There are big names and new names in 2017. Garth Brooks is back on tour. Chris Stapleton and Miranda Lambert released new albums. Names like Kelsea Ballerini and Maren Morris kept appearing. But there are so many new names, artists are often just songs on a Spotify playlist. Here are some of the top new country artists whose music you likely know, but whose names you may not.
She didn’t win American Idol, but she won big in 2017.
At just 16 years old, Georgia native Laura Alaina stepped on the national stage in Season 10 of American Idol. Coming in second that year was her first stop on the road to fame.
Taste of Country followed her story after her 2011 Idol stint. That same year, Alaina released tracks that didn’t necessarily light up the charts but kept her in the public eye. “Like My Mother Does” came out, which was from her debut album Wildflower. “Georgia Peaches” was the lead from that album, and charted in the top 30. That was her biggest hit…until 2017.
This year, Alaina scored big. According to her website, her new album is “selected as one of Rolling Stone’s Most Anticipated Albums of 2017, the collection of 12 songs all written by the young star, includ[ing] Lauren’s first #1 hit and title track, “Road Less Traveled.” The video for the track also won her CMT’s Breakthrough Video of the Year Award in June. I
To see her live, consider getting tickets to the Grand Ole Opry! When she’s not touring, she’s a regular performer there!
Combs is anything but a traditional success story. He is the guy that just dropped into Nashville out of nowhere.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, the burly North Carolina native talked about his road to fame, and how it surprised even him. According to Combs, he started playing guitar only about six years ago. He certainly didn’t think of himself as becoming a star. What he did think is that he knew how to work hard.
Combs told Rolling Stone that he put together about 3 hours worth of material and began performing gigs in the college towns of North Carolina (he was enrolled in Boone at Appalachian State University at the time). He served as tour manager, booking agent, performer. As his social media following grew, so did his name.
His first release was a self-recorded LP. It sold 10,000 copies in its first week. After that, he didn’t look back. Now he has a fully professional team behind him and a hit song, “Hurricane.”
Besides his sound, the thing to love about Combs is his attitude. As he said in his RS interview: “I think my cool factor is not having one.”