I wonder how long country music awards shows think they’re going to be able to claim Taylor Swift as a country artist. I think that train has sailed. Swift was among this year’s nominees for Album of the Year at the Country Music Awards for her shit-kickin’, twang fest Red, and garnered four other nominations, including Entertainer of the Year. Miranda Lambert, another Entertainer of the Year nominee, ties Swift with a total of five nominations.
The big leaders, though, are Eric Church, with seven nominations around his album Chief, and Hunter Hayes, with six, including Song of the Year and Single of the Year (because maybe the Song of the Year will be a deep cut, right?) for his song “Wanted.”
The 48th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards will be broadcast live on CBS on April 7th and will be hosted this year by Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton.
See the full list of nominees below.
Hunter Hayes has hit gold with “Wanted,” the second single from from his self-titled debut album. Between that song and the first single from the album, Storm Warning, Hayes has also watched digital sales move beyond the one million mark.
Although Hayes is only 20, he is a virtuoso performer, writer, and producer who played every instrument and writes or co-writes every song on his album. The 2012 Academy of Country Music (ACM) New Artist of the Year nominee is on a musical fast track touring with household names including Taylor Swift, Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Trace Adkins, and Hank Williams Jr. As he continues his own tour and looks ahead to joining Carrie Underwood’s “Blown Away” tour this fall, it’s clear his star is continuing to rise. Recently he took time out from his jam-packed schedule to talk about his music, performing and one special inspiration for his latest hit single.
OS: Congratulations on your recent success! You’ve certainly had a lot of great news lately. It has to feel surreal in a way.
HH: Just about five years ago or so when I was a freshman in high school, I was dreaming of this day. I was dreaming of traveling in a tour bus and playing theatres and [large venues]. Now I’m dreaming about traveling with several tour buses and playing arenas. This really is all a dream come true.
OS: So you co-wrote the song “Wanted.” What is the song about?
HH: I co-wrote it with Troy Verges. I had this idea about what I wanted to tell this (female) friend of mine who I just want to spend time with every time I’m home. So we were talking about that and he was helping me with what I’d say. So that’s really how the song came together.
Don’t get me wrong”I have nothing against mainstream performers including Blake Shelton, Toby Keith, Taylor Swift and Miranda Lambert or their music. They were all celebrated, and rightfully so, at the ACM. They’re great musicians and terrific entertainers. I was one of the first music journalists that had the pleasure of interviewing some of the now big-names in country, and found the majority of them to be down to earth and passionate about their music.
But I’m also one of those fans that thinks it’s something of a tragedy that so many widely loved and incredibly talented performers”think Willie Nelson, the Avett Brothers, Ricky Skaggs, and countless others”are, let’s say shunned, at these shows. We could go into all the reasons, but why? The bottom line is that they aren’t on the industry shows. I love KISS and LL Cool J and U2’s Bono, but really? They’re featured at the ACM awards?
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This week has been a big week for country music. The Academy of Country Music Award nominees were announced on The Early Show on Tuesday by Reba McIntire and Blake Shelton. The leaders of the pack include some names you were fully expecting” Taylor Swift (ehem), Carrie Underwood and Lady Antebellum. But Miranda Lambert and The Zac Brown Band snuck up on viewers as 2 of the top contenders, with six and four nominations respectively. This year will be a big year for the ACM’s, and with Kenny Chesney only releasing his last record over a year ago, the male category awards are a toss up. Personally, it would be great to see nominee Darius Rucker walk away with Male Vocalist of the Year considering the album and singles he’s released in the last ACM calendar year. However, I have to admit, some categories are pretty predictable if you look at other award show wins. For example, I don’t think there’s much question about who’s going to nab Entertainer of the Year or Album of the Year. If you’ve paid any attention to country music for the past 2 years, you know as well as I do that Taylor Swift has those awards on lockdown, and good for her. I do wonder how many mantels she’ll need to display her awards after the year she’s had, but what’s a couple more from the 2010 ACM’s?
A day has come that few country fans looked forward to. We all knew it was coming, but without a definite end in sight, I think country lovers half-hoped that Brooks & Dunn were only kidding about hanging up their hats in 2010. But, as of August 10, 2010, there will never be another Brooks & Dunn performance to look forward to. The concert, taking place in Nashville, will occur one year after Kix and Ronnie’s announcement that they were parting ways. As much of a loss as this is to country music, the appreciation and love for Brooks & Dunn in the hearts and radios of country listeners will hopefully go on forever.
Jessica Harp, former member of The Wreckers with Michelle Branch, is “leaving the pieces” of her singing career behind, according to a letter posted on her Web site. Harp, who has released two singles since leaving The Wreckers, says that songwriting is her new focus. The lyrical content and emotion of the songs Harp has been a part of indicate that writing is truly where her talent lies, so she deserves the best of luck in this new adventure. Hopefully, “things are sweeter in Tennessee” for Jessica as a songwriter.
Stay tuned for more news and events that are inevitably going to be grabbing headlines, courtesy of our favorite country superstars!