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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Red Shahan
Scott Slusher2/10

Red Shahan

Sounds Like: Hardscrabble Texas country informed by the state's deep musical roots and even deeper cultural mythology

For Fans of: Brent Cobb, Ryan Bingham, Hayes Carll

Why You Should Pay Attention: Lubbock-based singer-songwriter Red Shahan first grabbed listeners' attention with his debut album Men & Coyotes, a collection of gritty portraits of small-town life. On March 30th he'll follow up that effort with his sophomore album Culberson County. Recorded with producer Elijah Ford, the LP features writing contributions from Brent Cobb and Aaron Raitiere, with guest spots from Bonnie Bishop and Charlie Shafter. Thematically, the album doubles down on Shahan's fascination with the West Texas landscape and culture – the title itself nods to a small, sparsely populated Texas county just east of El Paso.

He Says: "I could write from anywhere in the world and I could attempt to paint a vague picture of my surroundings, but I wouldn't know its structure like I do here in Texas. I know the culture, I know the neighboring culture, and when we throw all that in the wash, out comes people. So in relatable terms, I at least hope that folks can point their imagination in a familiar direction while listening to my records. Texas is home and what better way to acknowledge my roots than that of putting those people, places and scenarios in song."

Hear for Yourself: New single "Culberson County," a slow-burning ballad about heading west, may be the only song in existence to pair spacey, Pink Floyd-esque slide guitar with a truly Texas pronunciation of the word "coyote." B.M.

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