Saturday, April 4, 2009

I've Got A New Attitude

A reporter from the Press of Atlantic City asked me the other day which awards show was more important, the Academy of Country Music or Country Music Association Awards. I told him that in my mind the CMAs were No. 1 and the ACMs were 1a. Both are important, especially if you win an award. A win is a win, particularly for newer artists, who are looking for an industry vote of confidence.

This year the ACM, which has fiddled with the formula the last few years by letting fans vote for awards that were once the sole responsibility of industry insiders, has spiced up its new artist award categories. Fans voted the winners in three categories (new male, female and duo or group) and now those winners will square off for the new divisional title of top new artist in another fan-voted competition.

Julianne Hough, Zac Brown Band and Jake Owen are the three acts hoping to wear the new artist crown. How it will shake out is anyone's guess, but Hough has the advantage—not because of her musical success thus far, but because of her exposure on Dancing With The Stars. While I believe Zac Brown Band is the breakthrough act of the last year and has the best album of the three nominated acts, I wouldn't be surprised if Hough wins.

But "new artists" are also competing in some of the major categories. Former Trick Pony lead singer Heidi Newfield is up for five awards, including top female, single and song. Likewise, modern outlaw Jamey Johnson is up album, single and song. 

Meanwhile, Joey + Rory is up for top vocal duo and Lady Antebellum (last year's top new duo or group), Randy Rogers Band and Lost Trailers are nominated in the top group division.

Will any of these new artists take home major hardware on Sunday? My money is on Johnson, who is proving to be a fan and industry favorite.

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