10 New Country Artists You Need to Know: October 2017

From an old soul inspired by Freddy Fender to a vocalist who channels the best of Nineties female pop-country

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Charley Crockett
10
7/10

Charley Crockett

Sounds Like: Smoky old pool rooms and clear mountain mornings on the Gulf Coast of Texas

For Fans of: Ernest Tubb, Hank Williams, Sun Studio in the 1950s

Why You Should Pay Attention: Born in the south Texas town of San Benito, the home of Tejano country legend Freddy Fender, Crockett – a descendent of frontiersman Davy Crockett – grew up listening to chopped and screwed hip-hop. Following the footloose example of one of his heroes, Woody Guthrie, he cut his teeth performing in the streets of New Orleans and the subways of New York City, nurturing a love for jazz, blues, and country. Returning to Texas, where he befriended like-minded old soul Leon Bridges, Crockett released an album of bluesy originals, In the Night, in 2015 before signing with Thirty Tigers last summer. His first album for the label, Lil G.L.'s Honky Tonk Jubilee, is a collection of country classics with his own Cajun-meets-Tex-Mex twist, complete with ragtime trumpet and accordion. Mining a number of influences not commonly seen in Americana circles, Crockett is currently touring with Turnpike Troubadours.

He Says: "As I've gotten older, the same way that I gravitated toward old-school players who paved the way like T-Bone Walker, I've been drawn more to guys like Freddy Fender," says Crockett of his rootsy eclecticism, which he was first exposed to on the streets. "I like the simplicity of a short song. The street taught me to do that. I could never play a song on the street that didn't get tips. If it didn't, I had to throw it out. [As a street performer] nobody's asking you to be there. In fact, it's the opposite. So you have to overcome those things and gain somebody's attention. You're getting a much more raw and honest exchange with that."

Hear for Yourself: Crockett's cover of Tanya Tucker's "Jamestown Ferry" showcases his raspy vocal style, which adds a Creole drawl to the familiar country twang. J.G.

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