Pop & Hiss

Eric Church and Chris Stapleton lead 51st ACM Awards nominations

The Academy of Country Music has heaped nominations for its upcoming 51st awards ceremony on singer-songwriters Eric Church and Chris Stapleton, each of whom received five nods including album and male vocalist recognition.

Church’s “Mr. Misunderstood” and Stapleton’s “Traveller” are vying in the album category with Sam Hunt’s "Montevallo,” Thomas Rhett’s “Tangled Up” and Chris Young’s “I’m Comin' Over.”

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FOR THE RECORD

Feb. 1, 6:10 p.m.: An earlier version of this article referred to Eric Church's album as "Miss Misunderstood." The title is "Mr. Misunderstood."

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Church also is in the running for the ACM’s top award of entertainer of the year, along with Jason Aldean, Garth Brooks, Luke Bryan and Miranda Lambert.

Singer-songwriter Cam, who began her career writing hits for Miley Cyrus and whose given name is Camaron Marvel Ochs, collected four nominations thanks to the success of her hit single “Burning House," which also is up for video of the year. Her fourth nomination is for new female vocalist.

She earned double nominations in the record of the year category as both the performer and  co-producer of “Burning House,” which is up against Chris Janson’s “Buy Me a Boat,” Rhett’s “Die a Happy Man,” Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush,” Young’s “I’m Comin’ Over” and Hunt’s “Take Your Time.”

Given that all five album nominees are male, as are four of the five top entertainer contenders and four of the six record of the year nominees, the ACMs may have opened itself up for a charge of #ACMsSoMale this year.

More likely, however, the operative principle is #ACMsSoMainstream, as the nominees line up solidly with records that were the hottest at mainstream country radio during the previous year.

Two of the most critically acclaimed country albums of 2015, Ashley Monroe’s “The Blade” and Kacey Musgraves’ “Pageant Material,” ranked Nos. 3 and 4, respectively, in the Nashville Scene’s annual poll of more than 80 country music critics, generated only two nominations between them. Both went to Musgraves, nominated as female vocalist and whose “Biscuits” video is among the country video nominees.

Jason Isbell’s “Something More Than Free” album, which finished No. 2 in the critics’ poll behind Stapleton’s “Traveller,” also generated no interest among ACM voters.

Female vocalist nominees are Lambert, Musgraves, Kelsea Ballerini, Jana Kramer and Carrie Underwood.

The male vocalist contenders are Aldean, Bentley, Church, Stapleton and Brett Eldredge.

The ACM category that aligned closest to the country critics’ list is the record, with “Burning House” and “Girl Crush” appearing on both. “Girl Crush” was a runaway hit for Little Big Town” and generated considerable controversy at country radio during the year for its playfully ambiguous lyric about a woman so impressed by the appeal of her ex’s new girlfriend that she confesses, “I got a girl crush, hate to admit it.”

A complete list of nominees can be found at the ACM's website.

The ACM Awards will be announced on April 3 in a ceremony to be hosted by Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley. It will be held at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas and telecast on CBS. The eligibility period for nominated recordings is for those released between Nov. 27, 2014, and Nov. 25, 2015.

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