10 Artists You Need to Know: Spring 2019
Our first installment of artists you should know includes a Red Dirt Queen in the making, a country singer with roots in punk rock, a whole lot of talent from the great state of Texas and many others. Every artist or group on this list deserves a listen, whether that means streaming a few songs to add to your favorite playlist or buying their entire album. These artists are going to be the next big thing in music, we guarantee it.
1. Jesse Daniel
Jesse Daniel is having a big year and it’s not even half over. Having won the 2019 Ameripolitan Honky Tonk Male award and with a new Kickstarter campaign for his second album almost half funded, he seems on the brink of being the next big thing. For those not familiar with Jesse’s backstory, his song “Soft Spot (For the Hard Stuff)” is a great place to start. His biography reads much like a country song: down and out, homeless and on drugs, but then somehow saved by the music. Jesse’s self-titled debut album can best be described as country with an edge, likely owed to his background in punk rock.
For fans of: Dale Watson, Pat Reedy, Josh Morningstar
Favorite Track: “Looks Like Rain”
2. Kaitlin Butts
Kaitlin Butts may be young, but her music is a throwback when women in the country genre sang about more than just the superficial . She sings of love, of addiction, of growing old and tosses in a murder ballad for good measure. Her first album, Same Hell, Different Devil, came out in 2015 and fans have been clamoring for a new album. Luckily, there are rumors that that may come true in late 2019. If writing material for her new album didn’t keep her busy enough, Kaitlin also regularly opens for names such as The Turnpike Troubadours and Flatland Cavalry. She’s also a regular at various festivals and at this year’s Music Fest in Steamboat Springs, the quartet made up of Kaitlin Butts, Jamie Lin Wilson, Courtney Patton and Heather Starcher-Stalling and their tribute to the Dixie Chicks was brought up time and again as one of the favorite moments from this year’s festival.
For fans of: Dixie Chicks, Jamie Lin Wilson, Courtney Patton
Favorite Track: “Gal Like Me”
3. Tylor & the Train Robbers
Based out of Boise, Idaho, this group of four musicians, fronted by Tylor Ketchum, is releasing their second album, Best of the Worst Kind, on April 26th. The title track of the album is written about Tylor’s ancestor, the outlaw known as Black Jack Ketchum, and the date of the album release coincides with the anniversary of his hanging. Tylor’s songwriting takes you back to songwriters of early classic country, where a story is told and you can see it unfold in your mind’s eye. Making up the Train Robbers is Jason Bushman, Johnny Pisano and Flip Perkins. Tylor & the Train Robbers are coming to a few festivals bills this summer such as the outstanding Braun Brothers Reunion, which is a testament to how their hard work and tireless touring has paid off.
For fans of: Marty Robbins, The Black Lillies, Shane Smith and the Saints
Favorite Track: Gravel
4. Josh Gray
Josh Gray’s first full length album, Songs of the Highway, was released April 16thand it’s described as “experimental Americana”. It features ten poetic songs of love, loss, justice and suspense. Americana is the best genre to put Josh in, as he calls his music a mix of folk, blues, country, rock, and bluegrass. Josh’s voice is commanding yet soothing at the same time. He definitely has one of the more unique voices in the genre. A California native, Josh grew up in Maryland and at age 16 he got his first guitar. However, it would be fifteen years before he played his first live show. His reasoning behind the long stretch between the two was that he “wasn’t ready.'“ If you’re looking for an album to suit even your most eclectic friend’s taste, I recommend you check out Josh and his latest album.
For fans of: John Cash, Lyman Ellerman
Favorite Track: “Two Hearts”
5. Atlantis Aquarius
Having just released their first full-length album, Leo’s Rising, this Dallas based band is on a rise of their own. Part soul, part funk and part jam band, Atlantis Aquarius looks and sounds like a psychedelic band brought from the 1960’s and planted in middle America. Jordan Cain and Taylor Nicks both bring their unique voices to meld into something out of this world on tracks like, “Waiting on the Next Life” or “On My Way” and if you’re lucky enough to catch them live, you can hear some of their well-done covers of songs like, “Jesus is Just Alright” or the JJ Cale tune, “River Runs Deep.” Rounding out this group are the Smith brothers (Maxwell and Oliver) and Hutton Ferrell.
For fans of: The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, Scissor Sisters
Favorite Track: “Waiting On the Next Life”
6. Sierra Ferrell
With a voice straight out of a 1920’s era jazz club, Sierra gives off a quirky vibe that you can’t help but be drawn to. A regular on the YouTube channel, Gems on VHS, Sierra’s song, “Rosemary” was the first video to debut on the channel. A West Virginia native, Sierra’s background is one of constant motion, traveling the country and adrift, playing songs in everything from bars to dimly lit listening rooms. Sierra just released her second album, Washington by the Sea, on April 9th. The album was recorded two years ago and features such names as Frank Rische and John R Miller and a new record is rumored to be in the works. We can only hope it is released within the year.
For fans of: Lillie Mae, Senora May, Lost Dog Street Band
Favorite track: “ In Dreams”
7. Kody West
Another Texas native, Kody only started playing music in 2014 around the DFW area. He was a frequent opener for Dalton Domino and later became his tour manager, while still maintaining his own music career. His first EP was released in 2015 and by 2016, he had formed his own band to travel across Texas. Kody describes his music as a mix of Texas country and bluegrass with a little soul thrown in. His most recent album, Green, was released in 2017 and Texas Music Pickers described it as a, “vibrant blend of country, rock, and soul found amongst the ten tracks, provide an alluring mixture of gritty tones, colorful songwriting, and captivating music.” Unfortunately, for those outside of the Texas/Oklahoma area, Kody doesn’t have any upcoming tour dates that extend outside the area, but with the power of music streaming you can pretend you’re lucky enough to catch Kody live.
For fans of: Dalton Domino, John Baumann, Kolby Cooper
Favorite Track: “Shine Out”
8. Charlie Shafter
Charlie is no stranger to the music scene, as his first album was released back in 2012. Since then, Charlie has been through a lot in his personal life. The birth of his daughter coincided with the end of his relationship with her mother. Although low times are painful to go through, they often make for good songs and Charlie has turned the peaks and valleys of his life into the amazing album that is, When I was Yours & You Were Mine, which was released in January of this year. The 11 song album is a testament to Charlie’s songwriting and once released, received praise from music critics, as well as his fellow artists. It seems many Texas based artists stick primarily to touring in Texas and Charlie is no exception to that. So either book a trip to the Lonestar State or enjoy his album in the comfort of your own home. At any rate, put Charlie on your playlist!
For fans of: Jason Eady, Drew Kennedy, Adam Hood
Favorite Track: Seawall
9. Jason Sinkhorn
There’s currently an explosion of good music coming out of Kentucky and Jason happens to be part of this contingent. It’s undeniable that Jason Sinkhorn has a way with words. Upon listening to his album, Junction City, Kentucky, which was released in 2018, you can’t help but be blown away by the power of his lyrics. This is not an album for those looking for something lighthearted. This is an album that gives you all the feels, mostly somber, serious ones, but it is a truthful and raw album that should be in everyone’s collection. Not only is Jason’s songwriting stellar, but his voice is best appreciated with both earbuds in, lights out and just letting it guide you throughout the album with its quiet, but earnest way.
For fans of: Tyler Childers, Arlo McKinley
Favorite Track: “Love is an Engine”
10. Frankie Leonie
Frankie Leonie may still be at teenager, but she’s got the sound of someone who has honed her craft for decades. Frankie embodies the sound of classic country mixed with the modern stylings of First Aid Kit. With no album released yet, you’ll have to get your fill of Frankie from the few songs that can be found on Spotify or YouTube. “Johnny Cash” is sure to be a favorite after the first few bars. Although born in Austin, you can find Frankie these days in Dallas, where she’s a fixture in the thriving music scene there. She’s already opened for names like Margo Price, Lukas Nelson and country legend, Ray Wylie Hubbard, and soon she’ll be the one headlining these same shows.
For fans of: Margo Price, First Aid Kit
Favorite Track: “Johnny Cash”