10 New Country Artists You Need to Know: August 2017

From a singer-songwriter who mixes girl-group harmonies with Countrypolitan strings to a disciple of Keith Urban who loves the loop pedal

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Tristen
10
Kristy Benjamin6/10

Tristen

Sounds Like: Left-of-center pop/rock and cinematic Americana, glued together by one of Tennessee's best exports

For Fans of: Nicole Atkins, St. Vincent, Neko Case

Why You Should Pay Attention: A Nashville staple for nearly a decade, Tristen had already released two nationally-acclaimed records – including 2013's Caves, one of the best synth-pop albums this side of the Reagan presidency – before joining Jenny Lewis' touring band in 2015. Two years later, she hits a career high with Sneaker Waves, a homemade album that reaches far beyond Nashville's borders for inspiration. From girl-group harmonies and Countrypolitan strings to the left-field, Nilsson-worthy power balladry of "Psychic Vampire," Sneaker Waves ebbs and flows, showing the full range of Tristen's strength as a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and co-producer.

She Says: "I grew up on oldies radio, and my favorite songwriters are a lot of those Fifties and Sixties people, like the Everly Brothers and the Beatles. But I'm also really into Dolly Parton and the storytelling tradition of country and folk music. Rock & roll is formed where folk meets the blues, and that's what I'm doing. It's not about distortion – it's about these sounds coming together."

Hear for Yourself: Even a harmony-singing Jenny Lewis can't steal the spotlight from Tristen during "Glass Jar," whose synthesizers and ringing guitars evoke an indie-folk, 21st century Byrds. R.C. 

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