Friday

Danielle Bradbery

This year’s ACM Awards co-host Blake Shelton describes Bradbery as “the most important artist to ever walk across [NBC’s] The Voice stage.” The champion of Season Four of NBC’s hit show, 17-year old Bradbery has lived up to the hype. Her debut, self-titled album was released in November 2013 and peaked at No. 5 on the U.S. Country Charts, while her first single, “The Heart of Dixie” cracked the Top 20 on Billboard’s country chart and country airplay. She’ll tour with Hunter Hayes this summer.

The Cadillac Three

The Cadillac Three is a high-energy trio who describes their sound as “country fuzz.” Composed of three Nashville natives—Jaren Johnson (Guitar & Lead Vocals), Kelby Ray (Bass Steel Guitar, Dobro, Acoustic & Vocals) and Neil Mason (Drums, Percussion & Vocals)—all three guys have weathered wild adventures as a Country group with a rockin’ edge. They have opened for acts like ZZ Top, Lynard Skynard, Eric Church, and Eli Young Band. Johnson is also known for penning Keith Urban’s #1 smash “You Gonna Fly.”

Florida Georgia Line

Tyler Hubbard (from Monroe, Georgia) and Brian Kelley (from Ormand Beach, Florida) first met when they were classmates at Nashville’s Belmont University, where they would write songs together between classes. They began to play at local venues in Music City, and their debut EP, It’z Just What We Do was released in summer 2012. Two years later, they join Brooks and Dunn as the only artists in history to have their first three singles hit No. 1 for multiple weeks each. Here’s To The Good Times has been certified Platinum in the U.S., and its lead single, “Cruise” is the second best-selling Country single ever, with over 6 million downloads. They recently finished their first headlining tour with sold-out shows on all stops to date.

Will Hoge

Singer-songwriter Will Hoge has, in his own words, “been through the wringer.” His almost 20-year long career has entailed touring with an RV with no heat in the dead of winter, critically acclaimed albums that did not experience equal commercial success, and even a near life-ending traffic accident in 2008. Through it all, Hoge has persevered and, as his latest album proclaims, he has been sure to Never Give In. In addition to releasing his ninth album, Hoge more recently co-wrote his first ever No. 1 single, “Even If It Breaks Your Heart,” performed by Eli Young Band; the hit also secured Hoge his first Grammy nomination and a win at the 2012 ACM Awards for Song of the Year.

Justin Moore

Since arriving in Nashville in 2009, this New Artist of the Year nominee slowly but surely begun to dominate the country charts. His first two albums have been certified gold, and his third, released in September 2013, has reached No. 1 on the country charts and No. 2 on the Billboard 200. The Arkansas native’s latest single, “Point At You,” has reached No. 2 on country airplay.

Cassadee Pope

That guy Blake Shelton really has a knack for mentoring young talent: Pope won Season Three of NBC’s The Voice after competing as a member of Team Blake (Shelton). Prior to her victory, Pope found success in a different genre of music as a founding member of the pop-punk band Hey Monday. She sang vocals and appeared in videos for Fall Out Boy, All Time Low, and Yellowcard among others. Her debut solo album was certified gold, and her single “Wasting All These Tears” reached the top ten on both the Billboard country charts and country airplay.

Rascal Flatts

Since their musical debut in 2000, Rascal Flatts has sold over 21 million albums, 25 million digital downloads, and delivered 14 Number One singles to the top of the charts. The journey began when Jay and Gary, from the Columbus, Ohio, area and Joe Don, from Picher, Oklahoma, teamed up in a club in Nashville’s Printers Alley. They quickly earned a record deal and talent, drive, and great song selection did the rest. Rascal Flatts is the most awarded Country group of the past decade, earning over 40 trophies from the ACAs, ACMs, CMAs, People’s Choice Awards and more.

Thomas Rhett

The son of former Country singer Rhett Akins, Thomas Rhett swore he would never go into the music business—even after traveling on the road with his dad, attending Reba McEntire’s Halloween parties, and receiving homework advice from some guy named Blake Shelton. After ripping up his knee in a major accident while in high school, he enrolled at David Lipscomb University in Nashville with the intention of studying kinesiology. While in school, he began performing at frat parties across Tennessee as well as playing at a music-industry showcase for singer-songwriter Frankie Ballard. Here, EMI Music picked up on the young singer and offered him a publishing deal; subsequently—and after Jason Aldean cut Rhett’s “I Ain’t Ready to Quit” for My Kinda Party--Big Machine Label Group signed Rhett, who describes his music as a “strange combination” between the “country, rock, and hip-hop” he was raised on. His single “It Goes Like This” was the No. 1 chart in the U.S. for three straight weeks last year.

Chase Rice

To say Chase Rice “wears many hats” would be an understatement: Rice has been a starting linebacker at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a member of NASCAR pit crews, a writer on the hit single “Cruise,” and a touring artist who sold out venues across the country without a record label, manager or a song on the radio. The Asheville, N.C. native originally had his sights set on the NFL until an ankle injury would spell his football career. A teammate at UNC had introduced Rice to the guitar his sophomore year, and, after a short stint in NASCAR, Rice moved to Nashville to pursue music with two friends—Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley, who would soon form Florida Georgia Line. Rice’s first album, Dirt Road Communion, has sold 30,000 copies, and in 2013, after years representing himself, he signed with Triple 8 Management.

Charlie Worsham

Originally from Grenada, Mississippi, Charlie Worsham has always been playing somewhere—from the local Missionary Baptist Church to the Opry when he was just 12-years old. He’s currently finishing up his debut album, and he recently released his first single, “Could It Be.” After studying at Boston’s Berklee School of Music, Worsham has spent the last two years touring with the likes of Taylor Swift and Miranda Lambert.

Saturday

American Young

The duo of Kristy Osmunson and songwriter/producer Jon Stone burst onto the music scene last year with their debut single, “Love is War.” Prior to becoming American Young, Stone penned such hits as “Me and My Gang” and “A Woman Like You,” while Osmunson was a founding member of the duo Bomshel. “Love is War” has cracked the Top 50 on US Country Airplay.

Lee Brice

South Carolina-native Lee Brice was the ultimate dual-threat in high school—and by that we mean he was a three-time, high school pageant champion while also earning All-Conference honors as a football player. Brice might have gone on to become a civil engineer if not for a career-ending football injury at Clemson University. So, instead, Brice reevaluated his life, goals, and dreams and came to the conclusion that music, not engineering, drove him. He headed to Nashville and co-wrote almost 150 songs in his first year. His first album, Love Like Crazy, debuted in 2009, and, in late 2011, Brice returned to the charts with Hard to Love. Four tracks on Hard to Love have earned Platinum or Gold certification, with “Hard to Love” and “I Drive Your Truck” reaching No. 1 on US Country Airplay.

Joel Crouse

While most teenagers are far more concerned with parties and heading to the mall, Joel Crouse was a bit too busy for such child’s play. Crouse wrote his first song at age 14, started a band at 15, graduated from high school at 16, and signed a record deal shortly after his 19th birthday. Since then, the now 21-year-old artist has opened for the likes of Taylor Swift, The Band Perry, Darius Rucker, and even the Goo Goo Dolls. His debut single, “If You Want Some” was released in late 2013, and his debut album is due out this year.

Dan + Shay

You wouldn’t know it judging by their chemistry and early success, but Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney did not meet until they both were visiting Nashville in December 2012. The pair started writing songs together the day after they met and soon began performing together. Shay, an Arkansas native, didn’t even officially move to Nashville until last year; Pennsylvania born-and-raised Dan has lived there since 2010. Their first single, “19 + You and Me” has quickly climbed the country charts and even the U.S. Billboard Charts, and their debut album, Where It All Began, is due out April 1st.

Brett Eldredge

From a young age, country up-and-comer Brett Eldredge had a “big voice” coming out of him; thus, it seemed only natural for his parents to buy him a guitar and sound system when he was young. By age 15, Eldredge was a performer in demand for local functions and made the move to Nashville after college. His first album, Bring You Back, has reached No. 2 on the US Country charts while its lead single, “Don’t Ya” became a song of Summer 2013, going gold and reaching No. 1 on the country radio charts. The New Artist of the Year Nominee most recently was an opening act on Taylor Swift’s “Red” Tour and will join Keith Urban and Billy Currington this summer.

Tyler Farr

Farr got into country music a little bit later than some of his contemporaries, but did so in a big way, touring with his stepfather, the lead guitarist for George Jones, at age 16. Soon after, Farr made the move to Nashville, working as a bouncer for five months until he convinced the management to let him sing; he’d spend the next few years singing four nights a week in addition to working security at the door. While in Nashville, he struck up a friendship with fellow songwriter and outdoorsman Rhett Akins, who helped get his start writing songs. Years of dedication paid off this past September, when Farr’s first album peaked at No. 2 on the country charts and No. 5 on the Billboard 200. It’s hit single, “Redneck Crazy” reached No. 2 and No. 3 on the US Country and country airplay charts, respectively.

Love and Theft

Bible Belt-natives Stephen Barker Liles and Eric Gunderson formed Love and Theft in 2006 and would first make their mark on the country music scene in a different way than most: while touring with Taylor Swift in 2008, Swift penned “Hey Stephen” about Liles. Since then, Love and Theft has shifted from a trio to the duo of Liles and Gunderson and has released two albums, including their self-titled 2012 album, featuring their first No. 1 hit, “Angel Eyes.”

Max Impact

The United States Air Force’s premier rock band, Max Impact is a six member group that performs classic and current rock and country hits, as well as patriotic favorites and original music. They’ve performed for the White House, the State Department, the Department of Defense, and countless other high-level military and civilian functions; they’ve also toured various deployment locations, including Iraq and Afghanistan. The group is comprised of vocalists Shani Prewtt and Ryan Carson, drummer Robert K. Smith, bassist David E. Foster, guitarist Matthew R. Geist, and pianist Jonathan S. McPherson, as well as their production audio team; all members are sergeants in the Air Force.

Kip Moore

Many a singer-songwriter has spoken of coming to Nashville via the “road less traveled,” but then there’s the road Kip Moore took: the New Artist of the Year nominee came to the Music City from Hawaii. The Georgia native found a love for music early, but decided to focus on athletics, playing both baseball and golf in college. After graduation, Moore and a friend moved to Hawaii on a whim with nothing but a backpack and a surfboard, living in a hut for $50 a month. Six months passed and Moore was ready to stay in Hawaii forever, until his friend encouraged him to pursue songwriting. Moore headed to Nashville in January 2004 in an old Nissan truck with one bag and his guitar—perhaps foreshadowing of his hit-single “Somethin ‘Bout a Truck.” After four years of performing locally, Moore signed to MCA Nashville and, in 2012, his second single, “Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck” went platinum. His album Up All Night was the best-selling debut album by a male in both 2012 and 2013.

Natalie Stovall and The Drive

First formed seven years ago, Tennessee native Natalie Stovall and her band formally changed their name to “Natalie Stovall and The Drive” in 2013 after performing nearly 200 dates in 2012. Named Campus Activities Magazine’s Entertainers of the Year in 2012, the group recently toured the Middle East on one of their many Navy Entertainment Tours. They are currently working on their debut album, due out this year.

Joe Nichols

After high school—and playing in a rock band the majority of his teenage years--Joe Nichols took a night job as a DJ while supporting himself as a mechanic during the day. He met producer Randy Edwards at the latter job, and under Edwards guidance, he performed regularly and worked on his songwriting. He landed his first record deal in 1996, and, six years and several label mergers later, his ballad, “The Impossible” reached number three on the country charts and made the pop Top 30. Since then, Nichols has had four Number One singles, including last year’s “Sunny and 75” off his newest album Crickets.

Jerrod Niemann

Born in Harper, Kansas, Neimann learned guitar and was writing and performing his own songs by the age of ten. After high school, he attended South Plains College in Levelland, Texas, where he also followed his music dreams by playing in local clubs and bars. After self-releasing his first album when his first label folded, Neimann signed onto Arista Nashville in 2010; his first album with the label featured number one single “Lover, Lover” and its Top Five follow-up “What Do You Want.” In 2013, he released his Top 20 hit “Drink To That All Night.”

Jon Pardi

Jon Pardi got his start at the age of four, thanks to his country music-loving grandmother and her karaoke machine. He was enamored with the music of Hank Williams Jr. and the two Georges—Jones and Strait—and sang “Friends in Low Places” at his father’s 30th birthday party at a local Legion hall. Pardi’s passion for music continued to grow just as he did; he started playing acoustic at local clubs while he was in high school before forming a band while at Butte Junior College. However, Pardi knew Nsahville was where he really wanted to be, and, so, in February 2008 with his dog, his PA system, and the $7,000 he’d saved, he drove off to Nashville. He worked as a lifeguard before landing a publishing deal 18 months after arriving and would sign a record deal three years later. Pardi’s second single, “Up All Night,” cracked the Top Ten on the US Country Charts in 2013.

Parmalee

Comprised of brothers Matt and Scott Thomas, cousin Barry Knox, and friend Josh McSwain, it’s only fitting that the band behind 2013’s smash hit-single “Carolina” got their start in the backwoods of North Carolina. Beginning their career in (where else) a barn in Parmale, NC, that they named “Studio B,” this group was formed in the early 2000s when all four joined and traveled with their fathers’ bands. A decade later, the boys decided to make the move to Nashville, but, when loading their RV while on one last tour through North Carolina, the Thomas Brothers were held at gunpoint; Scott Thomas was shot three times and doctors gave him a five-percent chance to live. Thanks to Facebook campaigns and the support of the Nashville community, money was raised to cover Scott’s medical bills and he was back behind a drum kit a year later. Their dedication and perseverance paid off this past year, as “Carolina” became the longest climbing single by a duo or group in the 24-year history of the Billboard Country Charts. They’ll join Jake Owen on select dates of his “Days of Gold” Tour this summer.

Swon Brothers

Guess there’s a reason Blake Shelton is the winningest coach on NBC’s The Voice: these guys were on Team Blake, too. Since making a name for themselves on NBC’s singing competition, the Oklahoma natives are working on their first album after debuting their first single, “Later On,” in December 2013 on The Voice. This isn’t the first rodeo for the Swon’s, who convinced their parents to take them to auditions in Nashville on the way back from a family vacation in Florida when they were just 9 and 11 years old. The Swon Brothers were recently honored with a Rising Star at the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.

Leah Turner

A West Coast cowgirl, Turner grew up on a ranch in the Morongo Valley where she began writing songs at the age of six. While taking a songwriting class at the University of California at Santa Barbara, Turner had the opportunity to perform in front of celebrity guest Kenny Loggins, who convinced her to move to Los Angeles to begin a singing career. After a five-year run in L.A., though, Turner bought a one-way ticket to Nashville, seeking to return to the music she had grown up on: country. Her debut single, “Take the Keys” was released in October.

Keith Urban

New Zealand-born and Australia-raised, Keith Urban moved to Nashville in 1992. His first American album came as a member of The Ranch (1997) followed by an increasingly accomplished series of chart-topping solo albums and a lengthy list of Number Ones—which now numbers fourteen. Urban has been honored with Grammy Awards, Country Music Association Awards, Academy of Country Music Awards, a People’s Choice Award, American Music Award, and Australia’s coveted Aria Award. He was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2012, and, for the last several years, he has spearheaded the “All for Hall” benefit concerts, which have raised nearly $2 million for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

Austin Webb

Austin Webb didn’t intend to go to Nashville the first time he went: in a spontaneous move after a bad breakup, Webb drove to Music City, stopped at Johnny Cash’s grave at 4 a.m. to pay respects, and ended up at a Waffle House by morning. Here, he’d meet singer-songwriter Charlie Louvin by pure chance, and Louvin invited Webb to play with him that night at the Smokehouse in Monteagle, TN; needless to say, Webb has stuck around Nashville ever since. He won the songwriting competition “The Nashville Connection,” and his debut album is due out later this year. The South Carolina native has been writing poetry since he was a child, although he didn’t discover music until he was a teenager—since then, he has not parted from his beloved, worn Martin guitar.

Chris Young

In his early teens, Young convinced his mom to drive him into Nashville so he could sit with bands and work with local songwriters; by 16 he’d formed a band with some older guys from Middle Tennessee State University, and they’d started playing George Strait and Garth Brooks covers in whatever clubs would have them. At 28, Chris Young is already a Grammy-nominated recording artist, a talented songwriter with five Number Ones to his name—he wrote four of them, too—and a handsome charmer to boot. Young was named one of last summer’s top tour openers by Entertainment Weekly after traveling with Brad Paisley through last fall, and his latest album, A.M. was released in September.