Where to begin with this category? The CMA has been working double-time to strip itself of all things distinctive. After moving the Musician award to pre-telecast and bumping the Hall of Fame inductions completely, they have now renamed the Horizon Award the “New Artist Award”, a generic title already used by the more prestigious Grammys and on three ACM trophies every year.
Further complicating matters is a new artist scene that is full of many acts with a hit or two to their credit, but few breakaway stars. Assuming the same rules apply, artists can’t be nominated more than twice. This means that Little Big Town and Miranda Lambert are out of the running.
Quite honestly, it’s slim pickin’s for me in this category, but I’ll try to make the case for five worthy nominees.
One of the few rising stars with two solid and successful albums under his belt. He was nominated in 2007 but overlooked in 2006, meaning he’s eligible for one more shot. He deserves it.
He’s connecting with the lead single from his second set, and the talent there is undeniable. I’d like to see him garner his first CMA nod in this category.
Even though his most recent single has struggled, the four #1 hits that preceded it and the platinum-plus sales of the set they’re culled from has earned him another shot at this award.
Also known as: Little Big Town 2.0. Catchy first single, good harmonies, no obvious autotuning going on. They’re pretty good.
A solid hitmaker who hasn’t been matching his airplay record with sales. The exposure of the nomination would be beneficial in helping more fans match the name with the face. Quite frankly, a guy who can sing both “Tough” and “International Harvester” convincingly is a keeper.
Those are my five. Who are yours?