2014 ACM Nominations

Blake Shelton Luke Bryan ACMHaving had just enough time to catch our breath after the Grammys, we now find ourselves gearing up for ACM season. This year’s Academy of Country Music Award nominees have just been announced today. Not surprisingly, this year’s nominees are wildly uneven, with “bro country” scoring ample representation. Miranda Lambert and Tim McGraw lead with seven nominations each.

Chime in with your thoughts below. Country Universe’s Staff Picks and Predictions will be unveiled the week of the show. Tune into the live broadcast on Sunday, April 6 at 8:00 p.m. EST to see who will emerge victorious this year.

Entertainer of the Year

  • Luke Bryan
  • Miranda Lambert
  • Blake Shelton
  • George Strait
  • Taylor Swift

Male Vocalist of the Year

  • Jason Aldean
  • Lee Brice
  • Luke Bryan
  • Blake Shelton
  • Keith Urban

Female Vocalist of the Year

  • Sheryl Crow
  • Miranda Lambert
  • Kacey Musgraves
  • Taylor Swift
  • Carrie Underwood

Vocal Duo of the Year

  • Big & Rich
  • Dan + Shay
  • Florida Georgia Line
  • Love and Theft
  • Thompson Square

Vocal Group of the Year

  • Eli Young Band
  • Lady Antebellum
  • Little Big Town
  • The Band Perry
  • Zac Brown Band

New Artist of the Year

  • Lee Brice
  • Brett Eldredge
  • Tyler Farr
  • Justin Moore
  • Kip Moore
  • Kacey Musgraves
  • Parmalee

Album of the Year

  • Blake Shelton, Based on a True Story…
  • Luke Bryan, Crash My Party
  • Florida Georgia Line, Here’s to the Good Times
  • Kacey Musgraves, Same Trailer Different Park
  • Tim McGraw, Two Lanes of Freedom

Single Record of the Year

  • Florida Georgia Line, “Cruise”
  • Tim McGraw featuring Taylor Swift and Keith Urban, “Highway Don’t Care”
  • Lee Brice, “I Drive Your Truck”
  • Miranda Lambert, “Mama’s Broken Heart”
  • Darius Rucker featuring Lady Antebellum, “Wagon Wheel”

Song of the Year

  • “Every Storm (Runs Out of Rain)” – Gary Allan, Hillary Lindsey, Matthew Warren
  • “I Drive Your Truck” – Jessi Alexander, Connie Harrington, Jimmy Yeary
  • “Mama’s Broken Heart” – Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally, Kacey Musgraves
  • “Mine Would Be You” – Jessi Alexander, Connie Harrington, Deric Ruttan
  • “Wagon Wheel” – Bob Dylan, Ketch Secor

Video of the Year

  • The Band Perry, “Better Dig Two”
  • Kacey Musgraves, “Blowin’ Smoke”
  • Tim McGraw featuring Taylor Swift and Keith Urban, “Highway Don’t Care”
  • Lee Brice, “I Drive Your Truck”
  • Miranda Lambert, “Mama’s Broken Heart”
  • Carrie Underwood, “Two Black Cadillacs”

Vocal Event of the Year

  • Blake Shelton featuring Pistol Annies and Friends, “Boys ‘Round Here”
  • Florida Georgia Line featuring Nelly, “Cruise” (Remix)
  • Tim McGraw featuring Taylor Swift and Keith Urban, “Highway Don’t Care”
  • Darius Rucker featuring Lady Antebellum, “Wagon Wheel”
  • Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert, “We Were Us”

Songwriter of the Year

  • Rhett Akins
  • Rodney Clawson
  • Ashley Gorley
  • Luke Laird
  • Shane McAnally

Producer of the Year

  • Mark Bright
  • Dann Huff
  • Michael Knox
  • Frank Liddell
  • Paul Worley

Bass Player of the Year

  • Mike Brignardello
  • Kevin “Swine” Grantt
  • Mark Hill
  • Michael Rhodes
  • Glenn Worf

Drummer of the Year

  • Chad Cromwell
  • Fred Eltringham
  • Shannon Forrest
  • Greg Morrow
  • Lonnie Wilson

Guitar Player of the Year

  • Jeff King
  • Troy Lancaster
  • Brent Mason
  • Rob McNelley
  • Jerry McPherson

Piano/Keyboards Player of the Year

  • Tony Harrell
  • John Jarvis
  • Charlie Judge
  • Tim Lauer
  • Gordon Mote

Specialty Instrument Player of the Year

  • Glen Duncan
  • Larry Franklin
  • Jim Hoke
  • Danny Radar
  • Bryan Sutton

Steel Guitar Player of the Year

  • Dan Dugmore
  • Paul Franklin
  • Steve Hinson
  • Russ Pahl
  • Scotty Sanders


  1. All I can say at this point is that I’m horrified by the album nominations! Musgraves is the clear winner with no competition at all, but I’m still afraid she won’t win over the ghastly other choices.

  2. I’m pleased to see Musgraves’ Album nomination, but at the same time it feels like an insult for her to have to share the ballot with such an unbelievably lame pool of co-nominees.

  3. Does “The Sound of Music” count for next year’s eligibility season? If not, Carrie should have been nominated for EOTY over Miranda. Actually, even if it does she should be nominated over Miranda.

  4. It occurred to me that my previous comment might start the stream of “Carrie got snubbed,” or “Miranda vs. Carrie” comments. My bad.

    Also, I just noticed they nominated Lee Brice over Eric Church in Male Vocalist of the Year, which leaves Church with no nominations, despite having led the pack in noms last year. But to be fair, it was a quiet year for him.

  5. The nominations are absolutely baffling and frustrating. The annual awards show should celebrate the biggest accomplishments of country artists for the eligibility period. You don’t have to be a Carrie Underwood stan to argue that she really deserves an Entertainer of the Year nomination this year. Her stats in 2013 are undeniably the best representation of country music to the general public.

  6. I should clarify that I didn’t mean to say that Carrie being nominated over Miranda is ridiculous, but rather, the argument that she should have been nominated over her is ridiculous. I think she should have been nominated over most of the people in the category, including two of the three males, not Miranda specifically.

  7. I’m baffled by the Big & Rich nomination, but then again everyone in the entire category could disappear and I wouldn’t miss them. The Sheryl Crow nomination was also kind of surprising, since her album didn’t make too much of a splash. If they were going to nominate a woman who didn’t sell very well or do well at radio, I would have much preferred LeAnn Rimes. At least Spitfire was a good album.
    I’m also hoping for the ACM to follow the CMA’s example and give King George one last EOTY award. (No one else nominated deserves it anyway.)

  8. Who is truly to blame for the state of Country music today??? Any particular artist, record companies, or fans? Will it ever go back to the way it use to be? If so, what will it take? Just curious!

  9. While I am not happy about Carrie not receiving an EOTY nomination, I am equally unhappy/baffled by some of the other nominations, including AOTY. Did they just set up this list so Kacey Musgraves would win? Granted, she probably should anyway, but the other albums are questionable at best. And I like Tim McGraw as much as the next person, but ‘Highway Don’t Care’ is just not that good of a song. The voting bloc system is alive and well, and is rapidly destroying the relevance of these (and other) country music awards. Maybe it existed all along and I was just being naive. I don’t know.

  10. Entertainer of the Year looks pretty rediculous if you refuse to include one of the most successful and popular in the genre.
    As for the other moninations, the insistant push to make Miranda Lambert seem bigger than she is is silly and pointless. Clearly there has developed a voting block that dictates these nominations and has for 5 years now.
    You ruin your own format by allowing this. And it makes the singers who benefit from it look worse than if they hadn’t won. Miranda being called the Female Vocalist of the year for 5 years straight is simply not true. IT makes her look rediculous. Because it is so far from the reality of things that you make your whole system transparently fake.
    Good luck with that.

  11. First, I’m glad to see that country actually listed Gary Allan.
    Secondly, as long as radio and the music industry pays more attention to focus group testing, you’re going to get the homogenized product you currently hate. Radio program directors are reluctant to go up against their corporate regional programming consultants and, thus are less inclined to promote a fringe talent without reason (say they may be a local band). Someone needs to give power back to these PDs that led the music revolution. It may take the FCC or Congress to find a solution.

  12. Thank you for the links Jason. Both were interesting. I have to say that Carrie Underwood (although I am not a fan) did everything a country entertainer of the year should do. To me she represented country music in the best light this year. Ever though I didn’t like her performance in ” The Sound of Music” I respected her effort. I can’t see Miranda or Taylor playing that role. I love that Gary Allan was given some attention. I have liked him from the start. He is one of the few adult male country singers who sings adult songs.

    As for the ACM awards I have always seen them as the second cousin of the CMAs. They always honor popular stars who the CMAs ignore. And I have always wondered why they have not tried to change that status? Will I watch-no. I have no respect for bro- country. It insults the music I love, and a whole evening of it is like watching a frat party: unless you are a part of it why pay it any attention.

  13. I commented yesterday on E145 that “The ACM website indicates that the eligibilty period for an ACM award this year is Nov 29, 2012 to Nov 27, 2013. So the best country album of that period, Brandy Clark’s “12 Stories”, was eligible since it was released Oct 23, 2013. I guess it didn’t sell enough? And do I assume correctly that it won’t be eligible for consideration next year because of its release date?” Didn’t get any feedback but I guess BC’s album was just released too late in the eligibilty period.

    I agree with Leeann about the lack of quality album nominations. The only strong category to me
    is vocal group.

    Didn’t watch or record any of the Grammy’s. Looking at the overall ACM nominees, I may record it and do a lot of fast forwarding.

  14. @Jason – I just read the article you posted and I don’t think Carrie’s comments are cold, just truthful. She wasn’t being disrespectful of anyone but just started that there seems to be a different standard for women to be played on the radio than men. Many male artists seem to record the same type of music, as she said, and there is lots of room for them but not for females.

    Also just wondering how come you think her relationship with the industry and radio is fragile? All four of her singles from Blown Away were in the top 5 on Billboard Airplay.

  15. I pretty much agree with Craig regarding Carrie Underwood. While I’ve warmed up to her considerably with her current album and her Sound of Music effort, I wouldn’t call myself an official fan still, but I think she’s done everything that an Entertainer of the Year should do and more in the last year and even before. So, it’s simply strange to me that she was left out of the nominations for Entertainer again.

  16. My radio DJs felt that Keith Urban should have been nominated for EOTY. Said his shows were a lot better than most of those nominated. Not that being the better entertainer means anything!! It’s the money money money that’s important. Sweet Keith doesn’t fill arenas like he use to nor sell albums like he use to, but he is still the best live entertainer in my book.

    However, after they said that, I was like, then why the heck don’t you play his music more?? Every time I turn on their station I hear….”hammer and a nail” or “boys round here” and then off the radio goes!

    I do love Carrie and felt she has been getting the shaft big time!

    Not excited about award shows like I use to be. Their never about the real talent anymore.

  17. I looked at the nominations and yawned. I’m not expecting King George to pull out another EoY win, but that’s the only one I’m actively rooting for in the entire lineup.

    I read the Billboard piece about the place of women in country music right now. I’m in complete agreement with Carrie Underwood, and I particularly appreciated her point that women general write and/or select songs with some actual substance. I can’t think of a more compelling argument why country desperately needs more women on the airwaves these days.

  18. For some reason they just don’t like Carrie Underwood as a person. Even if there had been 8 nominees for EOTY she still wouldn’t have gotten a nonination. The would have added Jason, Kenny and Tim instead. Had there been 10 nominees she still would not have been nominated they probably would have added Toby Keith and Kacey Musgraves (yes they dislike Carrie enough to give a nomination to a newbie before they ever nominated Carrie again). Remember when they nominated Lady Antebellum at the CMA’s when they were new still over carrie. The simply don’t like her and they don’t vote for her. She probably turns them off for some reason or another. But good for Miranda, she is true country so at least she is getting the benefit. It’s only fair.

  19. BTW, Faith Hill never got a nonination when she did SNF for years so that’s not going to be enough to give Carrie a noninatiton. She was simply Faith’s replacement. What Carrie is doing for SNF is neither new or groundbreaking in country since she isn’t the first.

  20. I wish that Song and Single of the year were actually nominated based off of the quality of the material and not the popularity of the single and/or song. If the Song or Single of the Year were actually reflexive of good music it might look something like this…

    All Kinds of Kinds: Miranda Lambert
    Borrowed: LeAnn Rimes
    Follow Your Arrow: Kacey Musgraves
    I Wish I Still Smoked Cigarettes: Ronnie Dunn
    Railroad of Sin: Sturgill Simpson
    Sober: Little Big Town
    Traveling Alone: Jason Isbell

    Just imagine those songs being the actual nominees. Now that would be a real tough crowd to pick from. Quality over quantity.

  21. For what it’s worth, I was listening to the radio (don’t judge… my iPod battery died) yesterday, and the (male, obviously) DJ brought up Underwood’s comments from Billboard:

    “Carrie Underwood said, and I quote, ‘I don’t think women can get away with the partying, beer-drinking, hung-over, truck-driving kind of music that a lot of the guys have gotten away with lately.’ So I guess that means she doesn’t think we’re still playing this one…” And then played “Last Name.”

    Which I thought was a fairly predictable indication that folks within radio are so oblivious to the format’s problems that nothing would change, even if they did understand what Underwood et. al. had to say. But the format’s misogyny runs deep, and I don’t have any reason to believe that many folks on the inside really understand comments like Underwood’s or see any validity to the increasingly vocal backlash.

    As for the ACM nominations themselves:

    Like Leeann, I’m not particularly a fan of Underwood’s, though her most recent work is, while not great on its own merits, obviously the best of her career. And based on her album sales, touring stats, radio success, TV gigs, and overall name recognition and star power, I cannot fathom any way on God’s green Earth that she hasn’t met the stated criteria for an “Entertainer of the Year.”

    And, in as much as I think the word “snub” in regard to industry awards is every bit as reductive as the word “hater” in regard to real critical thought, it’s hard to view Underwood’s omission from the line-up this year as anything other than a for-real, legitimate snub. Especially given that the ACMs have, in recent years, expanded the list of nominations for that category beyond the standard short-list of 5. That isn’t to say that any of the 5 nominees aren’t deserving of the recognition: But the fact that Underwood was left out of the Entertainer of the Year category yet again is the most ridiculous aspect of an ACM ballot that is by and large a reflection of the worst, most embarrassing elements of the past year in country music.

  22. Funny, but it never occurred to me that Underwood would be nominated for EOTY by the ACMs. She hasn’t won much of anything from the country music industry in a years…Grammys, yes, but ACM or CMA awards, not so much. I loved her comments about the expectations and treatment of women in country. She’s made similar points before. In my opinion, while she may not always hit her mark (“Sound of Music”), Carrie has shown a lot of growth and courage in her choices, especially in the last couple of years. She has not played it safe, either in her music, or in her comments about the industry. But no, she was not snubbed by the ACMs. It was just “business” as usual. I happen to think she would be missed if she ever left country music. However, it is apparent a lot of country music has left her.

  23. Quote by buddynoel:

    Secondly, as long as radio and the music industry pays more attention to focus group testing, you’re going to get the homogenized product you currently hate. Radio program directors are reluctant to go up against their corporate regional programming consultants and, thus are less inclined to promote a fringe talent without reason (say they may be a local band). Someone needs to give power back to these PDs that led the music revolution. It may take the FCC or Congress to find a solution.

    I think it’ll take a heck of a lot more than the FCC or the Congress to do all that, since it was precisely those two powers that allowed these corporate consultants to dictate to radio station PDs in the first place.

    And I definitely dread more of this godawful “bro country” and bad Southern rock that I’m sure is going to infect both the ACMs and country radio for the rest of this year.

  24. The fact that Carrie was not nominated as ETOY is again the biggest snub in country – what does she have to do to earn another ETOY nom? After all, she won ETOOY twice in a row so surely she has the credentials. I guess sold-out, amazing BLOWN AWAY tour, #1 songs, SNF theme, Sound of Music, star studded duets, charity work, GMA co-host, record breaking videos, role model, class and humilitiy do not count for anthing. Miranda or Blake did not have huge tours this year? Miranda has never sold out an arean, her last single tanked at #17, no other TV appearance or special events, etc. Carrie somehow made ACM angry over something… not sure, but for ACM and CMA to keep denying Carrie her rightful, dessrved awards is not right — Carrie will keep cranking away as she becomes a living legend and proud Opry member. If Miranda never Blake she would not receive any of these awards… the Nashville mafia is making these shows a joke.

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