Rising country singer-songwriter Allen could become the first performer in his genre to capture the best new artist prize since Zac Brown Band won in 2010. After releasing 2018 debut Mercury Lane, the Delaware native and Nashville resident has become a prolific duet partner, working with artists like Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, Mickey Guyton and Nelly on his 2020 collaborat­ive album, Bettie James. Allen has also broken through on country radio as a solo artist, sending the singles “Best Shot” — his first top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 — and “Make Me Want To” to the top of the Country Airplay chart. The best new artist nod for Allen follows wins for new male artist of the year at the Academy of Country Music Awards and new artist of the year at the Country Music Associatio­n Awards earlier in 2021.

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