Lionize your rock and country heroes in songs and good things will follow—it worked for Taylor Swift, who launched her career six years ago with her single “Tim McGraw,” and it worked for Eric Church, who leads the 48th Academy of Country Music Awards nominations with seven, including his single saluting the Boss, “Springsteen.”
The hit track, which recently scored Church a pair of Grammy nominations, earned Church ACM nods both as the single record and song of the year. He’s also vying for album of the year with “Chief,” which contains that single, as well as male vocalist, video and vocal event of the year.
Close on the Granite Falls, N.C., singer and songwriter’s heels is fast-rising Louisiana-bred musician Hunter Hayes, who collected six nominations including song and single for his ballad “Wanted” and new male vocalist.
Miranda Lambert and Taylor Swift each got five nominations, pitting them against one another in the top category of entertainer of the year, a distinction Swift has taken home three times, including the last two years in a row. Also up for the entertainer trophy are Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton.