Every year, the CMA Awards broadcast typically grasps viewers in the first few seconds with some sort of explosive collaboration. This year, that honor goes to Hank Williams, Jr. and Eric Church. Bocephus’ big CMA comeback, along with the show’s other unpredictable elements are the focus of today’s Ram Report.
After cryptically sporting a baseball cap emblazoned with the word “icon” for his 2014 American Country Countdown Awards performance, Williams’ secret record label deal was finally let out of the bag in April. The newest artist on Big Machine Label Group and Cumulus Media’s Nash Icon imprint, he is putting together a new set of tunes for release in the coming months.
“We have made an album that is pure magic,” Williams tells Rolling Stone Country. “The songs — some I wrote and others I got from great songwriters — are typical Hank Jr. songs and I think will connect with anyone who hears them.”
The first song will make its debut on the November 4th CMA Awards, with Church joining Bocephus on stage to start the live show. Church is up for five awards going into the big night, which makes him tied with Little Big Town for the most nominations. One of his categories that is arguably the most unpredictable is the night’s biggest: Entertainer of the Year. He’s up against Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney, Miranda Lambert and last year’s champ, Luke Bryan, for the honor. Other categories that are particularly hard to place bets on include Album of the Year and New Artist of the Year, with no clear frontrunner in either mix. See the full list of 2015 CMA Awards nominees here.
Hosted by Ashley Eicher, Rolling Stone Country’s Ram Report is our new web series bringing you the latest country music news. Watch every weekday at RollingStone.com/RamReport.