10 New Country Artists You Need to Know: March 2017

From a soulful vocalist who evokes John Mayer to the fiddle-playing protégée of Jack White

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Ned LeDoux

Ned LeDoux

Sounds Like: A modern take on classic cowboy country, performed by the son of legendary Chris LeDoux

For Fans of: Aaron Watson, Cody Johnson, Chris LeDoux

Why You Should Pay Attention: Originally a drummer, LeDoux joined his dad's band in 1998, staying behind the kit until the elder LeDoux's passing in 2005. More than a decade later, he reintroduces himself as a singer with Forever a Cowboy. Ned wrote four of the EP's five songs, crediting his family's genes – as well as the encouragement of producer Mac McAnally – with transforming him from a skin-basher into a family-friendly singer. "I'd never really written any songs before I met Mac," he admits. "Songwriting to me was like a frozen river, and here comes Mac with a giant sledgehammer, ready to bust a big hole in that river. I'm glad he did. It's starting to flow pretty good."

He Says: "This apple doesn't fall too far from the tree. I'm going to keep my music on the same road my dad paved. He had such a neat sound – sort of a rodeo rock & roll sound, with a romantic cowboy side. I think we're missing a little bit of that in today's country music."

Hear for Yourself: Ned pays tribute to his dad's influence with "The Hawk," an evocative, almost spoken song that reincarnates Chris LeDoux as a high-flying bird. R.C.

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