10 New Country Artists You Need to Know: July 2017

From a Kentucky singer-songwriter produced by Sturgill Simpson, to a London duo with a flair for mesmerizing harmonies

Christian Lopez
10
Robby Klein7/10

Christian Lopez

Sounds Like: An Americana-pop hybrid shaped by the rootsiness and history of West Virginia

For Fans of: John Denver, Jackson Browne, James Taylor

Why You Should Pay Attention: Christian Lopez has only made two albums (his second, Red Arrow, comes out September 22nd), but the West Virginia tunesmith has already worked with two of the most respected roots producers in the business – first Dave Cobb (Jason Isbell, Chris Stapleton) and now Marshall Altman (Will Hoge, Frankie Ballard's El Rio). Only 21, he's crossed the 1 million Spotify streams threshold with "Will I See You Again," and by mixing joyful country and folk-rock with an upbeat pop sensibility on Red Arrow, he's poised for his breakout moment.

He Says: "I think it's been hard for me to categorize myself and I'm kind of proud of that, but at the same time I'm happy that Americana is becoming a home for the genre misfits out there. I don't think I would fit into what today's country is, but there was no mindset going into this record of what to be. It just sort of happens and you go with it, and that's what's gonna be most true to myself."

Hear for Yourself: "Swim the River," the opening track to Red Arrow, is a bounding, headfirst dive into young adulthood guided by a swollen heart and backed by fiddle ace Stuart Duncan. C.P.

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