10 New Country Artists You Need to Know: July 2016

From a British singer-songwriter to an Internet-born firebrand

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Joseph Llanes10/10


Sounds Like: Sugarland 2.0, subbing in Keith Urban and Jana Kramer for Bush and Nettles, but with a little more smoothness than sass

For Fans of: Thompson Square, Lady Antebellum before they took off on a 747, a theoretical Dustin Lynch duets LP

Why You Should Pay Attention: The concept of a duo is a beloved country institution — from the early days with Flatt & Scruggs to the wallet chain of friendship linking Florida Georgia Line — though it's also faded over time as the solo megastar has become the genre's most important currency. But SmithField, Texas twosome Trey Smith and Jennifer Fiedler, who have known each other since the preteen years, find their strength in what multiple voices can bring to the table, especially when you add in the allure of a little "are they or aren't they?" sexual tension. Their current single "Nothing But the Night," about skinny-dipping under the moonlight, certainly showcases that chemistry — whether we're talking about harmonies or hormones. "Nothing But the Night" is already in steady rotation on SiriusXM's the Highway, and has earned the band their Grand Ole Opry debut.

They Say: "When we first started singing together, that was when the Civil Wars were at their peak," says Fiedler. "Watching them and hearing just how tight they were, and Lady Antebellum too, there was something special there. You can have two great singers, but they aren't always great together. Our blend is what sets us apart."

Hear for Yourself: The banjo-plucked, mid-tempo "Nothing But the Night" makes a birthday-suit-only swim sound so sweet your grandmother might consider joining in — until she realizes that the steam rising from the water isn't a summer fog. Marissa R. Moss