Luke Bryan's moving up the charts

Sometimes it's difficult to determine exactly when you have arrived. Moving along life's highway, there aren't any big road signs that say for certain that you've reached a particular destination.

But if there were, we'd venture a guess that Luke Bryan has hit the city limits of Big Time.

The Lee County country music artist has built a solid career, one that has seen his music gain in popularity. After winning the Country Music Association's best new artist award, Bryan has built on that with solid work that has endeared him to his fans.

On Wednesday, Bryan, filling in for Lady Antebellum, announced some of the top nominations with his friend Jason Aldean on "Good Morning America." Bryan found out he's up for two major prizes in this November's CMA Awards -- male vocalist of the year and album of the year.

It's safe to say that with those two nominations, Bryan has arrived.

The fact is, Bryan's already been in the top-star tier for a while now, but these nominations cinch it. It's not so much winning -- he has stiff competition in both categories -- as it is the company he's keeping.

In the competition for male vocalist, Bryan's facing Eric Church, Aldean, Blake Shelton and Keith Urban. For album of the year, his "Tailgates & Tanlines" is up against Church's "Chief," Miranda Lambert's "Four the Record," Dierks Bentley's "Home" and Lady A's "Own the Night." Perennial nominee and multiple winner Brad Paisley didn't make the cut this year, which makes it even more remarkable.

"Those are just really, really important categories and stuff that really anytime I get nominated and I look at the company that I'm in it's pretty amazing," Bryan said.

Indeed. Bryan's hanging out with some heady company and he's showing he belongs.

And while we're not given to making predictions, particularly when it comes to the entertainment business, we will venture this observation from the crystal ball: It won't be long before some new music star finds himself mentioned in the company of Luke Bryan and suddenly realizes that he, too, has arrived.