CMA Awards nominations led by newcomer Lainey Wilson; Ashley McBryde and Carly Pearce follow among top nominees

Here’s an awards trajectory you don’t see too often, at least in country music: Lainey Wilson has never even been nominated for the CMA Awards before, but as of Wednesday morning, she’s officially the leading nominee for 2022.

Wilson came out ahead with six nominations when the Country Music Association announced the finalists Wednesday morning for its 56th annual awards show. Close behind with five nominations each was a quartet of contenders: Ashley McBryde, Carly Pearce, Chris Stapleton and songwriter/producer Shane McAnally.

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Racking up a four-pack of nods were Cody Johnson and writer-producer Josh Osbourne. Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Luke Combs, Hardy and Midland all came up as triple-nominees.

The infusion of so many fresh blood among the top nominees didn’t mean there was a big turnover, though, in the ranks of the nominees for the top prize, entertainer of the year. Four of the five artists up for that are holdovers from 2021: Lambert, Underwood, Stapleton and last year’s winner, Combs. The category did, however, see the introduction of one singer who’s never been nominated for entertainer before: Morgan Wallen.

Of all the entertainer of the year nominees, Wallen has the.least overall nominations; he has just two — besides entertainer, he’s also up for best male vocalist. But getting these nods represents a pretty big uptick in his fortunes with the CMAs. Last year, he was barred from attending the show, and was allowed by the CMA’s board to compete only in categories where he would have shared the award with others, meaning he was then disqualified from eligibility for either of the two awards he’s nominated for in 2022. The actions were taken as a result of the stir over his having been caught on tape using the N-word, but Wallen has become welcome again at awards shows this year.

Speaking of controversies, there has been some speculation about whether Maren Morris and Jason Aldean might need to be seated far apart at this year’s ceremony, should they both attend. But attendance may not seem mandatory for either of the artists who’ve been in the news for being on opposite sides of trans issues. Each is up for a single award — Morris for album of the year (for “Humble Quest”), and Aldean for musical event of the year (a shared nomination with Underwood for the duet “If I Didn’t Love You”).

For what many in Nashville consider the most prestigious of all the CMA Awards, album of the year, the contenders besides Morris are Combs (for “Growin’ Up”), Lambert (“Palomino”), Wilson (“Sayin’ What I’m Thinkin’”) and Old Dominion (“Time, Tequila & Therapy”).

The news of Wilson’s leading six nominations will undoubtedly send pleased ripples through much of the country community, as the artist has been upheld as a well-liked fresh face as well as the too-rare example of a newish female singer who’s been able to conquer the chart.

Besides album of the year, Wilson is also nominated for song of the year (as a co-writer of her hit “Things a Man Oughta Know”), female vocalist, musical event (shared with Cole Swindell for the duet “Never Say Never”), music video (also shared with Swindell) and, last but not least, new artist of the year.

Other new artist nominees besides Wilson are Hardy, Johnson, Walker Hayes and Parker McCollum.

The Country Music Association reports that Wilson is only the fourth person to pick up six nominations in an artist’s very first time at bat. Preceding her were Glen Campbell in 1968, Brad Paisley in 2000 and Kacey Musgraves in 2013.

Wilson will just have released her sophomore major-label album, “Bell Bottom Country,” when she hits the CMAs’ red carpet. The new effort comes out Oct. 26. (The Louisiana-bred singer had two independent releases out before making a splash upon joining the BBR roster.)

The ascendancy of McBryde and Pearce to the ranks of top nominees will also be welcomed by many. The two women collaborated on a duet, “Never Wanted to Be That Girl,” that went to No. 1. That tune is nominated for single of the year, song of the year, musical event and music video. The only nomination the two don’t share is their respective nods for female vocalist of the year.

Although Lambert didn’t accumulate quite as many nomination as some of the others, she continues to make history with her CMAs nods. With 61 career nominations now, Lambert continues to be the most nominated female artist of all time, but adds to that accolade the fact that she is now the third most-nominated artist of either gender, trailing only George Strait and Alan Jackson (who have 83 and 81 career nominations, respectively).

The 56th annual CMA Awards will air live from Nashville on ABC Nov. 9. Previously announced as co-hosts were Luke Bryan, returning from last year’s telecast, and a newcomer to the role, football player Peyton Manning.

A full list of nominees:


Luke Combs
Miranda Lambert
Chris Stapleton
Carrie Underwood
Morgan Wallen

Award goes to Artist(s), Producer(s) and Mix Engineer

“Buy Dirt” – Jordan Davis featuring Luke Bryan
Producer: Paul DiGiovanni
Mix Engineer: Jim Cooley
“half of my hometown” – Kelsea Ballerini (feat. Kenny Chesney)
Producers: Kelsea Ballerini, Ross Copperman, Jimmy Robbins
Mix Engineer: Dan Grech-Marguerat
“Never Wanted To Be That Girl” – Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde
Producers: Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne
Mix Engineer: Ryan Gore
“’Til You Can’t” – Cody Johnson
Producer: Trent Willmon
Mix Engineer: Jack Clarke
“You Should Probably Leave” – Chris Stapleton
Producers: Dave Cobb, Chris Stapleton
Mix Engineer: Vance Powell

Award goes to Artist(s), Producer(s) and Mix Engineer(s)

Growin’ Up – Luke Combs
Producers: Luke Combs, Chip Matthews, Jonathan Singleton
Mix Engineers: Jim Cooley, Chip Matthews
Humble Quest – Maren Morris
Producer: Greg Kurstin
Mix Engineer: Serban Ghenea
Palomino – Miranda Lambert
Producers: Luke Dick, Miranda Lambert, Jon Randall, Mikey Reaves
Mix Engineer: Jason Lehning
Sayin’ What I’m Thinkin’ – Lainey Wilson
Producer: Jay Joyce
Mix Engineer: F. Reid Shippen
Time, Tequila & Therapy – Old Dominion
Producers: Shane McAnally, Old Dominion
Mix Engineer: Justin Niebank

Award goes to Songwriters

“Buy Dirt”
Songwriters: Jacob Davis, Jordan Davis, Josh Jenkins, Matt Jenkins
“Never Wanted To Be That Girl”
Songwriters: Shane McAnally, Ashley McBryde, Carly Pearce
“Sand In My Boots”
Songwriters: Ashley Gorley, Michael Hardy, Josh Osborne
“Things A Man Oughta Know”
Songwriters: Jason Nix, Jonathan Singleton, Lainey Wilson
“You Should Probably Leave”
Songwriters: Chris DuBois, Ashley Gorley, Chris Stapleton


Miranda Lambert
Ashley McBryde
Carly Pearce
Carrie Underwood
Lainey Wilson


Eric Church
Luke Combs
Cody Johnson
Chris Stapleton
Morgan Wallen


Lady A
Little Big Town
Old Dominion
Zac Brown Band


Brooks & Dunn
Brothers Osborne
Dan + Shay
Maddie & Tae

Award goes to Artist(s) and Producer(s)

“Beers On Me” – Dierks Bentley with BRELAND & HARDY
Producers: Dierks Bentley, Ross Copperman
“If I Didn’t Love You” – Jason Aldean & Carrie Underwood
Producer: Michael Knox
“Longneck Way To Go” – Midland (featuring Jon Pardi)
Producers: Dann Huff, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne
“Never Say Never” – Cole Swindell (with Lainey Wilson)
Producer: Zach Crowell
“Never Wanted To Be That Girl” – Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde
Producers: Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne


Jenee Fleenor, Fiddle
Paul Franklin, Steel guitar
Brent Mason, Guitar
Ilya Toshinskiy, Banjo
Derek Wells, Guitar

Award goes to Artist(s) and Directors

“I Bet You Think About Me” (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault) – Taylor Swift (featuring Chris Stapleton)
Director: Blake Lively
“Longneck Way To Go” – Midland (featuring Jon Pardi)
Director: Harper Smith
“Never Say Never” – Cole Swindell (with Lainey Wilson)
Director: Michael Monaco
“Never Wanted To Be That Girl” – Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde
Director: Alexa Campbell
“’Til You Can’t” – Cody Johnson
Director: Dustin Haney


Walker Hayes
Cody Johnson
Parker McCollum
Lainey Wilson


Weekly National

“American Country Countdown” (Kix Brooks) – Westwood One
“The Country Top 40 with Fitz” (Cory Fitzner) – Hubbard Radio
“The Crook & Chase Countdown” (Lorianne Crook and Charlie Chase) – iHeartMedia
“Today’s Country with Kelleigh Bannen” (Kelleigh Bannen) – Apple Music Radio
“With Elaina” (Elaina Smith) – Westwood One

Daily National

“Angie Ward” – iHeartMedia
“The Big D and Bubba Show” (Derek “Big D” Haskins, Sean “Bubba” Powell, Patrick Thomas, and Carsen Humphreville) – Compass Media Networks
“The Bobby Bones Show” (Bobby Bones, Amy Brown, “Lunchbox” Dan Chappell, Eddie Garcia, “Morgan #2” Huelsman, “Raymundo” Ray Slater, “Scuba Steve” Stephen Spradlin, “Mike D” Rodriguez, and “Phone Screener Abby” Anderson) – Premiere Networks
“Nights with Elaina” (Elaina Smith) – Westwood One
“The Sam Alex Show” (Sam Alex) – Sam Alex Productions, LLC

Major Market

“The Andie Summers Show” (Andie Summers) – WXTU, Philadelphia, Pa.
“Chris Carr & Company” (Chris Carr, Kia Becht, and McKaila Poppen) – KEEY, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.
“Danny Dwyer” – KUPL, Portland, Ore.
“Josh, Rachael & Grunwald” (Josh Holleman, Rachel Hunter, and Steve Grunwald) – WYCD, Detroit, Mich.
“The Morning Wolfpack with Matt McAllister” (Matt McAllister, Emily Raines, and Joe Wallace) – KKWF, Seattle, Wash.

Large Market

“Jim, Deb & Kevin” (Jim Denny, Deborah Honeycutt and Kevin Freeman) – WFMS, Indianapolis, Ind.
“The Wayne D Show” (“Wayne D” Danielson and Tay Hamilton) – WSIX, Nashville, Tenn.
“The Dale Carter Morning Show” (Dale Carter) – KFKF, Kansas City, Mo.
“The Big Dave Show” (“Big Dave” Chandler, Chelsie Shinkle, Jason “Stattman” Statt, and Ashley Hempfling) – WUBE, Cincinnati, Ohio
“The Wake Up Call with David and Kelli” (David Bugenske and Kelli Green) – KFRG, Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif.
“The New Q-Morning Crew with Mike and Amanda” (Mike Wheless and Amanda Daughtry) – WQDR, Raleigh-Durham, N.C.

Medium Market

“Buzz Jackson” – KIIM, Tucson, Ariz.
“Cliff & Tanya in the Morning” (Cliff Dumas and Tanya Brakebill) – KUZZ, Bakersfield, Calif.
“Julie and DJ in the Morning” (“Julie K” Kansy, “D.J. Thee Trucker” Dale Sellers, and Jon Dennis) – WPCV, Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla.
“New Country Mornings with Nancy and Woody” (Nancy Wilson and Aaron “Woody” Woods) – WHKO, Dayton, Ohio
“Steve & Gina In The Morning” (Steve Lundy and Gina Melton) – KXKT, Omaha-Council Bluffs, Neb.-Iowa

Small Market

“The Cat Pak Morning Show with Brent and Mel” (Brent Lane and Mel McCrae) – WYCT, Pensacola, Fla.
“Dr. Shane and Tess in the Morning” (“Dr. Shane” Collins and Tess Connell) – WPAP, Panama City, Fla.
“The Eddie Foxx Show” (Eddie Foxx and Amanda Foxx) – WKSF, Asheville, N.C.
“Liz & Scotty in the Morning” (Liz Del Grosso and Scotty Cox) – KCLR, Columbia, Mo.
“Officer Don & DeAnn” (“Officer Don” Evans and DeAnn Stephens) – WBUL, Lexington-Fayette, Ky.


Major Market

KILT – Houston, Texas
KNIX – Phoenix, Ariz.
KSCS – Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
WXTU – Philadelphia, Pa.
WYCD – Detroit, Mich.

Large Market

KFKF – Kansas City, Mo.
WIRK – West Palm Beach-Boca Raton, Fla.
WMIL – Milwaukee-Racine, Wis.
WQDR – Raleigh-Durham, N.C.
WSIX – Nashville, Tenn.

Medium Market

KXKT – Omaha-Council Bluffs, Neb.-Iowa
WHKO – Dayton, Ohio
WIVK – Knoxville, Tenn.
WQMX – Akron, Ohio
WUSY – Chattanooga, Tenn.

Small Market

WCOW – La Crosse, Wis.
WKML – Fayetteville, N.C.
WKXC – Augusta, Ga.
WXBQ – Johnson City-Kingsport-Bristol, Tenn.-Va.
WXFL – Florence-Muscle Shoals, Ala.

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