Maren Morris, Jon Pardi and More Showcase Talent at CRS New Faces Show
For years, Country Radio Seminar (CRS) has come to a close with the New Faces Show, an industry-only event featuring the best new talent Nashville has to offer.
This year was no different as the class of 2017 New Faces of Country Music Show performers, William Michael Morgan, Maren Morris, Jon Pardi, Granger Smith, and Drake White, took the stage Friday evening (Feb. 24) for an unforgettable night of music inside Nashville’s Omni Hotel.
Keeping with tradition, the lineup for the show was voted on by qualifying radio station personnel.
“This year’s New Faces lineup is reflective of our format’s strength, and steady growth. I’m happy to report we received a record number of qualified votes from country radio supporting these talented artists. We believe it is going to be an amazing show,” said John Crenshaw, Chairman of CRS New Faces Committee, upon the reveal of the lineup.
Opening the show was Drake White, who brought the energy with a four-song set that included the infectious “It Feels Good” and feel-good “Livin’ The Dream.” His soulful style stood out among the rest, and it’s safe to say he left a lasting impression with CRS attendees.
William Michael Morgan made traditional Country music cool again with his debut smash “I Met A Girl,” which blew up at Country radio in 2016. His New Faces set showcased his smooth country vocals and seemed to make the packed house fall in love with that 90s country sound so many have been longing to hear at radio again.
Texas native Granger Smith, who is known for his energetic live shows, performed the most interesting set of the night. After singing his latest radio single, “If The Boot Fits,” Smith covered Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin,’” followed by his chart-topping “Backroad Song.” The singer left a few folks scratching their heads though as he transitioned into his alter-ego, Earl Dibbles Jr. Donning Dibbles’ signature overalls, he came out waving a “Yee Yee” flag and busted open two beer cans, spraying himself and the audience standing near the stage. The move may have been better fit for a club, versus a crowd of industry professionals.
An admittedly nervous Jon Pardi had the Omni Nashville ballroom singing along with his recent radio hits, “Head Over Boots” and “Dirt On My Boots.” The California native also showcased what’s to come with two songs from his California Sunrise album that could likely be options for his next singles, “Cowboy Hat” and “She Ain’t In It.” Pardi didn’t let the nerves affect his performance though, as his short set went off without a hitch.
Ladies typically go first, but in this case, ladies went last as Maren Morris, the only female on the New Faces bill, closed the show. Fresh off her Best Country Solo Performance win at the GRAMMYs, Morris opened her set with the breezy “80s Mercedes.” Letting attendees in on a little secret, the Texas native shared that she’s selected “I Could Use A Love Song” as her new single. After thanking radio for their support, Morris closed her set, and the 2017 New Faces Show, with “My Church” and “Rich” from her debut album, Hero.