NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Taylor Swift and Kacey Musgraves are the top nominees for the Country Music Association Awards, signaling something of a left turn for the usually conservative organization.
Swift will be going for her third entertainer of the year award and also was nominated for album and female vocalist of the year for the Nov. 6 awards in Nashville. Musgraves also is up for awards in the album and female vocalist categories.
Reigning entertainer of the year Blake Shelton is next with five nominations. His wife, Miranda Lambert, also has five nominations – three solo and two with her trio Pistol Annies. And Keith Urban and Florida Georgia Line have four apiece.
Shelton and Swift are up for top honor entertainer of the year with Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan and surprise nominee George Strait, a two-time winner in the category who's being feted by CMA voters as he retires from touring.
The nominations were announced Tuesday morning in New York on “Good Morning America” and in a later news conference by Sheryl Crow and FGL.
Swift's load of nominations isn't that surprising. She's now up to 21 career CMA nominations and has two entertainer of the year awards among her seven wins.
Musgraves' rapid ascendance, though, comes as something of a surprise. This is the first year the talented, left-of-center newcomer has been nominated, and the number of trophies she and Swift are up for signals something of an admission that the once deeply conservative format is opening up to new sounds and ideas in the 21st Century.
She's also nominated in the new artist of the year category, and as a songwriter on her own hit “Merry Go 'Round” and Miranda Lambert's “Mama's Broken Heart.”
Follow AP Music Writer Chris Talbott: http://twitter.com/Chris–Talbott.