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 duo or group.
Brooks & Dunn
Brooks & Dunn have proved to be one of the most influential country music duos of all time and the legendary pair has not shown signs of stopping anytime soon. With 40 Top 10 singles, more than 20 No. 1 hits, two Grammy Awards, and several ACM and CMA accolade under their belt. The hitmakers released their critically-acclaimed record, REBOOT in 2019. The project debuted at No.1 on the Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart, marking the duo’s first score on the albums chart since 2009. Brooks & Dunn also received a Grammy nomination for their collaboration with Luke Combs on their “Brand New Man” track, which is on their 12- piece project. To top off 2019, the legendary duo was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in the “Modern Era Artist” category. The men recently wrapped up their REBOOT 2021 tour with Travis Tritt and Elvie Shane.
Brothers Osborne has created history in 2021, as TJ became the first-ever openly gay artist signed to a major country label. After seven Top 40 singles, three studio albums, several CMA awards, and a handful of Grammy nominations – the brothers are paving a new path. They are pushing for inclusivity within the country music space. The brothers recently brought home Duo of The Year at the 2021 CMA Awards and performed their inspiring track “Younger Me.” In 2020, the group released their state-of-the-art record, Skeletons. The 12-track project might just be the group’s most vulnerable collection to date, as it touches upon anxiety, depression, acceptance, and freedom. The men are currently on the road sharing their chart-topping third studio album live and in person.
Dan + Shay
After three years of not putting out a full-length collection, Dan + Shay came out of the woodworks to release their 12-track collection, Good Things. Dan Smyers had a hand in writing all 12 tracks, as Shay Mooney penned eight. The project includes their 4x platinum-certified “10,000 Hours” with Justin Bieber, platinum-certified “I Should Probably Go To Bed,” and gold-certified “Glad You Exist.” Upon release – the duo made history, as their collection became the first country album in the “streaming era to achieve RIAA Gold certification at release” according to a press release. The dynamic project garnered over one billion streams in the United States alone and nearly 2.5 billion streams worldwide within less than three weeks. The beloved duo is currently wrapping up their Dan + Shay arena tour. However, they are set to start the party with Kenny Chesney on his Here and Now Tour comes 2022.
Florida Georgia Line
The Grammy-nominated duo Florida Georgia Line has been making waves since 2012. The dynamic team is the only country act ever to receive two RIAA Diamond-certified singles with their 11x Platinum banger “Cruise” and 10X platinum hit “Meant To Be” with Bebe Rexha. In true FGL fashion, the group did not disappoint their fans in 2021, as they joined forces with Nelly for “Lil Bit,” Russell Dickerson’s “It’s About Time,” and shared a drink with Chase Rice on his sway-worthy hit “Drinkin’ Beer. Talkin’ God. Amen.” Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley managed to create a strong empire throughout the years. They have 18 career No.1 singles under their belt, raked in over 13.2+ billion global streams, sold more than 40 million tracks, and 4.7 million albums worldwide.
Following their 13-track record, Ocean – live performing came to a sudden halt. Instead of channeling their energy into touring and appearances to promote their recent work, the group put pen to paper to prepare for the future. After reflecting on themselves and rebranding during the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, the group broke their silence and released What A Song Can Do (Chapter One) on Friday, June 25. The ballads in the journal-inspired track list distinguish who each member of Lady A is at their very core – loving parents, loyal spouses, passionate musicians, and activists.
After digging deep and honing in on their craft, the beloved group realized that there were much more narratives to share. So, without any hesitation – Lady A dropped chapter two of What A Song Can Do on Friday, October 22. While riding the high of their two albums in 2021, the group headlined their own tour and invited Carly Pearce, Niko Moon, Tenille Arts to join them on their journey.
Little Big Town
Little Big Town – consisting of members Karen Fairchild, Phillip Sweet, Kimberly Schlapman, and Jimi Westbrook, have been creating magic for over 20 years in Music City. The award-winning group has left its mark on the industry with its history-making 2015 smash hit “Girl Crush,” Grammy-winning single “Better Man,” critically acclaimed records Tornado and Pain Killer, The Breaker, and their 2019 track “When Someone Stops Loving You.” In January of 2020, the influential group dropped their praised ninth studio album, Nightfall – which includes their successful ballads “The Daughters” and “Over Drinking.” The Grand Ole Opry members recently released their beat-driven melody “Never Love You Again” with Bryn Christopher and launched their 4 Cellars wine – their first non-musical project as a band.
LOCASH has blessed our ears with their fresh country-rock sound. Preston Brust and Chris Lucas tend to know the secret recipe of creating striking hits that display a pristine balance between modern and traditional country. With two successful albums, eight chart-topping singles, 500 million global streams, several prestigious accolades under their belt –the duo officially recognized the hush-hush sauce that makes them a stand-out act in the industry. In 2019, the two dropped their album, Brothers – which featured their Gold-certified single, “One Big Country.” Off the heels of their success, the duo released a five-tack EP called Woods & Water.
Maddie & Tae
When Maddie & Tae arrived on the scene, their tight harmonies and fierce play on words placed them music radars nationwide. In fact, it was their Platinum-selling hit “Girl In A Country Song” in 2013 that dominated country radio and jumpstarted their career. In 2020, the twosome showcased their astonishing vocals with the record, The Way It Feels. Upon release, the collection hit No.1 on the charts, and their fan-favorite single “Die From A Broken Heart” went platinum. The two dropped 2021 singles “Woman You Got” and “Madness.” Maddie Font and Taylor Kerr are currently sharing their new music on The Weekends Tour with Brett Young. However, they will kick-start 2020 strong by headlining the CMT Next Women of Country Tour.
Old Dominion proved that they are one of the most promising country groups to come out of Nashville throughout the years. 2021 has not been a quiet year for Mathew Ramsey [lead vocals,] Trevor Rosen [guitar], Whit Sellers [drums], Geoff Sprung [bass guitar,] and Brad Tursi [guitar.] In fact, it has become a milestone chapter in their lives, as they scored Vocal Group of the Year at both the ACMs and CMAs, received their first Grammy nomination, and released their 13-track record – Time, Tequila, and Therapy. Following the release, the crew embarked on their We Are Old Dominion Tour, and scored a spot on Kenny Chesney’s summer-time stadium trek in 2022.
With the help of their chart-topping singles, “Carolina,” “Close Your Eyes,” and “Already Callin’ You Mine,” – the fan-favorite group has produced a dedicated fan base. The men of Parmalee had a successful 2021, as they dropped their 13-piece project, For You. “We wanted these songs to speak directly to the fans, the listener, to you,” shared lead singer Matt Thomas to Taste of Country. “That’s why we named the album For You.” Ahead of their album release, they surprised fans with an unreleased track, “Take My Name.” The love-centric melody scored rapid success on TikTok, and their fans demanded the unreleased track to hit streaming platforms. The group has spent the last few months showcasing their new work at festivals throughout the US and even made waves on The Kelly Clarkson Show.
Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe, and Angaleena Presley have been a powerful trio since 2011. Following the release of their debut record, Hell on Heels – the ladies took off and became an unstoppable force. In 2018, they released their third studio album, Interstate Gospel, which went straight to No.1 on the Top Country Albums chart. In fact, that same LP scored the group their very first Grammy nomination for “Best Country Album” at the 62nd Grammy Awards. Most recently, the Pistol Annies released their Christmas album – Hell of a Holiday.
Runaway June – Naomi Cooke [ lead vocals/ guitar,] Natalie Stovall [vocals/ fiddle/ guitar,] and Jennifer Wayne [vocals/ guitar] has made a name for themselves with their goosebump-provoking harmonies, bluegrass-like sound, and for their fierce storytelling. The group became a part of the CMT’s “Next Women of Country” 2020 Class, scored an ACM and CMA nomination, and was honored as a “New Face” of country music at the 2020 country radio seminar. The ladies recently released three 2021 singles, “Forgot About That,” “Down The Middle,” “and “T-Shirt.” While riding the high of their rapid success, they dominated the stage with their unstoppable force on Luke Bryan’s 2021 Proud To Be Right Here Tour.
Zac Brown Band
Zac Brown Band never fails to surprise their fans, as the award-winning group always has premium content up to its sleeve. Late October, the group dropped their highly-anticipated record, The Comeback. The poetic collection displays their vulnerable side while returning to their country-rock roots. Upon release, the 15-piece collection scored the No. 1 spot on the Country Albums Sales chart. The Comeback follows their 2019 release of The Owl – which debuted at No.2 on the Billboard 200 Chart. Throughout the years, Zac Brown Band’s prestigious accolades prove that they are one of the most dynamic groups to come out of Nashville. Their genre-bending sound earned them three Grammy Awards, sales of more than 30 million singles, nine million albums, and garnered more than ten billion catalog streams. Most recently, the band was out on the road connecting with fans on their The Comeback Tour.
The Cadillac Three
The Cadillac Three had a jammed-packed year, as they were riding the success of their latest release – Tabasco & Sweet Tea. Jaren Johnston [lead vocals/guitar,] Neil Mason [drums,] and Keby Ray [lap steel/ bass] celebrated a decade together as a band. The group embarked on their global anniversary tour to give back to their loyal fans who stuck by their side. After hitting popular cities throughout the United States, UK, and Ireland, TC3 completed its trek at the legendary Ryman Auditorium. The group topped off 2020 by releasing their 16-track collection, Country Fuzz. However, they kept the positive momentum up in 2021 and released their dance-worthy anthem, “Get After It.”
Are you ready to cast your vote for Favorite Duo or Group ? If so, head to countrynow.com/vote. Country Now readers have until November 30 to make their selection.