10 New Country Artists You Need to Know: May 2018

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

Jameson Rodgers
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Jameson Rodgers

Sounds Like: A new crop of country rock, planted and grown in the rich musical soils of the Mississippi Delta

For Fans of: Eric Church, Luke Combs, the guys' night out

Why You Should Pay Attention: Some country artists seem to live for a well-crafted lyric, and as a singer-songwriter whose stories touch the heart but still get the testosterone flowing, that's the case with Jameson Rodgers. Growing up 30 miles from Robert Johnson's fabled crossroads in Batesville, Mississippi – known locally as the spot "where the Delta meets the hills" – Rodgers became enthralled with behind-the-scenes hit-makers like Craig Wiseman, Jeffrey Steele and Casey Beathard in college. Then he discovered Eric Church. Inspired by the creative force's devotion to edgy Southern universality – both on the stage and off – Rodgers scored his first big cut with Florida Georgia Line's "Wish You Were on It" (from the duo's 2016 album Dig Your Roots), and was nominated in 2018 as the rising artist/songwriter of the year from the Association of Independent Music Publishers. His second self-titled EP came out earlier this year.

He Says: "I've always been a fan of songwriters, and I remember being in high school looking on the back of CDs, going through the credits to see who wrote the songs. [Church] was a huge influence of mine when I moved to Nashville eight years ago, because he was writing the kind of songs I wanted to write and he opened the doors like, 'Oh, there's a niche for this kind of music.' … Especially in the beginning, he was writing songs for the good ol' boys, and I was a good ol' boy from Mississippi. Me and my buddies fell in love with those songs, and it felt like nobody else was writing songs for guys at the time."

Hear for Yourself: Relating a crazy breakup tale from a male point of view – complete with all the social media drama that scenario now entails – the EP's lead single, "Some Girls," has garnered more than 2.5 million Spotify streams with a mix of masculine rock grit, country storytelling, quick-hitting vocals and tasty electro-pop accents. C.P.