If you're in the same boat as 98 percent of my Facebook news feed, you caught a glimpse of the CMAs last night and immediately wondered one of many thoughts, all of which I've seen online today: Who is Chris Stapleton? He looks so country! So different! Wow, the awards show actually felt sort of...country for once!
As an avid country music fan myself, I'm here to attempt to show new fans that although current country radio may appear to be mostly "bro country," full of lyrics about pickup trucks and pickin' up girls, there's actually a lot of good country music out right now that just may not be hitting the airwaves. Here's a few of my current country favorites, for anyone who's seeking something that's not Luke Bryan or Florida Georgia Line. (Hint: If you liked Chris Stapleton, you might like these, too!)
This one's a no-brainer, as he packs a mighty punch: he's a songwriter, guitarist, rowdy singer and more. He surprised his fan club members with a gift on their doorstep yesterday morning: his brand new CD before it became available to anyone else. Talk about treating your fans right.
Tracks to check out: "Like a Wrecking Ball," "Sinners Like Me," "Carolina"
I was fortunate enough to see Miranda live a few weeks ago thanks to the impromptu "bachelorette party" my sister threw for me. Miranda is a fierce singer and guitar player. Her latest album, "Platinum" is one of my favorites, but she's had hits for many years.
Tracks to check out: "Automatic," "Bathroom Sink," "Smokin' and Drinkin' (feat. Little Big Town)"
Another singer-songwriter. (Anyone noticing a pattern? Maybe those who write their own music do some of the best work.) Dierks has been putting out music for years, and it has always been steady and strong stuff.
Tracks to check out: "Riser," "Train Travelin'," "Bourbon in Kentucky"
When she's not in Miranda's girl group Pistol Annies, Ashley Monroe is doing quite well on her own. She's incredibly reminiscent of the ladies of old school country.
Tracks to check out: "Hank's Cadillac," "Bombshell," "Monroe Suede"
OK, this one may seem silly since he's the King of Country, but he recently released a new album, Cold Beer Conversation, and in my opinion it's destined to be yet another classic for King George.
Tracks to check out: "Amarillo by Morning," "Cheaper than a Shrink," "Carrying Your Love With Me"
When this girl isn't writing killer tracks for other artists, she's nailing it on her own. She's witty, colorful and inspiring.
Tracks to check out: "Trailer Song," "Follow Your Arrow," "Silver Lining"
Little Big Town
LBT has been together since the 1990s, but they really had their biggest payback when they picked up multiple awards at last night's CMA awards. I'm a sucker for their harmonies. The ladies really carry that group.
Tracks to check out: "Girl Crush," "Tornado," "Little White Church"
Honorable mentions: Clare Dunn, Zac Brown Band, Justin Moore, Carrie Underwood
And here's three more for those of you still swooning over Mr. Stapleton: "Fire Away," "The Devil Named Music," "What Are You Listening To?"
Who are your current country favorites?