Get this—50 years ago, the hot new thing in country music was Dolly Parton; 20 years ago Kenny Chesney was a baby in the biz; 10 years ago we were just getting to know Taylor Swift; and in 2012, just five years ago, we were talking about a little duo by the name of Florida Georgia Line.
Aspiring young country artists pour into Nashville on a daily basis with songs on their lips and dreams in their hearts. And you can bet your bottom dollar we’re watching and listening because who knows where the next Garth or Carrie might appear. In this week’s Rare Country’s 5, Erin Holt has five of country music’s hottest up-and-comers that we’ve got our eyes and ears on. They’re talented, they’re unique, and we just can’t get enough of them.
If classic country music sets your heart on fire, you might want to check out Midland. Heavily influenced by the music from the ’70s and ’80s, including lush harmony groups like the Eagles, Midland has embraced that era with an energy that is intoxicating and infectious. From their hip and cool look to the traditional production, we have high hopes for this band whose debut single, “Drinkin’ Problem,” hasn’t left our playlist.
Kane Brown loves the legends of country music and has found a way to channel those inspirations into a contemporary sound and lyrics to create his own brand of country music. A social media darling, Kane may be a newcomer, but his fan base is loyal and for good reason. He loves them as much as they love him. His peers love him, too. He’s on the road with Jason Aldean this summer.
When it comes to old school country, the kind that gets boots on the dance floor, nobody does it as unapologetically as Jon Pardi. Combining his love of country music with a mindful ear on contemporary production, Jon is attracting ears with fun country romps like “Head Over Boots” and “Dirt On My Boots” that have a driving energy. He’s also drawing admiring eyes as the long, lean cowboy in pearl snaps, big buckles, boots and Manuel jackets, just like his heroes.
She’s rapidly becoming Blake Shelton’s touring sidekick and she’s so precious, we want to hang her off of a charm bracelet, but diminutive RaeLynn is a powerhouse performer and a heartfelt songwriter. “The Voice” may have kick-started her career, but she took over what the TV show started with the recent release of her debut album, “WildHorse.” Songs like “God Made Girls” and “Love Triangle” show that she doesn’t just care about being a star, she wants a connection with her fans.
Nothing gives us goose bumps quite like really amazing harmonies and Runaway June has them in spades. They’re also drop dead gorgeous, incredibly sweet and have truckloads of sass, as is evident in their debut single, “Lipstick.” But don’t dismiss these young ladies as eye candy. They are respected songwriters and gifted musicians who keep one boot firmly planted in traditional country music and the other dipping and swaying in a contemporary sound. They’ve found a balance that works for them and it works for us, too.
That’s it for another special edition of Rare Country’s 5. Be sure to check out Erin’s great video for more on Rare Country’s 5 favorite newcomers and comment with your favorite new local or national act so we can check them out, too! Remember to share good music and support young talent. You never know where they’ll be in 10 years.