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10 New Country Artists You Need to Know: Spring 2015

From the next (early) Taylor Swift to a hard-rocking, guitar-shredding duo

Clare Dunn and Chase Bryant

Guitar shredders Clare Dunn and Chase Bryant are new country artists to watch in 2015.

Scott Legato/Getty; Terry Wyatt/Getty

The guitar resonates loudly in Rolling Stone Country's spring installment of Artists You Need to Know. There's a farm-girl-turned-country-rocker who would give Keith Urban a run for his money; a high-haired young gun on tour with Tim McGraw; a shredding Americana duo with a T Bone Burnett-produced debut; and a mother-and-son group — yes, mother and son — who blend howling blues with acoustic picking. The artists who don't play make up for it by having monster voices. Here are the 10 new country artists you absolutely have to hear right now. 

Clare Dunn

INDIO, CA - APRIL 25: Singer Clare Dunn performs onstage during day 2 of the Stagecoach Music Festival at The Empire Polo Club on April 25, 2015 in Indio, California. (Photo by Scott Dudelson/FilmMagic)

Scott Dudelson/FilmMagic

Clare Dunn

Sounds Like: Keith Urban, if Keith were a woman and played guitar in the Rolling Stones

For Fans of: Urban, Frankie Ballard, Bonnie Raitt

Why You Should Pay Attention: If 2015 truly turns out to be country's Year of the Woman, then Clare Dunn will supply the girl power. A ferocious guitar player more in line with Page than Paisley, the Colorado ranch worker and one-time big-rig driver is absolutely magnetic onstage. Whether she's opening for Bob Seger in an arena full of classic-rock fans or entertaining the bros on the Florida Georgia Line cruise, Dunn knows how to work any crowd.

She Says: "It's important to know whom you are playing for. If I feel I need to tailor my set, I do it, and if I don't, I just rock on," explains Dunn, who was shaped by her mother's love of George Strait, Waylon Jennings and the Eagles, and her dad's R&B record collection. "I was very much into all that, and the Rolling Stones were a huge influence for me. But if it was music and I thought it was good, I listened to it. There was no picking and choosing, especially driving a tractor — you just listen to whatever radio station you can tune in."

Hear for Yourself: The end-of-the-work-week release "Get Out" showcases both Dunn's husky vocals and sizzling guitar playing. By Joseph Hudak

Chase Bryant

Cooper Neill/ACM2015/GettyImages

Chase Bryant

Sounds Like: The easy-going swagger of Eighties pop rock tossed with the melodicism and storytelling of country, filtered through a Millennial's mindset of a world still full of possibility

For Fans of: Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Hunter Hayes

Why You Should Pay Attention: Music is in Bryant's blood: His grandpa played piano for Waylon Jennings, Roy Orbison and Buddy Holly, and his uncles were in Nineties hitmakers Ricochet. But Bryant's his own man, musically. The 22-year old Texan learned quickly to "always make your own stamp. I wanted to create a shadow of my own instead of living in someone else's." With his sense of melody and fiery guitar playing, he's blazing his own path — right into the opening slot on Tim McGraw's summer tour.

He Says: "Records that were around me growing up were Fleetwood Mac, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ray Charles. Music from the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies," Bryant says, which may explain his music's expansive appeal. "But country music was where I found lyrically that I fit in. No one said you have to wear a cowboy hat to play country; you just have to tell the truth."

Hear for Yourself: The nostalgia-laden "Take It on Back" from Bryant's self-titled debut EP is a prime example of pop-country done right, all high harmonies and repetitive choruses. By Melinda Newman