CMA Music Fest 2016: 30 Must-See Acts

From the big stadium headliners to newcomers on the Nashville riverfront

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Brandon Lay

Brandon Lay

One of Universal Music Group Nashville's newest signings, Tennessee's Brandon Lay has been honing his chops on tour opening for Old Dominion and Eli Young Band, and as a popular performer on the college circuit. With a strong twang and a songwriter's eye for detail, he's evidence of a new school of Music Row men who aren’t afraid to be more subtle in their lyrical or wardrobe choices (no bro tropes, no spiked wallet chains) while still keeping things perfectly radio-friendly. Expect a nice balance of low-key ballads and raucous rockers — he does count Elvis as an early inspiration, after all. Thursday, Gildan Broadway Stage at Hard Rock Café

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