When you think of country music, images of Johnny Cash, line dancing and hillbillies with banjos may spring to mind but a new wave of cool country music is sweeping across the US and slowly but surely it’s spreading on our side of the Atlantic too. The following artists are leading the charge and I’d highly recommend you check them out. Who knows, maybe there’s a redneck deep down in you too!
This Texas native self-released several albums and starred on a US TV singing competition before joining country superstars Lady Antebellum on their UK tour in 2012. However, it was this year that really saw Musgraves’ career take off after the release of her album Same Trailer Different Park. The album at heart is country but the lyrics cover a range of topics from smoking pot to nosy neighbours. This mid-twenties singer-songwriter is a force to be reckoned with and has been tipped by several critics as one to watch. Personally, I’m a big fan of Musgraves and will be definitely catching her show when she rolls into London in October.
If a more traditional sound is what you’re looking for well then you can end your search, Ashley Monroe is who you should be listening to. With a voice likened to the Queen of country music, Dolly Parton, Monroe has taken Nashville by storm, both as a solo performer and as a member for acclaimed trio Pistol Annies. Monroe’s latest album, Like A Rose, released earlier this year charts the highs and lows of life and has been named one of this year’s best albums. Acclaimed producer Vince Gill was on hand to steer this project in the right direction and it’s a cracker of an album.
If you follow The Voice US, you will already know who Blake Shelton due to his coaching role on the popular show. Off-screen, Shelton is one of the biggest stars on the country music scene, currently on his eight studio album, Based On A True Story. His songs never stray far from the standard country music formula of beer, women and trucks but his voice makes each song more refreshing than the next. Not only has he won The Voice four consecutive times but he’s also married to country singer Miranda Lambert, so he gets extra points for that.
Florida Georgia Line
This duo is composed of Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard, natives of Florida and Georgia respectively, hence the band name. The close of last year saw the pair release their debut album Here’s To The Good Times which has gone on to spawn the hugely successful single Cruise which even got a remix version featuring Nelly. Do I even need to say more?