As we close out 2016 I thought I would do my own version of those awards shows I'm always making guesses on and criticizing. I mean, if you can't beat them....join them. So, here is the 2016 New Music Monday Awards via The Faith Journals.......
Maren Morris - "My Church"
CMA Performance 2016
Best New Artist ~ Maren Morris
Maren came out of the musical gate, swinging. "My Church", the first single off of her debut album, "Hero", made it to the top of most charts, has been multi nominated and is now a Grammy nominee for 2017. Morris won Best New Artist at this years CMA's held in November just after her stellar first CMA performance (vid above). What makes all of this so monumental is the fact that when Maren began work on "Hero" she was not signed to a major label, had no number one's, and was still just trying to make her own path in Nashville courtesy of time spent crashing on fellow Texan, Kacey Musgraves couch. Maren Morris has performed on a variety of late shows and just last weekend appeared for her first time as the Saturday Night Live musical guest. Maren held her own beside Alicia Keys on an episode of CMT's "Crossroads", one of my favorite episodes to date. I consider myself a rather harsh critic of "Crossroads". I'm not easily impressed by the pairings, but CMT totally got it right with this one. She opened for Keith Urban on his US leg of the "Ripcord" tour and in 2017 she will start her very first headlining tour. Maren Morris is on the up trajectory and I really do not see anything slowing her down any time soon. There were a lot of super contenders in my mind for Best New Artist of 2016, but for me, for New Music Monday, Maren is the clear winner.
Best Group ~ The Cadillac Three
Some of you may find this selection as a surprise considering the trio has zero nominations, little radio play, and only three, I think, "official" singles released. What you might not know is they held their own in front of sold out crowds on their very first headlining tour in the UK. They opened for Kip Moore on the last US leg of the "Wild One's" tour, and spent a solid amount of dates opening for Florida Georgia Line on their "Dig Your Roots" Fall 2016 tour. TC3 will headline their own, "Black Roses" tour in 2017 with openers like Aubrie Sellars, which you are already aware the Faith Journals and New Music Monday are a huge fan of. TC3 also released their first full length album, "Bury Me in My Boots", lead vocals and writer, Jaren Jonhston also logged several number one's as co-write on other artists tunes, such as Jake Owen's, "American Love Song". Johnston resigned with his publishers Sony/ATV, he and his wife Evyn established their own publishing company, "Two Black Dogs", and announced that their first child is due in 2017. Other members of TC3 also announced some big news with engagements, etc. so, to say it's been a busy year for the trio is a huge understatement. I LOVE TC3's southern rock tunes and think it's just a matter of time before everyone falls in love with it. They are who they are and that is one of my favorite things about them. If you haven't, give The Cadillac Three a listen, a download, and head over to their socials to show them some social media love. #TheJaren in particular can be rather hilarious to follow.
The Cadillac Three @ Abbey Road Studio's
"Graffiti" fr "Bury Me in My Boots"
Brothers Osborne - "21 Summer"
fr "Pawn Shop"
Story Behind "21 Summer" by Vevo'
Best Duo ~ Brothers Osborne
Again, another category that I really went back and forth with. Two things pushed them to the top of my list, 1. Their winners speech at the 2016 CMA awards where they won Best Duo, finally taking out Florida Georgia Line who have won for several years in a row. The duo was so sure they wouldn't be winning that they did not hold back on the pre-show cocktails. They barely made it to the stage, not because of intoxication, well, maybe a little because of intoxication, but mainly out of shock. It was one of the most genuine speeches of the night. Brothers Osborne was one of two opening acts on Miranda Lambert's "Keeper of the Flame" tour this Summer and spent the Fall doing their own headlining shows, which is the 2nd thing to get them to the top spot on the New Music Monday Awards. Two of the brothers shows had ceilings collapse prior to show time in the last few weeks. The most recent had the band decided to take the party outside where they performed for their audience from the top of their bus. I mean, if that ain't bad A$$ I'm unsure what is. Music and fans first if ever I saw it. I think "21 Summer" is one of my favorite tracks from "Pawn Shop". I love hearing the stories behind music and how they get to be on an album. Hope you enjoy this quick tale as much as I do.
Best Male ~ Kip Moore
I'm not sure how you could be a regular follower of #NMM and not have seen this one coming. As with The Cadillac Three, Moore did not receive any award show noms in 2016 and his tunes did not get the radio play they so deserve. Despite the lack of "industry" success from "Wild Ones", Kip and The Slow Hearts consistently sold out shows all across the US as well as the UK. Winter 2016 saw the release of the second single off of Moore's sophomore album, "Wild One's", "Running for You". which also gave us the first full length video produced by long time Moore collaborator PJ Brown and Life in Rewind for the tune. The video was a beautiful visual offering for the tune. It spent weeks on video charts until early Fall. Moore spent Summer 2016 as an opener for Miranda Lambert on the "Keeper of the Flame" tour. The guys then headlined their own, "Me and My Kind Tour" taking along with them Jon Pardi, Lindsey Elle, Tyrone Golden, and a few others in select stops. Kip and the Slow Hearts had sold out performances in the Spring of 2016 on their UK leg of the "Wild One's" tour, Kip presented at the Aussie version of the CMA's/ACM's. Kip also taped an episode of "Front and Center" w PBS. Kip's charity "Kip Kids Fund" opened several skate parks in inner cities and continues to plan/aid/fundraise for future parks and other projects. Kip is a bit of a gym rat and healthy eater so one project he would like to see happen in the future is to provide better beverage options in schools where the meal a child receives there is more than likely the only solid meal that child might get in a day. He'd like to add healthy, vitamin rich juices to their options. Moore also lent his voice to "Be The Change" (which can be viewed by clicking the highlight link or heading to KM's Social Media Pages), a video produced after several of the shootings that occurred in 2016. For me, this very well may be one of the most powerful things Moore chose to be apart of in 2016. Last but not least in 2016 Kip and The Slow Hearts released, "Underground", a five track EP that was recorded during the band's sound checks pre-show. He has mentioned in several interviews since it's release that he just wanted to do a little something for all those fans that continue to be faithful in showing up at shows, requesting the music, etc. 2017 already has a new single and album slated for release, but not until the guys get some much needed and well deserved rest over the holiday season and first few months of the new year.
Kip - "Hearts Desire"
Post Show ~ Back Ally Performance in Dublin
Kacey Musgraves - "What Are You Doing New Years Eve"
fr "A Very Kacey Christmas"
Best Female ~ Kacey Musgraves
Musgraves toured all year as a headliner on her "Rhinestones Revue Tour" as well as an opener for the one and only King George Stait on several dates. Musgraves performed at several awards shows, was apart of multiple Dolly Parton Tributes, "Pageant Material" was a mutli nominated album with multiple number ones, memorable video's, and a stellar headlining tour supporting it in 2016. To end 2016 Musgraves and crew gave the FANTASTIC Holiday offering of "A Very Kacey Christmas". It seriously seems that EVERY artist released a Christmas album this year and while they are all "good" in their own rights, I truly feel Musgraves surpasses them all. I was anticipant since early Fall of this release and I was NOT disappointed. "A Very Kacey Christmas" is not the traditional set of songs that is heard on a majority of Christmas albums. She has several originals with the help of Willie Nelson and Leroy Prine. She also tackles a few well known tracks like, "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer", "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas", and the above video "What Are You Doing for New Years Eve". I think this may be the only "official" video from the project, in 2016 anyway. She is currently heading back home from the last dates of her "A Very Kacey Christmas Tour". At this point, for me, Kacey Musgraves can do little to no harm. I love her writing, her creativity, her personal style and the way in which she appears to carry herself in the industry. I think she is such a talent and I can't wait to hear what she has next for everyone.
Best Album ~ Dierks Bentley "Black"
Dierks a little bit took over Country Music with the release of, "Black". He did a pop~up shop in Nashville, performed on several morning shows, several late night shows, co-hosted the ACM's with Luke Bryan, headlined his very own, "Somewhere on a Beach" tour with openers CAM and Randy Houser. He donated 100,000.00 to Dolly Parton's, "My People Fund" in response to the wild fires that destroyed the part of the Smokey Mountains in Gatlinburg, TN. He has already announced his 2017 headlining tour and will be taking Jon Pardi along with him as an opener. Dierks "Black" album is a bit of an ode to his wife who's maiden name is "Black". I suppose in line with that Bentley brought along several females as duet partners for the album. Bentley pre shared a variety of black and white video's setting up the songs that "Black" would have to offer. One of which was "Different for Girls" in which Dierks paired with Elle King. "Different for Girls" is multi-nominated and is currently nominated for a Grammy in 2017. The other is "I'll Be the Moon" featuring Maren Morris, my pic for Best New Artist of 2016. The song is thick, dark, and almost haunting in the helplessness one can feel when knowing they are second choice. It's beautiful. I can't wait to see all that Dierks offers in 2017.
Dierks Bentley - "Different for Girls"
Featuring Elle King
CAM - "Mayday"
Best Video of the Year ~ CAM ~ "Mayday"
CAM was on my Best New, Best Female, and Best Album lists, but I wanted to distribute the love and saved her for my Best Video pick of 2016. Cam channels Amelia Earhart in her girl power-iffic "Mayday" video. Cam is becoming a voice for females in music, especially in country music. She promotes fellow singers/writers with things like #WCW (woman crush Wednesday), she does a interactive chat with fans on Monday's via Facebook Live called, "Mayday Mondays". She is faithful in communicating with her fans via social media as well as at meet and greets. She toured this year with Dierks Bentley as well as headlined her own, very first tour in Fall of 2016. Cam also bought a home, adopted a second dog, and hell-o, got married this year!!! She is multi-nominated at the country awards shows as well as a 2016 Grammy nominee for "Burning House". I think that 2016 has shown us what Cam can do and I don't see her slowing down or falling behind in 2017. "Mayday" is a clever video that only further visualizes and supports Cams representation of girl power and women in music. I selfishly hope that "Untamed" has at least one more single coming from it before CAM moves forward onto her next project, but I suppose only time will tell. Another reason I am a devoted CAM Fan is because much like Maren Morris, Cam began her project with no major label support. She started the writing, producing, recording of "Untamed" with a Kick Starter campaign. This kind of move encourages me, challenges me and is just flat out inspiring. It takes guts and Cam has them!!!!
Song of the Year ~ "My Church" by Maren Morris and busbee
Book ending the New Music Monday Awards with Maren Morris just feels proper considering we opened with Maren as the Best New Artist. I feel I distributed the love rather fairly so I have no qualms with circling back around to Maren. "My Church" has catapulted Maren to the top of Country charts. It has laid the ground work for everything she has done this year. Co-Written with busbee "My Church" was originally a song that was written as an offering for another artist. However, Morris was advised to keep it for herself as it's previewers could only hear her singing it the way it deserved. My guess, she is grateful for that advice and even more grateful for the strength to take it. I imagine it is extremely difficult as a writer/performer to decide which songs to keep back for yourself and which ones to turn in for other artists. As mentioned earlier, Morris will begin her first headlining tour in 2017. 2016 has seen two singles from "Hero" and I hope that 2017 will see several more. "Hero" is an amazing album and was on my list for Album of the year. Like Cam, Maren began "Hero" with out begin signed to a label. I just can't say enough how brave I find these women. Also, how jealous I am that they not only know their callings, but are gutsy enough to chase them despite how uphill they may seem. GIRL POWER TO THE MAX!!!!!!!!
Maren Morris - "My Church"
Whelp kiddies, that is it for New Music Monday in 2016. I am looking forward to the new music 2017 holds. Until then, as always, keep calling in, tweeting, instagraming, facebooking, snail mailing, texting, etc. your requests to your local radio and to video count downs. I've said it nearly every post and I'll say it again, each request/vote makes a difference. Ask Maren, CAM and the Brothers Osborne how those requests for their FRESHMAN releases changed their lives. They will each point back to the fans and how they fought for them with radio, downloaded their music, bought the CD's in store, and supported them by showing up to shows.
2016 proved to be a stellar year for Country Music across the board, not just in it's own genre. I also think it was an outstanding year for Women in Country Music. Aubrie Sellars, Mickey Guyton, Margot Price, Kacey, Maren, Cam, Kelsea, Carrie, Miranda, Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman, Kimberly Perry, Kelleigh Bannen, Maggie Rose, Caitlyn Smith, Reba, Loretta, and Dolly are all amazing examples of the power of women in music, women in country music. The guys held their own too, lol!!
Kelsea Ballerini - "Yeah Boy"
fr "For the First time"
Coming in just under the 2016 wire is Kelsea Ballerini's fourth and final single from her debut album, "For the First Time". "Yeah Boy" is already out to radio and this week Ballerini shared the official video for the track. Bright, upbeat, wearing a jumper, per usual, this video is very much Ballernini's personality in my opinion. She is currently finishing up her first headlining tour and will be joining Thomas Rett in 2017 as an opener. She is working on her second album which has no current release date. Kelsea broke records in 2016 becoming the first female artist to have her first three singles off of their debut album go to number one. She toured with Billy Currington, Rascal Flats, performed at the awards shows and was apart of Billboards Women in Music celebration. Ballerini, like Morris received her first Grammy nomination and will be representing country music at the 2017 ceremony. I'm throwing in this bonus as a little musical stocking stuffer.
There are so many artists that we have gotten to share in 2016 with you. Sturgill, Stapleton, Dolly, Loretta, LBT, Jake Owen, Maddie and Tae, just to name a small few. It was seriously so difficult to break things down to one in each category. I love music and I know that many of you do as well. I appreciate your comments, likes, reposts, and just your taking time to read my thoughts in general. Hopefully you agree with my picks for the New Music Monday Awards 2016, if not, there's always next year. LOL!!
To Catch Up on 2016 #NewMusicMonday Posts or Just for Reminiscing's Sake, Simply Type, "New Music Monday" into the Blogs Search Bar and a List Should Pull Up for You to Cruise. Any Questions, Problems, Suggestions, or Requests Please Feel Free to DM Me on Social Media or Leave a Comment in the Comment Section Below.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year !!!!!
2017 is Gonna Rock!!!!