When 2021 ACM Awards nominees were announced in late February, Ashley McBryde was on her way home from a writing retreat and unable to watch the announcement live. It was one of her Album of the Year competitors, actually, who let her know about her nomination.
“I got a text from John Osborne,” McBryde shares. “Of course, he left out the part that he was in the category, too.”
In addition to McBryde, who earned her ACM Album of the Year nod for her sophomore album, Never Will, and John and his brother TJ, who earned the nomination for their third album as Brothers Osborne, Skeletons, the 2021 album category nominees also include Luke Bryan (Born Here Live Here Die Here), Kane Brown (Mixtape, Vol. 1) and Chris Stapleton (Starting Over). It’s McBryde’s first nod in the ACM Awards category, and she admits that an award in recognition for her album as a whole is, “something I really, really would like to have.”
At the 2021 ACM Awards, she’s also nominated for Female Artist of the Year and Song of the Year. A victory in any of the three categories would be her first televised ACMs win (she previously won both New Female Artist of the Year and Music Event of the Year, awarded off camera).
“I have to think about [and acceptance speech] a little bit because I have a tendency to curse when I’m nervous,” McBryde says, “and I know that’s not something I should do on television.”
She’ll also be performing during the 2021 ACM Awards: She and her band will play her current single, “Martha Divine,” from the Bridge Building, at the edge of the Cumberland River in downtown Nashville.
“You can’t ask for more than the city of Nashville cityscape at night. It’s absolutely gorgeous,” McBryde says. She’s hoping some fans and passers-by may be able to take in their performance from the nearby John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge.
After relocating from Las Vegas to Nashville in 2020 out of necessity during the COVID-19 pandemic, the ACM Awards are back in Nashville in 2021. As showrunners did last year, they’re spreading this year’s event out across three iconic Music City venues (the Grand Ole Opry House, the Ryman Auditorium and the Bluebird Cafe), though a few performances, including McBryde’s, will take place elsewhere. They’ll be following national, state and local guidelines related to the pandemic, as well as additional, self-imposed safety measures.
The 2021 ACM Awards are set for Sunday (April 18). They’ll begin at 8PM ET and will air live on CBS and be available to stream on Paramount+; sign up for the streaming service here.
2021 ACM Awards Nominees: The Full List
Maren Morris and Chris Stapleton lead all 2021 ACM Awards nominees with six each and Miranda Lambert has five, including Female Artist of the Year. Thomas Rhett and Ashley McBryde will be up for four ACM awards on April 18. The CBS broadcast will award trophies for Entertainer, Song and Album of the Year, in addition to Duo and Group of the Year. This is a list of all ACM Awards nominations for 2021.