Nominations for the 51st ACM Awards were announced on February 1, 2016. Previously fan-voted, Entertainer of the Year and Newcomer categories, New Male Vocalist of the Year, New Female Vocalist of the Year and New Vocal Duo or Group of the Year, are now all incorporated into the professional membership voting process this year.
Thomas Luther Bryan (born July 17, 1976), known professionally as Luke Bryan, is an American country music singer and songwriter. Bryan began his musical career in the mid 2000s, writing songs for his longtime friends from high school, performers Travis Tritt and Billy Currington and releasing his first spring break album. After signing with Capitol Nashville in Nashville, Tennessee in 2007 with his cousin, Chad Christopher Boyd, he released the album I'll Stay Me, which included the singles "All My Friends Say", "We Rode in Trucks", and "Country Man". The follow-up album Doin' My Thing included "Do I", which Bryan co-wrote with Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood of Lady Antebellum, and the #1 singles "Rain Is a Good Thing" and "Someone Else Calling You Baby".
Tailgates & Tanlines, released in 2011, includes "Country Girl (Shake It for Me)", and the number one singles "I Don't Want This Night to End", "Drunk on You", and "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye". Bryan's fourth album, Crash My Party, was released in August 2013 and includes the number one singles "Crash My Party", "That's My Kind of Night", "Drink a Beer", "Play It Again", "Roller Coaster" and "I See You". The fifth album, Kill The Lights, was released in August 2015 and its lead single, "Kick the Dust Up", became his 13th number one hit, followed by his 14th number one "Strip It Down". Bryan co-wrote all of his singles with the exception of "Drunk on You", "Crash My Party", "That's My Kind of Night", "Drink a Beer", "Play It Again", "Roller Coaster", and "Kick the Dust Up" and co-produced all four albums and one compilation album with Jeff Stevens. Bryan was the recipient of the Academy of Country Music Awards and Country Music Association Awards "Entertainer of the Year" award. To date, Bryan has sold over 7 million albums and 27 million singles worldwide.
Frederick Dierks Bentley (born November 20, 1975), known professionally as Dierks Bentley, is an American country music singer and songwriter who has been signed to Capitol Nashville since 2003. That year, he released his self-titled debut album. Both it and its follow-up, 2005's Modern Day Drifter, are certified platinum in the United States. A third album, 2006's Long Trip Alone, is certified gold. It was followed in mid-2008 by a greatest hits package. His fourth album, Feel That Fire was released in February 2009. A bluegrass studio album, Up on the Ridge, was released on June 8, 2010, and then a sixth album, Home, followed in February 2012, as did a seventh one, Riser, in 2014.
Bentley's studio albums have accounted for eighteen singles on the country singles chart, of which thirteen have reached No. 1: his debut single "What Was I Thinkin'", as well as "Come a Little Closer", "Settle for a Slowdown", "Every Mile a Memory", "Free and Easy (Down the Road I Go)", "Feel That Fire", "Sideways", "Am I the Only One", "Home", "5-1-5-0", "I Hold On", "Drunk on a Plane" and "Say You Do". Four more of his singles have reached the top 5.
Jason Aldine Williams (born February 28, 1977), known professionally as Jason Aldean, is an American country music singer. Since 2005, Jason Aldean has been signed to Broken Bow Records, a record label for which he has released six albums and 24 singles. His 2010 album My Kinda Party is certified triple-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). His 2012 album Night Train is certified double-platinum, while his 2005 self-titled debut, 2007 album Relentless, 2009 album Wide Open, and 2014 album Old Boots, New Dirt are all certified single-platinum.
Of his singles, 14 have reached number one on either the Hot Country Songs or Country Airplay charts with "Why", "She's Country", "Big Green Tractor", "The Truth", "Don't You Wanna Stay" (a duet with Kelly Clarkson), "Dirt Road Anthem", "Fly Over States", "Take a Little Ride", "The Only Way I Know" (a collaboration with Luke Bryan and Eric Church), "Night Train", "When She Says Baby", "Burnin' It Down", "Just Gettin' Started", and "Tonight Looks Good on You". Eight more of his singles have reached the top 10.