Last year’s Album of the Year category had five outstanding nominees, but it was essentially a two horse race between Lady Antebellum’s massive selling Need You Now and Miranda Lambert’s brilliant Revolution. As we all know it was Lambert’s project that claimed the title that night becoming 2010’s ACM and CMA Album of the Year recipient. This year, the Album race is seemingly wide open considering there isn’t a clear favorite, but ATC is going to try our best to predict this year’s five nominees.
You Get What You Give – Zac Brown Band
If we are to crown a front runner for this year’s Album of the Year category, we’re going with the most recent release from the Zac Brown Band. You Get What You Give has been one of country’s top selling albums since its release in September of 2010. The album has been certified platinum and is nearing 1.2 million copies in sales. The album has yielded three straight number one singles (“As She’s Walking Away,” “Colder Weather,” and “Knee Deep”) and earned the group their second Best Country Album Grammy nomination. In terms of sales, this album isn’t on par with other country albums, but its quality makes it one of the best of the past year.
My Kinda Party – Jason Aldean
The Zac Brown Band album is the front runner in terms of “quality,” but Jason Aldean’s My Kinda Party is the front runner in terms of sales and success. Since its release in November of last year, the album has sold over 1.7 million copies, becoming the singer’s third platinum selling record. The album was also recently crowned as the highest selling country album for the first half of 2011. Party has produced three platinum selling singles in the title track, “Don’t You Wanna Stay,” and “Dirt Road Anthem,” with the latter two also hitting number one on the singles chart. Come November this album could spoil the Zac Brown Band’s party and pull off the upset.
Speak Now – Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift continues to rewrite the history books of country music. Her third studio album, Speak Now, sold over 1 million copies in its first week of release last November. Since then the album’s total has increased to over 3.6 million copies becoming the singer’s third album to be certified at least triple platinum. The album has yielded three top five singles with “Mine,” “Back to December,” and “Mean,” but has yet to produce a number one hit, which could hurt its chances at winning. After going home empty handed during last year’s ceremony, she may find herself in the winner’s circle again this year.
Hemingway’s Whiskey – Kenny Chesney
I think it’s safe to say that after a quiet 2009 and 2010, Kenny Chesney is back and probably better than ever. The singer’s Hemingway’s Whiskey album is one of his best artistic albums he’s released since the CMA winning When the Sun Goes Down. Since its release in September of 2010, Whiskey has sold close to one million copies and has spawned three consecutive number one singles (“The Boys of Fall,” “Somewhere With You,” and “Live a Little”) and a top five (“You and Tequila” featuring Grace Potter). Expect to see Kenny Chesney’s name multiple times next Tuesday when the nominations are announced.
This Is Country Music – Brad Paisley
I think the first four albums on the list are locks to be included in this category but the fifth and final slot is tough to predict. However, I think Paisley’s This Is Country Music has made the most impact out of the albums I think have a chance to round out this category. The album has moved over 400,000 copies since its May release and has given the singer three consecutive top 2 singles (“Old Alabama” and “Remind Me” hit number one while “This Is Country Music” peaked at number 2). Considering Paisley is the reigning Entertainer of the Year, I think that will give him enough clout to sneak into this category this year.
Stronger – Sara Evans: Sara’s comeback album has sold over 200,000 copies and its lead single, “A Little Bit Stronger,” is the only song by a female artist to spend multiple weeks at number one in 2011.
The Band Perry – The Band Perry: The trio’s debut album has a slight chance at getting a nomination because of the massive success of the single, “If I Die Young.” The album has sold just over 700,000 copies and has spawned 2 top five hits.