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10 New Country Artists You Need to Know: September 2016

From an outlaw country badass to an classic-country songbird

10 New Country Artists You Need to Know: September 2016

Jason Kempin/Getty, Gregg Roth

This month's installment of rising country and Americana artists puts the emphasis squarely on lyricism. From the introspective, brooding ballads of Cody Jinks to the daring glimpses into society's dark corners by Shelley Skidmore, the songs are what elevates September's class of new talent. Put simply, these aren't disposable tailgate jams. Here's September's 10 new artists you need to hear.

Cody Jinks

Sounds Like: Tattoos, Telecasters and Texas twang, performed by a recovered metalhead who still digs the darker things in life.

For Fans of: Whitey Morgan, Jamey Johnson, Chris Stapleton

Why You Should Pay Attention: A road warrior since the late Nineties, Jinks logged six years as frontman of the metal group Unchecked Aggression before returning home to Texas, where he rested his shot-to-shit voice and rediscovered a love for outlaw country. More than a decade later, I'm Not the Devil — the latest in a string of solo releases — has turned Jinks into an unlikely Top 10 star, peaking at Number Four on the Billboard Country Chart shortly after its August 2016 release. Full of honky-tonk heartache and barroom ballads, the record also steers Jinks into unusual territory for a country singer, with vampires, devils and apocalyptic imagery all rearing their heads. You can take the country singer out of heavy metal. . . 

He Says: "We look like a dirty-ass rock & roll band, but whenever people ask what kind of music we play, I just tell them 'country.' I don't use any other adjectives. That leaves it really open-ended. It leaves room for everyone. I'm one of those guys where one of the best compliments anyone can give me is, 'I don't like country music, but I really dig your stuff.' I just want it to be good music, really. That's the stuff that resonates."

Hear for Yourself: On the apologetic "I'm Not the Devil," Jinks pleads for forgiveness over power-ballad guitars and waltzing percussion. A.L.