10 New Country Artists You Need to Know: March 2018

From the Hank Jr. honky-tonk of Dillon Carmichael to the ethereal Laurel Canyon folk-pop of Savannah Conley

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Great Peacock
Kris Skoda9/10

Great Peacock

Sounds Like: Festival-ready Southern rock of the Whiskeytown persuasion

For Fans of: Ryan Adams, Tom Petty, Americana with both gentle acoustic harmonies and fuzzy, plugged-in anthems

Why You Should Pay Attention: You can't ever say that Nashville's Great Peacock is lacking a sense of humor: they started their band as bit of a joke. "It was right when the Fleet Foxes were getting big," says Alabama-born frontman Andrew Nelson. "We'd always played rock, so we said, 'Let's do some acoustic stuff, and we'll name our band after an animal." They wrote a tune called "Desert Lark," went with "Great Peacock" and put the song online: to their surprise, their friends loved it, and they did, too. Five years and hundreds of shows later, Great Peacock have expanded from a twosome of Nelson and guitarist Blount Floyd to a full band, honing a textured, roots-influenced breed of rock & roll on their newest LP, Gran Pavo Real that's seriously good – but never too serious. Case in point: "Let's Get Drunk Tonight," a little bit of healing, hedonistic honky-tonk.

They Say: Growing up in a religious household, Nelson's life changed when he first heard "Free Bird" on the radio as a teen. "We weren't even allowed to listen to country music, because my parents said, 'They're just singing about cheating and whiskey,'" Nelson says. "One rainy day I went to my room and turned on the radio and heard 'Free Bird.' I heard the guitar solo and said, 'I'm going to play guitar.' That was it." So how does he react when people scream "Free Bird" from the audience now? "Fifty percent of me wants play it, and the other fifty percent wants to say 'fuck off.'"

Hear for Yourself: There's a touch of Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down" in both the sonic template and thematic messaging of "Oh Deep Water," the first single from Gran Pavo Real (out March 30th). M.M. 

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