10 New Country Artists You Need to Know: October 2017

From an old soul inspired by Freddy Fender to a vocalist who channels the best of Nineties female pop-country

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Jillette Johnson
Anna Webber2/10

Jillette Johnson

Sounds Like: Regina Spektor refracted through the lens of American roots music

For Fans of: Joni Mitchell, Emmylou Harris, Amanda Shires

Why You Should Pay Attention: Jillette Johnson's 2013 debut album Water in a Whale showed the young New York native to be an important new force in songwriting, earning her slots on tours with artists like Delta Rae and Mary Lambert. The follow-up All I Ever See in You Is Me, Johnson's Rounder Records debut, is a powerful collection of piano-driven songs that show the singer to have evolved both lyrically and musically. Produced by Dave Cobb, the album makes the case for Johnson to be one of folk's most intriguing up-and-comers.

She Says: "This album was a long time coming for me. I had written hundreds of songs since my first release, and grown a lot as a person and an artist. By the time I actually got to Nashville to record, I was about ready to burst. It felt like I was finally taking the lid off a boiling pot. In some ways, I was terrified, because it had been so long and I didn't want to blow my chance at making something I was really proud of. But I think the fear was good for the energy in the songs. Plus, we made the album in the same studio where Dolly Parton recorded 'Jolene' and 'I Will Always Love You,' and we all joked that we could feel the ghosts of our heroes in the room while we recorded, so there was no lack of vibe."

Hear for Yourself: "Bunny" is the gorgeous dystopian piano ballad about artistic integrity you never knew you needed. B.M.

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