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10 New Country Artists You Need to Know: July 2016

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

new country artists, country music, new country singers, kane brown, lucie silvas, lauren jenkins, tim montana, anthony damato, country new faces

Lucie Silvas and Kane Brown are among the new country artists you need to know this summer.

Sonya Jasinski; Frederick Breedon IV/GettyImages

As the country music umbrella grows ever wider, rural-minded artists who work in rock and hip-hop invariably have a place to land. This installment of Rolling Stone Country's Artists You Need to Know includes a number of country outliers, from a polarizing Internet sensation and a British import to a wild gang of Southern-rockers. 

Tim Montana and the Shrednecks

Josh Marx

Tim Montana & the Shrednecks

Sounds Like: ZZ Top with louder guitars, gnarlier riffs and dirtier beards

For Fans of: Kid Rock, ZZ Top, the Cadillac Three

Why You Should Pay Attention: Upon meeting ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons, head Shredneck Tim Montana found his spirit animal — and wrote a cult favorite with Gibbons in "This Beard Came Here to Party," co-opted by the Boston Red Sox for their 2013 post-season run. The band — fleshed out by guitarist Kyle Rife, drummer Brian Wolff and bass player Bryce Paul — recently wrapped up a tour with ZZ Top and are opening for Kid Rock on dates this summer. Following another cut with Gibbons, the outrageous "Weed & Whiskey," Montana and his gang are in the studio collaborating with Rock and working on a new album.

He Says: "My earliest musical memory was I found this Marlboro Country mixtape with songs by Charlie Daniels and Ronnie Milsap — that my mom smoked a lot of cigarettes to earn. Then a week later, I found a Guns N' Roses tape. I chuckle now, but our sound is the perfect combo of those first two tapes," says Montana, who is actually from the state that bears his name and plays there often on tour. "We're going to markets and seeing people who have seen us in other places and we're building this on our own. We're laying a brick foundation."

Hear for Yourself: Montana is currently experimenting with rapid-fire rap deliveries and drum loops in the studio, but "Weed and Whiskey" leans on harmonies and a devilish chorus. Joseph Hudak

Adam Craig

Jason Myers

Adam Craig

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

Bill Eberle

Wild Rivers Photography

Bill Eberle

Sounds Like: An old-soul folkie making sense of the modern world, bending the traditions of his heroes — Dust Bowl songwriters, train hoppers, Delta bluesmen — to suit the 21st century

For Fans of: Post-jail Steve Earle, Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska

Why You Should Pay Attention: Split between acoustic folksongs, revved-up roots-rockers and Americana ballads, Eberle's indie debut Matter & Time finds the Pittsburgh-born songwriter nodding to the fingerpickers who came before him. He's no revivalist, though. Songs like "Ashes (Trayvon Martin Blues)" take a hard look at America's growth — or lack thereof — since the glory days of Guthrie, and members of Nashville's world-pop buzz band ELEL make up the rhythm section, pointing Matter & Time toward the less explored wing of folk music.

He Says: "There's a difference between trying to sound old and trying to sound timeless," notes Eberle, who teamed up with co-producer Dave Coleman to capture the album in a series of live takes. "Look at Sturgill Simpson's last album. You've got this dude singing about alien reptiles over a country band. It draws you in. It's not a throwback act."

Hear for Yourself: "Ashes (Trayvon Martin Blues)" is a haunting bit of social commentary, driven by Eberle's old-timey arrangement. Andrew Leahey