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Best New Artist Should Be New

Lee Brice
Getty Images/Rick Diamond

The ACM Award nominations are out and I found The Best New Artist category a bit curious. To be sure, I have no problem with the artists– just who they consider new. Take Lee Brice. Sure, he took things to a new level in 2013 but it is a bit of a stretch to call him a new artist, isn’t it? He had a pretty solid hit with Love Like Crazy back in 2009 which peaked at #3. None too shabby. A Woman Like You climbed all the way to #1 for him in 2011. This is to say he established a pretty solid track record before 2013.

In the same boat, I’d include Justin Moore. He’s had two #1 hits and both came before 2012. Why is he now being recognized as a new artist? His fantastic self-titled 2009 disc (which he joined me on The Big Drive Home to tout back in 2009) reached #3 on the charts and Outlaws Like Me reached #1 in 2011. The guy is great. He’s just not new.

The only reason I find it a bit troublesome is that it distracts, and possibly detracts, from the artists who legitimately belong in the category. Artists like Tyler Farr and Thomas Rhett who burst onto the scene in the past year. Acts like Kacey Musgraves and Parmalee who worked their way into the big time after a series of indie and self-released records led them to well-earned success. We ought to keep the category for these folks. Those who have tasted success already? Let them compete for all the other categories.


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