2019 CMA Awards: Brantley Gilbert, Lindsay Ell Speak out About 'What Happens in a Small Town' Nomination

Brantley Gilbert and Lindsay Ell were both nominated for a CMA Award, for Musical Event of the Year, for their collaboration on "What Happens in a Small Town." The song appears on Gilbert's upcoming Fire & Brimstone album.

"Can't thank @lindsayell, the #bgnation, friends, family and the #cmaawards enough for this nomination...." Gilbert tweeted. "Honored to be up against such amazing artists.... #musicaleventoftheyear"

Ell also spoke out about the nod, which marks her first ever CMA Awards nomination.

"Woah. SO grateful. Still so surprised..." posted Ell. "Thank you so much for making this song a part of your lives. @brantleygilbert and I ARE SO EXCITED. Thank you @CountryMusic!!! [praying hands and heart emojis]. #WHIAST #BGNation"

Gilbert was already a fan of Ell, both as a person and a singer, when he invited the singer and guitarist to join him on "What Happens in a Small Town" but became even more of one after he heard her on the track.

"It sounded like a duet from the beginning and it stayed that way all the way through it," Gilbert shared with PopCulture.com and other media. "After we finished the writing on it, you go in and who's the right match to do the duet? ... It was my first male, female duet and had to be right. I'm kind of obsessive, compulsive about everything. A lot of thought went into it and we looked at the genre crossover ourselves and I was talking to [producer Scott Borchetta] one day and he brought Lindsay's name up and it just clicked."

The Musical Event of the Year nod marks Gilbert's third nomination. He was previously nominated in 2011 for Song of the Year, for his single, "Dirt Road Anthem," and in 2012 for New Artist of the Year. Fire & Brimstone, Gilbert's fifth studio album, will be released on Oct. 4 on Valory Music Group.


The 2019 CMA Awards will air live from Nashville's Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Photo Credit: Getty images / Terry Wyatt