A Little Friendly Competition: Dierks Bentley and Keith Urban Square Off for CMA Album of the Year

Country Music Association

Not only did Keith Urban and Dierks Bentley reveal the nominees for this year’s CMA Awards together on Wednesday, the labelmates also happen to be genuinely fond of each other. So when Dierks found out his latest effort, Black, was in the running for Album of the Year, he was equally happy to discover he’d be competing against Keith’s Ripcord.

“That’s what I was kind of holding my breath for is that Album of the Year nomination,” Dierks tells ABC Radio. “This feels really good and it’s been a real magical journey really crafting it out of absolutely nothing, just starting with zero and working our way toward this record. It feels great and I love Keith’s record too, so for him to be nominated in this category as well, that means a lot to me and our friendship. It just feels great. I can’t wait to go celebrate with a big cup of coffee!” he laughs, joking about the early-morning announcement.

Though he’s also up for the night’s biggest honor, Keith agrees the album prize is a particularly significant one as a professional music-maker.

“I’ve never won Album of the Year at the CMA’s so to get in that category is amazing,” Keith reflects. “Like all the artists, I put everything I have into making records, so for that to end up in that category is incredible. But they all are. Entertainer of the Year — it’s an amazing feeling!”  

The two compete against Keith’s tourmate Maren Morris’s HeroEric Church’s surprise-CMA album Mr. Misunderstood, and Carrie Underwood’s Storyteller for the trophy. We’ll find out who wins November 2 on ABC.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.