When the nominations for the 48th annual CMA Awards were announced last week, the most notable omission was that of Jason Aldean. The singer, whose 2012 platinum album Night Train yielded four Billboard Number One singles, the most recent “When She Says Baby,” was by all rights a viable contender. With five supersized, sold-out ballpark shows this summer under his belt, the Georgia native seemed poised for his fourth consecutive Entertainer of the Year nod, or at least his fourth Male Vocalist nomination.
But for whatever reason, CMA voters felt otherwise and snubbed Aldean in all categories.
During an interview today promoting his upcoming album Old Boots, New Dirt, the reigning two-time ACM Awards Male Vocalist of the Year opened up about being overlooked by the CMA.
“Obviously it’s disappointing. We’re still out there selling out shows. With maybe the exception of Luke [Bryan], I don’t think there is anybody else out there that is doing the kind of touring numbers that we’re doing. It’s frustrating, man,” Aldean tells Rolling Stone Country. “But at the same time, I don’t know how…what do you do? Things like that are out of your hands.”
That didn’t stop the singer’s fans, and reportedly even his father, from raising a ruckus on his behalf. Aldean says a number of radio DJs joined in the fray as well.
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“When [the nominations] came out, everything stirred up a hornet’s nest with everybody. All the DJs on the radio were talking about it and everything else. Which is cool. I do appreciate the fact that there are people out there who do realize what we’re doing. It sort of validates my reasoning for being upset,” he says.
While that is as far as he’ll go in his disappointment — “I’m not going to jump up and down and pitch a fit” — Aldean does think the snub is at odds with his stature as a superstar of the format. “It does suck a little bit when awards season comes around and you feel like you’re, as far as artists go, you’re up there at the cream of the crop, and to get overlooked like that is upsetting,” he says. “But at the same time, you know, I wasn’t the only one.”
He’s even more sympathetic to his tourmates, including Florida Georgia Line and Tyler Farr. Currently on the road as part of Aldean’s Burn It Down Tour, Florida Georgia Line received a single nomination for Vocal Duo of the Year. Farr had none.
“You look at the New Artist category and who’s in there, and I look at my buddy Tyler Farr, who’s on tour with me coming off of two Number Ones, and I’m going, ‘How can this guy get left out of that deal?'” Aldean wonders. “Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan having ‘This Is How We Roll,’ one of the biggest songs of the year, and not getting a nod for [Musical Event]. I don’t really understand how they come up with that stuff.”
Nonetheless, Aldean is anxiously looking ahead to the October 7th release of Old Boots, New Dirt, his sixth studio album. The project’s first single, “Burnin’ It Down,” stands as the artist’s most added radio single of his career, and has already gone Number One on Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs chart. Next week, he’ll perform two sold-out shows at Denver’s venerable Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
“It is what it is,” he says, putting a point on the CMA Awards conversation. “You can bitch and complain about it, or you just go and keep doing things the way you always did.”