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Ballerini, Stapleton, Old Dominion win ACM new artist honors

Wednesday, March 23, 2016 – Chris Stapleton, Kelsea Ballerini and Old Dominion were named today the New Male, Female Duo/Group of the Year respectively by the Academy Of Country Music Awards.

These awards mark the first-ever ACM Award wins for Ballerini, Stapleton and Old Dominion. Ballerini is also nominated for Female Vocalist of the Year, Stapleton leads the ACM nominations with six additional nods, including Album of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year, and Old Dominion received a nomination for Vocal Group of the Year.

This is part of a great stretch for Stapleton, whose "Traveller" debut CD has topped the charts for many weeks. He was a surprise winner of three Country Music Association awards in November. Stapleton took the honor over Thomas Rhett, Brett Eldredge, Chase Rice and Chris Janson.

Ballerini, a Tennessee native with hits including "Dibs" and "Love Me Like You Mean It," won over Cam, Mickey Guyton and RaeLynn.

Old Dominion, which has hits with "Snapback" and "Break Up With Him," beat out A Thousand Horses, Brothers Osborne, Maddie & Tae and Parmalee.

Previously fan-voted, the newcomer categories are now all incorporated into the professional membership voting process this year.

The awards, co-hosted by Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley, will be broadcast live from Las Vegas on April 3 at 8 p.m. live eastern/delayed Pacific on CBS.

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CD reviews

Happy Endings CD review - Happy Endings
Right off the bat, the title of Old Dominion's album "Happy Endings" is far better than "Meat and Candy," its prior effort. ("Meat" in an album title? Really?) But also on an artistic level, OD's follow-up shows signs of growth. With that said, though, there's nothing on this new release as immediately catchy as "Snapback." Nevertheless, the vocal-only harmonies introducing "Not Everything's About You," are a beautiful thing. »»»
Meat and Candy CD review - Meat and Candy
Old Dominion may be releasing its full-length debut, but this quintet is not filled with newbies. Lead singer Matthew Ramsey co-wrote "Chainsaw" for The Band Perry and with band mate Trevor Rosen penned Craig Morgan's "Wake Up Lovin' You" and Dierks Bentley's "Say You Do." Rosen also co-wrote Chris Young's "Neon," Blake Shelton's "Sangria" and The Band Perry's "Better Dig Two," while Brad Tursi wrote Tyler »»»
The First Time CD review - The First Time
"Why do we need you? There's already a Taylor Swift." So said a Nashville record executive to a teenage Kelsea Ballerini. It undoubtedly stung at the time - but she was still in high school and had only travelled from Knoxville. Now that same executive is likely pricing a self-kicking machine. Ballerini's self-titled EP released last year scored big with a Top Ten Country single, "Love Me Like You Mean It." "The First Time," her full-sized debut, has now »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: Kristofferson gives insight, but no easy answers – When they say music gets better with age, they're not always just talking about songs alone; sometimes they're also referring to the listener. When Kris Kristofferson sings, "Well, I woke up Sunday morning/With no way to hold my head that didn't hurt," to smartly open "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down," he... »»»
Concert Review: No sugarcoating, Welch dishes out an experience – Gillian Welch (accompanied, as always, by master guitarist David Rawlings), celebrated her "The Harrow & The Harvest" album with a powerful night of music. She apologized many times for the utter unhappiness expressed through this album's songs, admitting it's "not the most chipper album" at one point.... »»»
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