Carrie Underwood Leads the Rare Country Awards

Superstar Carrie Underwood leads the nominations for the RARE COUNTRY AWARDS with four nods, followed by Miranda Lambert and Sam Hunt with three nominations each. These inaugural online awards will honor the year’s best in country music, as determined solely by fans. Today kicks off four weeks of fan voting at, with winners to be announced on Thursday, December 15.

Rare Country Awards

The RARE COUNTRY AWARDS consists of eight categories with five nominees in each, honoring 35 different acts in total (including opening acts in the “Tour of the Year” category). Each nomination corresponds to a newly written feature by Rare Country’s editorial staff, totaling some 40 new nominee stories available today on

Fans are able to easily access these stories, helping them determine their choices in each category. Additional nominee stories will continue to be created throughout the voting period.  

An additional award, Rare Country’s “Humanitarian of the Year,” will be announced in the coming weeks.

Below is the finalized list of nominations for the 2016 RARE COUNTRY AWARDS:

Rare Country Female Artist of the Year

It was a year of new beginnings, new love and new music from these five ‘Rare’ artists:

  • Carrie Underwood
  • Kellie Pickler
  • Kelly Clarkson
  • Miranda Lambert
  • Reba McEntire

Rare Country Male Artist of the Year

From sold out tours to new releases, these five standout artists have risen above the competition to vie for the title of “Male Artist of the Year:” 

  • Blake Shelton
  • Tim McGraw
  • George Strait
  • Kid Rock
  • Luke Bryan

Rare Country Duo/Group of the Year

It takes two (or more) to deliver signature harmonies and a distinctive sound, and these five acts are Rare Country’s picks for “Duo/Group of the Year:”

  • Florida Georgia Line
  • Joey + Rory
  • Lady Antebellum
  • Little Big Town
  • Rascal Flatts

Rare Country Grand Ole Opry® Moment of the Year

Upon the most famous of country stages, five of country music’s biggest artists created unforgettable, heartwarming moments that will live on for years to come. These are Rare Country’s picks for “Grand Ole Opry® Moment of the Year:” 

  • Carrie Underwood performs "Heartbeat" with a brand new look 
  • Cole Swindell sings “You Should Be Here” as a tribute to his father 
  • RaeLynn sings “Love Triangle,” an ode to children of divorce 
  • Scotty McCreery sings “Five More Minutes” as a tribute to his grandfather
  • Toby Keith performs a rousing medley of Merle Haggard’s greatest hits

Rare Country New Artist of the Year

These five artists broke out in a big way this year, representing the future of country music. These are the Rare Country nominees for “New Artist of the Year:”

  • Cam 
  • Kane Brown 
  • Kelsea Ballerini 
  • Maren Morris
  • Sam Hunt 

Rare Country Tour of the Year

Fans across the country rocked out with these five acts that hit the road night after night, delivering electrifying live sets on tours of massive scale. Here are Rare Country’s picks for “Tour of the Year:” 

  • Carrie Underwood - "The Storyteller Tour - Stories in the Round" - Special Guests: Easton Corbin, The Swon Brothers
  • Garth Brooks - "The Garth Brooks World Tour with Trisha Yearwood" - Special Guest: Trisha Yearwood
  • Jason Aldean - "Six String Circus" Tour – Special Guests: Thomas Rhett, A Thousand Horses
  • Kenny Chesney - "Spread the Love 2016 Tour” – Special Guests: Miranda Lambert, Sam Hunt, Old Dominion
  • Luke Bryan - "Kill the Lights" Tour – Special Guests: Little Big Town, Dustin Lynch

Rare Country Story of the Year

These are the stories, performances and moments that continue to resonate long after they’ve ended. These five moments of 2016 represent Rare Country’s top “Story of the Year:”

  • The love story of Joey + Rory
  • The hot GRAMMY® duet featuring Carrie Underwood and Sam Hunt 
  • CMA’s 50th Anniversary’s “Forever Country” video and song
  • Blake Shelton’s post-divorce comeback song “Came Here to Forget”
  • The irreplaceable loss of country music legend Merle Haggard

Rare Country Fan Moment of the Year

These artists went above and beyond in making that special connection with their fans, a connection that left them both forever changed. Here are Rare Country’s picks for “Fan Moment of the Year:”

  • Garth Brooks sings Happy Birthday for a grieving mother (Ottawa, Canada)
  • Keith Urban plays guitar onstage alongside one of his most talented fans (Gilford, NH)
  • Miranda Lambert gets emotional over soldier's sign (Hartford, CT)
  • Rascal Flatts gives a young fan the chance of a lifetime (Dallas, TX)
  • Kenny Chesney tracks down one special fan (Virginia Beach, VA)

Rare Country Humanitarian of the Year

This award is presented to an artist who has graciously given their time and support towards uplifting the human spirit. 

  • Recipient to be announced

About Rare Country Awards

The Rare Country Awards is the first all-digital awards experience to honor the year’s best in country music, as determined by Rare Country fans. The inaugural awards celebrate the authenticity of country music and the unique connection between artists and their fans. Fans are able to vote up to 10 times a day per valid email address. Winners will be announced on Thursday, December 15. Vote now at

About Rare Country

A subsidiary of Cox Media Group, Rare Country is one of the fastest-growing media brands in country music. The site’s ‘Fans First’ mentality guides its coverage of everything the country music fan is passionate about. Visit and follow Rare Country on Facebook and Twitter.