I thought I would look at the MVPs at this point in the year. We have one awards show down and the CMA show coming in the fall. The CMT Awards show is in a couple of weeks and the MusicRow Awards nominees were announced earlier this week.
I don’t want to use just the awards and the nominations as the criteria for the “Halfway MVP” awards. If it was that easy I would just report on the nominees and winners so far. Additionally, the CMT awards use a very different standard than the other awards shows, as the video is the determining factor. First I thought I would look at some of the radio superstars that haven’t yet won awards.
Artists like Kip Moore and Lee Brice, who have not won performing awards yet, have had a huge presence on radio so far in 2012. Also true for the Eli Young Band and Brantley Gilbert.
We talk a lot about radio’s influence on sales but the number one advantage is introducing new acts to the public and the above acts are perfect examples of this benefit. To be fair it is really easy to look back six months and “make predictions.” If you can’t get that right you really have problems.
I went back and looked at some new artist/break through artist choices made in MusicRow in past years. Winners like The Band Perry, The Zac Brown Band and Lady Antebellum look like geniuses are picking these choices. Past winners also include Buddy Jewel, Eric Heatherly and Mark McGuinn.
Buddy had two big radio songs. Not so much for Eric and Mark.
There have been some past MVPs missing from the list this year. Someone is going to win the Albert Puljos award for first half of 2012 (renamed from the Adam Dunn Award-2011).
I have spoken to fans who are missing Sugarland. Easton Corbin has a hit on the radio right now but he seemed to disappear from the first half of the year. Randy Houser was on the cusp of exploding last year but has slowed down a bit this year.
Here are my “Halfway MVP” award nominees for 2012 and from this will come a “Halfway MVP” award winner.
- Montgomery Gentry: Their resurgence on the chart this year is much more impressive than first glance would indicate. Average Joe’s Entertainment took a flyer with the guys after they left Sony and paired them with a new producer that recaptured their old sound.
- Miranda Lambert: Country fans in Boston and Dallas love her for the same and different reasons. There is no doubt this lady lives and breathes Country but her lyrics are sophisticated and edgy enough to cut through the lives of every woman no matter if her accent is Long Os or Twang.
- Jake Owen: Two No. 1 songs in a row now. “Alone With You” is my so far favorite song of 2012. I guess when you’re personal life is going as well as this newlywed’s apparently is, your professional life is that much easier.
- Blake Shelton: Nothing else has to be said.
- Chris Young: Talk about being able to open a movie. How many No. 1s in a row? He is just so smooth and such an accomplished writer now that he is going to starring on his own tour shortly.
- Luke Bryan: See Jake and Chris.
- Kenny Chesney: In his case his year is just now getting started with the touring to begin. Kenny is not going to be the “Halfway MVP” but he is going to be in the top two at the end of the year.
- Jason Aldean: I saw his concert in Nashville and was blown away by his emergence as a TRUE format superstar. I also now know why I hate concerts. Young people (of which I am not included) stand through the entire show.
- Zac Brown Band: Just get used to them being on the list from now on.
- Eric Church: Right there.
The list could really be 20 artists. Lady A has had a great first half. Taylor, Flatts and Toby could be on the list but I had to cut it at some point. The above 10 have the buzz so far this year.
My choice for the “Halfway MVP” is Blake Shelton. Number one after number one, social media and TV exposure are hard to beat.
Who did I miss? Let me know your thoughts.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of MusicRow.)
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About the AuthorCook is currently on the board of both the ACM and the CMA and serves as Director of Programming and Brand Management for West Virginia Radio Corp, based in Morgantown, WV. He is also President of McVay/Cook and Associates, a Cleveland-based media consulting company. He has served on the CRB Board for over 20 years.
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