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KACEY, LUKE ARE ONE STEP CLOSER TO GRAMMY NOMS

Kacey Musgraves' victory Wednesday night for Album of the Year at the 52nd annual CMA Awards increases the likelihood that she'll be nominated for Album of the Year at the 61st annual Grammy Awards. Her Golden Hour (MCA Nashville) beat Chris Stapleton's From A Room: Volume 2 (Mercury Nashville), among other albums, for the CMA prize.

No country albums were nominated for the Grammy for Album of the Year last year. With eight slots for the Grammys' Nominations Review Committee to play with this year, it's unlikely they would bypass such a major genre two years running. The last time country was sidelined two years in a row was 2011-12, but that's when there were just five Album of the Year slots.

Musgraves has yet to be nominated for Album of the Year at the Grammys. Her debut, Same Trailer Different Park, won the Grammy for Best Country Album five years ago. Her sophomore album, Pageant Material, was nominated for that award three years ago, but lost to Stapleton's Traveller.

Stapleton won three CMA awards—Male Vocalist of the Year for the fourth year in a row and Single and Song of the Year for "Broken Halos." That song was entered in the Grammy process last year: It won Best Country Song. Stapleton is entered in Record of the Year and Best Country Solo Performance this year with "Millionaire."

There is, of course, no law preventing both Musgraves and Stapleton from being Grammy-nominated for Album of the Year, though there has never been a case when two country albums were nominated the same year. Also, no country male artist has ever been nominated for Album of the Year twice. Stapleton was nominated for that award three years ago for Traveller.

Also, River House/Columbia Nashville’s Luke Combs, who won New Artist of the Year at the CMAs, increased his chances of landing a Best New Artist nom at the Grammys. BMLG’s Brett Young, with whom Combs competed for the CMA honor, is also entered in the Grammy competition in that category, though he's more of a long-shot.

Capitol Nashville’s Keith Urban made history at the CMAs, becoming the first artist who was born outside of the U.S. to win Entertainer of the Year more than once. He first took the award 13 years ago. He is also a player in the Grammy process. Graffiti U, which received a CMA nom for Album of the Year, is eligible for Grammy noms for Album of the Year (unlikely) and Best Country Album (very likely).

Capitol Nashville labelmate Carrie Underwood took Female Vocalist of the Year at the CMAs for the fifth time—a tally equaled or exceeded in CMA history only by Miranda Lambert, with seven wins in that category. Underwood is a strong Grammy candidate for Best Country Solo Performance for "Cry Pretty." She also has a pretty good shot at landing her first Grammy nom for Best Country Album for her album of the same name.

Old Dominion took the CMA award for Vocal Group of the Year, breaking a six-year hold on the award by Little Big Town. Old Dominion is vying for a Grammy nom for Best Country Duo/Group Performance with "Written in the Sand (Live)" (RCA Nashville).

EMI Nashville’s Brothers Osborne took the CMA award for Vocal Duo of the Year for the third year running. They have two hits that are vying for a Grammy nom for Best Country Duo/Group Performance—"Shoot Me Straight" and Dierks Bentley's "Burning Man" (Capitol Nashville), on which they are featured.

"Everything's Gonna Be Alright" (Reviver) by David Lee Murphy (with Kenny Chesney) took Musical Event of the Year. It is also vying for a Grammy nom for Best Country Duo/Group Performance.

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