10 New Country Artists You Need to Know: May 2018

From the vocal knockout Tenille Townes to the Garth Brooks-endorsed Randall King

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Bishop Gunn
10
3/10

Bishop Gunn

Sounds Like: The best of the southeast -- a little Nashville twang, some Memphis-ippi blues, and a whole lot of Muscle Shoals soul

For Fans of: Anderson East, Sam Morrow, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats

Why You Should Pay Attention: Anyone can cite the Muscle Shoals sound as an influence, but few acts can actually pull off making music worthy of such a claim. Nashville band Bishop Gunn is one of those acts. Relocated from Natchez, Mississippi, the four-piece band recorded a handful of tracks off their debut album Natchez (released earlier this month) at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, with the rest of the album cut at Leiper's Fork's the Purple House. The resulting music is the perfect blend of Nashville and the Shoals, and is the rare album that builds upon its influences rather than resorting to outright mimicry.

They Say: "[Drummer] Burne Sharp and I had just moved up the Natchez Trace to a house on this farm in Leiper's Fork, Tennessee," singer Travis McCready says of writing the infectious song "Shine." "We moved to be closer to the music network of Nashville and weren't really sure what we were gonna do next – we just knew we needed songs to do it. I sat down on the porch one day in a state of complete confusion, but also clarity, and I thought of Nashville as this big house I was getting ready to walk up and knock on the door of, ya know, and ask for a little attention. And that's where the whole 'shine that light on me' sentiment came from. It's about a transition into an unknown situation and the vulnerability of that moment really shows in the words. It's from an honest state of mind and a moment of real humility."

Hear for Yourself: Just try not to crack a smile (or bust a move) when you listen to "Shine," a horn-heavy Southern rocker with big guitar riffs and even bigger vocals. B.M.

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