Bruce Cockburn has four nominations for Canadian Folk Music awards. (Kevin Kelly/Canadian Press)

Bruce Cockburn and Dave Gunning are leading the pack in the race for the Canadian Folk Music Awards.

As nominations for the 2011 awards were released Wednesday in Toronto, Cockburn was in the running in four categories, including contemporary album of the year and solo artist and songwriter of the year.

Canadian Folk Music Award nominees
Best traditional album
  • Dave Gunning, A Tribute to John Allan Cameron
  • Finest Kind, For Honour & For Gain
  • De Temps Antan, Les Habits de Papier
  • La Volee d'Castors, Le Retour
  • Genticorum, Nagez Rameurs
Best contemporary album
  • Twilight Hotel, When the Wolves Go blind
  • Les Charbonniers de l'Enfer, Nouvelles Frequentations
  • Lynn Miles, Fall for Beauty
  • Bruce Cockburn, Small Source of Comfort
  • Good Lovelies, Let the Rain Fall
Ensemble of the year
  • The Creaking Tree String Quartet, Sundogs
  • Maz, Telescope
  • The Wailin' Jennys, Bright Morning Stars
  • Hary Manx & Kevin Breit, Strictly Whatever
  • Genticorum, Nagez Rameurs

The folk veteran has been performing since the 1960s and had huge hits such as If I Had A Rocket Launcher and Wonderin’ Where the Lions Are. He is a multiple award-winner and followed up the release of this year's Small Source of Comfort with a national tour.

Gunning, of Pictou County, N.S., also has four nominations but in completely different catories. He is vying for traditional singer  and songwriter of the year and traditional album of the year with his recently released A Tribute to John Allan Cameron.

Cameron, dubbed the godfather of Celtic music in Canada, died in 2006, but continues to influence young musicians.

Winnipeg favourites The Wailin’ Jennys scored three nominations including vocal group and ensemble of the year for their album Bright Morning Stars. The trio, who blend their voices into beautiful harmony, mix pop and traditional folk in their fresh sound.  Francophone groups Genticorum and Maz also have three nominations apiece.

In the best traditional singer category, Gunning is competing with Scottish ex-pat Enoch Kent, Edmonton’s Lizzy Hoyt, Vancouver Island’s Eileen McGann and Saskatchewan-born Joel Fafard.

The contenders for best contemporary singer include Halifax-based David Myles, Saskatoon’s Suzie Vinnick, Winnipeg’s Cat Jahnke and Toronto’s Matthew Barber, as well as Cockburn.

The winners will be named Dec. 4 at an awards ceremony held in Toronto.