Eric Church, Hunter Hayes Lead ACM Awards Nominees

Miranda Lambert, Taylor Swift also have strong showings

Eric Church, Hunter Hayes, Miranda Lambert, Taylor Swift
Scott Legato/Getty Images for Eric Church; Erika Goldring/Getty Images; Lester Cohen/WireImage; Mike Coppola/Getty Images
February 13, 2013 10:15 AM ET

Eric Church has plenty to smile about today: the North Carolina native leads the field with seven nominations for the 48th Academy of Country Music Awards, including Male Vocalist of the Year, Album of the Year for Chief and two Song of the Year nods as both an artist and a composer for "Springsteen."

Young newcomer Hunter Hayes is close behind with six nominations. The Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter is up for New Male Vocalist of the Year, and his song "Wanted" is up for four awards, including Song of the Year and Single Record of the Year.

Photos: Grammy Awards Red Carpet 2013 – Hunter Hayes

But the affair won't be male dominated: Miranda Lambert and Taylor Swift each received five nominations. Lambert is up for Entertainer of the Year – the Academy's top honor – and picked up her seventh consecutive nominations for Female Vocalist of the Year, an award she won last year. Swift, the two-time reigning Entertainer of the Year, received her fourth consecutive nomination for the award, and is also up for Female Vocalist of the Year. Her album Red is up for Album of the Year.

Co-hosts Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton weren't left out of their own party either. Bryan received four nominations, including Entertainer of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year, while Shelton is up for three awards, including Male Vocalist of the Year – which he won last year – and Entertainer of the Year.

The 48th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards will take place April 7th in Las Vegas and will be broadcast live on CBS. A partial listing of nominees is below; for a full list and more information, visit the Academy's website.

Entertainer of the Year
Jason Aldean
Luke Bryan
Miranda Lambert
Blake Shelton
Taylor Swift

Male Vocalist of the Year
Jason Aldean
Luke Bryan
Eric Church
Toby Keith
Blake Shelton

Female Vocalist of the Year
Miranda Lambert
Martina McBride
Kacey Musgraves
Taylor Swift
Carrie Underwood

Vocal duo of the Year
Big and Rich
Florida Georgia Line
Love and Theft
Thompson Square

Vocal Group of the Year
The Band Perry
Eli Young Band
Lady Antebellum
Little Big Town
Zac Brown Band

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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