Country music: The 12 hottest stars you need to know

By Clare Douglas

This Sunday, April 19, country music’s best and brightest stars will invade the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, for the party of the year – the 50th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards.

Hosted by Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan, the ACM Awards celebrate the musicians that have captivated audiences with their from-the-heart lyrics and honky-tonk melodies. Leading the pack of nominees this year is Blake’s better half, Miranda Lambert, who is up for seven awards , including Female Vocalist of the Year. In order to take home the night’s biggest honour, Entertainer of the Year – for which she's the only female nominated – Miranda will have to beat out fellow heavyweights Garth Brooks, Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line and Jason Aldean.

CLICK THE IMAGE FOR OUR GALLERY OF COUNTRY STARS: Nominees Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton will serve as hosts at this year's show. Photo: © Getty Images

Taylor Swift might be taking a break from her country roots to concentrate on pop music, but stars like Hunter Hayes, Sam Hunt and Little Big Town are proving that country music is as hot as ever.

Taking the ACM Awards stage for what are sure to be moving and memorable performances are Reba McEntire (whose latest album just dropped!)and Garth Brooks, who along with the likes of Dolly Parton, Jimmie Rodgers, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, George Jones and Canada's Shania Twain, have helped shape country music into the colossal industry it is today.

Miranda Lambert leads all artists with seven nominations. Photo: © Getty Images

To celebrate all things country, Hello! takes a look at 12 country stars, old and new, who are topping the charts and heating things up on the road with their songs about love, life and heartache.

CLICK ON THE PHOTO FOR OUR GALLERY OF COUNTRY STARS:

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