10 New Country Artists You Need to Know: February 2017

From a goth-folk chanteuse discovered by Social Distortion's Mike Ness to an acerbic DIY singer-songwriter

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Candi Carpenter

Candi Carpenter

Sounds Like: A devastatingly direct singer with a gospel foundation, a Janis Joplin obsession and an axe to grind

For Fans of: Julie Roberts, Lee Ann Womack, Tanya Tucker

Why You Should Pay Attention: Carpenter received her education in bars and honky-tonks, carving out a path to a country music career that seems destined for a future Hollywood screenplay. After a stint in the family gospel band, she gigged around Nashville as a teen and, while hanging backstage at the Grand Ole Opry, landed a job on veteran Jack Greene's touring show, playing with her heroes like Loretta Lynn and Porter Wagoner. She also spent some time working as Little Jimmy Dickens' housekeeper and picked up lessons on harmony and guitar playing from Phil Everly. Carpenter's Shane McAnally-produced debut single, "Burn the Bed," recently made its first appearance on the Country Airplay chart.

She Says: "I had no idea how the entertainment business worked, but I always heard stories about people getting discovered. I would lurk around in places I thought record producers might be hanging out, and if they were well-dressed I'd go up and ask if they were a record producer. I was so serious about it that when I was back home in Michigan, I crashed a Vince Gill concert, and I wrote, 'Can I yodel for you?' on the back of a ticket stub. I kept going up to the stage and waving this ticket at him over and over again. Vince Gill is such an amazing entertainer that he took the ticket stub and read it. He said, 'Get up here,' and I yodeled for a crowd of 10,000 people wearing an orange Old Navy fleece jacket and a pair of high-water bell-bottoms. That's when the bug bit me. There are embarrassing pictures to prove it."

Hear for Yourself: "Burn the Bed" is an old school tear-jerker in which the singer relives her ex's painful indiscretions blow-by-blow, fulfilling the words posted on her website: "I write my best songs when men piss me off." E.L.

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