The 53rd annual CMA Awards are underway in Nashville, with Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, and Ashley McBryde all taking home trophies.
Shelton’s big hit “God’s Country,” while Combs’ multi-week chart-topper “Beautiful Crazy” earned the singer and his co-writers the Song of the Year prize. Dan + Shay, who performed “Speechless” early in the show, were named Duo of the Year, marking the pair’s first CMA Awards win.
But it was newcomer Ashley McBryde who dazzled everyone when she won her first CMA, giving legendary songwriter John Prine a shout-out during her acceptance speech for New Artist of the Year.
Ashley McBryde Wins at 2019 CMA Awards
It’s no surprise that she has won the award with the astronomical rise she has experienced this year. Her album, Girl Going Nowhere, kicked off the year with a Grammy nomination and has shown no signs of slowing down.
As her name was called, the crowd leaped to their feet with excitement. The first woman to take home an award during the evening’s televised ceremony took the stage with the grace of the music veterans she shared the stage with.
She began her speech by giving a shout out to Prine.
“He looked at me and said ‘You’re good. You’re no Reba, but you’re really good. I cherish those little moments that are like that. That are truth and guidance from voices that we respect and admire. I’m thankful for their influence and the opportunity to step up. Thank you.”
Jenee Fleenor is Musician of the Year
Jenee Fleenor — longtime fiddle player for Blake Shelton and “The Voice” house band — can add an unprecedented line to her resume: first-ever woman to win a CMA Award for Musician of the Year.
She competed in the category with Mac McAnally, Paul Franklin, Ilya Toshinsky, and Derek Wells.
Fleenor was the first female nominated for the category, which the Country Music Association created in 1988.
In an interview with The Tennessean on her nomination for the CMA, she said she “broke down in tears.”
“It’s been a dream of mine since I knew what the CMAs were, to be named with all of my peers and heroes.”
Ashley McBryde, CMA 2019, Jenee Fleenor