10 New Country Artists You Need to Know: February 2017

From a goth-folk chanteuse discovered by Social Distortion's Mike Ness to an acerbic DIY singer-songwriter

Walker McGuire
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Jason Meyers10/10

Walker McGuire

Sounds Like: Nashville's newest radio-ready harmony duo, rooted in Millennial country-pop and Matchbox Twenty's clean-scrubbed rock

For Fans of: Eli Young Band, Love and Theft, Rascal Flatts

Why You Should Pay Attention: It'll be another two months before Walker McGuire's "Til Tomorrow" officially hits the FM airwaves, but the single has already racked up nearly 15 million plays on Spotify. Bandmates Jordan Walker and Johnny McGuire credit those numbers to a touring schedule that kept the pair on the road for 200 days last year. After paying their dues as country-crooning independents, the two are poised for a mainstream breakthrough in 2017, with a still-under-development album produced by hitmaker Mickey Jack Cones and a newly announced deal with Wheelhouse Records. That puts them on the same roster as Trace Adkins and Sugarland's Kristian Bush – two other musicians who, like Walker McGuire, straddle the three-way border between pop, rock and 21st-century country.

They Say: "Johnny is a huge Tom Petty fan," Walker says of his bandmate and harmony partner, "while I grew up on Eighties and Nineties country. We say that if you put Tom Petty on one road and Keith Whitley on another, and they intersected with Matchbox Twenty, that's where we'd be."

Hear for Yourself: "Til Tomorrow" is a polished tribute to heartaches and hangovers, which producer Cones says "should've been on the radio yesterday." R.C.