Everything You Need To Know About The Best New Artist ACM Nominees

Brett Eldredge, nominated for New Male Vocalist Of The Year

Brett Eldredge, nominated for New Male Vocalist Of The Year

What You Need To Know: As cousin of The Grascals' Terry Eldredge, Brett Eldredge's rise to fame increased exponentially when his third single, "Don't Ya," became his first single to reach the Top 20 of the Hot Country Songs chart and to appear on the Billboard Hot 100.

Pop-music fans might recognize Brett's handsome face from the bill of Taylor Swift's Red Tour because he was one of the superstar's opening acts. However, country-music lovers probably know Brett best from his jaunts with Thomas Rhett, Darius Rucker, Brothers Osbourne, and more!

Listen To: Illinois (2015)
Chris Janson, nominated for New Male Vocalist Of The Year

Chris Janson, nominated for New Male Vocalist Of The Year

What You Need To Know: Chris Janson first dipped his toe in the country-music world by being a wordsmith for established stars like Tim McGraw ("Truck Yeah") and Justin Moore ("Off The Beaten Path".) 

Known for his dramatic and unpredictable on-stage swagger, Chris has charted four times on Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay, including the Top 5 single "Buy Me A Boat." In addition to writing hit songs, this dad of four is also a fierce multi-instrumentalist and can play a mean harmonica, guitar, bass, piano, banjo, and drums. 

Listen To: Buy Me A Boat (2015)
Thomas Rhett, nominated for New Male Vocalist Of The Year

Thomas Rhett, nominated for New Male Vocalist Of The Year

What You Need To Know: After being nominated for three ACM Awards this year, Thomas Rhett—who just-so-happens to be the son of country singer Rhett Atkins—has quickly become one of the twangy genre's biggest upstarts.

First, he soaked up the songwriting spotlight by penning tunes for artists like Jason Aldean and Florida Georgia Line. Then, Thomas went out on his own and released two successful solo albums that have snagged five No. 1 singles on the Country Airplay charts, including "It Goes Like This" and "Get Me Some Of That." Rhett's newest hit, "T-Shirt," was released to country radio on February 16, 2016.

Listen To: Tangled Up (2015)
Chase Rice, nominated for New Male Vocalist Of The Year

Chase Rice, nominated for New Male Vocalist Of The Year

What You Need To Know: Chase Rice started like many of his fellow New Male Vocalist Of The Year nominees, by co-writing songs for other country superstars, like Florida Georgia Line ("Cruise.") However, it wasn't until the budding singer competed on Survivor that he gained national exposure—his song "Buzz Back" played during the reality show's reunion special that country music fans really started to take note.

In 2013, Chase released a 6-song EP, Ready Set Roll, and its title track peaked at No. 1 on the iTunes Country album chart. Since then, he's traveled the country, playing with A-list artists like Kenny Chesney, Eric Church, and The Cadillac Three.


Listen To: Ignite The Night (2014) 

 
Chris Stapleton, nominated for New Male Vocalist Of The Year

Chris Stapleton, nominated for New Male Vocalist Of The Year

What You Need To Know: This year, Chris Stapleton is nominated for four ACM Awards in the wake of his hugely successful debut album, Traveller, which also won two 2016 GRAMMY Awards. (One for "Best Country Album" and another for "Best Country Solo Performance.") 

One could say songwriting has always been his forte, seeing as the Kentucky native has written hits for Kenny Chesney, George Strait, Darius Rucker, Luke Bryan, Tim McGraw, LeeAnn Womack, and Alan Jackson—and that's not even half of it. Chris' transition from under-the-radar singer/songwriter to GRAMMY Award-winning country artist has been incredible to watch because it's not everyday a performer can balance hitting the high notes and fiddling with that southern twang so effortlessly.


Listen To: Traveller (2015) 
 
Kelsea Ballerini, nominated for New Female Vocalist Of The Year

Kelsea Ballerini, nominated for New Female Vocalist Of The Year

What You Need To Know: Ever since country-pop singer Kelsea Ballerini began writing songs and strumming the guitar back in her hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee, she had dreams of moving to Nashville and being a star. After signing with Black River Entertainment at the age of 19, Kelsea released her debut single, "Love Me Like You Mean It," which became an instant hit.

In 2015, Kelsea's name lit up the marquee at the legendary Grand Ole Opry, which is no small feat for a 22-year-old new artist, who just released her first full-length album, The First Time, in May of the same year. More recently, Kelsea put out the third single off her debut album, called "Peter Pan."


Listen To: The First Time (2015)
Cam, nominated for New Female Vocalist Of The Year

Cam, nominated for New Female Vocalist Of The Year

What You Need To Know: Camaron Ochs—best known these days as Cam—broke away from her pop-music persona in 2012 when she started writing and performing more country-tinged material with collaborators Tyler Johnson and Jeff Bhasker, who produced tracks for Taylor Swift, P!nk, Bruno Mars, and BeyoncĂ©.

In 2015, Cam got her big break when she signed with Sony Music Entertainment and dropped a four-song EP,
Welcome To Cam Country. Less than a year later, Cam released her country debut LP, Untamed, and has been wooing fans and critics with songs like "Burning House" and "Mayday." 

Listen To: Untamed (2015)
Mickey Guyton, nominated for New Female Vocalist Of The Year

Mickey Guyton, nominated for New Female Vocalist Of The Year

What You Need To Know: All eyes have been on Texas' own Mickey Guyton since she wrote "Better Than You Left Me," a sweet song about her first love, and the single was added to nearly 80 different radio station its first week, making it the highest country music debut ever.

Mickey's steady rise through Nashville's country scene has led her to her playing some pretty amazing stages—The White House and the Grand Ole Opry, to name a couple—as well as receiving a personal call from Brad Paisley, who asked the singer to join him on his Crushin' It world tour.

(She said yes, by the way.) 


Listen To: Mickey Guyton (2014)
RaeLynn, nominated for New Female Vocalist Of The Year

RaeLynn, nominated for New Female Vocalist Of The Year

What You Need To Know: In 2012, singer/songwriter RaeLynn started out as a contestant on The Voice and gained a lot of attention for her beautiful renditions of songs by The Band Perry and Jason Aldean.

Though this songstress didn't win her season, she has since collaborated with Miranda Lambert on the song "Lie" and Blake Shelton on "Boys Round Here." Raelynn's 2014 debut single, "God Made Girls," taken from her Me EP, highlighted her signature vocal range and youthful approach to country music. While fans wait to hear the singer's first full-length studio album, they can jam to her latest song, "For A Boy." 

Listen To: Me EP (2015)
A Thousand Horses, nominated for New Vocal Duo Or Group Of The Year

A Thousand Horses, nominated for New Vocal Duo Or Group Of The Year

What You Need To Know: Nashville quartet A Thousand Horses, who've been referred to by some as country's version of Lynyrd Skynyrd, have a musical flair for blending Southern rock with good old-fashioned funk.

Over the years since forming, the band—composed of Michael Hobby (lead vocals), Bill Satcher (lead guitar), Zach Brown (guitar/vocals), and Graham Deloach (bass/vocals)—received both success and high acclaim, especially after Rolling Stone described the genre-bending upstarts as having "undeniable energy and stage presence."

Listen To: Southernality (2015)
 
Brothers Osborne, nominated for New Vocal Duo Or Group Of The Year

Brothers Osborne, nominated for New Vocal Duo Or Group Of The Year

What You Need To Know: Brothers Osborne—not to be confused with the '70s bluegrass band Obsorne Brothers—is an American country duo comprised of real-life brothers TJ and John Osborne, who've found themselves at the forefront of country music's new guard.

When the siblings moved to Nashville in the mid-2000s, they spent many of their early days as part of a local cover band, eventually signed a recording contract with EMI, and have been contributing to the city's evolving country sound ever since. Their first three singles, "Let's Go There," "Rum," and "Stay A Little Longer," all cracked the Country Airplay's Top 40 chart, with the latter landing the No. 2 spot and earning the duo a 2016 GRAMMY nomination. 


Listen To: Pawn Shop (2016)
Maddie & Tae, nominated for New Vocal Duo Or Group Of The Year

Maddie & Tae, nominated for New Vocal Duo Or Group Of The Year

What You Need To Know: When Madison Marlow and Taylor Dye—best-known as the young country duo Maddie & Tae—put their voices and guitars together on their snarky debut tune, "Girls In A Country Song," fans couldn't get enough of the sassy singers and helped propel the song to No. 1 on country radio.

The girls were first introduced to each other by their mutual vocal coach, who thought 20-year-old Maddie and 19-year-old Tae would make a can't-lose country team. And, boy, was he right. These ACM nominees have released a few more powerfully confessional hits, like "Fly" and "Shut Up And Fish," and are excited to take their show on the road when they tour the country later this year. 


Listen To: Maddie & Tae (2014)

 
Old Dominion, nominated for New Vocal Duo Or Group Of The Year

Old Dominion, nominated for New Vocal Duo Or Group Of The Year

What You Need To Know: When New Vocal Group Of The Year nominee Old Dominion made their country debut in 2014, they weren't shy about their desire to be part of the genre's new wave of music. The band's debut single, "Break Up With Him," was a Top 10 hit on the Hot Country Songs chart, but that wasn't the first time these fine gents topped the charts.

Before joining forces, some of the members penned tunes for country superstars like Blake Shelton, Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, The Band Perry, Keith Urban, and Kenny Chesney, who's bringing Old Dominion out with him on the Spread The Love Tour throughout spring and summer of 2016.

Listen To: Meat And Candy (2015)

Watch Old Dominion's ACM Sessions performance and interview!



 
Parmalee, nominated for New Vocal Duo Or Group Of The Year

Parmalee, nominated for New Vocal Duo Or Group Of The Year

What You Need To Know: In 2001, brothers Matt and Scott Thomas got together with their cousin, Barry Knox, and longtime best friend, Josh McSwain, and it wasn't long before Parmalee was formed.

A few years—and a couple albums later—the band started receiving widespread acclaim for their song "Carolina," which appeared on their 2013 album Feels Like Carolina. Since then, "Carolina" has been certified Gold and the group has released two more hit singles, "Close Your Eyes" and "Already Callin' You Mine."

Listen To: Feels Like Carolina (2013)

Don't forget to watch the 51st Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, which will broadcast live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday, April 3 at 8/7c. The event can also be streamed on CBS.com and CBS All Access.