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ACM New Artist of the Year - what if no one won?

Jeffrey Remz  |  April 19, 2015

Sam Hunt, Cole Swindell and Thomas Rhett all have their fans, particularly Hunt no doubt, but I'm finding it real hard to get very excited about the Academy of Country Music New Artist of the Year award, which will be handed out tonight.

Hunt has enjoyed big time commercial success. He has gained a foothold as a songwriter, but more importantly is as a recording artist with super hits in "Leave the Night On" and "Take Your Time" with both going number one on the Billboard charts.

The rap against Hunt - rightfully so - is that he is not a country artist. Listen to his album "Montevallo," and tell me if this is not true. This has nothing to do with quality, but at some point, when the only reason a song is considered country is because it's marketed that way doesn't make it country.

It's hard to blame Hunt. In this day and age, he wants to gain a foothold in music however he can.

Swindell and Rhett seem like peas from the same pod. Swindell, of "Chillin' It" and "Roller Coaster" fame, is part of the Luke Bryan stable, which may be about all you need to know. Coincidentally or maybe not, but Swindell also wrote Rhett's hit "Get Me Some of That."

As for Rhett, he sounds more rock than country in concert. He also has hits with "Make Me Wanna" and "It Goes Like This," but hasn't carved out his own musical identity.

I could have gotten excited if someone like Brandy Clark or Kacey Musgraves would have been nominated. Ashley Monroe as well. They all had a career upsurge during the November 2013 to November 2014 eligibility period.

I can't fault the nomination of Hunt, Rhett and Swindell because all certainly met the criteria and did have career upticks for sure.

Hunt doubtlessly will win as he's enjoyed the most commercial success, but from this perch, what if no one won?

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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