The 26th Annual Pollstar Awards — recognizing the best in the live concert business — will take over the former home of the Grand Ole Opry, Nashville's Ryman Auditorium, on February 21st, and it's only appropriate that a handful of country artists are among the show's nominees.
Leading the pack is Major Tour of the Year hopeful Jason Aldean, the lone country star in a category dominated by pop heavyweights like Katy Perry, Bruno Mars and Justin Timberlake. Aldean spent the past year in the studio and on the road, playing shows every single month.
Following a hometown concert next Tuesday at Nashville's Marathon Music Works, he'll take a break until mid-February, when the Burn It Down Tour kicks off in Greenville, South Carolina.
Fellow road dogs Brantley Gilbert and Kacey Musgraves are both up for the Best New Touring Artist award. The news arrives during the final leg of Gilbert's Let It Ride Tour, a seven-month trek that wraps up December 13th. Musgraves has kept herself busy this year, too, touring the country with Katy Perry during the late summer and launching a headlining tour in September. She's no stranger to award shows either. After kicking off 2014 by winning a pair of Grammys, Musgraves went on to snag the ACM Award for Album of the Year for Same Trailer Different Park and the CMA Song of the Year trophy for "Follow Your Arrow."
Since few tours are possible without bookers, venue owners and other behind-the-scenes personnel, the Pollstar Awards also honor those who do their best work offstage. That includes Keith Urban's tour manager, Chuck Hull, who's up for the Road Warrior of the Year award, and the Ryman Auditorium's general manager, Sally Williams, nominated for Facility Executive of the Year. Meanwhile, the Personal Manager category is dominated by professionals in the country field, including Clarence Spalding (manager for Jason Aldean and Rascal Flatts), Coran Capshaw (Lady Antebellum, Dierks Bentley), and John Peets (Eric Church).
All subscribers of the concert-biz trade publication are eligible to vote online until December 18th.