Alan Jackson Leads Country Competition

03/10/2004 AT 03:21 PM EST

Alan Jackson has something to sing about: With eight nods, he and his hit song "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere" led the nominees for the Academy of Country Music Awards, announced Wednesday.

Jackson's duet with Jimmy Buffet, an ode to leaving work early for some liquid libation, was recognized in the four categories -- for single, video and "vocal event," as well as for songwriting (composers Jim Brown and Donald Rollins), the Associated Press reports.

In the mostly male competition, Jackson also is nominated for entertainer of the year, top male vocalist and best single, and he received songwriting mentions for "Remember When."

The Georgia-born Jackson, 45, named Entertainer Of The Year by the CMA in 1995, originally sold cars, worked as a carpenter and spent his time in the mailroom of the Nashville Network cable TV studios before signing as the first artist on Arista's new Nashville label in the late '80s. He then had an almost-instant hit with "Gone Country."

Following in their own cowboy boots are the nominated duo of Brooks & Dunn and Toby Keith, each with five nods, including entertainer of the year. (The other nominees in that category are Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney.)

Martina McBride is the sole female in the best album class for "Martina." Other album nominees are George Strait's "Honkytonkville," Brad Paisley's "Mud on the Tires," Brooks & Dunn's "Red Dirt Road" and Keith's "Shock 'N Y'all."

The best new artist nominees are Dierks Bentley, Pat Green, Buddy Jewell, Josh Turner and Jimmy Wayne.

Reba McEntire is due to host the ACMs, which will air live on CBS from Las Vegas on May 26.

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