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

Bastian Baker, Lauren Morrow, J.S. Ondara and more artists to hear this month

Bastian Baker, Lauren Morrow

Bastian Baker and Lauren Morrow are among the 10 new country and Americana artists you need to hear this month.

A Swiss country star who toured with Shania Twain, the onetime singer for Americana rock band the Whiskey Gentry and a Kenyan singer-songwriter with a fresh take on the American experience make up our list of artists you need to hear this month.

James Carothers

Courtesy of 117 Entertainment

James Carothers

Sounds Like: A soundtrack for the grand tour that celebrates classic country’s history of rowdy crooners and sentimental outlaws

For Fans of: George Jones, Waylon Jennings, Sturgill Simpson

Why You Should Pay Attention: While it could be said that James Carothers got a bit of a late jump on his music career — he kicked things off at the age of 33 — he’s more than made up for any lost time by logging in over a thousand shows throughout a variety of downtown Nashville haunts. Most nights, Carothers can be found holding court at the George Jones Museum, a gig for which he was personally hired for by the Possum’s widow Nancy. After releasing his debut EP Honky Tonk Land in 2014 and his first full-length album Relapse in 2017, Carothers decided to honor Jones’s legendary catalog this year with a pitch-perfect tribute album called Still Country, Still King. The set of 10 heartfelt covers was released this past September and landed at Number 16 on the iTunes Country Chart. Earlier this year, Carothers won the 2018 WSM Road Show Live Finale, earning him the opportunity to make his Grand Ole Opry debut with Alan Jackson at an upcoming show. Carothers is prepping an album of original material to be released early next year that he describes as being “more akin to George Strait or Alan Jackson.”

He Says: When explaining his reasons for recording a George Jones tribute album, Carothers is unabashed in his admiration for the legend: “When I started picking guitar and singing all the time, I realized that George Jones was the best country singer. His music is inspiring to me because it’s old soul music. Even when he recorded it, it was already traditional country music. The thing that I learned through recording this tribute album is that George Jones’ voice was so good that it attracted the best songwriters, musicians, and producers for an incredible span of 50 years.”

Hear for Yourself: From its opening lyric “There’s hip-hop beats at the Opry, I’d never thought I’d see the day,” Carothers’ honky-tonk testimonial “Back to Hank” pulls no punches as it simultaneously pines for the sound of solid country gold and propels it into the present day. W.H.

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