The classics may never die, but it’s worth watching out for the new classics that are coming out of Nashville all the time. The country scene is more vibrant and varied than ever before. To give you a taste of what’s bubbling up the charts then take a look at this list of ten new country artists to keep an eye out for. Some have already found an audience, and others have just appeared on the scene, but all of them are helping to carry country music’s torch on into a new generation.
1. Walker Hayes
This young man has made quite the splash with his song “You Broke Up with Me.” The subject matter is well worn, but he puts a modern spin on the breakup song. He sings with a syrupy drawl and a thoroughly modern cadence, producing a pop-country song that will even have purists tapping their toes.
2. Jordan Davis
Jordan is a man with a voice as epic as his beard. If you don’t know what I mean just watch the video for his hit song “Singles You Up” to see what I’m talking about. If you saw him on the street, you might think he was a hipster, but his voice has a classical feel. He’s got the sort of sound that would work equally well performing a pop-country hit or rasping out a bluesy classic.
3. Ashley Campbell
At first glance, you might think that this young lady is another Taylor Swift in the making. There’s no denying she has a similar look and pop flair, but all the same, she’s got deeper country roots than the “Shake it Off” singer ever hand. If the name Ashley Campbell rings a bell, it might be because she’s the daughter of Glen Campbell. But this isn’t a case of nepotism; it’s more like talent running in the genes. Listening to her after the death of her father gives you the spooky sense that his spirit lives on in her to this day. Even if you don’t know Glen’s music, there’s a good chance that her song “Remembering” will have you misty-eyed. And if you’re a fan of his then don’t be surprised if you end up bawling.
4. Ross Cooper
Lots of country artists have sung songs about the rodeo, but few have been able to do it with the sort of authenticity that Ross Cooper brings to the table. He may look like another pretty face at first, but this young man was riding broncos professionally until an injury sent him in a different direction. When he sings his signature song “I Rode The Wild Horses” you can feel the sort of down and dirty authenticity that can be hard to find in this day and age.
5. Austin Jenckes
Austin Jenckes isn’t new on the scene. He’s been at it for a while, but he never quite cracked the top ranks of country stardom. That might change this year as he pushes the release of his newest work. He’s not as famous as some of the folks on this list, but we couldn’t leave him off. Watching Austin perform can be a very refreshing experience. He doesn’t have that male-model look that most country stars these days seem to be rocking. Listening to him will take you back to listening to the AM radio in your parents’ house.
6. Kassi Ashton
A country queen with a truckload of attitude, Kassi Ashton is the biggest thing to come out of California, Missouri. While lots of artists like to idealize small town America Kassi is a woman who isn’t afraid to wrestle with her complicated feeling about her hometown, family, and love life. She sells it all with a powerful voice and a sharp-eyed lyrical style.
7. Muscadine Bloodline
It can feel like these days the country band has faded pretty far into the background as hundreds of solo acts compete for the top spots on the cart. But Muscadine Bloodline is a reminder that sometimes two musicians need to come together to create a whole that’s bigger than the sum of their parts. These Mobile, Alabama natives were drawn together by a shared hometown and a lifelong love of music. Together they’ve produced a string of soulful acoustic songs, showing a special knack for writing good old-fashioned love songs like “Porch Swing Angel.”
8. Jimmie Allen
This artist is still working under radio’s radar, but he could blow at any minute. The Delaware native is a true country fanatic who hasn’t been afraid to sleep in his car for the shot at showing the honkey tonk set what he has to offer. His song “Blue Jean Baby” managed to rack up almost a million plays on Spotify without any help from a label, and there’s no saying how far he could go with some proper backing.
9. Caitlin Canty
In many ways, you could say that country has come a long way since it first grew out of front porch jam sessions, but artists like Caitlin Canty serve as a reminder that the old ways are still hanging on. She’s a girl with a guitar, a beautiful voice, and a songwriter’s soul. If you’re looking for an old-school singer-songwriter, then look no further.
10. Devin Dawson
We close up our list with another artist who has already made quite a splash. On paper, it’s easy to think that Devin Dawson might be off-putting. He’s a California native, he came up on YouTube covering Taylor Swift songs, and he looks like he could have been in a boy band back in the 90s. But when you hear his voice, all those background details drop away. He’s got a country road voice and as much Southern Swagger as a Cali boy can have. There’s a reason that Tim McGraw and Faith Hill invited him on tour with them, he’s the real deal.