10 New Country Artists You Need to Know: September 2017

From a country-folk prodigy with an affinity for Appalachia to a soulful, smooth operator from Louisiana

Allison Pierce
10
9/10

Allison Pierce

Sounds Like: Lush, acoustic-based Americana that transposes the ethereal soul of Pierce's native Alabama with some dusty California roots – think Kacey Musgraves making a record with Dawes

For Fans of: Emmylou Harris, Courtney Marie Andrews, Karen Elson's twangy first LP

Why You Should Pay Attention: When you're best known for a track about murder, it's fitting to have a solo debut that's all about rebirth, reinvention and reflection. For Allison Pierce, that song was "Secret," recorded with her sister Catherine as the Pierces, which opened the sugary teen television thriller Pretty Little Liars. But even if you're related to a bandmate by blood (and maybe especially if you are), breaks are often in the cards, and Pierce was itching to do something with her sole fingerprint. Year of the Rabbit, a nod to Pierce's birth year, was actually born itself in some ways back in 2000 in Nashville, when the duo was recording next to Ryan Adams, at work on Heartbreaker. Pierce sang on Adams' "Why Do They Leave," and she and the album's producer, Ethan Johns, spoke about their desire to work together someday. Year of the Rabbit is that moment, 17 years later – and its soft textures, vibrant emotions and natural but hooky palette was well worth the wait.

She Says: "My sister Catherine and I have been making music for a really long time, and we both got to the point where we needed to express something else," says Pierce. "It felt like the right time. We made five albums together and neither one of us could imagine going back into the studio to make another. And I had these songs for a while. I'd been collecting them, and it was always clear to me that they were for a future solo project. I would play them for Catherine – and she'd agree."

Hear for Yourself: Like a rocking Joni Mitchell, "Evidence" is a catchy ode to dancing with the devil and seeing an angel in the steps. M.M.

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