A new year means new artists and new music. Last year saw the break out of artists like Brett Young, Luke Combs, Carly Pearce and Midland into the big leagues of Country music, a genre not renowned for its progressiveness or willingness to embrace new things – so who will be the acts that ‘break out’ this year?
We stared hard into our crystal ball and have produced a guide for you on who we think are going to be the break out acts of 2018 – and yes, you can even see some of them at the C2C Festival in March.
LanCo (short for Lancaster and Company) have their debut album released on January 19th entitled ‘Hallelujah Nights’. We’ve heard it – it’s going to be a monster. A modern sounding Country record with its roots well and truly grounded in the past. Catchy choruses and heartfelt lyrics, this one is going to end up on many people’s ‘top ten’ lists come the end of 2018. Whilst not officially announced yet, the band’s own website has them playing the C2C Festival in March so expect to see them at the Indigo.
They’ve already had a huge radio hit in 2017 with big ballad ‘Greatest Love Story’ but once you hear the rest of the album you’ll realise that that track isn’t even anywhere near the best one on ‘Hallelujah Nights’.
Another artist releasing their debut album on January 19th is Devin Dawson. His album, ‘Dark Horse’ will push him into the big leagues, for sure. Similar to LanCo he has been working with producer Jay Joyce (Little Big Town) and his modern brand of Country – Pop – Folk will appeal to the more broadminded of you out there, which means, we might accept him over here in the UK way quicker than some American markets, if our recent listening tastes are anything to go by. He is playing London on January 29th if you want to seek him out.
Kalie Shorr rose to prominence after Perez Hilton invited her to open for The Backstreet Boys at his birthday party in 2012 after seeing her covers of Taylor Swift on YouTube. Her own song, ‘Fight Like a Girl’ also became a radio hit in 2016, but she is another artist with a January release this year. On 26th January her ‘Awake’ ep is being released, Featuring 7 new songs we think this and her continued involvement with the Song Suffragettes will propel her into the big leagues this year.
Rolling Stone magazine began to champion Walker McGuire last February, featuring them in their ‘Artists to Watch Out For’ monthly segment, describing them as a mix of millennial country-pop and Matchbox Twenty. The boys certainly know how to write a chorus, that’s true but behind the sheen and the shine is a real musical quality that will stand them well over the coming years. Their debut EP is out this Friday and the band have already popped over the Atlantic to do a few shows in London last October during Country Music Week, so we can expect to see lots more of them in the next couple of years.
This supremely talented fiddle player and singer, along with her band, The Drive, have been out on the road playing gigs since 2014, but it was her appearances on The Voice last year that really pushed Stovall into the big time. A member of Team Blake, she performed songs like ‘Boondocks’ and ‘Callin’ Baton Rouge’ before being eliminated. The press coverage and limelight she received, however, might well have done what it was probably intended to do and propel her and The Drive towards a major league recording contract as she released the excellent ‘Wine or Whiskey’ towards the end of 2017. Expect to hear more of her in 2018.
Already a songwriter with credits on songs by acts like Charli XCX, Ingrid Andress is beginning to release songs in her own right. Last year she released the superb song, ‘The Stranger’ and then followed it up with ‘Anything But Love’ towards the end of the year. She is definitely part of the new wave of artists straddling multiple genres, infact, she has this to say about that: “Even though the stuff I do is country, because country to me is the place where I feel most fulfilled, I love stepping into L.A. and New York with all these extreme personalities and have to take them on and write for them. That’s also a part of me. I consider myself a pop songwriter, but as far as I am as a person or artist, I’m nothing like Lady Gaga. I love the stories and songs, and country really supports that, which is why I like it.”