Pour yourself something strong and kick off your cowboy boots because Country Now is celebrating the devoted artists that have made an influential impact on Music City and throughout the country music genre in 2021 with the inaugural Country Now Awards.
For the first time ever, Country Now is recognizing signed and independent musicians that have scored high placement on the charts, released smash hits, held epic performances, and even the country newcomers who have placed their name on the map since January 1, 2021.
Music fans have the opportunity to participate in the 2021 Country Now Awards, as they now have the chance to scroll through all 14 categories and hand-pick their favorite artists, songs and albums.
Fans can start voicing their opinion with unlimited votes beginning on Monday, November 15 at 9 AM CT. The polls will close on Tuesday, November 30 at precisely 11:45 PM CT.
To support your favorite artist, head to countrynow.com/vote.
This award goes to the artists whose collaboration was released or reached peak chart position in 2021.
“Beers On Me” Dierks Bentley, BRELAND, HARDY
Written by: Ashley Gorley, Luke Dick, Ross Copperman, Breland, Hardy, and Bentley
Country music megastar Dierks Bentley joined forces with good friends Breland and HARDY to create the sway-worthy track, “Beers On Me.” The laid-back tune highlights each artist and their astonishing vocals in separate verses. However, when they blend their pipes together and incorporate ear-grabbing instrumentals – the party-like anthem will encourage you to leave the work week in the past, pour yourself a drink, and prepare for a weekend full of fun.
“HARDY threw out this title, and I remember immediately thinking, ‘I wish I could buy all my fans a beer.’ After the year we’ve all had, it would be nice to get the first round and say, ‘Hey, we all have some problems, but we’re going to forget about them for a little while…the beers are on me,’” Bentley explained in a press release. “I came back to Nashville to record the song and came across an article about Breland in the Nashville Scene. I got his number, and he came in the next day and wrote and sang the third verse. It was truly an organic collaboration, and I couldn’t be more proud to have him and Hardy on this song with me.”
“Buy Dirt” Jordan Davis & Luke Bryan
Written by: Jordan Davis, Jacob Davis, Matt Jenkins, and Josh Jenkins
Country hitmakers Jordan Davis and Luke Bryan teamed up on the moving melody, “Buy Dirt.” The sentimental track highlights the essential things in life – from family, faith, and friendship. Davis penned the single during 2020 when live music was brought to a sudden halt. “Releasing music was at a standstill. And I’m sitting there, and I kind of let it carry over into my personal life, and I was kicking myself for it. And I just had to say, ‘Music is Music. And I’m very grateful and blessed to be in it, but it’s gone now. But you still have your family, you still have your faith, you still have your friends, and the word’s still spinning,” he told PopCulture.
“Buy Dirt” is now the title track on Davis’ new EP and has become his fastest-growing song to date. However, when he was writing the track, he revealed that he had Luke Bryan on his mind. “The dude is all about his family, is all about having a good time and all about his farms, his property, getting out in the woods – Which is why the second we wrote it, we were like, ‘We got to get this song to Luke. If he wants to cut it, great. If not, I’m going to cut it, I’m going to ask him to sing on it with me,” David recalled to Apple Music Country.
“Drinkin’ Beer, Talkin’ God. Amen.” Chase Rice & Florida Georgia Line
Written by: Chase Rice, Hunter Phelps, Cale Dodds, and Corey Crowder
It’s no secret that Chase Rice and Florida Georgia Line’s “Drinkin’ Beer, Talkin’ God. Amen” was one of the songs of summer 2021. The day drinking anthem scored Rice his third career No.1 on country radio.
“There is always an inspiring energy when the three of us come together,” Florida Georgia Line’s Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard shared. “You could just feel it in the house back when we were roommates, and it is amplified that much more now when we collaborate. Our first No. 1 changed it all of our lives in more ways than we could have ever imagined, and we’ve certainly lived a lot of life since then. To be celebrating our second No.1 together is surreal and a full-circle moment. We’re thankful to chase for his friendship over the years and sharing in this crazy dream of ours.”
“Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home)” Elle King & Miranda Lambert
Written by: Elle King and Martin Johnson
Leave it to the women in country music to start the party. Multi-platinum artist Miranda Lambert joined forces with crossover songstress Elle King to create the ultimate girls’ night out anthem, “Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home).” The magic of the party-starter lyrics was put into action at the 2021 ACM Awards in Nashville, Tennessee. The two opened the show with a bang by belting the single while sporting eye-catching fringed biker jackets and glittery bellbottoms. The buzz-worthy song received praise following the release, as it remained on the top of Billboard’s Country Digital Song Sales Chart.
“Famous Friends” Chris Young and Kane Brown
Written by: Chris Young, Corey Crowder, and Cary Barlowe
Chris Young and Kane Brown’s hit “Famous Friends” created quite the splash in the country music scene in 2021. The heartfelt anthem honors the men and women from both of their hometowns that have left an ever-lasting impact on their community. Following the release of the upbeat salute, the two have seen maximum success as the feel-good track scored three nominations at the CMA Awards and graced the top of the Billboard charts.
Young revealed to WIN 98.5 that Kane was his go-to artist after penning the track. “He was the first person that popped in my head,” shared the No.1 hitmaker. “I was like, ‘ I want to do this, I want to add somebody else to this, and it’s been really cool if it was me and Kane,’ because I’ve guested on his stuff before, but I’ve never had him guest on something of mine.”
“Freedom Was A Highway” Jimmie Allen & Brad Paisley
Written by: Jimmie Allen, Ash Bowers, and Matt Rogers
“Freedom Was A Highway” by Jimmie Allen, and Brad Paisley inspire fans to take a trip down memory lane and remember the carefree life that accompanies growing up. “When I was writing this song with my co-writers, I imagined myself driving down my favorite roads in Delaware,” shared Allen in a press release. “This song takes me back to simpler moments such as innocent childhood crush on the next-door neighbor or feeling freedom in the wind as your drive with the windows down.” Paisley mentioned that he was “honored” to join forces with the country hitmaker, as he is a big fan of his music. “Freedom Was A Highway” is on Allen’s star-studded collection, Bettie James, and has raked in over 118 million streams since July of 2020.
“Never Wanted To Be That Girl” Carly Pearce & Ashley McBryde
Written by: Shane McAnally, Ashley McBryde and Carly Pearce
Singer-songwriter Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde prove that the women of country music have an impactful way with words. When the two joined forces on the recent release “Never Wanted To Be That Girl,” they knew they did not want to pen a surface-level track. Instead, the award-winning musicians put their creative minds together to carefully create a ballad about a situation every female fears to be a part of. Throughout the track, the superstars reveal two different perspectives about a two-timing lover. McBryde plays the role of a single girl who encounters a “charming” man who offers to help change her car tire. One thing leads to another, and they wind up in a romantic relationship. Tables quickly turn when Pearce chimes, revealing that she’s the man’s wife waiting at home and worried about his whereabouts. The heavy track appears on Pearce’s latest album, 29: Written In Stone.
“Chasing After You” Ryan Hurd & Maren Morris
Written by: Brinley Addington and Jerry Flowers
“Chasing After You” is the ultimate romantic melody inspired by a real-life love story between Ryan Hurd and Maren Morris. The mid-tempo track marks the couple’s very first duet together and followed Hurd’s fan-favorite hit, “Every Other Memory.” “Maren and I met writing songs, and we’ve sung on each other’s records and written together, but this is the first time we’ve gotten to do an actual duet together,” said Hurd. “It feels like the timing is really perfect, and it’s a full-circle moment to get to make music together in this way.” The steamy single reached No.1 at country radio.
“Getting Over Him” Lauren Alaina, Jon Pardi
Written by: Lauren Alaina with Emily Weisband and Paul DiGiovanni
When Lauren Alaina pitches a collaboration, you don’t walk, but you run! Jon Pardi jumped on the opportunity to join forces with the country-pop queen as she developed an up-tempo rebound banger alongside co-writers Emily Weisband and Paul DiGiovanni. In the track, Alaina gets cheated on, and is freshly looking for a not-so-serious relationship. Thankfully, Pardi is the “getting over him” dude who is more than happy to help out. The fire anthem is featured on Alaina’s 2021 record, Sitting Pretty On Top Of The World.
“Half Of My Hometown” Kelsea Ballerini, Kenny Chesney
Written by: Kelsea Ballerini, Ross Copperman, Nicolle Galyon, Shane McAnally and Jimmy Robbins
Kelsea Ballerini and Kenny Chesney have received praise for their collaboration on the heartfelt track, “Half Of My Hometown.” The two hitmakers recently brought home the award for Musical Event of The Year and Music Video of the Year at the 55th Annual CMA Awards. The fan-favorite track shares the story of Ballerini’s upbringing in Knoxville, Tennessee, and how she wanted to flee town to chase her music dream in Nashville. The “Peter Pan” singer asked Chesney to join her on the nostalgic single, as he is also an East Tennessee native. The sentimental hit is included on Ballerini’s 2020 album, kelsea.
“If I Didn’t Love You” Jason Aldean & Carrie Underwood
Written by: Tully Kennedy, John Morgan, Kurt Allison, and Lydia Vaughan
Country music powerhouses Jason Aldean and Carrie Underwood have created history with their beautiful single, “If I Didn’t Love You.” Following their July release, the hit topped the charts at country radio for multiple weeks. Most recently, Aldean and Underwood took center stage at the 55th Annual CMA Awards to perform the anthem that is now on Aldean’s 10th studio album, Macon.
“Thinking ‘Bout You” Dustin Lynch & MacKenzie Porter
Written by: Dustin Lynch, Andy Albert, Hunter Phelps, and Will Weatherly
Broken Bow Records artist Dustin Lynch teamed up with country newcomer MacKenzie Porter for the emotionally driven single, “Thinking ‘Bout You.” The lyrics tell the tale of a broken relationship and the song comes to life in the cinematic music video. The catchy breakup ballad has received placement in the top five on country radio and has secured more than 140 million on-demand streams.
Are you ready to cast your vote for Favorite Collaboration? If so, head to countrynow.com/vote and pick your go-to team that you will play at your next bash. Country Now readers have until November 30 to make their selection.