10 New Country Artists You Need to Know: May 2017

From a country-soul chanteuse to a hard-stomping band of Southern rockers

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 Phoebe Hunt
Evan Felts/Courtesy of Missing Piece Group5/10

Phoebe Hunt

Sounds Like: A global spin on American folk music, performed by a Texas-born Brooklynite who recorded her newest album, Shanti's Shadow, on the heels of a meditation-filled music retreat to India

For Fans of: Abigail Washburn, the Punch Brothers, American folk singers with foreign influences

Why You Should Pay Attention: A top-shelf fiddler who recently logged a year in Ben Sollee's touring band, Hunt reignites her solo career with Shanti's Shadow. The album title hints at the otherworldly music within, with Hunt merging her Appalachian-style fiddle chops with Texas twang, Indian ragas, gypsy jazz, unfamiliar time signatures and the free-spirited fun of a jam band leader. The resulting record breathes new life into a genre that's sometimes so respectful of the past, it fails to push toward the future. Hunt certainly doesn't neglect her roots, but she doesn't wallow in the dirt of her influences, either.

She Says: "This is what American music truly is. It's a melting pot of all these different cultures, inspired by all the places I've been and all the different types of music I've studied. It's what America is based upon: the willingness to have an open heart, an open mind and a willingness to learn from everyone. That's the idea of America that we were sold in school, at least, and it's the idea we're clinging to."

Hear for Yourself: Hunt hits up a carnival outside Austin, demolishes a funnel cake and waltzes with strangers in the sweet, swoon-worthy video for "Just for Tonight." R.C.

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