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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Cal Quinn9/10


Sounds Like: Rediscovering your parents' country record collection and realizing they’d make good punk songs

For Fans of: Old 97's; Titus Andronicus; guitars, Cadillacs and hillbilly music

Why You Should Pay Attention: After spending 15 years playing in rock and punk bands, including the last seven of those in a trio called the Phuss, Fort Worth, Texas, native Josh Fleming contracted an eye infection in the fall of 2014 that left him blind for two months. While recuperating, he stumbled across The Marty Stuart Show on RFD-TV and vowed to write an honest-to-goodness country album. That promise turned into the Vandoliers, a six-piece cowpunk band that took Fleming's punk and ska roots and dressed them up with acoustic guitar, brass, and fiddle for a jet-fueled take on the Texas two-step. The Native, Vandoliers’ sophomore LP, was recorded in the same suburban Dallas studio as Willie Nelson's Red Headed Stranger and drops May 26th on State Fair Records

They Say: "I've always been a storyteller and there's not a ton of storytelling in punk music, so I never realized how left-field I was as a writer in that genre. But when I found country music, it was like, 'Oh my god, I’ve been doing this the whole time, just in the wrong vein,'" says Fleming, who admits that as a young man he was "just too rebellious" to give his father's music a chance. "For some reason, the Vandoliers worked out because I just simplified everything that I do without changing it and focused on my story, whether it be dropping acid in Tennessee all the way up to getting married."

Hear for Yourself: "Endless Summer" mixes Kurt Cobain angst with the musical flair of country and Cajun. J.G.

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