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

June 20, 2024 8:40 am GMT
Last Edited June 21, 2024 9:32 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.

This month, we recommend Big Loud's latest signing from Alabama who releases his long awaited debut single, a singer from Finland who adds a touch of ABBA to her country storytelling and an indie-folk singer from LA whose latest single could go on to be one of the biggest songs of the year.

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 June:

Kashus Culpepper

Like Chris Stapleton or one of those reversible octopus plushies, Alabama-born country crooner Kashus Culpepper is capable of taking something we know and love and flipping it inside out to come up with something that’s completely different but just as loveable.

Raised in east central Alabama’s Alexander City, Culpepper found his voice in church at just five years old, albeit not the deep, gruff voicethat he now invests his songs with. With his omnivorous appetite for Southern music he lapped up everything from country and soul, to blues, folk, and rock, as he began building a musical library of heroes, listening from his Mamaw’s back porch and studying the likes of Robert Johnson, Louis Armstrong, The Avett Brothers, Ray LaMontagne, Stevie Wonder, Howlin’ Wolf, Chris Stapleton, Hank Williams Sr., Wilson Pickett, Bill Withers, Nina Simone, and more.

It wasn’t until 2020’s global pandemic during a deployment with the U.S. Navy in Rota, Spain, that Culpepper went from avid listener to picking up a guitar and trading covers of his platoon mates’ favourites around bonfires at his base over quarts of sangria. The covers soon became Culpepper originals, as his gravelly baritone breathed life into his own compositions and brought them to life with his own unique deep Delta-soulful take on old school country.

Back home again, he became a favourite with crowds throughout Alabama and the Mississippi Gulf Coast where he became a fixture in the music scene playing covers and originals five nights a week.

Now signed to Big Loud and fresh from his first home-state headlining show at Mobile’s Soul Kitchen Music Hall, several CMA Fest performances - including Spotify House’s coveted Fresh Finds Rooftop billing - and preparing for a summer out on the road opening up for NEEDTOBREATHE, Charley Crockett’s $10 Cowboy Tour and The Marcus King Band Family Reunion 2024, it’s almost unbelievable that Kashus Culpepper has only just got round to releasingthe first single of his career.

As debut singles go, ‘After Me?’ is up there with ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ and ‘…Baby One More Time’ though. A brooding, but oddly joyful mid-tempo country spiritual that would work just as well being played full blast at a family barbecue as it would setting the mood at a romantic dinner for two.

By cleverly reimagining its past, Kashus Culpepper could become the very future of country music.

‘After Me?’ is out now on Big Loud.

Listen If You Like: Ray LaMontagne, Chris Stapleton, Marcus King

Noeline Hofmann

We’ve already picked Noeline Hofmann out as one of our 24 New Artists for 2024, but the 20-year-old from the Badlands of Southern Alberta, Canada, is having the kind of year any young country singer would dream of so we’re spotlighting her again.

Currently out on tour with Charley Crockett and Wyatt Flores, Hofmann's song ‘Purple Gas’ was released as a duet from Zach Bryan’s forthcoming album, The Great American Bar Scene.

As popular legend now has it, Hofmann went viral after she recorded a verse of the self-penned song and shared it across her social media. Zach Bryan was scrolling through one day when he came across it and invited her to record the song as part of his Belting Bronco Live Session Series on YouTube, and now they’ve committed it to tape as a bittersweet country duet.

"This song brought me to tears the first time I heard it,” Zach said about the song appearing on his new album. “So it was really important for me that Noeline gave me the privilege to sing it with her. Noeline resonates like Gillian Welch to me and Gillian is one of my favourite musicans to ever live; now Noeline is too. I have never covered another musician on an album and it's because I was waiting on someone to write a song like this.”

‘Purple Gas’ isn’t the only reason to be excited, and there aren’t many better ways to spend an afternoon than going down a Noeline Hofmann wormhole on YouTube and discovering songs like ‘Rodeo Junkies’ and ‘One Hell of a Woman’ that are still to make it properly out into the world.

‘Purple Gas’ is out now on Belting Bronco under exclusive license to Warner Records

Listen If You Like: Gillian Welch, Tift Merritt,Zach Bryan

Ingrid Alaina

Born and raised in Helsinki, Finland, Ingrid Alaina is a country storyteller with a heavy beating pop heart who grew up listening to everything from Eros Ramazotti and Andrea Bocelli to Celine Dion and ABBA, as well as pop icons like Justin Bieber, One Direction, Taylor Swift and Adele and Swedish singer-songwriters Melissa Horn and Lars Winnerbäck, falling in love with the storytelling of country music as she got older.

“Finnish culture, with its emphasis on independence, hard-work, and a calm, measured outlook on life, has deeply influenced me and the way I live my life,” she explains about the way growing up in in Helsinki in a Swedish-speaking community influences her. “We cherish simplicity and the little things in life, often drawing happiness from our close connection to nature. The Nordic environment I grew up in, with its large contrasts between warm, vibrant summers and harsh, dark winters, has greatly influenced me and given me many different ways to view the world.”

Perfectly capturing the often contradictory and complex, intense yearning of young adulthood, her debut single, ‘Rearview,’ arrived like a ready-made pop country classic when it was released last month. With its gently pulsing piano and pounding drums, it sounds like a curious mix of Kelsea Ballerini’s heartfelt country pop and the off-kilter alt-pop sensibilities of Lykke Li.

‘Rearview’ is out now on Toussainte Records

Listen If You Like: Kelsea Ballerini, Ingrid Andress, and Abby Anderson.

Jensen McRae

If this month’s 10 Artists You Need To Know feature is teaching us anything it’s just how far a song can take you and how you should never be afraid to share it.

Like ‘Purple Gas,’ Jensen McRae’s recently released single ‘Massachusetts’ began life as a half-finished song shared in a post online. Born and raised in LA, McRae has studied and made music for most of her life. She attended Grammy Camp in high school and graduated from USC’s Thornton School of Music with a degree in Popular Music. ‘Massachusetts’ is the first single since her critically acclaimed debut, Are You Happy Now?

“I just never saw the downside to sharing something online,” she says, “or to something not resonating, because I know that I will have more ideas. It’s really ok if I post something and it flops.”

What began life as an unnamed song, with just McRae and a piano, soon took on a life of its own as fans clamoured for a completed version, nicknaming it #videogames or #christianbale. Covers, interpretations and duets followed, as growing hordes of fans imagined completed versions and debated over its title. Now, finally ‘Massachusetts’ has been taken into a studio and recorded - with producer Brad Cook (Waxahatchee, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Bon Iver) – and released out into the world as McRae’s first release with Dead Oceans, home to Mitski, Phoebe Bridgers and Cassandra Jenkins, but even before its release, fans had been singing the song back to McRae across arenas, where she’s on tour supporting Noah Kahan.

When a song has a life of its own like ‘Massachusetts’ does, there’s no end to how far it can go.

‘Massachusetts’ is out now on Dead Oceans.

Listen If You Like: Madi Diaz, Phoebe Bridgers, Lizzie No

Adam Mac

“I think my first love was The Spice Girls,” Adam Mac says laughing. “I truly wanted to be a Spice Girl as a kid, I mean, who didn’t?”

It's not all that surprising listening to Adam Mac’s latest single. ‘Dust Off Your Boots’ is a Hi-NRG country funk floorfiller that sounds like a mash up of the Spice Girls’ ‘90s pop disco classic ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ and Kacey Musgraves’ ‘High Horse.’

Like Kashus Culpepper, Adam Mac’s songs fully encompass the sound of the South, but in a completely different way. Originally from the small rural town of Russellville, Kentucky, on last year’s Disco Cowboy he perfected an intoxicating blend of 90s country, gospel and thunderous disco funk that he likes to call “Funktry” or “Funky-Tonk” as he drew on the Southern influences he’d soaked up when he was growing up.

“I think as I’ve gotten older, I realize more of the influence it had on me, especially in my songwriting,” he explains about growing up. “I’ve loved fusing together my simpler southern upbringing with who I am now, having gone through so much self-discovery since coming out. I think it’s helped me to write some really beautiful songs that tell a unique queer southern perspective.”

‘Dust Off Your Boots’ is available now.

Listen If You Like: Paul Cauthen, Kacey Musgraves, Orville Peck

Cameron Whitcomb

Only three singles in and Cameron Whitcomb is already enjoying one of those heart-warming viral moments that feels wholly organic and genuine. ‘Rocking Chair,’ the song that’s giving him it, is a disheartened plea to God to help the singer make sense of a world that has disappointed him delivered in his raspy drawl.

“I was young and outrageous, rage filled, and desperate for someone to show me that I ain't alone,” he sings, the words sounding like they’re being almost ripped from his throat. “Grandpa ain't here and the world's feelin' dark / I'm lookin' for sunlight to patch up my heart / I sat myself down in an old wooden pew / I cried out in silence in hope to hear you.”

Having grown up on Vancouver island, he began working on a pipeline after leaving home at 17, but his life took a turn when he discovered singing at the age of 19, performing karaoke on weekends before his raw talent caught the attention of an American Idol executive through a video posted on Reddit.

“I think I felt a bit trapped growing up,” he admits. “There was an urgency to leave a lot of the time. Which lead me here.

He ended up as a contestant on Season 20 of American Idol, reaching the top 20.

Influenced by everyone from Eminem and Snak the ripper to Bob Marley and Kurt Cobain, his real life experiences drip feed into his delicately existential songs, along with his battles with addiction, the complexities of his life and the darker aspects of human experiences.

‘Rocking Chair’ is out now on Atlantic Recording Corporation

Listen If You Like: Zach Bryan, Waylon Wyatt, Sam Barber

Wesko

Hailing from Kenansville, NC, Wesko has quietly emerged as a country maverick with a knack for writing what he calls “real cowboy tune.’

If Megan Moroney is the self-styled “Emo Cowgirl” then Wesko, hailing from Kenansville, NC, might just be her cowboy counterpart. Inspired by everyone from Neil Young and Eric Church to My Chemical Romance and Green Day, Wesko has been quietly working away to reimagine traditional outlaw country since his debut single ‘Burning House’ in 2022.

Inking a deal with Underscore Works Recordings and Warner Records for Lost Boys EP, his latest collection of “real cowboy tunes,” as he calls them, Wesko impressively balanced a full schedule at University of Mount Olive with an intense full-time job as a foreman for an erosion control company.

A no holds barred country outlier, his raw acoustic songs, recorded in a “one-room shack behind (his) buddy’s house,”have as much in common with Nirvana’s seminal MTV Unplugged in New York as they do contemporaries like Zach Bryan and Sam Barber.

Lost Boys Ep is out now on Underscore Works recordings and Warner Records

Listen If You Like: Zach Bryan, Waylon Wyatt, Sam Barber

Lily Fitts

23-year-old Lily Fitts sings the kind of casually cool country-tinged downer anthems that were written to soundtrack the messiest times of your life. Her lively melodic folk songs feel like the kind of songs you turn to like old friends when the world gets too much for you; the kind of songs that hold your hair back out of your face after a drunken night out and stay with you until morning just so you don’t wake up alone.

With her soft, raw singing style, the Boston based indie-folk singer’s songsbring to mind the light, candid lyricism of Phoebe Bridgers and the wryly observed coming-of-age confessionals of Maggie Antone.

After making her debut performance at Zach Bryan's sold-out Crypto Arena show in LA, singing ‘Oklahoma City’ in August of last year and less than a year on from her debut single, Lily Fitts has released a string of near perfect country-tinged indie-folk songs that capture all the anxiety, heartbreak and guts it takes just to make it through your early twenties.

‘Lose You Now’ is out now on Thirty Knots

Listen If You Like: Michael Macargi, Maggie Antone, Zach Bryan

Vincent Mason

Vincent Mason’s songs have an almost widescreen quality. Whether it’s the breezy ‘May Be’ or the more reflective ‘Livin’ Proof,’ each song feels like the soundtrack to a scene of small-town life in a coming-of-age movie.

Fusing his influences like Parker McCollum and John Mayer, his latest release, ‘Hell is a Dance Floor’ has amassed over 17 million streams since its release at the end of February as he follows up his 2023 A Little Too Good EP with his latest Can’t Just Be Me EP.

Mason has toured alongside Ashley Cooke and closed out 2023 with shows opening for Parker McCollum and Niko Moon. Next up he’ll be opening up for Miranda Lambert in July then Gavin Adcock on his entire fall leg tour.

With his distinctly pop sensibilities and his easy way with a melody, if Ed Sheeran ever gets around to recording that country album he’s often promised to, he might find Vincent Mason has already beaten him to it.

Can’t Just Be Me EP is out now on Music Soup/Interscope Records

Listen If You Like: Parker McCollum, Brent Cobb, Hailey Whitters

Motel Sundown

It might have been pissing it down at Black Deer festival in England, but if we closed our eyes and imagined it, the sun-soaked harmonies and lush West Coast 70s AM folk-rock of Motel Sundown made it feel like we were living it up at Bonnaroo.

A close harmony Americana band consisting of three songwriters, Karen Turley and Naomi Campbell from County Tyrone in Ireland and Robert Johnson from London, their debut EP El Dorado comes out at the end of the month.

Formed in Liverpool in 2018, the band’s sound draws on the classic country they grew up listening to, like Glen Campbell and Dolly Parton, but also the country-tinged pop of the Corrs combined with the melodic folk-rock of Paul Simon and Bob Dylan and the three-part harmonies of Fleetwood Mac and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

“I think there’s always been a long-standing, strong musicianship within the culture in Ireland blending old traditional songs and genres such as Bluegrass, Country and Blues Rock which has influenced us both as songwriters and performers,” Naomi says.

“But also, having lived in Liverpool for over a decade there’s a whole thread of stuff specific to that city that rubs off on you,” Bobby adds. “The harmonies being one thing.”

The El Dorado EP is released on June 28th on Sunday Market Records.

Listen If You Like: Wandering Hearts, Ward Thomas, First Aid Kit

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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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