NEW YORK - The Country Music Association awards will be handed out tonight, but not in Nashville. They'll be presented at Madison Square Garden in New York City, which doesn't even have a country radio station.
All the past 38 shows have been held in Nashville.
The program will air live to what is expected to be its largest audience ever. More than 37 million people tuned in last year.
The awards show will return to Nashville next year for the 40th anniversary program.
Lee Ann Womack's return to rootsy country was richly rewarded with six Country Music Association Award nominations, tying her with Brad Paisley as the most nominated artist.
Womack's album "There's More Where That Came From" was nominated for album of the year and "I May Hate Myself in the Morning" was nominated for single and music video of the year. (The bittersweet ballad also was nominated for song of the year.)
Womack was nominated for female vocalist of the year and was recognized twice in the musical event of the year category for her duets with George Strait and Willie Nelson.
"I thought it would be nice if I got one or two," Womack told The Associated Press after she and Keith Urban announced the nominations in New York. "Everything after that was just icing on the cake."
Womack said the move will be good to "shake things up a little bit."
"I think it's a good shot to the arm, it will provide a lot of new energy and excitement," she told the AP.
Paisley, who just released the album "Time Well Wasted," was nominated for his self-penned hit "Alcohol," which was nominated for single, song and music video of the year.
He was also nominated for entertainer of the year, along with Urban, Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith and Alan Jackson.
Paisley's other nominations were for male vocalist and musical event of the year for his duet with Sara Evans, "New Again."
After Womack's breakthrough 2000 song, "I Hope You Dance," made her a multiplatinum artist, the singer ventured into more pop-country material, with the emphasis on pop. However, "There's More Where That Came From," released earlier this year, was pure retro country.
Womack said the material on her album gave her the musical inspiration she was needing.
"I was at a loss for exactly what I needed to do and when I heard `I May Hate Myself in the Morning,' it kind of gave me a whole new reason to make music again," she said of the song, about two friends getting together romantically for one night.
"It reminded me so much of the music that I listened to when I was a kid. ... This is the music I was born to make."
Urban, another multiple nominee with four each, joked when Womack's name was mentioned several times.
"You were not available for this one, apparently," Urban said as he read the nominees for vocal group of the year.
Keith also had four nominations, including song and single of the year for "As Good as I Once Was."
Gretchen Wilson, who has a new album out later this month, is still getting accolades for her triple-platinum breakthrough album, "Redneck Woman." The title track was nominated for song of the year, and marked one of her three nominations.
Wilson also was nominated for female vocalist and music video of the year for "When I Think About Cheatin'."
Dierks Bentley, Big & Rich, Miranda Lambert, Julie Roberts and Sugarland were nominated for the Horizon Award, which honors rising country artists.
Lambert said the nomination was something she's dreamed of since childhood.
"I've been a fan of the CMA Awards; I used to watch it and have a tablet in front of me," the 21-year-old told the AP. "Four years ago, I told my parents I wanted to be up for a Horizon Award ... reaching a goal in my career already is huge."