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

Caroline Jones
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Caroline Jones

Sounds Like: An ambitious, entrepreneurial guitar heroine primed to bring back the pop-country glory of the Nineties

For Fans of: Keith Urban, Pink, Lindsay Ell

Why You Should Pay Attention: When Jones decided it was time to make a new record, she called up producer Ric Wake (Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey) and offered him a simple sales pitch: "If I could make any record, I would make a country-pop record, I would play all the instruments, I would produce it with you, and we would go to Nashville and do it." An audacious move, but not when you consider Jones' background: she's honed her multi-instrumental talents performing for an estimated 200,000 high-schoolers over the course of five years as part of her Heart Is Smart Initiative, which mixes concerts with music-business workshops. She also picked up helpful songwriting tips while hosting her own radio program on Sirius XM. It seems to have paid off: Jones' single "Tough Guys" has already amassed more than 400,000 views on YouTube in less than a month.

She Says: "I had an opportunity in Nashville when I was younger to get signed and go down that track. I was 17 or 18 at this point – I knew that I hadn't really found my voice as an artist. I wanted to learn to produce my own records, play lead guitar, write by myself. For a few years I really did my own thing: I booked my own tours, I managed myself, I produced my own records. I've always wanted to be a producer and a lead guitar player and these titles that mostly men have."

Hear for Yourself: "Tough Guys," with powerful drums, Jones' dirty guitar and a hint of Mariah Carey, skips the clubs and heads straight for arenas. E.L.  


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