10 New Country Artists You Need to Know: April 2018 - Rolling Stone
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10 New Country Artists You Need to Know: April 2018

From the power-country of Rachel Wammack to the dusty vibes of Kyle Daniel

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Rachel Wammack and Kyle Daniel are among the 10 new country and Americana artists you need to know this month.

Power singer Rachel Wammack, the rock-forward Kyle Daniel and Memphis soul badass Liz Brasher highlight this month’s list of the 10 new country and Americana artists you need to hear right now.

Scott Willis Photography

Kyle Daniel

Sounds like: The gravely twang of Steve Earle with Chris Stapleton’s range, plus bigger hooks

For Fans of: Stapleton, Will Hoge, anything from Dave Cobb’s Low Country Sound

Why You Should Pay Attention: Daniel’s parents always knew they had a musical kid on their hands, even before he came out of the womb: when his banjo-playing dad would strum for his pregnant wife, Daniel would kick up a storm. True to his Kentucky roots, Daniel would make the rounds with his father to local bluegrass festivals and picking parties, taking up the guitar at 13 years old after first trying the saxophone, drums and keys. “When I felt all the notes underneath me, it felt so natural and clicked almost instantly,” he says. “I never looked back.” Daniel moved to Nashville a decade ago and roomed with buddy Anderson East, spending time in bands (like RS Country New Artist alum Jericho Woods) and supporting Clare Dunn on the road. It may have taken years to get his solo work front and center, but his rich, melodic breed of baritone country is perfect for a moment that finally embraces the Stapletons and the Sturgill Simpsons of the world.

He Says: “It’s given artists like us an opportunity to be heard,” Daniel says about the current state of country. “People are catching the curve ball, and going, ‘Whoa, what is that?’ It’s different than what people are getting fed by the mainstream. For true music lovers, it’s a great thing. These different looks, throwback sounds, live-to-tape versus digital machine-produced content. People are hungry for it.”

Hear for Yourself: Single “Hangover Town” is a rocking bit of Stones swagger, with the dusty sing-along quality of Hayes Carll’s “Bad Liver and a Broken Heart.” M.M.

clarence bucaro

Todd Heisler

Clarence Bucaro

Sounds Like: Buoyant, sometimes playful folk songwriting with a deep well of social consciousness

For Fans of: Josh Ritter, Joshua Radin, Wilco

Why You Should Pay Attention: Calling Clarence Bucaro a new artist is a bit misleading, as the Ohio-born songwriter has released a dozen albums over the last 15 years. His most recent, Passionate Kind, has been something of a rebirth for Bucaro, though, thanks in no small part to its willingness to engage with the current moment. Single “Where Do I Go?” is a plea for direction in confusing times, which Bucaro wrote in the wake of the 2016 election. Other tracks on Passionate Kind, like the prescient “Sleepwalker,” take similar stock of today’s particular brand of social ills.

He Says: “Songwriting to me is a deeply personal thing. How does one take one’s most intimate feelings and experiences and turn them into songs without them seeming like diary entries? On this album, I tried to connect with feelings I have had and imagine them through a different prism while still maintaining the truth or essence of them. I wanted this album to feel distinct from my others. I challenged myself lyrically. I absorbed anything I could over the past year. I watched opera. I read classics. I studied art and listened to tons of music from Beethoven to Duke Ellington to Kris Kristofferson. These elements helped to inform the album as well. At the top of my writing notebook, I wrote, ‘Is this interesting? Is this honest?’ and I tried to keep these two questions in mind with every song I wrote for Passionate Kind.”

Hear for Yourself: “Sleepwalker” is a gently soulful admonition to someone who can’t open his eyes to the vast, colorful world around him. B.M.

davisson brothers band

Davisson Brothers Band

Sounds Like: The soundtrack to making moonshine; a dancefloor playlist for Jesco White

For Fans of: Justin Moore, Hank Williams Jr., the Southern-rocking side of Kid Rock

Why You Should Pay Attention: Made up of singer-guitarist brothers Chris and Donnie Davisson, bassist Rus Repert and drummer Aaron Regester, the Davisson Brothers Band credit influences as far flung as Dickey Betts, Del McCoury, Garth Brooks and Willie Nelson with shaping their sound, a mix of country and rock with a heavy dose of their native Appalachia. The group became fast friends with Chris Janson, who’s had the band open many of his shows, helping them break out of what Chris Davisson calls the “animal circuit: the Eagles, Elks and Moose Lodges.” With a new album produced by Keith Stegall on the way, the band is gaining traction with lead single “Po’ Boyz,” which marries the Davissons’ live energy with a dab of country gloss.

They Say: “We take a lot of pride in making music that is true to us, where we come from and our life on the road,” says Chris. “We’re just country boys who like to have fun with what we do … we’re hard-working folks who live a bit of a ‘rock & roll lifestyle’ writing and performing music for the everyday working folks.

Hear for Yourself: The snaking “Po’ Boyz” puts a new spin on country-cred songs, highlighting not some polished version of the rural life, but the grit and toil of growing up in the West Virginia hills. J.H. 

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