Stapleton wins album, song of year at ACM Awards

Mesfin Fekadu
Associated Press
In this Dec. 2, 2015, photo, Chris Stapleton performs at the 2015 Artists of the Year Show at Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville, Tenn. Chris Stapleton dominated at the Grammys and the Country Music Association Awards, but will he repeat at the Academy of Country Music Awards on Sunday, April 3, 2016? Stapleton is the leading nominee with seven, but hes not up for the top award: entertainer of the year. Instead, he will compete for album, song and male vocalist of the year. He won new male vocalist of the year in an early announcement.

Eric Church paid tribute to rock icons like David Bowie, The Eagles’ Glen Frey and other late stars during his performance at the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas.

Church intertwined songs from the singers during his performance Sunday, as well as songs from late performers Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead and former Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Host Luke Bryan introduced Church and said the performer was a big fan of vinyl records and was set to pay tribute to “four of his musical heroes.” Church performed the track, “Record Year.”

Tim McGraw’s performance was also a highlight: As he sang “Humble & Kind,” a diverse group of people joined him onstage, from children to adults of every race. Some even dressed in clothes representing their backgrounds, and others wore clothes representing their occupation.

Carrie Underwood earned a loud applause after singing “Church Bells.” She was nominated for Female Vocalist of the Year, but lost to Miranda Lambert.

“Carrie you just killed it. … She is literally the perfect singer,” Lambert said onstage. “I’m really excited for women in country music.”

Other winners included:

■Chris Stapleton, Album of the Year for “Traveller.”

■Chris Stapleton, Song of the Year for “Nobody to Blame.”

■Thomas Rhett, Single Record of the Year for “Die a Happy Man.”

■Little Big Town, Vocal Group of the Year.

Stapleton walked in with seven nominations, but he’s not up for the top award: entertainer of the year.

“You got to be kidding me. I thought for sure we were going to be girl-crushed on this one,” Stapleton said onstage after winning song of the year for “Nobody to Blame” and beating Little Big Town’s mega-hit “Girl Crush.”

Stapleton is also up for male vocalist of the year.

For entertainer of the year, reigning champ Bryan will battle Garth Brooks, Aldean, Church and Lambert. A win for Lambert would make her the first woman to win the honor since Taylor Swift in 2012.