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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Little Feather
10
3/10

Little Feather

Sounds Like: Fresh-off-Lower Broadway Little Big Town, delivered with a Kentucky yodel and through a gauzy Instagram filter

For Fans of: Harmony-laden pop country like Dixie Chicks, Eden's Edge and the Band Perry before things got weird

Why You Should Pay Attention: Liz Sharpe, otherwise known as Little Feather, isn't just a coal miner's daughter: she's a coal miner's granddaughter too, and one actually related to Loretta Lynn and Patti Loveless (they're second cousins). It's a lineage tailor-made for a future in country music and one that Sharpe's been pursuing since age three in Pikeville, Kentucky – from playing piano as a kid to singing backup with (surprise!) Michael Bolton. But even those born into tradition need to throw it for a loop now and then, which Sharpe did by living in Florida and then moving to Australia to learn to surf, an experience that brought a light, bohemian quality to the songs she would later come to write. For Little Feather, Sharpe compiled a band of ace musicians, including her drummer husband Aaron Spraggs and Glen Campbell's son Shannon as a multi-instrumentalist, and loaded the tracks on the band's debut LP with plenty of banjo, mandolin and her Appalachian yodel – essentially everything she once tried to beat against. "I chased my dreams right back to my roots," she says.

She Says: "I always had this really weird yodel and break in my voice, and always tried to hide it. I wanted to do everything but country. Now, I get chills when I listen to a bluegrass band. But I also really enjoy mainstream country. Who doesn't like to dance?"

Hear for Yourself: "Hillbilly Love Song (Hey Y'all)" was inspired by Sharpe's desire to reconnect with her Kentucky spirit: set to a percussive banjo, it's about trading sidewalks for cowboy boots and not being afraid to kick back, Southern style. M.M.

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