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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Lucas Hoge

Lucas Hoge

Sounds Like: Easygoing, optimistic pop-country that won't upset any delicate constitutions

For Fans of: Chris Young, Chris Lane, Rascal Flatts

Why You Should Pay Attention: Hoge has been slogging it out on the fringes of country – and, for a time, Christian music – for 15 years, playing shows and checking off the boxes of a Nashville career. Raised on the catalog of songwriters like Paul Overstreet and Skip Ewing, he was inspired to write his own songs and, after seeing Garth Brooks perform, take them to the stage. Eventually, Hoge found himself on country's most famous boards: opening for the late George Jones at the Ryman Auditorium. His new album, due later this year, features his own material, along with tracks written by heavy hitters Shane McAnally and Sam Hunt.

He Says: "I've learned to be prepared for anything. I've had the honor of traveling overseas each year to perform for our troops with the Wrangler National Patriot Tour. We've been to Iraq, Kuwait, Africa, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Alaska, London and undisclosed places that have definitely kept us on our toes. Touring is an adventure at times, but it's also the most rewarding part of making music. Playing a show and interacting with fans face-to-face is still the best form of social media."

Hear for Yourself: Hoge's effervescent single "Boom Boom" is made not for the club, but for a first date in the park, all wide-eyed innocence and heart. J.H.

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