10 New Country Artists You Need to Know: March 2016

From a country Ed Sheeran to a protégée of Willie Nelson

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Jared Deck

Jared Deck

Sounds Like: Greetings From Asbury Park, Oklahoma; a freewheeling, keys-loving disciple of the John Mellencamp School with plenty of dirt still under his nails

For Fans of: Unadorned roots-rock, Jason Isbell's "Super 8"; any song misinterpreted by political candidates as being a happy-go-lucky patriotic anthem (i.e. "Born in the U.S.A")

Why You Should Pay Attention: Heartland this, Americana that — it seems like every other band these days wants to embody a rootsy, corn-fed spirit, often without ever actually living it. Jared Deck, however, grew up in a rural Oklahoma town (population: 1,200) and spent the bulk of his early years trying to start a business, playing piano in a gospel church or just hoping to get the hell out of Dodge. And when he did load up his car and try to flee at 21, he made it exactly 17 miles until a flat tire sent him right back to where he came from — a woeful tale until you listen to the blue-collar bombast of "17 Miles," the song he later wrote inspired by the incident. Like the rest of his forthcoming self-titled debut, it deals not in some imagined, idealized version of fly-over country, but in the real life that lingers in towns much smaller than the dreams they contain — and, sometimes, constrain.

He Says: "This album is very personal for me," Deck says. "I used to always try and avoid songs about my life and background, or overly mask them so that nobody understood them except me. But I've opened up, and decided that the best way to feel better about what I am writing and singing is to be honest. It's taken me years."

Hear for Yourself: One of the most rowdy odes to failure ever written, "17 Miles." M.M.

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