While 2017 saw the emergence of several promising new country acts, 2018 is sure to welcome even more rising stars to the genre.
From artists who have already released full-length albums to those who have just hit the scene with an EP, every facet of country music is represented in this list, with pop-country, soul, rock, blues and a more traditional sound all being represented in this talented group.
Take a look at our picks for country artists to watch in 2018.
Temecula Road is a trio made up of sisters Emma and Maddie Salute and family friend Dawson Anderson, and the group has opened for artists like Martina McBride, Josh Turner, Joe Nichols, Sara Evans, Eli Young Band and Love And Theft. They also spent part of the year touring with Jessie James Decker and were named as one of Radio Disney's Next Big Things. Temecula Road's mash-up of the Top Country Songs of 2017, not to mention their stellar single, "Everything Without You," makes us pretty certain we're going to be hearing a lot more from them in the new year.
Two years ago, when Tenille Arts was 21, she made the move from her native Canada to Nashville. Since then, she's signed a publishing deal, was nominated for the CCMA’s Discovery Award, released a self-titled EP (which entered the iTunes Canada Top Country Albums chart at #1 and Top 10 overall), released her first full-length album, Rebel Child, and her first US single and music video for her song “Cold Feet." Her talent and drive will undoubtedly take her even further in the near future.
At exactly this time last week I was about to step out on stage for my album release show in Nashville!! Thank you so much to everyone who came out to the show, and to everyone who watched on FB Live! ??? [Link in bio to listen to the album] ?: @iamevandavies #throwbackthursday #tbt #newalbum #albumrelease #rebelchild #tenillearts
Ashley McBryde spent almost ten years in Nashville touring and releasing albums before the rightful buzz about her finally caught on. The powerful vocalist, brave and fearless both on stage and in her lyrics, released the EP Jalopies & Expensive Guitars in 2016, which made Eric Church a vocal and outspoken fan, catapulting McBryde closer to becoming a household name. We bet 2018 will be good to her.
Hurd met fiancée Maren Morris while writing Tim McGraw's "Last Turn Home," but the 31-year-old is ready to make a name for himself with his laid-back style that combines old country with soulful modernity. He's also written for artists including Blake Shelton, Dierks Bentley, Jake Owen and Florida Georgia Line, and his songwriting skills were on full display with his self-titled EP, released in April. Hurd will next release his forthcoming debut album.
Having previously written hits for artists like Meghan Trainor, Dolly Parton and Garth Brooks, Caitlyn Smith is no stranger to the music industry. The singer made waves after the release of her EP, Starfire, in July 2016, with her honest lyrics and stunning voice merging perfectly with her unique country-blues style. With her first full-length major label album, Starfire, set for release in January, Smith's star is sure to rise in 2018.
Faren Rachels is as country as country can be, which might be exactly what the genre needs. In addition to earning her own fans by playing clubs and venues all on her own, she's opened for artists like Dwight Yoakam, and earned an opening spot on part of Luke Combs' sold-out fall tour. Her latest single, "If It Ain't Fixed," from her recently-released self-titled EP, combines the traditional country she was raised on with her own young vibe. The sky is definitely the limit for Rachels.
Hannah Ellis first earned her Music City stripes by writing songs cut by other artists including Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Russell Dickerson, Danielle Bradbery and Keith Urban, and the Kentucky native stepped out on her own this year with the release of her self-titled EP. The five-song collection perfectly displays Ellis' catchy style and sharp songwriting skills, and one listen will make it clear why she was named part of CMT's Next Women of Country Class of 2018.
Stephanie Quayle was one of the top-selling debut female country artists of the year, but her success didn't happen overnight. Raised on a buffalo farm in Montana, Quayle learned early on how far a strong work ethic would carry her and she hasn't slowed down since. After releasing "Drinking With Dolly" last year, which got the attention of the song's namesake, Dolly Parton, Quayle released her album Love the Way You See Me earlier this year. The 11-song LP, which includes the sultry single, "Selfish," shows that Quayle is a viable contender for country music's next leading lady.
Part country, part folk, part rock, all heart, Delta Rae have been quietly bubbling under the surface for a few years. The six-member group, which includes three siblings, released an EP, A Long and Happy Life, earlier this year, but it's their recent four-song EP, The Blackbird Sessions, which shows how strong they are as a group. With unparalleled vocal harmonies and impeccable musicianship, Delta Rae are about to make everyone wonder why country music waited so long to notice them in the first place.
Mize has been on the scene for years, releasing his first album in 2009 and hitting the road ever since. In 2017, he released his album Come Back Road, which marked a new chapter in his professional career. His time on the road has drawn plenty of new fans to his down-home musical style, and he also attracted attention by driving around the country in a 1989 Chevy station wagon named Glenn.
Singer-songwriter Seth Ennis is another member of the pop-country club, specializing in catchy melodies with relatable lyrics that have earned him rave reviews. Ennis released his EP, Mabelle, in March, and has continued to rack up streams online, currently sitting at over one million listeners per month on Spotify. During the year, he's been on the road, opening for artists like Florida Georgia Line, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Billy Currington and Luke Bryan.
Dickerson is almost too well known to be included on this list. This year, the singer released his debut album, Yours, and nabbed opening slots on both Thomas Rhett's Home Team Tour and Florida Georgia Line's Smooth Tour. He also earned his first Top 10 hit with "Yours," and partnered with Spotify as one of their RISE artists. It's safe to say we can predict big things from Dickerson next year.
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