10 New Country Artists You Need to Know: January 2017

From a country-pop singer for the Snapchat generation to a heartland rocker with Texas cred

Billy Crockett
10
Rodney Bursiel9/10

Billy Crockett

Sounds Like: Coffeehouse folk without pretension; spare acoustic essays on political disillusion, an earth in peril and … Mavis Staples

For Fans of: Townes Van Zandt, John Prine, Yusuf Islam

Why You Should Pay Attention: One of Nashville's most skilled musicians – and songwriters – Mac McAnally gives Crockett an endorsing thumb's up, regularly visiting Crockett's Blue Rock Studio in Texas to record and collaborate. But what really makes Crockett such an interesting listen is his own unique sense of self-identity. With his new album Rabbit Hole, he's pulled off the most difficult of transformations: leaving behind a successful but sometimes creatively stultifying career in Christian music to follow a more secular muse.

He Says: "It's really a thrill for me to get to address some new subjects now. I use a vocabulary that is broad and general and it's a conversation I've been wanting to have all my life," says Crockett, who, like his surname suggests, is a distant relative of Alamo hero Davy Crockett. "The Texas storyteller is in me, and I aspire to be one."

Hear for Yourself: Rabbit Hole standout "Mavis" is a buoyant nod to the famous soul singer, whom Crockett says has a "profound and growing sense of gravitas." J.H.


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