Best Up-and-Comer: MamaDear
MamaDear's CMA Fest debut took place on the tiny AT&T U-Verse Showcase Stage on Saturday, which they somehow made feel like a front porch without a set change. Credit their sound — Americana and folk without being folksy — and singer Kelly Tillotson, who is charming without being saccharine. "It is great here because you know everyone around you loves country music," she told the crowd. "The feeling is contagious." The trio's warm single "Life Is Better on a River" might make you catch the bug, too.