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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Nathan Kalish
10
8/10

Nathan Kalish

Sounds Like: The heartland rock and alt-country soundtrack to looking for UFOs in Roswell, New Mexico

For Fans Of: Neil Young, Wilco, The X-Files

Why You Should Listen: Growing up with a father who worked as an evangelical missionary, Kalish was born in Milwaukee but bounced around such far-flung places as Germany and the Czech Republic. Though his access to music was limited by his parents, that footloose lifestyle stayed with him as he shuffled between homes in Chicago, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Nashville, among others. After a stint as a hired hand with the Deadstring Brothers, Kalish – broke and homeless – set out on his own, living and touring out of his van without hardly enough money for tolls. On track to play 250 shows in 2018, he self-released I Want to Believe in April, which he recorded with Dave Beeman (Pokey LaFarge). The LP is a single-minded, songwriterly collection of folk, Americana and country that dips its toes into the waters of alternative rock and psychedelia.

He Says: "That nomadic lifestyle is what I was raised with. I went to three, four schools in one year. I got used to changing friends and meeting new people. Traveling just came naturally to me. I like New York and Seattle, and even L.A. But the real stuff of the country is in the middle, and there's so much of it that people forget about it. I love going to weird places like North Dakota and to pretty places like Montana, and even to Texas. I guess I'd say I'm from the Midwest, but I'd have a hard time identifying with being from anywhere. America's gotten so weird in the last few years that it's gotten hard for me to figure out what's going on anywhere here. I have a hard time fitting in anywhere. I think I always will."

Hear for Yourself: "My Best" articulates Kalish's wandering spirit, and rolls along with an easy vocal delivery before an otherworldly spiraling solo. J.G.

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