Ingrid Andress Steals the Show at CRS 2020 New Faces of Country Music Show
On Friday (Jan. 21), 2020's Country Radio Seminar wrapped up with the annual New Faces of Country Music event. The night was particularly special: It marked the 50th anniversary of the showcase that puts up-and-coming artists and their songs in front of an audience of country music radio and industry power players, which first took place in 1970.
The 2020 New Faces class was comprised of Warner Music Nashville's pop-leaning songwriter Ingrid Andress, Big Machine Label Group's Riley Green, Warner's Australian transplant Morgan Evans, BBR imprint Wheelhouse Records' upbeat trio Runaway June and Columbia Records' Mitchell Tenpenny. Green kicked the 2020 New Faces of Country Music event off by playing his first No. 1 song, "There Was This Girl," and thanking the audience for the song's performance on the country radio charts.
Sporting a Willie Nelson T-shirt, Green moved right along and played a brand-new song titled "If It Wasn't for Trucks." It's currently unreleased, though he's played it live in radio sessions and at shows.
Green and his band also performed the title track of his 2019 debut album, Different 'Round Here. He closed with his current radio single, "I Wish Grandpas Never Died," explaining that he wrote the song long before it made it to radio, but after playing it live, "fans took a hold of it and ran with it and started singing it back to me," which made him realize it would work well as a single.
Andress came up next and stole the show. After being introduced by videos from Dan + Shay, Thomas Rhett and Keith Urban, the singer-songwriter broke into a wonderful version of "Both." She also played a new unreleased song, called "The Stranger," about the idea of love that her generation picked up from romanticized movies: Those films portray relationships as easy, but the song's lyrics look at it as a choice that requires hard work.
Next from Andress came "Lady Like," the title track of her debut album, which is due out on March 27. She closed out her set with the vulnerable ballad "More Hearts Than Mine," showcasing her piano-playing skills and tear-jerking lyrical abilities.
Evans got the crowd excited, jumping onstage and going straight into "Young Again." He ran through songs including "Kiss Somebody," "Diamond" and "Things That We Drink To," the latter of which he wrote about his late manager, Rob Potts. It was Potts who first brought Evans to CRS -- one of Evans' first trips to the States -- where the young star stood outside the doors of the Omni hotel's ballroom and listened in on the New Faces event.
Runaway June's set opened with a silly video about the enigmatic "June" character who ... well, ran away, starring Jon Pardi and Carrie Underwood. The power trio played "Trouble With This Town" and "Head Over Heels," both from their Dann Huff-produced major-label debut, Blue Roses.
A particularly special moment in the night came when Runaway June slowed things down for "We Were Rich," a reflective ballad about humility and nostalgia penned by Nicolle Galyon, Ashley Gorley and Ross Copperman. They went out on a high note with a performance of their first Top 5 song -- and biggest hit to date -- "Buy My Own Drinks."
"Drunk Me" singer Tenpenny began his set with his latest single, "Anything She Says." After the first chorus, collaborators Seaforth, a up-and-coming country duo, joined him onstage to sing their respective features. Tenpenny also sang cuts including the newly released "Can't Go to Church," and moved to a more serious tone with "Walk Like Him," a song about his late father.
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