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Five Rising Stars to Watch on This Years CMA Awards

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November 13, 2018

The 52nd Annual CMA Awards will air live Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 8|7c on ABC, hosted by country superstars Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood.

“The CMA Awards are my favorite time of the year. It’s exciting to honor Country Music’s legacy, celebrate today’s artists, and reveal the superstars of tomorrow,” said Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer.

Here are five rising stars to catch on this years CMA Awards.

Lauren Alaina

Lauren Alaina began performing at the tender age of three in her hometown of Rossville, Georgia. She officially arrived on the rising star scene when she became a runner-up on the tenth season of American Idol, when Idol judge Steven Tyler declared, “We found the one!” But it was the launch of her debut studio album, Wildflower, in 2011 that captured the attention of country music fans, as well as her duet with Carrie Underwood, Before He Cheats. Her second album, Road Less Traveled, topped the Billboard charts.

Luke Combs

Originally from Asheville, North Carolina, Luke Albert Combs dropped out of college during his last year at Appalachian State University and moved to Nashville, to follow his musical dreams. His star rose quickly on the Music City scene, where he connected with Columbia Records Nashville to produce his four hit singles: “Hurricane”, “When It Rains It Pours”, “One Number Away”, and “She Got the Best of Me”. “Hurricane” reached No. 1 on the Country Radio airplay charts in May 2017 and his debut album This One’s for You reached No. 1 on the Billboard Country Albums Chart and No. 5 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums in its first week, leading to Combs’ being nominated a Sounds Like Nashville “Artist to Watch.

Chris Janson

Nashville Gab described Chris Janson best: “He is explosive on stage and completely unpredictable. I compare his live set to a wild horse, it’s not meant to be tamed. He brings a blue-collar, redneck edge to every show that seems to be lacking in country music these days. Chris Janson is the future of country music.”

Born on April 2, 1986, in Perryville, Missouri, Janson moved to Nashville, Tennessee, with stars in his eyes, as soon as he graduated from high school. He signed with BNA Records soon after he arrived, releasing his debut single, “‘Til a Woman Comes Along”, in April 2010. Janson is nominated for a whopping three CMAs in 2018, including Best New Artist, Song of the Year and Video of the Year for “Drunk Girl”. He became the newest (and youngest!) member of the Grand Ole Opry in February 2018, and was inducted by Garth Brooks.


Founded in Dripping Springs, Texas, in 2013, Midland was inspired by Dwight Yoakam’s song “Fair to Midland”. With Mark Wystrach on lead vocals, Cameron Duddy on bass guitar and Jess Carson on lead guitar, this neo-traditionalist country music band has released one studio album, On the Rocks and has topped the Billboard country music charts with singles “Drinkin’ Problem”, “Make a Little” and “Burn Out”. Rolling Stone described their style as “a mix of George Strait, Urban Cowboy, and Seventies yacht rock.”

Brett Young

Hailing from Orange County, California, country pop singer/songwriter Brett Young played baseball for Ole Miss before being bitten by the country music bug. An elbow injury sealed the deal, and Young moved straight to Nashville to pursue his dreams. By February 2016, he released his first album, a six-song self-titled EP, with “Sleep Without You” shooting on to the charts as his first successful single. His 2017 self-titled debut studio album Brett Young debuted at number two on the Top Country Albums chart.

Which stars are you looking forward to catching on the 52nd Annual CMA Awards?

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