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

Texas Gentlemen
Joseph Llanes1/10

Texas Gentlemen

Sounds Like: The greatest honky-tonk band you've never heard of, playing all the standards, mixing in a little rock & roll and sharing the mic with your favorite singers

For Fans of: Kris Kristofferson, Paul Cauthen, the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section

Why You Should Pay Attention: A loosely collected group of studio musicians from Dallas, Texas, that counts somewhere around 25 people among its members, the Texas Gentlemen usually perform as a five- or six-piece group. The core members – organist Beau Bedford, guitarist Nik Lee, bassist Matt McDonald, keyboardist Daniel Creamer, bassist Scott Lee and drummer Ryan Ake – played together in different capacities for years before making things official in 2014, taking their cue from legendary house bands like the Wrecking Crew and Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. Playing live behind Leon Bridges and Jonathan Tyler, and in the studio for Nikki Lane and Paul Cauthen, Bedford estimates they've appeared on as many 30 albums, but their breakthrough came last summer when they backed up Kris Kristofferson at Newport Folk Fest. The Gents' debut LP TX Jelly, recorded at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, will be released on September 15th via New West Records.

They Say: "We love creating our own stuff, but at the same time we love collaborating with other artists, people who we really find ourselves being drawn to and having a rapport with. We like to consider them in the [tradition] of timeless American music, something that doesn't have a post date on it because it sounds a certain way. Some of the artists that we've been drawn to are people just making badass, rootsier music that we connect with both as songwriters and performers," says Bedford. "We just want to make records that are important, that are valuable and that people can listen to for a long time. We're collaborators first and foremost. Touring is just a celebration of the act of creating in the studio."

Hear for Yourself: "Pain," a sardonic boogie written and sung by Creamer, crystalizes the Gents' swampy appreciation for country, rock and soul with woozy horns that evoke the Band's "Ophelia." J.G.