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

Don Gallardo
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Jon Karr2/10

Don Gallardo

Sounds Like: The intersection of folk, road-worn country and amplified bluegrass, performed by a singer-songwriter who began earning his road-dog stripes before the new millennium

For Fans of: Brent Cobb, Jason Isbell, Andrew Combs

Why You Should Pay Attention: A longtime member of the East Nashville community, Gallardo moved to Tennessee in early 2008, after logging more than a decade out west as a roots-rock singer-songwriter. He's remained busy since then, heading overseas for biannual tours of the U.K. and, during his time back home, writing songs that update the sepia-toned folk music of the 1970s for a modern audience. On his upcoming record Still Here, Gallardo stakes his claim as an Americana lifer, teaming up with co-writers like Tim Easton for a song cycle that makes peace with the grit and grind of a life largely spent on the road.

He Says: "Every song on the record has a common theme behind it: 'No matter how arduous life can be, giving up is not an option.' It's a theme that applies to all musicians who've been through this crazy process, where you're chasing down a big break that's always around the next corner. It's like there's an apple being put in front of us, and we think we're getting closer and closer to it, but it's never quite close enough to reach. You have to just keep going. Persistence and positivity can prevail."

Hear for Yourself: Written with Miranda Lambert collaborator Mando Saenz, "Kicking up the Pavement" is a self-produced salute to Gallardo's fellow road warriors. R.C.

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