The Shotgun Seat’s 2019 CMA Picks and Predictions

The 2019 Country Music Association Awards air this Wednesday, and our team here at The Shotgun Seat is thrilled to bring you our annual picks and predictions for the show. Agree? Disagree? Let us know your thoughts!

ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR

Will win: 

Garth Brooks – Amanda Walsh, Annie Dineen, Lydia Simonetti

Eric Church

Chris Stapleton

Carrie Underwood – Markus Meyer, Colin Buchinski

Keith Urban 

Should win:

Garth Brooks

Eric Church – Markus Meyer, Colin Buchinski, Annie Dineen, Lydia Simonetti

Chris Stapleton

Carrie Underwood – Amanda Walsh

Keith Urban 

Markus: That Keith Urban won this at both shows last cycle is a sham, but I’d be surprised if it happened again. This really should come down to Underwood vs Church and well I’d put my vote behind the latter, either is a more than acceptable outcome. I do think Carrie takes it — there seems to be a really concerted effort to make it her year (and it’s well deserved) — but don’t count out Garth either.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

Will win:

Thomas Rhett – Center Point Road – AW

Carrie Underwood – Cry Pretty

Dan + Shay – Dan + Shay

Eric Church – Desperate Man MM, CB, AD

Maren Morris – GIRL

Should win:

Thomas Rhett – Center Point Road

Carrie Underwood – Cry Pretty

Dan + Shay – Dan + Shay

Eric Church – Desperate Man – MM, CB, LS

Maren Morris – GIRL – AW, AD

Markus: A disastrous category. Three pop albums, an average-ish Underwood album, and Church. The choice is clear and I think voters will see it that way too.

NEW ARTIST OF THE YEAR

Will win:

Cody Johnson 

Ashley McBryde – MM, CB, LS

Midland

Carly Pearce – AW, AD

Morgan Wallen

Should win:

Cody Johnson – AD

Ashley McBryde – MM, CB, AW, LS

Midland

Carly Pearce

Morgan Wallen

Markus: The best New Artist group in years, quite frankly. Even Wallen — the weakest nominee — is a notch above many of his peers. My gut says McBryde takes this — and I hope I’m right — though Midland and Wallen will certainly put up a tough fight.

SINGLE OF THE YEAR

Will win:

Dierks Bentley and Brothers Osborne – “Burning Man”

Maren Morris – “GIRL”

Blake Shelton – “God’s Country” –  MM, CB, AD

Chris Stapleton – “Millionaire”

Dan + Shay – “Speechless” – AW, LS

Should win:

Dierks Bentley and Brothers Osborne – “Burning Man” – MM, LS

Maren Morris – “GIRL”

Blake Shelton – “God’s Country” – CB, AW, AD

Chris Stapleton – “Millionaire”

Dan + Shay – “Speechless”

Markus: Not too bad a group all things considered. I think “God’s Country” is the easy winner — it’s received plenty of acclaim and was a commercial giant. Don’t write off “Speechless”, either. “Burning Man” remains my personal favorite though it’s a clear underdog in this field.

SONG OF THE YEAR

Will win:

Luke Combs – “Beautiful Crazy” – MM, AW, LS

Maren Morris – “GIRL”

Blake Shelton – “God’s Country” 

Kacey Musgraves – “Rainbow”  – CB, AD

Dan + Shay – “Tequila”

Should win: 

Luke Combs – “Beautiful Crazy”

Maren Morris – “GIRL” – AW

Blake Shelton – “God’s Country”

Kacey Musgraves – “Rainbow” – MM, CB, AD, LS

Dan + Shay – “Tequila”

Markus: Given its commercial prowess, “Beautiful Crazy” should have been included in Single of the Year. I have a hard time seeing them pass it over entirely so I think it wins here? Who knows though. I think Morris is an underdog but the others are all very conceivable winners.

FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR

Will win:

Kelsea Ballerini

Miranda Lambert

Maren Morris – LS

Kacey Musgraves

Carrie Underwood – MM, CB, AW, AD

Should win:

Kelsea Ballerini

Miranda Lambert

Maren Morris – AW

Kacey Musgraves – MM, CB, AD, LS

Carrie Underwood

Markus: An interesting category. I think Underwood takes it, seeing as she’s up for EOTY, but Morris is the most nominated artist and Musgraves has had real (and deserved) all-genre media hype around her all year. It will be competitive but I think Underwood pulls it out.

MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR

Will win:

Dierks Bentley

Luke Combs – MM, CB, AW, AD

Thomas Rhett – LS

Chris Stapleton

Keith Urban

Should win:

Dierks Bentley – AW

Luke Combs – MM, CB, AD, LS

Thomas Rhett

Chris Stapleton

Keith Urban

Markus: Seems like a near-lock for Combs, honestly. I guess Rhett has a chance, but Combs should run away with this award and deserve it. He’s the face of the genre now and quite frankly there’s a good argument to be made that he should have been nominated for and win Entertainer.

VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR

Will win:

Lady Antebellum

Little Big Town

Midland

Old Dominion – MM, CB, AW, AD, LS

Zac Brown Band

Should win:

Lady Antebellum

Little Big Town

Midland – MM, CB

Old Dominion – AD, LS

Zac Brown Band

Markus: The tides have changed and it’s Midland vs. Old Dominion this year. While the former could feasibly win, Old Dominion seems to be the de facto winner these days and I don’t think that changes this year. Though, if Midland pulls it off, that’s obviously a major win for traditional country music.

VOCAL DUO OF THE YEAR

Will win: 

Brooks & Dunn

Brothers Osborne – MM, CB

Dan + Shay – AW, AD, LS

Florida Georgia Line

Maddie & Tae

Should win: 

Brooks & Dunn – MM

Brothers Osborne

Dan + Shay 

Florida Georgia Line

Maddie & Tae – CB, AW, AD, LS

Markus: Actually a pretty good year quality wise for this category? Maddie & Tae, Brooks & Dunn, and the Bros all released music I like this year, and while Dan + Shay are a major contender — they’ve been dominant — I have a feeling they default to Brothers Osborne again. I’ll go with Brooks & Dunn for my pick, just because it would be cool and their collaboration album was really neat.

MUSICAL EVENT OF THE YEAR

Will win:

Maren Morris and Brothers Osborne – “All My Favorite People”

Luke Combs and Brooks & Dunn – “Brand New Man”

Garth Brooks & Blake Shelton – “Dive Bar”

Lil Nas X & Billy Ray Cyrus – “Old Town Road (Remix)” – MM, CB, AW, AD, LS

Brantley Gilbert and Lindsay Ell – “What Happens In A Small Town”

Should win: 

Maren Morris and Brothers Osborne – “All My Favorite People” – LS

Luke Combs and Brooks & Dunn – “Brand New Man”

Garth Brooks & Blake Shelton – “Dive Bar”

Lil Nas X & Billy Ray Cyrus – “Old Town Road (Remix)”

Brantley Gilbert and Lindsay Ell – “What Happens In A Small Town” – MM, CB, AW, AD

Markus: Such a wacky group of songs. I don’t think they pass up an “Old Town Road” win, but I personally love the Gilbert/Ell and Combs/Brooks  & Dunn track and since I’ve given the latter two love already I’ll back “What Happens In A Small Town” (which is one of the year’s most underrated tracks in my mind).