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.

Photo Credit: Taste of Country

Laura Alaina

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!

Photo Credit: WhiksyRiff

Luke Combs

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.”

Photo Credit: Taste of Country

Brett Young

One album, two hit singles, and already on tour with Lady Antebellum. California native Brett Young is taking the country music world by storm.

Interestingly, music wasn’t Young’s first choice. In an interview with People magazine, Brett revealed that he intended to become a baseball player. He was drafted out of high school with the Minnesota Twins but took a full-ride scholarship to Ole Miss instead. The next year he transferred to Fresno State, but hurt his elbow.  

After his injury, Young decided to pursue the only thing he loved as much as sports– music.

He may seem new to the music scene, but he’s been at it for awhile. As People noted, it’s worth some time digging around on MySpace to hear his first recordings.

Far from those early days, Young now knows life at the top. His single “Sleep Without You” hit No. 1 on the charts. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s as easy on the eyes as he is the ears. What the world of baseball lost, the world of country music certainly gained.

Photo Credit: Myrtle Beach Sun News

Jon Pardi

If you watch the Country Music Association Awards this year, you will notice this guy. Not only is Jon Pardi nominated for New Artist of the Year, but his hit song has two nominations.

“Dirt on My Boots” peaked at 37 on the Billboard Hot 100. It is nominated for Best Single and Best Song of 2017. The track is from Pardi’s debut album, California Sunrise.

True to the name of his album, Pardi is a West Coast native. His website describes him as “a middle-class son of a Northern California construction boss, a kid who…learn[ed] from the old man the value of putting in the time to finish the job the right way.” Pardi spent the last four years relentlessly touring. 

Pardi recognizes that part of his success is understanding the reprisal of older country music. As he says on his website, “People want to hear somebody who really enjoyed the ‘90s country music era and brings that to 2016 country. A lot of [California Sunrise] is bringing an old-school flare back to a mainstream sound, but that gives me my own lane.”

Pardi is capitalizing on driving in his lane. With a new tour and the CMA’s on the horizon, no doubt he will go full-throttle!

Photo Credit: Taste of Country

Old Dominion

Their website describes them as a “blend[ing] old-fashioned country charm, lyrical wit and rock n’ roll grit into radio-friendly, hook-heavy pop nuggets.” 

Their debut album, Meat and Candy” is now RIAA-certified GOLD. It also contains three hit singles, “Snapback,” ” Break Up With Him,” and “Song for Another Time.” They charted so well that in 2016, they completed 15 tour dates as part of the inaugural Stagecoach Spotlight Tour.

According to their website, the band consists of “lead singer Matthew Ramsey, lead guitarist Brad Tursi, multi-instrumentalist Trevor Rosen, bassist Geoff Sprung and drummer Whit Sellers.” The band hails from Nashville, Tennessee. 

If you want to see them, dates are still available. You can even see them abroad in late November, as they have at least two dates in the United Kingdom.

Their second album released in August 2017. Though titled Happy Endings, it seems much more likely it’s just the beginning!

Try The Whole Set

Any regular radio listener has heard the hits of these new artists. But if you want to know their sound, try listening to their full albums. Lots of tracks don’t release as singles, and there are some incredible gems. You may find a new favorite.


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