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10 New Country Artists You Need to Know: December 2017

From a Dwight Yoakam protégé to an Australian singer-songwriter proficient in outlaw twang-rock

A Dwight Yoakam cowpunk protégé with a Morrissey voice; an Australian singer who mixes outlaw attitude with Americana soul; and a hard rock-country badass with the best song about a watering hole since Toby Keith’s “I Love This Bar” make up this month’s 10 new country and Americana artists you need to hear right now.

Country Artist to know for December 2017

Cal Quinn

Ruby Boots

Sounds Like: Soulful outlaw twang-rock with an Australian accent

For Fans of: Grace Potter, Nikki Lane, Margo Price

Why You Should Pay Attention: Some of the best Americana music being played these days comes, surprisingly, from outside America. Case in point: Nashville-by-way-of-Australia songwriter Bex Chilcott, who writes and performs under the name Ruby Boots. Chilcott earned a devoted following in her native Australia before moving to Nashville and signing with Chicago’s Bloodshot Records, a deal that precipitated her forthcoming album Don’t Talk About It. A pal of Nikki Lane’s, Chilcott is a welcome addition to the city’s thriving roots scene, bringing a fresh perspective, plenty of soul and a healthy dose of Down Under swagger.

She Says: “Sonically, I was missing a rockier, grungier feeling to my live show, so I set out to straddle the two worlds of rock & roll and Americana. Lyrically, I wanted the album to have a sense of defiance and fierceness whilst still showing that it can be achieved through vulnerability. I had to learn that being exposed and fragile at times can be just as powerful as being fierce and strong and that they, in fact, go hand in hand. It’s okay to feel something deep down to your core and express that in its raw form, or to fall apart when everything around you is falling apart, rather than trying to hold your shit together.”

Hear for Yourself: “It’s So Cruel” is pure rock attitude, with big, crunchy power chords lending a gritty backdrop to Chilcott’s wail. B.M.

Country Artist to know for December 2017

Chris Douglas

Scooter Brown Band

Sounds Like: Red-blooded country-rock, fronted by a Marine and influenced by Lynyrd Skynyrd’s guitar-heavy tributes to Dixieland

For Fans of: Whiskey Myers, the Cadillac Three, Hank Williams Jr.

Why You Should Pay Attention: Scooter Brown Band follow in the footsteps of Bocephus, delivering unapologetic blasts of Southern rock and ideology. Namesake Scott Brown was still an active-duty Marine when he began writing music, and American Son – his band’s debut, shot through with overdriven slide guitar, barroom piano and plenty of Seventies nostalgia – finds him singing about the things he believes are worth fighting for. The music’s patriotic punch has already made a champion out of Charlie Daniels, who tapped the group as an opening act and made a cameo appearance on American Son‘s title track.

They Say: “We’ve built a following the old-school way: by getting in front of as many people as we can,” says Brown. “For me, playing a live show is the best thing in the world. There’s not a lot of time to take a breath up there. Whether it’s 30 minutes or 90 minutes, it’s balls to the wall. The country crowd digs us, and the rock crowd digs us, too. We’re kind of the best of both worlds.”

Hear for Yourself: On the gruff salute to the Stars and Stripes “American Son,” Brown finds a kindred spirit in the hyper-political Daniels. R.C.

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