It was all about girl power and celebrating strong female artists during the 2016 CMT Next Women of Country Showcase held in Nashville on Tuesday (Nov. 1).
Gathered for the spotlight event in the midst of CMA Awards week included a number of talented women representing the new face of country music with great stride. This year’s class featured the sounds of performers such as Tara Thompson, Mickey Guyton, Maggie Rose, Maddie & Tae, Aubrie Sellers, Margo Price, Lucie Silvas, Lauren Alaina, Lindsay Ell and RaeLynn.
CMT’s own Leslie Fram, who developed the idea to highlight breakthrough female talent from the country format started off the event by surprising the audience with a performance from none other than Nashville singer/songwriter Brandy Clark. Clark cooed over the crowd with her pure acoustic sound on a track she wrote herself featured on her current release, Big Day in a Small Town. Fram presented her with the first annual Impact Award from CMT Next Women of Country for all of her work done within the genre to pave the way for future artists.
She and Fram introduced the first round of ladies to the stage, which included Thompson, Guyton, Rose, Maddie & Tae, and Sellers. While keeping it eclectic yet composed, each artist brought something new to the table during each of their performances in the round.
Sellers rocked it out first with her mash-up of an original with a cover of The Kinks “All Day and All of the Night.” Maddie & Tae sweetly followed it up with a new track they’ve been working on for quite some time as they said to have been writing and in the studio for the past few months. Singing all about how there’s always someone else that will love you better, the girls harmonized in complete synchronization that made the audience enamored with their huge vocals on the tune.
Maggie Rose also tapped into the new song theme and played a song she wrote called “More Dreams Than Dollars,” which focused on the idea that hard work takes a lot more out of a person than just tangible amounts of the things around them. Inspiring many, Guyton took the mic as Rose finished to give a shoutout to the women up on stage with her and how much talent they all possess. She gave everyone feels as she sang a song written by country trio Lady Antebellum. Finishing it all up was Thompson, who added in her sarcastic and hilarious wit to a more meaningful tune she penned with some friends recently called “World Without Willie,” in which she admits she couldn’t imagine music without the country legend.
Between rounds, Fram and Clark came back out to introduce the 2017 CMT Next Women of Country class, which included Silvas, Price, Post Monroe, Jamie Lynn Spears, Logan Brill, Caitlyn Smith, Jillian Jacqueline, Runaway June, Maggie Rose and Kree Harrison.
The other surprise guest of the event, Martina McBride, entered stage right to announce that Alaina would be joining her out on the road for her Love Unleashed Tour and that she could not be more thrilled to bring her exuberant talent out to her fans across the country.
Alaina kicked off the second performance round with an acoustic rendition of her Top 25 radio hit, “Road Less Traveled.” Catching those signature notes in all the right places, Alaina sounded flawless throughout her powerful performance. Following her up was Ell who showed off her major guitar skills in an acoustic version of her recent release, “All Alright.” She picked apart every single note and uniquely jammed out on the six-string as she belted out the track.
Silvas also brought her own instrument, and a special one at that: a completely mirrored keyboard which she admitted that she spent 14 hours gluing on each piece to create the cool shine. Her raspy voice on “Just for the Record” gave it the ultimate vintage feel among all of the new music. Price channeled that same sound during her performance of the song, “Hands of Time,” in which she sang similarly to that of music icon Stevie Nicks.
RaeLynn cleaned house as the last performer of the event with her emotional rendition of “Love Triangle,” a song she never thought would be a single and was just a way to get her feelings out about her upbringing. She left chills throughout the room and even ended the song with tears in her eyes as she hit all the right notes in all the right places.
Fans can be on the lookout for all of these rising female artists over the next year and support their music through streaming services, digital music retailers and by keeping up with them on their websites.