Maren Morris, Luke Combs & All the Record-Setters at the 2020 CMA Awards

Maren Morris, Luke Combs and Eric Church were the top winners at the 2020 CMA Awards, which were presented at Music City Center in Nashville on Thursday (Nov. 11).

Morris won three awards – female vocalist of the year for the first time and single and song of the year, both for the first time, for “The Bones.” Morris is only the eighth person in CMA history to win awards for both single and song of the year for the same work. She’s just the second woman to achieve this double, following Kimberly Perry, who, as part of  The Band Perry, shared the award for single of the year for “If I Die Young” and won song of the year for writing the song.

Morris has now won five CMA Awards. Morris shared the song of the year award with her co-writers Jimmy Robbins and Laura Veltz. She shared single of the year with her producer, Greg Kurstin. Kurstin won the Grammy in the equivalent category, record of the year, four years ago for producing Adele’s “Hello.” Kurstin is just the third producer to win the top single award at both of these shows for different singles. He follows T Bone Burnett and Rick Rubin.

Combs won two awards — album of the year for the first time for his sophomore album What You See Is What You Get, and male vocalist of the year for the second year in a row. This brings Combs’ collection of CMA Awards to five.

Eric Church was a surprise winner for entertainer of the year. He won on his fourth nomination for the award. Church doesn’t usually win at award shows. He has, for example, yet to win for male vocalist of the year (despite seven nominations over the years.) He was nominated for new artist of the year in 2011, but lost to The Band Perry. This was his first CMA win in any category in four years. This brings Church’s tally of CMA Award wins to four. He won album of the year for Chief in 2012 and Mr. Misunderstood in 2016. He also won a 2015 award for a “Raise ‘Em Up,” a collab with Keith Urban.

Morgan Wallen won new artist of the year on his second try. He was nominated last year, but lost to Ashley McBryde. Wallen is the 10th artist in CMA history to win the new artist prize on his/her/their second try. He follows such big names as LeAnn Rimes, Zac Brown Band and Combs.

Old Dominion took vocal group of the year for the third year in a row.

Dan + Shay won vocal duo of the year for the second year running.

Miranda Lambert’s “Bluebird” was named music video of the year. This is Lambert’s 14th CMA award, which extends her lead among female artists. Among all artists, she is now tied for fourth place with Garth Brooks and Brad Paisley. Only four artists have won more CMA Awards — Brooks & Dunn and Vince Gill (18 each), George Strait (17) and Alan Jackson (16).

This is Lambert’s second win for music video of the year. “The House That Built Me” won 10 years ago. Trey Fanjoy directed both videos. Fanjoy also won in the category for directing Taylor Swift’s “Love Story,” the 2009 winner. Lambert is only the third female artist or group, following Dixie Chicks and Swift, to win two awards in this category.

Carly Pearce and Lee Brice took musical event of the year for “I Hope You’re Happy Now.”  It’s the first CMA Award for both performers. Brice was forced to miss this year’s CMA telecast after he was diagnosed with COVID-19. Charles Kelley subbed for him in a pre-taped performance of this song. busbee won his second CMA award for producing the Pearce/Brice recording. The popular producer died in September 2019. Six weeks later, he won his first CMA Award as a co-producer of Morris’ GIRL, last year’s album of the year winner.

Jenee Fleenor, who last year became the first female musician to win musician of the year, won in that category for the second year in a row. Though the gender breakthrough rightly received most of the attention, she’s also the first fiddle player to win in the category since Mark O’Connor, who won six straight awards from 1991-96.

 

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