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

From the vocal knockout Tenille Townes to the Garth Brooks-endorsed Randall King

10 New Country Artists You Need to Know: May 2018

Tenille Townes and Randall King are among the 10 new country and Americana artists you need to know this month.

A Texas singer who received a stamp of approval from Garth Brooks, a buzzed-about vocalist with the ultimate empowerment anthem and a folksinger-activist duo make up this month’s list of country and Americana artists you need to hear.

john calvin abney

Erin R.A. Rambo

John Calvin Abney

Sounds Like: Dreamy folk with a good balance of sadness and sunshine

For Fans of: Elliott Smith, M. Ward, Wilco’s slower acoustic tracks

Why You Should Pay Attention: If you’ve seen John Moreland live, you’ve likely also seen John Calvin Abney, who spends part of his time onstage performing alongside the fellow Oklahoman singer-songwriter. But Abney’s been making his own music for a decade too, with his subtle, introspective skills culminating on his newest LP, Coyote. Written after weathering some personal losses – of a friend (the artist Chris Porter) to an accident, his grandmother, a relationship – it’s a tender set of songs about the dark side of growing up and realizing that these realities will keep getting sharper and more urgent as time goes on, but without the music resting on melancholy. Instead, there’s wisdom in acceptance.

He Says: “Coyote was my way of chronicling these difficult situations and maybe served as a reminder to keep your head up and keep pushing forward, and to always try to keep your shit together. Songwriting was never a catharsis for me: Coyote was more learning how to deal with life stuff.”

Hear for Yourself: “Get Your House in Order” is a dreamy bit of slowly chugging classic rock that’s a reminder to do just that: keep your shit together. M.M.

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