10 New Country Artists You Need to Know: February 2018

From the blue-collar twang of Pat Reedy to the easygoing country-pop of Brown & Gray

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Belle Adair
10
Abraham Rowe10/10

Belle Adair

Sounds Like: Dreamy, guitar-driven melancholia with a Southern twist

For Fans of: Big Star, the Byrds, Wilco, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

Why You Should Pay Attention: Hailing from Alabama's Muscle Shoals area, Belle Adair – Matthew Green, Adam Morrow, Reed Watson and Hayden Crawford – recently released their second album Tuscumbia on Single Lock Records, the indie label founded by singer-songwriter John Paul White, Alabama Shakes member Ben Tanner and Will Trapp. Nodding to the area's extraordinary musical history, Belle Adair recorded Tuscumbia at Fame Studios under the guidance of Wilco producer/engineer Tom Schick. And while the band's members have played behind performers like White and singer-songwriter Dylan LeBlanc, their own recordings don't fit so neatly within the confines of Americana or country, nodding toward the jangling, idiosyncratic pop tendencies of fellow Southerners Alex Chilton and Tom Petty.

They Say: "There's some certain things we do like vocal harmonies and the use of a 12-string [guitar] and things like that, that distinguish the band melodically," says leader Matthew Green. "I don't want to say 'power pop,' but [it is] maybe somewhere getting into that realm, rather than straight up Americana or folk or country. But three of the guys in the band, we're John Paul's backing band, so we definitely know that world and we definitely spend time in it and play music that falls under that umbrella. Somehow, someway it's gotta sneak its head in there."

Hear for Yourself: The blissful "Get Away," with its brightly ringing guitars and unhurried groove, mixes Britpop and California country-rock cool. J.F.

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