Brad Paisley leads Country Music Association Award nominees with six nods announced Wednesday, 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 Straight, Jamey Johnson and Zac Brown with four nominations each.
The CMAs announced five categories on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” and the rest later in the morning on the CMT network.
Swift’s CD “Fearless” has sold more than three 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.
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.