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10 New and Upcoming Country and Americana Artists You Need to Know

May 16, 2024 8:44 am GMT

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It's time for our monthly round up of the 10 Country and Americana Artists You Need To Know and we've got an absolute smörgåsbord laid out for for you.

This month, we recommend an old school country storyteller from Georgia whose vivid depictions of small town life will pair nicely with a country traditionalist from the West Texas town of Midland who drives his own tour bus. We'd follow this with an Amsterdam based singer with an appetising take on Laurel Canyon-inspired country pop that's as refreshing as it is fufilling and a six piece bluegrass band from Denver, Colorado, guaranteed to get any party started.

Here we go with 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.

Here's Holler's 10 New and Upcoming Country and Americana Artists You Need to Know for May:

Logan Crosby

When it comes to country music, it’s all in the details. Little turns of phrase that are magically able to bring the whole story to life; the particular way a flagpole leans, the condensation on a cold bottle of beer, a description of what someone was holding and the way they held it that tells you everything about them in that moment.

Logan Crosby is an old school country storyteller at heart. Like John Prine or Tom T. Hall, his small-town coming of age vignettes are loaded with these kinds of vivid details and little moments that feel like they’re being sketched out in front of you. Whether he’s writing about an exchange between a nervous young man and his potential future father-in-law, a rowdy night out with his friends or a three-week love affair in L.A. that ends in heartbreak, Logan Crosby’s lyrics feel brave and unpretentious, as if he’d only just thought of every line he sings but it's exactly what he meant to say.

“She was my first 40 in a paper sack / Sitting there in that cul-de-sac / Putting hearts and handprints on the glass”, he sings on ‘Girl Next Door,’ one of a string of near perfect pop country singles released since last year’s 23 Days in L.A. EP.

“I love when a songwriter can paint a picture for the listener,” Crosby says. “One of the best to do it was Otis Redding. ‘Sitting on the Dock of the Bay’ is one of my favorite songs of all time, and, as I got into the business, it was Jonathan Singleton and Luke Combs. I love how honest those guys are in the songs they write”.

It’s that sense of unaffected honesty that cuts through Logan Crosby’s songs, albeit amped up by a production style that owes as much to Sam Hunt and Morgan Wallen as it does the more dialled back sound of Combs or Brent Cobb.

“It’s a little bit small town”, he says. “Mixed in with some soul and pop melodies. I’m such a fan of all genres of music, so you’ll hear that in my songs”.

Born and raised in the small town of Milledgeville, Georgia, Crosby grew up immersed in music. During fourth grade, his aunt bought him a “real guitar” for Christmas, and by junior high, he’d fallen in love with the instrument. While attending the University of Georgia, he split his time between pursuing a major in political science and performing at bars, restaurants and parties.

“Honestly, I listened to everything,” he says. “I got an iPod when I was in fourth grade, so I listened to Adele, Jason Aldean, Otis Redding, Reuben Studdard… I listened to a lot of gospel music too. My dad is a fan of southern rock and my mom listened to almost exclusively country radio, so I literally was around it all”.

In 2022, he starred in the first season of ABC’s Claim To Fame. Emerging as a fan favourite, he placed second at the end of the season, and after releasing his breakthrough single ‘If Jesus Was A Cowboy’ in 2022, he signed a deal with 50 Egg Music. Settling in Nashville, he released his 23 Days in L.A. EP in July of last year and since then he’s released three more singles and supported Megan Moroney on successive sold-out tours.

“It’s been great being out on the road with Megan,” he told us. “We’ve been on three tours together over the course of a year. She is definitely a star, and has taught me so much about the music industry, life, and staying true to who I am. I love her”.

On his latest single ‘2019’, he wraps his Georgia drawl around a carefree coming-of-age story, as he reflects on a year that still holds a special significance for him.

“It’s a fun song that tells the story about my first year in college,” he says. “It’s the year I graduated high school and moved away from home, got a fake ID, and ya know, the college thing. That was the first time I ever left Milledgeville, took my guitar out and started playing for people I didn’t know. It was the beginning of the whole journey for me as an artist”.

Five years later and Logan has his bachelor's degree from UGA, hundreds of stories-turned-songs and he’s been hard at work in the studio putting the final touches on his highly anticipated debut album coming out later this year.

“A lot of people have gotten to know me from television, my social media, or through my music and shows, but I wanted people to have a glimpse into the real me,” he says about his new album. “The one who gets his heart broken and will 100% write a song about it, the guy who loves his friends and family, the sentimental, the old soul, but also the fun guy who loves being 23. The album is honest, and there’s a nostalgic feeling to the whole project that just kind of magically came together”.

The year 2019 might loom large in his imagination and be “hard to beat” for him right now, but by the end of 2024 we imagine it might be placing a very distant second.

The single ‘2019’ is out now on 50 Egg Records.

Listen If You Like: Luke Combs, Sam Hunt, Megan Moroney

Willow Avalon

“I've always said that we're all in the fun business,” Cowboy Jack Clement once said, “and if we're not having fun then we're not doing our job”.

A self-described “Southern Belle raising Hell”, Georgia-born, New York-based Willow Avalon definitely seems to be taking this old adage to heart. Adding a big splash of NYC cool to her classic country, she pitches her peach stall somewhere between Pageant Material era Kacey and contemporaries like Lola Kirke and Hailey Whitters, as she shapes up to be one of country music’s great eccentrics.

The daughter of outsider artist and musician Jim White, her story begins like so many do, with her signing a shitty record deal before she got out and self-released her first single back in 2021, which ended up getting synced on Riverdale, allowing her to buy back her masters from her old label. The following year, she found accidental fame on TikTok when she and her pet possum Bowie and all their lovely little things were featured in one of Caleb Simpson's apartment tours which led to them being able to make rent through posting videos on TikTok. When accusations of being a nepo-baby began to fly, her father hilariously rebutted them by posting his own MTV Cribs style video of their modest rural home.

Working out her anxieties and heartbreaks through songs like ‘Honey Ain’t No Sweeter’ and ‘Stranger,’ her debut EP, which also features the sublime viral smash ‘Getting’ Rich, Goin’ Broke’, has been getting love from everywhere since it came out in February and it looks like it’s just a taste of what’s to come.

Written and recorded between Nashville and New York City’s famed Electric Lady Studios, her latest single ‘Hey There, Dolly', released last week, is a spicy ode to the Queen of Country that nods and winks in all the right places, putting a playful, refreshingly indie spin on classic country.

Country music is cool again, and it’s a lot of fucking fun too!

‘Hey There, Dolly’ and the Stranger EP are out now on Assemble Sound / Atlantic

Listen If You Like: Lola Kirke, Kaitlin Butts, Kacey Musgraves

Braxton Keith

2024 is already shaping up to be a vintage year for traditional country, with the latest albums from Scotty McCreery, Charley Crockett and Zach Top among this year’s finest. Add to that list Braxton Keith from San Antonio, Texas, who blends the creamy twang of Randy Travis with the old school cool of Randall King.

Born and raised in the West Texas town of Midland, Braxton Keith calls San Antonio home, but the songwriter hasn't spent much time there in recent years. As one of the newest exports of Texas' country music scene, he leaves town nearly every weekend, driving his band - and his own tour bus - toward the next show.

"That bus is actually the only vehicle I own," he says. "I drive it everywhere I go".

Braxton grew up playing piano in a non-musical family, finding inspiration instead in the songs of Marty Robbins, Merle Haggard, Brooks and Dunn and George Strait. It’s these influences that he distills into his own blend of classic neo-traditionalist country. Soft and velvety, his sound is a perfect combination of smooth tones and Texas grit.

"These are songs about love, heartbreak and drinking, which are things everybody knows about," he explains. "I'm not the only person to write songs about those things. But I'm the only person to do it my way. I'm trying to bring back the traditional values of old-school country music, with a modern twist.”

Switching effortlessly between silky ‘80s country indebted ballads like ‘Under Them Neons’ and ‘Let Me Love You More’ to raucous sawdust kickers like ‘Honky Tonk City’ and ‘Settle For a Beer’, Braxton Keith is making a twist at every turn and is in it for the long haul.

‘Under Them Neons’ is out now on Mustache Rides Records

Listen If You Like: Midland, Drake Milligan, Randy Travis

Austin Williams

Another singer making more twists and turns than a chicken truck driving along the Tail of the Dragon, Austin Williams is one of life’s great unpredictables.

"I’m the most not-musically-inclined musical person,” he admits. “I make music that is me. I pull from the influences that make me feel good, that make me who I am, and let the music translate to the listeners who connect with it”.

A former small-town high school baseball player, Williams was born and raised near Nashville, in the small town of Pleasant View. When Austin was faced with a life changing surgery at the age of fifteen, he discovered his passion for writing and singing during the down time that followed. After a string of promising early singles in 2022, he really hit his stride with ‘Stuck On Me’, a heartfelt country ballad bolstered by glitchy hip hop beats. Its follow up meanwhile, the acoustically minded 999 Sessions, introduced his distinctly rap country vocal style.

“I grew up with a lot of different veins of musical influence,” he admits. My great grandparents instilled a love for 60’s music when they would pick me up from school as a kid - Marty Robbins, Johnny Horton, Merle Haggard, Ernest Tubb, Buddy Holly. My grandmother loved gospel and bluegrass, while my grandad was a fan of classic rock, including The Allman Brothers Band and Bob Seger. My dad is an avid listener of 90’s country - Hank Williams Jr., Alan Jackson- and 90’s rap. My mom loved bands like 3 Doors Down, Creed, and The Goo Goo Dolls. My time playing sports had me listening to modern rap, and living outside Nashville gave me appreciation for modern country”.

The many different sides to Austin Williams are properly best exemplified by the Nickelback twang of recent single ‘Country Just Like Me’ and his 2023 viral smash ‘90s Country Mash Up’, while recent tours with Tyler Hubbard, Warren Zeiders and Larry Fleet prove he’ll comfortably sit pretty much anywhere in mainstream country.

‘Country Just Like Me’ is out now on Truth or Dare.

Listen If You Like: Austin Snell, Bailey Zimmerman, David Morris

Mac Cornish

Written all alone and rehearsed up with her band in a barn, the debut album from Mac Cornish very much wears its heart on its oddball country sleeve, grappling with her journey back to herself after getting sober, a brutal break up, and ultimately, self-acceptance.

“We’ve practiced there almost every week since we started playing together a year ago and it’s truly where the magic happens,” Cornish says about the barn 20 minutes north of Portland where the album was recorded. “When we got into the studio, we cut the songs just like we play ‘em in the barn, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!"

Growing up in theshadow of the Santa Cruz mountains, Mac Cornish spent her days strolling through the redwoods and tracing her footsteps on the grounds of her grandfather's cattle ranch in the North Bay, and the album holds strong to her California roots, taking in influences from Cosmic Americana legends like Gram Parsons, Jackson Browne, and Linda Rondstandt, that come together in a blend of warm Laurel Canyon folk and twangy ‘60s country.

“I wrote all these songs during a seven month period of radical change and growth that all followed a break up,” Mac Cornish told us. “This forced me to reconcile with my own shortcomings as a partner, and as a person in general, and how my past and my family’s has informed that. These songs are me grappling with this all in real time, often in the midst of all the heartbreak and guilt, yearning for my childhood home in California and for the girl I was before I ever drank.”

Swapping the sunny Californian climes for the grey skies of Portland Oregon where she now lives, Mac Cornish is now brightening up the honky tonks of the North West along with her band The Hens, winning the hearts of locals with instant classics like ‘Fault Lines’ and the cheerily existential ‘Loma Prieta (in ‘89).’

“I’ve been playing in bands and writing music since I was fifteen and ten years later, it feels like I’ve finally found my sound,” she says happily.” I’ve been infatuated with music from the 60s and 70s since I was a kid and I finally found the confidence and the right bandmates to really lean into that sound and give my own spin on it.”

‘Never Made Much of a Lover’ is out now on Jackalope! Records

Listen If You Like: Emily Nenni, Joshua Hedley, Brennen Leigh

Jana Mila

After entering a songwriting contest at 17 years old and playing shows around Holland for a few years, Amsterdam-based singer songwriter Jana Mila (Pronounced “Yah-nuh MEE-law”) was discovered by the Dutch country superstar Ilse DeLange, who took her under her wing and ended up introducing her to New West records, who are now releasing her debut album Chameleon on August 30th.

Produced by Todd Lombardo in Nashville, the first taste of the album comes in the form of the delightful woozy hum-in-the-sun folk pop of ‘Somebody New,’ which brings to mind recent soft country albums from Kacey Musgraves and Maggie Rogers.

“There was a moment not too long ago when suddenly all these suppressed emotions came to light and turned my relationship upside down,” Mila says about the song. “I found myself trying to soothe the growing resentment towards me, even though I was the cause of it. A day later, this song seemed to almost write itself.”

Warm and truly lovely sounding, her songs have a touch of Laurel Canyon folk-pop mixed with the slacker folk of Courtney Barnett, while her sung-spoken conversational delivery sits somewhere between the deadpan cool of Faye Webster and Sheryl Crow.

The video is premiering exclusively on Holler above.

‘Somebody New’ is out now on New West Records. The album, Chameleon, follows on August 30th.

Listen If You Like: Kacey Musgraves, Maggie Rogers, Jess Williamson

Wyndham Baird

When Sam Doores from The Deslondes says he’s in love with a record and Lau Noah describes that same record as a “quiet miracle” you kind of think you’d know what to expect. But even knowing all that beforehand, nothing quite prepares you for just what a thing of wonder the debut full length from Wyndham Baird is.

Raised in foothills of the Smoky Mountains and inspired by Doc Watson, the singer releases After the Morning at the end of the month on Jalopy Records, the label that brought us that similar thing of wonder Lady of the Lake by Nora Brown & Stephanie Coleman.

Growing up, Wyndham Baird heard his mother and grandmother sing old Baptist hymns like ‘Abide With Me,’ arranged in four-part harmony in church, but it was a trip to MerleFest before he was even a teenager that changed his life.

“I heard Doc Watson when I was 11 or 12,” Baird explains. “One of my buddies invited me to go to Merlefest. Little bit of an intro to bluegrass and folk music.Doc definitely stood out from the rest of what was going on. There was a little bit of a blues influence that I’d never heard in the context of acoustic guitar. That was a little bit more appealing to me.”

At that moment, he saw a world of folk and blues music open up before him and he learned the basics of fingerpicking from ‘Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright,’ Doc Watson’s ‘Deep River Blues,’ and Dave Van Ronk’s version of ‘Hesitation Blues,’ modelled after Rev. Gary Davis.

His fingerpicking took him around the US as he turned his back on college, and inspired by Bob Dylan and the beat writers, bought a bus ticket to a city in Georgia where Dylan was playing. Baird set up his guitar and opened his case in the parking lot, then started singing, scoring a ticket to the show and a place to sleep that night.

“I realized that I could at least survive,” he says. “I would busk and travel around. They’d drop money in your case and you’d go and get a sandwich. That was a real, palpable thing.”

This went on for about three years, before he eventually settled in Brooklyn, where he was welcomed into New York City’s fertile roots music scene, and became a favourite at the Brooklyn Folk Fest and Washington Square Folk Fest and a pillar of the Jalopy Theater scene.

“It’s been my home away from home,” he says. “The currency is songs. People accept you based on the songs you know. Whenever I heard stories about people arriving in the Village in the ‘60s and not having any money and not having a place to stay, there was a sense of community. One can get up on stage at Jalopy and sing a song and ask if anyone has a place to stay. There, that was acceptable, that question.”

After the Morning was recorded at Jalopy Theater in Red Hook, Brooklyn, as well as in producer Eli Smith’s kitchen upstairs, bridging folk and blues songs; tunes by the likes of Randy Newman and Merle Haggard; and songs from the repertoires of Eric Von Schmidt, The Dubliners, Jimmie Rodgers, and the Carter Family.

With a repertoire numbering deep in the hundreds, Baird would play whatever came to him during the sessions on either a Blue Ridge BR143 or a Martin 00015M, and his effortless interpretations make these old country and folk songs feel as vital and full of life as the day they were written, shaken back to life by his scratchy fingerpicking and whispery croak.

After the Morning is released on May 31st on Jalopy Records.

Listen If You Like: Yasmin Williams, Nora Brown, Jonny Dillon

Maddox Batson

Unlike Logan Crosby, Maddox Batson doesn’t have to look all the way back to 2019 to remember his teenage dreams, the 14-year-old teen sensation is very much living them out in real time right now.

Born just outside of Nashville in Hermitage, Tennessee, and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, his mix of modern neo-traditionalist country, southern rock and glitchy pop beats, has seen him amassing over 200 million views in under five months and over 3 million followers across social media.

Due in part to his explosive debut single ‘Tears in the River,’ which has been climbing the Country Viral Top 50 steadily ever since, Maddox Batson is bringing his infectious charm to a younger audience that takes their traditionalism with a lemonade top.

Maddox Batson’s latest single ‘I Wanna Know’ is out now.

Listen If You Like: Morgan Wallen, Cole Swindell, Mason Ramsey

Ryan Davis and the Roundhouse Band

Initially out in the US on Sophomore Lounge at the end of 2023, Dancing On The Edge, the debut album from Ryan Davis & The Roadhouse Band, now gets a full release on the other side of the pond on the always reliable Tough Love Records.

As the driving force for State Champion, a long-running member of Tropical Trash, the administrator of the esoteric Cropped Out festival and the lone proprietor of the Sophomore Lounge label, multi-instrumentalist, artist and songwriter Ryan Davis has been a lot of things over the years but Dancing On The Edge appears as his first proper ‘solo’ release, made up of seven songs that clock in at just over 50 minutes, written after a period of introspection spent re-immersing himself in his drawing and painting practice, as well as his newfound delvings into instrumental music.

“I wasn't sure I would ever make another record of ‘song’ songs,” he says, “but last year I started writing again and it eventually took the shape of the record at hand. I worked painstakingly hard on the material. It felt virtually impossible to complete for a bulk of the time I spent trying to enter into it, but the process pulled me out of a strange place. I was eventually able to live inside of the songs enough to understand the world within them – to ultimately help shape them into what I understood them to be.”

Vocally, his baritone recalls The Magnetic Fields, Bill Callahanor even the clipped delivery of Kurt Wagner in places as he drops a steady stream of beautiful and caustic one-liners like, “A steady drip falls from the ceiling to my forehead / The pitter-patter of my past mistakes” while a softly sighing pedal steel sits in with a bubbling synth; the gentle and woozy instrumentation of his Americana-noir soundscapes doing little more than encourage the ever-unfolding stories they accompany along.

Recorded in early 2023 with help both in the studio and remotely from peers like Joan Shelley, Catherine Irwin (Freakwater), Will Lawrence (Felice Brothers, Gun Outfit, John Early), Jenny Rose (Giving Up), Christopher May (Mail the Horse), Elisabeth Fuchsia (Footings, Bonnie "Prince" Billy), and Aaron Rosenblum (Son of Earth, Sapat).

Whatever Dancing On the Edge may be about - and Davis takes in everything from love, mortality, the thinking behind Roman Emperor Constantine changing the sabbath from Saturday to Sunday and a jukebox that only plays ‘Sultans of Swing’ by Dire Straits – the whole record is soaked through with a kind of warm and melancholic existentialism that feels as otherworldly as it does end-of-the-worldly.

“I never asked to be born,” he sings on ‘A Suitable Exit, “I was only wondering where the door went to.”

Something lovely to listen to while we all wait for the end of the world to come.

Dancing On the Edge is out now on Sophomore Lounge and released in the UK and Europe on Tough Love on June 14th

Listen If You Like:Lambchop, David Berman, Bill Callahan

Clay Street Unit

Clay Street Unit sing the kind of songs that literally start parties when you put them on. Based out of Denver, Colorado, their sound is rooted deep in homegrown southern Country and Folk and branches out into the bluegrass sound that’s heard throughout the Appalachian hills.

Forming in early 2021, the band consists of Jack Cline on banjo, Brad Larrison on pedal steel, Jack Kotarba on bass, Brendan Lamb on drums, Scottie Bollin on mandolin and vocals and Sam Walker on guitar and lead vocals, who along with Cline started the band back in 2020 on Clay Street in Denver.

Only two singles and a 4-song EP in and it already feels like they’re sitting on a goldmine. With its jaunty take on ragged Appalachian folk, songs like ‘Weight of the World’ and their latest single ‘Engine Trouble’ sound like a viral hits just waiting to go viral.

One of the few bands that could keep everyone in attendance happy if the village hall had accidentally triple booked a wake with a meeting of the local Bluegrass society and a children’s birthday party.

‘Engine Trouble’ is out now on Clay Street Records.

Listen If You Like: Tyler Childers, Ole 60, Wyatt Flores

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For more of the monthly editions of Holler's 10 Artists You Need To Know, see below:

Written by Jof Owen
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