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Zac Brown, Miranda Lambert lead Academy of Country Music Awards nominations

February 1, 2011 |  6:00 am

Zac Brown Band 2010 Grammy Awards-Robert Gauthier 

Singer, songwriter, producer and bandleader Zac Brown could walk out of the 46th Academy of Country Music Assn. Awards in March with nine statues if he and his band win everything they’re nominated for.

That makes him the ACM’s most nominated musician this year, although Brown’s Southern rock outfit didn’t make the cut for the entertainer-of-the-year competition.

The Zac Brown Band, which took the Grammy Award for best new artist last year, received five group nominations from the ACM, including album, single and song of the year, and because of the way the ACM bestows its awards, Brown himself got four additional nominations as producer of the nominated album and single and co-writer of their hit “As She’s Walking Away.” Nominations were announced Tuesday morning from the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville.

Texas-bred singer and songwriter Miranda Lambert collected seven nominations, including her first for entertainer of the year, the ACM’s top category in which she’s vying with Taylor Swift, Toby Keith, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban and Jason Aldean.

Lambert also is up for top single, song and video for her hit “The House That Built Me,” and female vocalist and vocal event of the year for her collaboration with Sheryl Crow and Loretta Lynn on a new version of Lynn’s signature song, “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”

Behind Lambert with five nominations apiece are Kenny Chesney and the Zac Brown Band. Swift and the Band Perry also got four nominations each, with Swift vying again for entertainer of the year along with Lambert, Toby Keith, Keith Urban, Brad Paisley and Jason Aldean.

Along with the Lambert and Brown hits in the single-of-the-year competition, which recognizes the song, performance and production, are Easton Corbin’s “A Little More Country Than That,” the Band Perry’s “If I Die Young,” Lee Brice’s “Love Like Crazy” and Chesney’s “The Boys of Fall.”

The other album-of-the-year contenders are Swift’s “Speak Now,” Chesney’s “Hemingway’s Whiskey,” Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now,” Jamey Johnson’s “The Guitar Song” and Dierks Bentley’s “Up On the Ridge.”

Nominees for song of the year, with awards going to the composer, publisher and artist, are “A Little More Country Than That,” “As She’s Walking Away,” “If I Die Young,” “Love Like Crazy” and “The House That Built Me.”

Swift also got a female vocalist nomination, putting her in a field with Lambert, Reba McEntire, Carrie Underwood and Lee Ann Womack, while Aldean, Paisley, Urban, George Strait and Blake Shelton are nominated for male vocalist honors.

Winners will be named April 3 in a nationally telecast CBS-TV ceremony from the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas. As it has for the previous two years, the ACM will invite fans to vote for entertainer-of-the-year and top-new-artist categories.  The ACM is the West Coast-based counterpart to Nashville’s Country Music Assn., which distributes its own awards each fall.

— Randy Lewis

Photo: The Zac Brown Band collects the Grammy Award for best new artist last year in Los Angeles. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times.