One of the best things about interviewing artists and writing about the country music genre, is finding talent, that in many cases the masses have never heard of. And believe me there is a ton of it out there. As hard as it was, I narrowed it down to just 12 artists to watch in 2018. And drumroll please…
- Jimmie Allen: A few months ago Allen released his Debut EP and I’ve had it on repeat since. Part of the BBR Music Group, he just has a fun, sweet and sincere sound that quite literally draws you in. He’s already all over the top Spotify charts and we have a feeling this is just the beginning. Expect a lot more from this guy in 2018.
2. Josh Phillips: On tour with Brantley Gilbert in 2018, there is no denying Josh Phillips personifies that bad boy/bad ass country image. His EP released in October is quite the opposite. Such sweet soft lyrics. Quite the redneck romeo if I must say so myself. He may have just been signed to Big Machine, but Phillips has been on the road a while trying to make a name for himself. Bonus points because he comes from my home state of North Carolina too. His voice is just one you sink in to. I expect big things from this guy and can’t wait to catch him on the road next year.
3. Jameson Rodgers I’ve been a fan of Jameson Rodgers since “Midnight Daydream” so when I heard that voice shuffle in to my Spotify Wild Country playlist with “Some Girls” I was pumped. I don’t know a lot about Rodgers, but what I do know is that I love his voice. It’s sexy and sucks you in..(insert hot midnight daydream lyrics). “Some Girls” was also one of the most spun songs on pandora a couple weeks back. Don’t say I didn’t tell you so.
4. Hannah Ellis – As a part of CMT’s Next Women of Country Class of 2018, Ellis is one to watch for sure. “Temporary Feeling” caught my attention and had me movin to it’s beat. Women struggle to rise to the top in country music. It is a million times harder for a women to get noticed. Ok, maybe not a million but sadly, it is harder. I do believe that’s changing and with women in the genre continuing to support and lift each other up, it is only going to get better. Most recently “ILYouSo What” popped up on those big Spotify stations and I have nothing more to say that to keep an eye on this firecracker, I’m totally feeling her style.
5. Levi Hummon – Born and raised in Music City, Hummon is no stranger to the sights and sounds of Nashville. Since his EP released with Big Machine in 2016, Hummon has released two singles. Most recently “Stupid.” A song about living totally carefree with not a worry in the word and I really like it. Keep an eye out for this guy in 2018.
6. Waterloo Revival – Friends who met in middle school, Cody Cooper and George Birge are living out their childhood dreams. Signed to Toby Keith’s label in 2016 and having gone on tour with Toby Keith, these guys are out there making a name for themselves. Their current single, “What Guy Wouldn’t,” is a fun and upbeat song that will have you moving in your seat. They have also recently been featured on Colt Ford’s song, “Dynamite.”
7. Charlie Farley – This one is going to come out of left field for most of you and that’s ok because music comes in all shapes, sizes and sounds. By now, you know I live, eat and breathe Spotify playlists. We were hit with “Where I’m From,” one of Farley’s songs on Wild Country. There is no denying it’s different. But it’s also not different. It’s country, the lyrics are about the country life. But it has a beat to it you don’t always hear in country music. Dive a bit deeper in to this guy’s music and you’ll hear a type of country music that is certainly unique. Signed to Average Joes Entertainment and in a league of his own, Charlie Farley is one to watch.
8. Trea Landon – Keeping it country is Tea Landon. In the world of new age country, Landon sucks us in with that genuine country twang. It’s refreshing and I am ADDICTED. Trae Landon reminds me of home and every boy I went to high school with. He has written with tons of Nashville greats. Having just signed with Warner Music label I cannot wait to see what his future holds. My guess is something great in 2018.
9. Carly Pearce – Just Shy of a million monthly listeners on Spotify, Pearce is most definitely one to watch. Just listen to “If My Name Was Whisky,” and you’ll be hooked too. With that innocent voice and those innocent eyes, I hope she’s tough. Pearce has an exciting tour ahead of her with the boys. Blake Shelton, Trace Akins and Brett Eldredge. Those guys wouldn’t let just anyone on tour with them. She’s certainly on the right path, already one to watch… she’s going to surpass our expectations. The year of women in country music???? I think so.
10. Ashley McBryde – She’s something special. A voice with soul and compassion, she’s as authentic as they come. An arm full of tattoos and a regular bad ass demeanor, I love her. Also with Warner, on tour Luke Combs and dates with Miranda Lambert, she has a bright future and I can’t wait to catch her on the road. I’ll say it one last time. 2018, the year of Women in Country.
11. Mitch Rossell: Who is Mitch Rossell? Just a guy who’s dreams came true when Garth Brooks cut his song, “Ask Me How I Know.” Having been on the road and with THE man Garth himself, I’m certain Rossell has learned more than he ever could have imagined. His single, God, Girls and Football is every small town in America. And that strong faith we hear is what we all need. With a quarterback (pun intended) like Garth in his corner, why would we not want to keep an eye on this guy.
12. Muscadine Bloodline: Where do we start with these guys. Almost exactly a year ago these guys released their EP. I’ve been watching, creeping.. every move they make, every cover breath they take… I’ve been watching. Seriously tho, have you stopped to listen to them. I could listen to Porch Swing Angel 4 million times and never get tired of it, but I am anxiously awaiting the single they have coming in January. I’ve got my eyes and ears on you Gary and Charlie, don’t let me down.
And because I just could not stop myself at 12…
13. Brown and Gray: I don’t a lot to say, other than I LOVE “Top Down.” Sam Gray and Kaci Brown have caught my attention and I seem to be hearing the song everywhere. They have a unique dynamic and one that I like. Sam appears to have a very successful music career in London and Kaci, signed her first deal at 11?? Let’s see what happens with them in 2018. 🙂