Sep 7, 2023 - Music

Lainey Wilson hauls in nine CMA Award nominations

Lainey Wilson performs during Lollapalooza at Grant Park on August 3, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois.

Lainey Wilson performing this year. Photo: Josh Brasted/FilmMagic

Lainey Wilson further cemented herself as one of country music's elite artists Thursday with the announcement that she is nominated for nine CMA Awards.

  • That's more than any other artist, and three more than the six nominations she got last year.

Why it matters: Wilson has already proven to be a critical and commercial success.

  • She took home trophies for new artist and female vocalist of the year in 2022. This year, she's up in the prestigious Entertainer of the Year category.

What she's saying: "Being nominated in these categories with my friends means the world to me. Entertainer Of The Year?! Absolutely surreal," Wilson said on the social media platform X. "We bust our butts on the road every night to give yall the best show & I have the time of my life doing it. All I gotta say is thank yall. I love country music."

Of note: Perhaps the most eye-popping nomination went to folk-rock legend Tracy Chapman, who is up for Song of the Year for a song she released in 1988. Song of the Year is an award honoring songwriters. Luke Combs' cover of "Fast Car" has been a surprise smash country crossover hit.

  • The nomination has generated speculation that Chapman and Combs could perform the song at the November awards show.

💭 Nate's thought bubble: It's been nearly six years since Sturgill Simpson busked in front of the CMA Awards show with his Grammy inside his guitar case.

  • Simpson had been snubbed that year for CMA noms. Despite emerging as one of the genre's top artists, Simpson operated outside the Music Row machine that generates most CMA accolades.
  • As a demonstration of the industry's modest growth in recognizing its left-of-center artists, Zach Bryan is nominated for New Artist of the Year. Bryan has become a massive star, with a new No. 1 hit on the Hot 100, despite a lack of country radio support. (Hours after the nomination was announced, Bryan was arrested in Oklahoma on a misdemeanor obstruction charge, per CNN.)
  • The popular Americana group The War and Treaty was also nominated for Vocal Duo of the Year.

Editor's note: This story was updated to include details of Zach Bryan's arrest, which occurred after initial publication.

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