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NASHVILLE — Brad Paisley leads the Country Music Association Award nominees with six, while Taylor Swift snagged a nomination for entertainer of the year, the show’s highest honor.
The 19-year-old sensation is the first female solo artist to be nominated for the top award since 2000.
Swift joins Keith Urban, George Strait, Jamey Johnson and Zac Brown with four nominations each.
The CMAs on Wednesday announced five categories on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” and the rest later in the morning on the CMT network.
Swift’s album “Fearless” has sold more than 3 million copies and made her the top-selling act in country and in pop. Her competitors in the top category are Kenny Chesney, Strait, Paisley, and Urban. She was also nominated for female vocalist of the year, along with Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire and Carrie Underwood.
“To country music radio and the fans and anybody who voted for the CMAs this year, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you,” Swift said in a video posted on her MySpace page, counting out four thank-yous for each nomination.
Darius Rucker — the former Hootie and the Blowfish singer whose transition to country music was embraced by fans — was nominated for male vocalist of the year, along with veterans like Strait, Paisley, Chesney and Urban.
“It feels great. It feels like I’m part of the family,” said Rucker, who along with Lee Ann Womack announced the nominations on ABC.
“I love being in country music because of the accessibility and the relationships you have with fans and with radio is awesome.”
Rucker was also nominated for new artist of the year along with Randy Houser, Jamey Johnson, Jake Owen and the Zac Brown Band.
Womack was another nominee Wednesday morning: her song with George Strait, “Everything But Quits,” was nominated for vocal event of the year. Also nominated were “Cowgirls Don’t Cry,” by the soon-to-be disbanded Brooks & Dunn and McEntire; “I Told You So,” by Underwood and Randy Travis; “Down the Road” by Chensey and Mac McAnally; and “Old Enough,” by the rock group Racounteurs, Ricky Skaggs and Ashley Monroe.
Houser, who announced the rest of the nominations on a live broadcast of “CMT Insider” from a Nashville studio, said getting the nomination for the new artist category is a honor he’s been patiently waiting on.
“I’ve told myself for so many years, ‘Maybe next year, maybe next year,”‘ said Houser, who also was nominated for his music video, “Boots On.”
He credited his record label with coming up with the idea of the music video, which featured a toddler rocking out to his song on a toy guitar.
The CMA Awards, now in its 43rd year, are scheduled for Nov. 11 on ABC, with Underwood and Paisley as hosts.
A list of CMA nominees follows:
Entertainer of the year
Male vocalist of the year
New artist of the year
Zac Brown Band
Vocal group of the year
Little Big Town
Zac Brown Band
Vocal duo of the year
Big & Rich
Brooks & Dunn
Joey + Rory
Single of the year
“Chicken Fried” by Zac Brown Band, produced by Keith Stegall, Atlantic Records
“I Run to You” by Lady Antebellum, produced by Victoria Shaw and Paul Worley, Capitol Records Nashville
“In Color” by Jamey Johnson, produced by The Kent Hardly Playboys, Mercury Nashville
“People Are Crazy” by Billy Currington, produced by Carson Chamberlain and Billy Currington, Mercury Nashville
“Then” by Brad Paisley, produced by Frank Rogers and Chris DuBois, Arista Nashville
Album of the year
“American Saturday Night” by Brad Paisley, produced by Frank Rogers and Chris DuBois, Arista Nashville
“Defying Gravity” by Keith Urban, produced by Dann Huff and Keith Urban, Capitol Records Nashville
“Fearless” by Taylor Swift, produced by Nathan Chapman and Taylor Swift, Big Machine Records
“Love on the Inside” by Sugarland, produced by Byron Gallimore, Kristian Bush, and Jennifer Nettles, Mercury Nashville
“That Lonesome Song” by Jamey Johnson, produced by The Kent Hardly Playboys, Mercury Records
Song of the year
“Chicken Fried” by Zac Brown/Wyatt Durrette
“I Told You So” by Randy Travis
“In Color” by Jamey Johnson/Lee Thomas Miller/James Otto
“People Are Crazy” by Bobby Braddock/Troy Jones
“Then” by Brad Paisley/Chris DuBois/Ashley Gorley
Musical event of the year
“Cowgirls Don’t Cry” by Brooks & Dunn featuring Reba McEntire, Arista Nashville
“Down the Road” by Kenny Chesney (with Mac McAnally), Blue Chair Records, LLC & BNA Records
“Everything But Quits” by Lee Ann Womack (duet with George Strait), MCA Nashville
“I Told You So” by Carrie Underwood featuring Randy Travis, 19 Recordings/Arista Nashville
“Old Enough” by the Raconteurs featuring Ricky Skaggs and Ashley Monroe, Third Man Records/Warner Bros. Records
Music video of the year
“Boots On” by Randy Houser, directed by Eric Welch
“Love Story” by Taylor Swift, directed by Trey Fanjoy
“People Are Crazy” by Billy Currington, directed by The Brads
“Start a Band” by Brad Paisley (duet with Keith Urban), directed by Jim Shea
“Troubadour” by George Strait, directed by Trey Fanjoy
Musician of the year
Eddie Bayers Drums
Paul Franklin Steel Guitar
Dann Huff Guitar
Brent Mason Guitar
Mac McAnally Guitar
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