With the hundreds of bands that seem to appear every year, it can get overwhelming when trying to find new acts, figure out who to listen to, and especially when trying to figure out who the next big act is. Well here’s our top ten choices to listen to and watch while we’re all stuck inside.
1. The first act to be on the lookout for is “The Way Down Wanderers”. There said to sound like a 21st-century string music concert. The band is formerly from Peoria, Illinois and takes bluegrass music in a wild new direction. The group still uses traditional instruments such as the banjo, mandolin, and fiddle. However, the groups' hypnotic rhythms sound more like a “Bittersweet Symphony” than anything else. The group has toured with the “Stringdusters” and is gaining massive attention as every day goes on. Be sure to listen to their album “Illusions” which was charting on the Americana Radio Chart.
2. For the second act we have is “Ryan Bingham”. Ryan Bingham is an Americana singer-songwriter with an Alt-Country and Roots Rock flair. His sound draws influences from his birthplace of Hobbs, New Mexico, but he’s since moved and calls Los Angeles, California home. As of 2020 Ryan’s released six studio albums, one live album, and believe it or not, his last four albums were released under his label “Axster Bingham Records”. Ryan’s also won an Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, Critics Choice Award for “Best Song”, and even a Grammy Award for “Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media” (The Weary Kind) in 2011. Ryan’s most recent album “American Love Song” is album charting and something to listen too if you need a new Americana act.
3. The third act to watch out for is “Ida Mae”. The British folk-blues duo is said to sound like depression-era roots music that has been filtered through the harmonized voices of the duo which results in a truly unique and breathtaking sound. It’s hard to believe that less than a decade ago, Chris Turpin and Stephanie Jean were the temporary part of the British indie-rock scene which earned them praise from NME with their previous band “Kill it, Kid”. Since then, the duo’s relocated to Nashville Tennessee and reformed as Ida Mae. The duo combines blues with guitar-heavy Americana. This unique pairing has earned them opening gigs from acts like Greta Van Fleet and the Marcus King Band. In 2016 Turnpin and Jean “tied the knot”. On stage, the duos been said to express great emotion and feeling which is a sight to be seen.
4. At number four, we have the female powerhouse “Carsie Blanton”. Carsie is a genre nonconformist folk-rock singer-songwriter with a great sense of humor. Her lyrics are intriguing and unique in the way that they have a fearless view of human sexuality. Carsie sees the world differently than us mainly because she was unschooled at home on a Virginia farm that would sometimes double as a retreat center. At the age of 16, she moved out and spent time in Oregon Dumpster-diving, busking, and finding her sound. This eventually led her to New Orleans, where she set up “The Watermelon” which happens to be a writing studio in her backyard. Carsie’s a self-proclaimed socialist, and all of this “unconventional living” led her to an equally unconventional take on her music. She likes to tackle gender expectations, genre norms, societal expectations and sex through witty and fun songs that are very well constructed.
5. In the number five spot, we have “Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams”. The duo’s music is said to sound like Country Rock with a pinch of Roots Rock. The duo’s seemed to not only figure out the secret recipe for love, seeing how they’ve been married for more than thirty years but the secret recipe to great music. The duo played for seven years in Levon helm’s band before going private with their 2015 self-titled album. Throughout the years they’ve been guests with Phil Lesh, Little Feat, and Jarma Kaukonen to just name a few. The duo’s got some up-coming shows that you don’t want to miss.
6. For the sixth spot, we have someone everybody needs in their life. A lovable redneck cousin who somehow defied the odds and hit it big…This person just so happens to go by “Hardy”. Hardy (artistic guise of Michael Hardy) initially made his mark as a songwriter in Nashville. He’s a Mississippi native who scored with various hits like Florida Georgia Line’s “Simple” and Morgan Wallen’s “Up Down”. He’s seemed to have put his redneck spin on maxed-out country-rock. Hardy’s opened for Wallen’s “If I Know Me Tour” and supported some select dates for Florida Georgia Line’s “Can’t Say I Ain’t Country Tour”.
7. In slot number seven, we have the Country-folk songwriter and singer, Emily Scott Robinson. Emily’s music genre is Country-folk songs about “Merica. However, they have a Southern gothic sensibility to them giving them a unique flavor. Believe it or not, Emily lived in an RV for the last three years. Through this experience, she’s witnessed and studied nearly every aspect of American life. She brings these experiences into her music through lyrics which captivates the audience and leaves you wanting more.
8. At number eight, we have someone who can only be categorized as confident. “Ray Fulcher” effortlessly demonstrates confidence and carries a certain swag with him that he delivers in his lyrics. He’s a Georgia native and has already had a number one song to his credit being Luke Combs’ “When It Rains It Pours”. Ray would later write eight of the songs on Combs’ debut “This One’s for You”. When Ray wasn’t writing, he opened for Combs’ “Beer Never Broke My Heart Tour” over the summer where he debuted his single “Anything Like you Dance”. If you haven’t given it a listen because it does a great job of representing who he is as an artist.
9. In the ninth slot, Jamey Johnson. Jamey doesn’t just happen to be the highest rated country artist on the Album of The Year’s website for a reason. Jamey’s an American Country Music artist who signed to BNA Records in 2005. He later made his debut with his single “The Dollar” which is the title track to his 2006 album. He’s currently got tour dates throughout the year, and you need to attend.
10. For the last act, we have a trio that’s said to sound like the Head and the Heart. That trio being “Fairground Saints”. The trio of Megan McAllister, Mason Van Valin and Elijah Edwards come together to create some of the best country-pop music on the radio today. The group originally started as a duo when Van Valin found Edwards through an ad on FaceBook. They later completed the trio when they took to Craigslist and found McAllister. Once the trio was formed, they took to Nashville where Sony took them up. Later on, they found themselves touring alongside Kip Moore and Drake White.
Written by Braden Detelich