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Artists to Watch at CMA Festival 2016


Thursday, June 9th:

Dierks Bentley: Having just released his new album Black on May 27, Dierks Bentley is ready to rock his performance at the festival and hopefully premiere brand-new material. He just started a long tour extending all the way through the end of September, performing at numerous amphitheaters and festivals including Chippewa Valley Country Fest and Illinois and Iowa state fairs, ending this long streak of performances at the beautiful Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado. No stranger to the stage as he’s released music since 2003, Bentley knows how to put on a good performance.

Scotty McCreery: McCreery exploded onto the country music scene with the mega-spotlight of “American Idol”, but hasn’t released music in almost three years. Instead, the young artist has just released his first auto-biography titled “Go Big or Go Home: The Journey Toward the Dream” on May 3. This can only mean that his new album is imminent. Will he announce his new album and premiere songs at his performance at the festival? Make sure to see him to find out!

Friday, June 10th:

Chris Stapleton: Stapleton is arguably the biggest country musician of the year. He won Best Country Album and Best Solo Country Performance at the Grammys and has booked gigs at some of the largest music festivals in the world, including Lollapalooza in Chicago, Illinois and Austin City Limits in Austin, Texas. Still touring for his stellar debut album Traveller, Stapleton is a must see for any and every country music fan.

Marty Haggard: The whole world mourned as we lost one of country’s greatest legends this year – Merle Haggard. Who better to carry on Merle’s legacy than his own son, Marty Haggard? Releasing two tribute albums in honor of his late father, Haggard’s performance is sure to be full of heart and definitely not to be missed.

Saturday, June 11th:

Cole Swindell: Swindell is having a whirlwind of a year for promoting his album You Should Be Here, which released May 6. In fact, the artist recently performed on top of the 4 World Trade Center in New York City for the families of 9/11 victims, emergency personal and construction workers. What makes his album so unique and impactful is that it is inspired by the loss of his father. Pouring his emotions into his work, Swindell’s performance is sure to be one that won’t be forgotten.

Jamie Lynn Spears: Spears has had quite the unorthodox approach to becoming a country music performer. Known for acting, she was the star of Nickelodeon show “Zoey 101” for five years before her pregnancy at 16 years old put an abrupt stop to the show and her plans. Now, she’s back in the TV spotlight for the first time since her dramatic exit, starring in an hour-long TLC special to talk about her life since “Zoey 101”. Releasing a new single “Sleepover” around the same time as her TLC appearance, Spears is clearly hinting at her return to country music as well. One thing is for certain: Her performance is sure to establish her as a true country musician, not the girl with an early pregnancy and a famous sister.

Sunday, June 12th:

Margo Price: Price isn’t a happy-go-lucky country sweetheart. Having struggled for years to make her way in Nashville and suffering the loss of her son just two weeks after his birth, Price has experienced unbearable heartache and struggle – making her rise to success so much more rewarding. Her tough and gritty demeanor is fairly unique in the world of female country musicians, but this exact personality is what has helped her gain an incredible rush of attention – including a powerful performance on “Saturday Night Live” just a month ago. Her premiere album, Midwest Farmer’s Daughter, was released by Third Man Records to a wave of critical success, earning a 4/5 star rating with the Rolling Stone.

Thomas Rhett: Rhett is in the prime of his career so far, having earned two nominations for the CMT awards, three nominations for the ACM awards, and his hit single “Die a Happy Man” topping the Billboard Country Airplay charts for four weeks straight. In April, he even performed at the ACM music awards alongside legendary acts such as Chris Stapleton (see above) and Tim McGraw. On June 24, he will be featured on “CMT Crossroads”, sharing the stage with pop artist Nick Jonas. Needless to say, Rhett is having a stellar 2016.


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