Sounds Like: Nineties-country sensitivity welded to modern tailgate jams by a blowtorch of a voice
For Fans of: Jason Aldean, Eli Young Band, Vince Gill
Why You Should Pay Attention: After years of writing songs for other artists — and even scoring a Top 5 hit with Parmalee's "Close Your Eyes" — Adam Craig's self-titled EP signals the arrival of an artist with a slightly different take on modern country. Born and raised in the post-grunge Pacific Northwest, his approach is more about connecting through raw emotion than us-against-them identity politics or boastful machismo, and his secret weapon is a soul-piercing, high-flying voice. Drawing inspiration from open-hearted heroes like Tim McGraw and Travis Tritt, Craig sings his young-love party rockers like a nice-guy who'll be respectful to your daughter and make sure she gets home on time. But his forte lies in revealing the messiness of his own broken heart — something nice guys are all too familiar with.
He Says: "There might not be a lot of emotion [on the radio] lately, but the thing I love about a breakup song or a cheating song — and it's never me cheating; I'm always the one getting cheated on — is it can take you there and you get to that raw emotion. You get pissed."
Hear for Yourself: Craig's first single "Reckon" captures the careening sense of confusion that follows a bad breakup, full of flip-flopping mental gymnastics and howl-at-the-moon vocals. Chris Parton