to think about for when I make my predictions.

Be sure to voice your own thoughts on the nominations in the comments sections below.