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2011 New Faces Show Spotlights Country Music’s Future

Rick Diamond, Getty Images

Lee Brice, Steel Magnolia, Josh Thompson, the Band Perry and Jerrod Niemann took the stage Friday (March 4) for the annual New Faces Show during the final night of the 2011 Country Radio Seminar (CRS) in Nashville, spotlighling their best for radio programmers from across the nation who’ve helped kick-start their respective careers over the past year.

“I was pretty intimidated when I found out I was picked, because I certainly wasn’t ready for it,” Jerrod tells The Boot. “I’m a fan of all the other artists on the lineup, so I look forward to watching them and trying to steal all their onstage techniques [laughs].”

“It feels great to be part of the lineup,” Josh says. “It’s voted on by country radio, so that means that these are the five people country radio picks to be the next stadium acts. I’m excited about it and honored to be included.”

Lee Brice opened the show, following a short, comical video of the singer aging as he reenacted watching his hit, ‘Love Like Crazy,’ make the slow climb up the charts. The song holds the record for most weeks on the chart. By the end of the video, Lee sported a full-grown, gray beard, but also had the No. 3 song on the charts.

When the stage lights came on, Lee launched into his current single, ‘Beautiful Every Time.’ belting out the powerful lyrics, and showcasing his vocal range.

After playing ‘Picture of Me‘ — his “favorite song” from his debut album ‘Love Like Crazy’ — Lee slowed things down with a medley of the hits he’s penned for other artists, including ‘Still‘ (Tim McGraw) and ‘More Than a Memory‘ (Garth Brooks).

He closed his set with the song that put him on the country music radar, ‘Love Like Crazy,’ bringing the crowd to their feet as he exited the stage.

Steel Magnolia were up next, offering the soulful and bluesy sound unlike any other duo currently in country music. After the opening number, ‘Ooh La La,’ Meghan Linsey and Joshua Scott Jones sang the first song they wrote together, ‘Edge of Goodbye,’ followed by their new single, ‘Last Night Again.’ They then wowed the room with an acoustic version of the Kris Kristofferson classic, ‘Help Me Make it Through the Night.’

“I can’t imagine us having a career without this next song,” Joshua said prior to playing their debut single, ‘Keep on Lovin’ You,’ as they thanked country radio for supporting their music.

After a brief video of Miranda Lambert, Dierks Bentley, John Anderson and Eric Church praising Josh Thompson, the newcomer took the stage playing a fan-favorite album track, ‘Blame It on Waylon.’

After serving up ‘Beer on the Table,’ Josh treated those in attendance to a new song, ‘Coming Around,’ which will be included on his forthcoming sophomore album, and followed with the honky-tonk-flavored ‘Won’t Be Lonely Long,’ giving the perfect reminder of what country music is all about.

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart for making this next song an American anthem and a song people can believe in,” Josh said by way of introducing his final song of the night, ‘Way Out Here.’

The Band Perry took the stage with their current single, ‘You Lie,’ and kept the good times rolling with their debut hit, ‘Hip to My Heart,’ followed by ‘Independence,’ from their self-titled debut album.

“My brothers and I have had a fabulous time this week,” Kimberly Perry said of the trio’s first CRS experience. “We consider you not only friends, but family. Thank you for all the open doors.”

Next up was their chart-topping ‘If I Die Young,’ after which they closed out their set with the upbeat kiss-off, ‘Quittin’ You.’

The night’s best video intro — consisting of beer can pyramids and a homemade (from plastic garbage bags!) slip-n-slide suit — belonged to Jerrod Niemann, who shot it entirely on his iPhone. His set kicked off with the appropriately titled, ‘One More Drinkin’ Song,’ followed by his current Top 15 single, ‘What Do You Want‘ and ‘Down in Mexico.’

“Thank you for everything you do to make country music great to be part of,” Jerrod said as he gave kudos to the radio station personnel filling the room. “You make new artists matter. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for letting us do what we do.”

He then accomplished a near-impossible feat by getting participation from the industry crowd for the chorus of his first No. 1 hit, ‘Lover, Lover.’

If the 2011 New Faces Show lineup is any indication of where country music is headed, there is no doubt it’s in some very good hands.

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