For this list I sat down and really thought about the qualities I saw in the artists that broke out in country music recently. All of the artists on this list have 3 things in common:
- Stage presence – If you see any of these groups on stage you just can’t look away. They command the stage and attention of the crowd.
- Vocals and songwriting – Not much can save you if your music and lyrics do not hit home with your audience, they are the backbone of every great artist.
- The IT factor – I can’t really explain the IT factor, except to say that it can be different for every artist. Sometimes something in their voice/stage presence/demeanor can just tell you that this artist is going to make it and make it BIG. When you see someone and you feel the crowd completely change when they start performing… that is the IT for me.
Without further ado, onto the 12 Pack:
- The Steel Woods – Take Whiskey Myers and the Cadillac Three and you have a pretty good idea of what these guys are doing. That’s high praise from me as those are two of my top 10 acts to see live. Southern rock is in good hands with this crew and the world is about to take notice.
- Jameson Rodgers – Jameson has a little bit of what makes Kip Moore so BADASS. There is a truthfulness in his voice that you either have or you don’t. See him live and you’ll see it too, it’s undeniable, there’s just something special here.
- Adam Doleac – Adam’s crooning voice takes over the airwaves when he sings. You immediately think every song he sings is one that you’ve heard before and is one of your old favorites. He’s relatable and dynamic at the same time. He’s going places and it’s going to happen fast.
- Mike Ryan – This Texas country boy’s voice has that IT factor. The first time I heard Mike was on his playful ditty “Girls I Date“, talk about a song that makes you sit up and take notice. And his newest release, Blink You’ll Miss it, left me wanting more and more. Give the album a listen and it won’t leave your playlist for a long time.
- Brooke Eden – You won’t be able to tear your eyes away from Brook’s live performance, she performs her ass off the entire set. She’s just as built for a big stage as she is for a honky tonk, no matter how large or small the crowd every person in the room can’t help but be swept up by her incredible energy. When you see her perform you wonder how she’s not huge already. She’s one of the next generation of entertainers we cannot imagine being without.
- Muscadine Bloodline – These Alabama boys are one of those acts that separate would be great artists but together their power increases exponentially. Their voices go so well together and they sing and write such fantastic songs. Their guitar work evokes thoughts of modern rock but their lyrics are 100% country.
- Faren Rachels – She is the female country music voice I have been waiting for. Faren brings me back to all my favorite female singers growing up (Think Lorrie Morgan, Tricia Yearwood and Jo Dee Messina). I yearned for this voice and I cannot get enough of it. She’s is a spark plug and mainstream country music is about to be on notice.
- Devin Dawson – Devin’s voice is absolutely amazing. His sound is unlike any I can think of in country music. His lyrics are introspective and honest and his album, Dark Horse, is one of my most anticipated in years.
- Ryan Hurd – Ryan’s 4 song EP was one of my favorite pieces of music from 2017. All 4 songs were stellar. Once Ryan’s album comes out his star is going to skyrocket. This is the year Ryan gets the results and we cannot wait to see it happen.
- Ashley Mcbryde – If you’ve seen Ashley’s live performance you know exactly why she made it onto this list. Her lyrics and voice speak directly to your heart strings. Think of Ashley as a whiskey soaked, asskicking version of Brandy Clark. Yeah I know, she’s that awesome.
- Kassi Ashton – Kassi just signed with UMG Nashville in conjunction with Interscope Records. The first time I saw Kassi sing Tumbleweed I was hooked. She’s a mixture of Maren Morris, Amy Winehouse and a little Lana Del Ray. She has what every person wants to have and it wouldn’t surprise me if she has multi-genre crossover success. She is just that talented.
- Riley Green – What can I say here, the fact that this guy and this band are not at the top of the charts right now is one of the biggest mysteries of the world. Riley radiates superstar. I remember seeing him at Whiskey Jam and just watching the entire room come to attention. It was a really special moment. There are going to be plenty more of those special moments coming here very shortly for Riley. The sky’s the limit for him.
Here is our Spotify Playlist. See which of our predictions makes it big time in 2018!