Zach Bryan On The CMA Awards: “I Don’t And Will Never Want To Be Considered”

Zach Bryan country music
Trevor Pavlik

The 57th annual CMA Awards are scheduled to take place in Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on November 8th and to be honest, the nominees are better than what we’ve seen in the past.

Sure, there’s still no 49 Winchester, Charles Wesley Godwin, Sierra Ferrell, Turnpike Troubadours, Treaty Oak Revival, Kaitlin Butts, Tyler Childers, Muscadine Bloodline, Jenna Paulette, Flatland Cavalry, Whiskey Myers, and about a hundred other acts that deserve the spotlight, but hey, things still appear to be looking up.

Lainey Wilson’s name is all over the field this year with 9 total nominations and Jelly Roll racked up 5 in his first year considered. Luke Combs and Hardy also have 4 a piece.

You can read the full list of nominees here, but one that that immediately jumped out to me was the New Artist category.

The nominees are Parker McCollum, Hailey Whitters, Jelly Roll, Megan Moroney, and Zach Bryan.

For starters, Parker McCollum has been releasing music since 2015, was signed to Universal Nashville since 2019, and got his first #1 in 2020, so he’s not exactly a new artist. But the New Artist category is always weird… you basically when nominated and/or win once you achieve high level mainstream stardom, doesn’t matter if you’ve been doing it for 10 years (like Cody Johnson who was nominated last year AND in 2019).

But Zach Bryan’s name popping up is intriguing for all sorts of reasons.

Zach made his major label debut last year with American Heartbreakwhich thrust him into the spotlight in a way few artists in history have been, with friend and frequent opener Charles Wesley Godwin comparing his rise to a modern day Beatles.

Given the massive tours and huge success of the project, you’d think 2022 would have been the year he was nominated for a “New Artist” award, but that’s just now how this weird music industry works I guess.

Zach addressed his exclusion from the award show last year in a series of Tweets (or X posts as we’re now calling them), and while they are no longer available for us to see on X due to him deleting his account for a bit, us at Whiskey Riff still have the receipts.

Snubbed At The 2022 CMA Awards

Here’s what Zach said about the CMA Awards last year.

“Guys, I don’t and will never want to be considered at the CMAs. My pride is fine and I appreciate all the love and support and I say it with every ounce of respect to other country artists

To be clear, I’m not trying to insult the validity of a CMA, I respect any artist who receives one and the existence of them; I’m just saying on a personal level it is not one of my priorities to have awards on a shelf in my home. There’s room for more important things there.

I think there are so many talented artist that deserve awarded and will be awarded, and some just don’t care enough about a silly TV program to need an award in the first place.”

Very well said by one of the biggest acts in all of music, let alone country music.

I’d be lying to say there isn’t a part of me that wants to see Zach get recognized for the incredible catalogue he’s put out through his short but intense career, but it’s also a good reminder that what a group of industry folks vote for doesn’t mean anything compared to how an artist’s music connects with the fans. It also remains to be seen if he’ll attend the ceremony next month.

So yes, I’m rooting for Zach to win this award, but if he doesn’t who cares. The other artists all deserve their kudos and honestly it may just be better for Zach to never get himself a shiny trophy for the songs he writes.

Although, with the Grammys up early next year, I would imagine he’s fixin’ to garner some nominations there…

57th Annual CMA Awards Nominees

Lainey Wilson is leading the pack with a whopping nine nominations, and first-time nominee Jelly Roll leads all male artists with five nominations. Luke Combs and HARDY have four nominations each.

The 57th Annual CMA Awards will once again be hosted by Luke Bryan and Peyton Manning as the ceremony broadcasts live from Nashville Wednesday, November 8th.

And the nominees are…


Luke Combs
Chris Stapleton
Carrie Underwood
Morgan Wallen
Lainey Wilson


Kelsea Ballerini
Miranda Lambert
Ashley McBryde
Carly Pearce
Lainey Wilson


Luke Combs
Jelly Roll
Cody Johnson
Chris Stapleton
Morgan Wallen

New Artist

Zach Bryan
Jelly Roll
Parker McCollum
Megan Moroney


Lady A
Little Big Town
Old Dominion
Zac Brown Band


Brooks & Dunn
Brothers Osborne
Dan + Shay
Maddie & Tae
The War And Treaty


“Fast Car”; Luke Combs; Producer: Luke Combs, Chip Matthews, Jonathon Singleton; Mix Engineer: Chip Matthews
“Heart Like A Truck”; Lainey Wilson; Producer: Jay Joyce; Mix Engineers: Jason Hall, Jay Joyce
“Need A Favor”; Jelly Roll; Producer: Austin Nivarel; Mix Engineer: Jeff Braun
“Next Thing You Know”; Jordan Davis; Producer: Paul DiGiovanni; Mix Engineer: Jim Cooley
“Wait In The Truck”; Hardy f/Lainey Wilson; Producers: Hardy, Joey Moi, Jordan Schmidt, Derek Wells; Mix Engineer: Joey Moi


Ashley McBryde Presents: Lindeville; Producers: John Osborne, John Peets; Mix Engineers: Gena Johnson, John Osborne
Bell Bottom Country; Lainey Wilson; Producer: Jay Joyce; Mix Engineers: Jason Hall, Jay Joyce
Gettin’ Old; Luke Combs; Producers Luke Combs, Chip Matthews, Jonathan Singleton; Mix Engineers: Michael H. Brauer, Jim Cooley, Chip Matthews
One Thing At A Time; Morgan Wallen Producers: Jacob Durrett, Charlie Handsome, Joey Moi, Cameron Montgomery Mix Engineers: Josh Ditty, Joey Moi, Eivind Nordland
Rolling Up the Welcome Mat; Kelsea Ballerini Producers: Kelsea Ballerini, Alysa Vanderheym; Mix Engineers: Dan Grech-Marguerat, Alysa Vanderheym


“Fast Car”; Songwriter: Tracy Chapman
“Heart Like A Truck”; Songwriters: Trannie Anderson, Dallas Wilson, Lainey Wilson
“Next Thing You Know”; Songwriters: Jordan Davis, Greylan James, Chase McGill, Josh Osborne
“Tennessee Orange”; Songwriters: David Fanning, Paul Jenkins, Megan Moroney, Ben Williams
“Wait In The Truck”; Songwriters: Renee Blair, Michael Hardy, Hunter Phelps, Jordan Schmidt


“Save Me”; Jelly Roll w/Lainey Wilson; Producers: Zach Crowell, David Ray Stevens
“She Had Me At Heads Carolina (Remix)” Cole Swindell & Jo Dee Messina; Producer: Zach Crowell
“Thank God”; Kane Brown w/Katelyn Brown; Producer: Dann Huff
“Wait In The Truck”; Hardy f/Lainey Wilson; Producers: Hardy, Joey Moi, Jordan Schmidt, Derek Wells
“We Don’t Fight Anymore”; Carly Pearce f/Chris Stapleton; Producers: Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne, Carly Pearce


Jenee Fleenor
Paul Franklin
Rob McNelley
Derek Wells
Charlie Worsham


“Light On In The Kitchen”; Ashley McBryde; Director: Reid Long
“Memory Lane”; Old Dominion; Directors: Mason Allen, Nicki Fletcher
“Need A Favor”; Jelly Roll; Director: Patrick Tohill
“Next Thing You Know”; Jordan Davis; Director: Running Bear
“Wait In The Truck”; Hardy f/Lainey Wilson; Director: Justin Clough


A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock