By "Venice" Joe Pettijohn
Welcome to the 2017 Country Music Armadillo Awards announcement week! Today we kick off five straight days of nominee announcements leading up to Friday when then voting opens!
Today we announce the Up and Comers!
This award was kind of a nightmare in all honesty, and that is purely my fault. The nearly non-existent criteria for this award made it a mess right out of the gate. Again, totally my fault. When we do these awards again in 2018 I promise this one will be better executed.
The first thing you need to know about this list is that it has been expanded. Many of the nominee lists have, but this one has seen the most growth. There are 15 nominees on this list. The reason for that being, the whole point of this list is to recognize names in this corner of country music that people may not know. The more names we add to that list, the more names we’re potentially exposing to new fans. So this list leads the way in nominations at 15.
The other thing about this list is it means that some artists just aren’t nominated this year. Which is ok. Part of the reason the Artist of the Year nominees were announced early was because it cleared up who qualified for this award and who didn’t. That’s going to cause some to ask “Well why aren’t names like Whitey Morgan and Justin Wells nominated here?”
My answer to that is that those guys being nominated for this award would really be kind of disrespectful to them. They aren’t Up and Comers. The are here. They’ve been here. To pat them on the back as an Up and Comer would be wrong. It also means that their presence on the list would take away spots and attention from what this list is supposed to be about: the artists poised to break into the next level and join those in the discussion for awards like Artist of the Year.
I am judging for this award based off of two factors: Present impact, and future potential to keep growing both as an artist, and in terms of helping country music continue the renaissance taking place right now.
So with that said, let’s take a look at our 15 2017 Country Music Armadillo Up and Comer nominees!
James Scott Bullard is another artist on this list who has seen a big gain in momentum during 2017 thanks to fans spreading the word of an artist via social media. He’s not new on the scene in any sense, but 2017 has definitely brought him to the attention of a lot of people he wasn’t known to prior. Another one of the artists who kept pace late into the Tumbleweed Late Night Stage competition, Bullard still had an exceptional year despite falling short in that process. He’s already well into the process of releasing his next album, and when that happens the momentum should only continue to build for him.