10 New Country Artists You Need to Know: December 2017

From a Dwight Yoakam protégé to an Australian singer-songwriter proficient in outlaw twang-rock

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Tommy Ash
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Alex Justice3/10

Tommy Ash

Sounds like: Country shuffles, train beats and honky-tonk heartbreak, all delivered by a magnetic entertainer who's been serenading barflies since the age of 13

For Fans of: Dwight Yoakam's influence, Waylon Jennings' guitar tone, Margo Price's perspective

Why You Should Pay Attention: "I was a barroom baby," says Ash, who grew up attending country gigs with her parents in Arizona. By her early teens, she was playing shows of her own, singing country covers every Friday and Saturday night at a Phoenix roadhouse. Along the way, she opened up for John Conlee – at 14 years old, no less – and kick-started a songwriting habit that eventually took her to Nashville, where she's readying the follow-up release to her 2013 debut Sinner's Blood. Now a Tennessee resident, Ash continues to look west for inspiration, taking cues from the speedy, guitar-driven classics by Bakersfield icons like Buck Owens. The result is a sound the songwriter describes as "mean country music for bars," rooted in husky-voiced melodies and Telecaster twang.

She Says: "I make revved-up honky-tonk barroom music," says Ash, a current contender in the Honky Tonk Female category at the 2018 Ameripolitan Awards. "It's not mellow. It really moves."

Hear for Yourself: A child of divorce, Ash turns the dissolution of a rocky marriage into classic-country gold on "Keeping the House." R.C.

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