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10 New Country Artists You Need to Know: March 2018

From the Hank Jr. honky-tonk of Dillon Carmichael to the ethereal Laurel Canyon folk-pop of Savannah Conley

10 New Country Artists You Need to Know: March 2018

Dillon Carmichael and Savannah Conley are among the 10 new country and Americana artists you need to hear this month.

Cameron Powell; Zachary Gray

Kentucky honky-tonker Dillon Carmichael, vibey folk-pop vocalist Savannah Conley and the rowdy duo Whiskey Wolves of the West make up this month’s list of the 10 country and Americana artists you need to hear right now. 

Great Peacock

Kris Skoda

Great Peacock

Sounds Like: Festival-ready Southern rock of the Whiskeytown persuasion

For Fans of: Ryan Adams, Tom Petty, Americana with both gentle acoustic harmonies and fuzzy, plugged-in anthems

Why You Should Pay Attention: You can’t ever say that Nashville’s Great Peacock is lacking a sense of humor: they started their band as bit of a joke. “It was right when the Fleet Foxes were getting big,” says Alabama-born frontman Andrew Nelson. “We’d always played rock, so we said, ‘Let’s do some acoustic stuff, and we’ll name our band after an animal.” They wrote a tune called “Desert Lark,” went with “Great Peacock” and put the song online: to their surprise, their friends loved it, and they did, too. Five years and hundreds of shows later, Great Peacock have expanded from a twosome of Nelson and guitarist Blount Floyd to a full band, honing a textured, roots-influenced breed of rock & roll on their newest LP, Gran Pavo Real that’s seriously good – but never too serious. Case in point: “Let’s Get Drunk Tonight,” a little bit of healing, hedonistic honky-tonk.

They Say: Growing up in a religious household, Nelson’s life changed when he first heard “Free Bird” on the radio as a teen. “We weren’t even allowed to listen to country music, because my parents said, ‘They’re just singing about cheating and whiskey,'” Nelson says. “One rainy day I went to my room and turned on the radio and heard ‘Free Bird.’ I heard the guitar solo and said, ‘I’m going to play guitar.’ That was it.” So how does he react when people scream “Free Bird” from the audience now? “Fifty percent of me wants play it, and the other fifty percent wants to say ‘fuck off.'”

Hear for Yourself: There’s a touch of Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” in both the sonic template and thematic messaging of “Oh Deep Water,” the first single from Gran Pavo Real (out March 30th). M.M. 

Lynn Taylor

Stacie Huckeba

Lynn Taylor and the Barflies

Sounds Like: Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Wayne Hancock honky-tonk fused with electrified Neil Young-meets-Deer Tick alt-folk

For Fans of: Gnarled lyrics born in a greasy barroom, occasionally interrupted by a stray tear and lump-in-the-throat honesty

Why You Should Pay Attention: A favorite of Nashville lifer Chuck Mead, Taylor has been sweating it out onstage for some time now, but his third album with the Barflies explores new, tragic territory: Taylor lost his wife Kim to cancer last year, writing the lyrics of the LP’s title cut “Staggered” during her extended stay at an Orlando hospital. Set to an ungainly waltz tempo, crafted by collaborator Larry O’Brien, the song is the sonic and emotional centerpiece of an album that reflects life at its most brutally awkward and yet most restoratively elegant.

He Says: “Writing and recording Staggered was a necessity for me. Through the last couple of years of Kim’s life and the year following her death, I’d been writing songs with my good friend Larry O’Brien. These songs chronicled the pain, loss, love and beauty of life. My hope is that all that comes through in the songs we chose for the record.”

Hear for Yourself: A slinky bassline coupled with Taylor’s delectably reedy rasp add maturity and layers of intrigue to the moving “Rock Paper Scissors (With My Love).” S.B.

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