We like to try and keep everyone happy here at Holler.
Whether it's a new six-piece alt-country band from Norfolk or a harmony-soaked trio of sisters from Georgia, there's going to be something to please everyone in here.
So, get ready for another of Holler's monthly round ups of our latest loves; a who's who of the most exciting prospects to begin leaving their mark on the country and Americana landscape. This month, we've got everything from The Castellows to Colin Stough and Tiny Habits to Zandi Holup for you.
Here's Holler's 10 New and Upcoming Country and Americana Artists You Need to Know for November.
We like things a little bit peachy round here. Raised on Alan Jackson, The Judds and Alabama playing out of their radio, neo-traditionalist sister trio The Castellows feel like a breath of fresh Georgia air blasting through country music.
“We couldn’t really be anything else but country because that’s just who we are and the environment we were around,” the band say laughing. “We’re from a small town in South Georgia called Georgetown. Being raised on a cattle and timber farm really connected us to country music because so many of the things we listened to in country songs was just what our lives felt like.”
“Our sound is more of a neo-traditional red dirt country sound,” The Castellows told us. “We really like to lean on instrumentals and harmonies because that’s ingrained into so much of what we are doing. Powell also plays banjo, so all of our songs are going to have a banjo and they are going to be a bit grassy for sure.”
Only two singles in and the band have already completely captured our hearts. The debut ‘No. 7 Road’ was written by the band with Hillary Lindsey and produced by veteran mixer, record producer and sound engineer Trina Shoemaker (Sheryl Crow, Nanci Griffith, Emmylou Harris), and sounds like lots of little bits of what you know and love and a whole lot of nothing you’ve ever heard before.
“It was one of the first songs we co-wrote in Nashville, but the idea had been in Ellie’s notes months before that,” they explain about ‘No. 7 Road’. “The song speaks on how we grew up in the same place our granddad did and how close our family is. Every lyric in that song is 100% real and true to who we are. That’s one of the reasons why we wanted to put it out first. It’s our life, and also speaks about home in a way we think a lot of people relate to.”
They followed it up with their version of ‘Hurricane’, the song written by Keith Stegall, Thom Schuyler and Stewart Harris and famously cut by Levon Helm about an old man living in the French Quarter in New Orleans who seems unfazed by news of an incoming hurricane.
“That was one of the first songs we ever covered,” the band explain. “It really holds a special place in our hearts and has been with us long before we ever even considered doing music as a career. It’s such a special song and we’re so happy that our version exists in the world.”
The Castellows angelic three-part family harmonies might sound like they’ve been plucked straight out of the country history books, but the band bring something distinctly modern to their classic country sound.
“Our biggest influences are probably a lot of Texas country and bluegrass, but we are really all over the map,” they told us. “There’s three of us and even though the music we like is very similar, there are some nuances to our styles. We all land on artists like Turnpike Troubadours, Emmylou Harris, Whiskey Myers, Doc Watson, and Gillian Welch.”
‘Hurricane’ and ‘No. 7 Road’ are out now on Warner Music Nashville.
Listen If You Like: Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt
Listening to Tiny Habits is like opening a small door in a tree and finding a whole other world beyond it. They make much needed gentle, life-affirming folk songs perfect for a world that feels like it’s completely falling apart.
Formed in Boston, Massachusetts, by artists Maya Rae, Cinya Khan and Judah Mayowa, the three singer-songwriters met at Berklee College of Music and became a band at the beginning of 2022
They started out by sharing covers recorded in the stairwell of their college dorm and posting them on social media, focusing on beautifully intimate three-part harmonies. The trio's enticing signature sound, offered exquisite, reimagined versions of songs from across a spectrum of styles and quickly drove them to viral success and they received recognition and early support from David Crosby, Marcus Mumford, Phoebe Bridgers and Noah Kahan.
Their latest single ‘Small Enough’ feels like coming home to a reassuring cuddle after a long hard day. It was written by the band and recorded at Sound City Studios in Los Angeles, California with producer Tony Berg (boygenius, Taylor Swift, Phoebe Bridgers), and provides the perfect showcase for their warm harmonies and cozy, intimate songs.
Their debut EP Tiny Things was released in April 2023. Earlier this year, the band opened for Gracie Abrams on her Good Riddance Tour across North America, followed by their own sold-out Tiny Tour across the US. The band are currently touring Europe as special guests to Noah Kahan.
The single 'Small Enough' and the Tiny Things EP are out now.
Listen If You Like: boygenius, Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes
Born in Pennsylvania, Zandi Holup began writing songs when she was 12. She drifted through the Northeast, then to the West Coast before relocating to Nashville six years ago to pursue her musical dreams. Having recently signed to Big Loud and opening for the likes of Steve Earle, Amanda Shires and Ann Wilson of Heart, Holup dresses up her evocative country storytelling with the kind of effortless cool that will endear her as much to the TikTok generation as it will to country traditionalists.
Inspired by the folk singer-songwriter movement of the 1960s, her true-to-life lyrics and affinity for melancholy are no surprise, citing trailblazers like Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Dolly Parton as her musical heroes.
“I've always felt extremely connected to storytellers,” adds Holup. “I come from a creative family and grew up listening to artists whose influence led me to put the poetry I'd been writing to music.”
Having written over 150 songs in the past two years, Holup is gearing up to be one of country music’s more prolific newcomers, but the first Big Loud offering is ‘Gas Station Flowers,’ produced by Al Torrence, producer and guitarist in Charles Wesley Godwin’s backing band, The Allegheny High, who also played on the recording.
'Gas Station Flowers' is out now on Big Loud.
Listen If You Like: Maggie Antone,Amanda Shires, Lana Del Rey
It's almost impossible to pin the tail on Corey Harper’s musical donkey. The genre-fluid 20-something singer songwriter from the Pacific Northwest defies categorisation with his bubbling cauldron of country tinged folk and bedroom pop.
Listening to Corey Harper’s songs feels like hanging out with old friends who’ve known you your whole life; the kind of friends who see you for who you really are, who pick you up when you’re at your lowest and make you laugh so much it hurts.
Following up last year’s Future Tense album with his latest single, ‘Emily’s Frown’ and ‘My Innocence’, Harper’s diaristic and intimate songs are like a coming-of-age soundtrack that feels boldly self-aware and personal at the same time as being widely universal.
'My Innocence' is out on 17th November through Range Music Partners. ‘Emily’s Frown’ is out now.
Listen If You Like: Taylor Swift, Alana Springsteen, Abby Hamilton
Only three singles in and Brown Horse have already given us more than enough to get very excited about here in the Holler offices. Signed to the legendary Loose Records, the Norfolk-based six-piece are staking a claim for an alt-country throne that feels like it’s been sitting empty in recent years with their melodic guitar-driven country rock.
Their forthcoming album, Reservoir, feels like a nod towards turn-of-the-millennium alt-country artists like Son Volt, Silver Jews, Lucinda Williams and Jason Molina, cut through with a peculiarly British kind of melancholy and a restless angst.
Although it was recorded over just four days in a barn surrounded by farm fields and wetlands in a quiet corner of Norfolk, the album is a collaborative effort years in the making.
“When it came time to record, the most difficult thing was working out which songs we would have to leave out,” the band explain. “All of us in Brown Horse are songwriters, and each of us have been writing for years, which meant we were walking into the studio with a pretty big back catalogue of songs we couldn’t hope to record all of in just a few days. In the end, we felt that the songs which make up Reservoir shared something tonally; a kind of dark undercurrent which verges on desperation at points. It’s kind of a sad album, which is strange given how much fun we had making it”.
Reservoir is released on Loose Records on January 19th 2024.
Listen If You Like: Nathaniel Rateliff, Drive-By Truckers, Uncle Tupelo
It’s been a busy year for Natalie Del Carmen. The Americana singer-songwriter from Los Angeles, California, graduated from Berklee College of Music with a degree in Songwriting and released a full-length album, Bloodlines, as well as the wonderful Tandem Songs EP in September.
Despite gaining popularity when The Lumineers shared her cover of their hit single ‘Cleopatra’ way back in 2016, it’s her own compositions that make her one of the most exciting storytellers to break through in 2023. Drawing from her own experiences growing up in Los Angeles and moving to Boston, her songs are intimate character studies retold in her delightfully close conversational style that recall contemporaries like Erin Rae, Anais Mitchell and Margo Cilker.
Tandem Songs, with its tales of friendship, romance and family, throws a light on the fragility of life, the beauty of finding love after heartbreak and the difficulty of being content in the present moment that will resonate with younger listeners and old souls alike.
“I spend a lot of time wondering what happens after all of this,” she says. “I wrote about that, and how the concept of life beyond this can be comforting and ominous at the same time. It's about wishing to do more in the life you have, and being content with what you don't.”
“I hope this music puts you in an open field and brings you away from the overwhelming nature of life,” she explains. “Lyrically, I hope these songs bring you home to yourself. Whether they remind you of someone you once loved, the person you want to be or who you hope to be someday.”
The Tandem Songs EP is out now
Listen If You Like: Courtney Marie Andrews, Noah Kahan, Jess Williamson
“If you're gonna throw your life away he'd better have a motorcycle,” Lorelai tells Rory, as she gives her some unwanted dating advice in Gilmore Girls.
Looking at the cover of Colin Stough’s Promiseland EP, Lorelai would definitely approve. The horse-loving, motorcycle riding 19-year-old from Gattman, Mississippi, is captured sitting astride one of his beloved machines; an image that perfectly sums up the sound of one of country’s most exciting new stars.
Dubbed the “Brad Pitt of country music” by Katy Perry, Stough is fresh off a standout third-place finish on Season 21 of American Idol in 2022. He was still in high school until last year and had been working full-time as an HVAC technician after graduation, but once his mother convinced him to audition for American Idol, that life became history.
Now signed to 19 Recordings/BMG, Stough released his debut six-song EP in September and spent 2023 headlining shows and supporting fellow rising star Kidd G and country soul troubadour Drake White.
From the supercharged riffs of the Trace Adkins-esque title track to the intimate honky tonk ballads like ‘Lonely Hour’ and ‘Sleep Tonight,’ Stough’s gravelly rock drawl is equally at home singing grungy Southern rock as it is twangy old school country, and Promiseland is a fitting showcase for every side of a singer who was born to do this.
“This EP represents who I am and where I’m from,” Stough says. “It speaks to my life these past few years and has become a source of comfort for me. Maybe that’s why I called it Promiseland.”
Listen If You Like: Austin Snell, HARDY, The Cadillac Three
When Ashley Anne wrote the song ‘Dear Dolly,’ her open letter to Dolly Parton looking for advice, she might never have imagined meeting the country superstar, but with every song she releases she gets closer and closer to moving in the same circles.
Born and raised in Virginia Beach, Virginia, at the age of 18 Ashley Anne packed up her beach towel and cooler and moved inland to Nashville to pursue her love for country music and songwriting.
A classic country storyteller at heart, the 19-year-old singer-songwriter weaves tales about small town life and the dreams that pull you away from it. After blazing a path through country music with a string of near perfect country pop singles from ‘Fake Tan’ to ‘She Ain’t Texas’ in the past few months, her latest single, ‘Never Learned How To Sew,’ feels like her most fully realised yet; a gentle country ballad that skips along as she tries to mend her broken heart without any of the necessary life skills.
‘Never Learned How To Sew' is out now.
Listen If You Like: Megan Moroney, Hailey Whitters, Carter Faith
You get the feeling that whatever Julia DiGrazia touches turns to country gold. A multi-instrumentalist who mixes the influence of her background in classical music with old time fiddling and jazz improvisation, she recently graduated from Berklee College of Music with a degree in Interdisciplinary Music Studies.
It was her appearance alongside Evan Honer on their version of Elle King’s ‘Jersey Giant’ that first caught our attention, playing and singing harmony on the song as she played Emmylou to Honer’s Gram, bringing a warm old timey melancholy to the collaboration.
You could hear that same old soul’s touch on her solo outing ‘If He Wanted To’ from earlier in the year and on songs like ‘Someone You Don’t Know’ and ‘The Bartender’ with Evan Honer. There is something about the uniqueness of two voices creating a sound together that can be joyfully disarming when they fit together just right, and when DiGrazia’s almost glacially pure harmonies join Honer’s it feels like a sorrowful siren song that completely entrances you.
Listen If You Like: Lillie Mae, Noah Kahan, Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris
Hailing from Wales and now residing in the picturesque landscapes of Cornwall, Ashley Harding brings a uniquely British touch to his utterly classic country.
His debut album, the intriguingly titled Spoon Music, is a mix of blistering Chris Stapleton-esque country rockers and the kind of waltzing honk tonkers you’d expect to hear at Robert’s Western World on a Wednesday afternoon.
Whether it’s the classic traditionalism of ‘The Things We Do’ and ‘Keep It Under Your Hat’ or brooding country rock ballads like ‘To The Light’ and ‘Got What’s Mine,’ Harding has the same endearingly effortless charm of songwriters like John Prine or Rodney Crowell.
Spoon Music is available now.
Listen If You Like: Joshua Hedley, Mike & The Moonpies, Chris Stapleton
For more on New Country Artists here at Holler, see below: