Many of you have probably seen this popular video posted by Grady Smith reminding us how mainstream and non unique country music was in 2013. What most of you probably don’t know is why this video exists. This video was actually made in response to the negative comments on his top 10 country album list that readers penned “not mainstream enough.” I don’t think his goal was to bash mainstream country music, but to open listeners eyes to songs they won’t hear every 5 minutes when stuck in Nashville traffic at rush hour. I have always loved some of the lesser known, genuine, country crossover artists, but didn’t realize how big of a genre they were becoming until my dad pointed out a Reddit post to me last week. Someone started dissing country music and one clever Reddit user retaliated with a Spotify playlist full of the best country songs he could find that aren’t about girls, trucks and beer. This playlist, featured below, includes some of my favorite new artists in Nashville that really have the potential to change country and triple A radio.
If that wasn’t enough, here are a few of my favorites.
Maggie Chapman – Golden Girl
With only 16 years of life under her belt, Maggie Chapman is knocking on the music industry’s door with a publishing deal with Creative Nation. She’s been writing songs since before she could even watch a PG-13 movie and eventually, after making frequent trips to Nashville for co-writes, made the brave decision to move to Nashville to focus on her career. Finding inspiration from novels, the song “Golden Girl” was her twist on the Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald love story. She elegantly finds the words to put a 20’s feel on a relationship story of her own. Her debut EP is now out and proves what a bright future lies ahead of her.
Kacey Musgraves – Follow Your Arrow
This Texan songstress is making waves in country music, confusing the industry of where she will go. The impact she is already having in country music is huge. With two Grammy’s to show for herself, country music can’t exactly leave her out without push back from listeners. The best part about Kacey is that she doesn’t care who is listening to her or what they think. She just keeps making music with an older, western feel but quippy lyrics capturing the attention of many different audiences. “Follow Your Arrow” is a song she wrote capturing the ways that we judge others and discourage individualism, which makes country radio stations hesitant to play it in turn causing it to catch the eye of pop star, Katy Perry, and also Triple A radio stations.
The Lone Bellow – Green Eyes and a Heart of Gold
The Brooklyn based band recorded their self-titled album the Rockwood with the Civil Wars Producer, Charlie Peacock. They later met at the Art House in an old abandoned church in Nashville to do overdubs. The unique element of The Lone Bellow is that everything was made organically and naturally, from their coming together as a band to the music they make. They are a band that was meant to be together as shown by their flawless melodies and soul driven lyrics.