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Granger Smith, Jon Pardi Among CRS New Faces of 2017

2016 crs new faces of country music
Michael Loccisano / Daniel Boczarski / Michael Loccisano / Rick Diamond (2), Getty Images

The lineup for the CRS 2017 New Faces of Country Music concert has been announced, setting the tone for what are likely to be the biggest breakout stars in country music in the next year.

William Michael Morgan, Maren Morris, Jon Pardi, Granger Smith and Drake White have been revealed as the final lineup for the coveted show, which caps off the Country Radio Seminar in Nashville every year and tends to pave the way for rising stars to ascend to the next level. CRS is an annual event that brings artists, labels, country radio and journalists together for days’ worth of previews, showcases, interviews and more. The performance slots on the New Faces show are among the most coveted in Nashville, and the artists who perform there have a historical opportunity to go on to bigger and better things.

This list of performers is particularly heartening to those who argue that traditional country music is dead. Morgan is one of the staunchest traditionalists among country’s younger artists, and so is Pardi. White and Smith both skew in that direction as well, and while Morris is a bit edgier, she’s certainly no pop-country diva; her genuine vocal and songwriting chops have placed her among the most critically acclaimed younger artists in the genre since the release of her debut single, “My Church.”

The industry-only show is one of Nashville’s toughest and most important rites of passage for any rising star.

“This year’s New Faces lineup is reflective of our format’s strength, and steady growth,” says John Crenshaw, Chairman of the CRS New Faces Committee, in a press release. “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.”

The 2017 New Faces show will take place on Friday, Feb. 24 at the Omni Hotel in Nashville, co-sponsored by the Academy of Country Music and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. It is open only to members of the industry and media.

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