4 Country Artists To Watch (& Where To See New Country In Nashville Tonight)

We live by one rule:

While we can totally get down to some old school Loretta Lynn (the original queen of sass) and we’ve never been known to turn down a 1990’s Reba ballad (the original “Fancy” gal – sorry Iggy Iz), there is something special about discovering something new. New car smell, new shoes, New Kids On The Block…it may not always be better, but it sure can be good. Country music is no exception! We live in a city that celebrates the greats and still constantly makes room for new artists to carry on the rich tradition of the genre. You know what’s also new in Nashville? Acme Feed & Seed. A restaurant/bar/event space with a killer view of the Cumberland, Acme is revitalizing its corner of Lower Broad, bringing an old Nashville touch with an artisan upgrade. Tonight they’re hosting New Country Night, featuring some of country music’s best new acts. To get you pumped, we thought we’d tell you what new country artists we’re excited about:

Maddie & Tae

IF YOU LIKE: 

Throwing shade via subtweets, every time Carrie Underwood stomps during an awards show performance, Taylor Swift’s evolving views about feminism, BEING AN INDEPENDENT WOMEN or supporting the ones in your life by viewing them as a human and not substituting their name for “girl” when you address them (unless it is a welcome term of endearment or used as a sassy compliment i.e. “get it giiiiiirl”)

WHAT TO LISTEN TO:

Their only single (that already went viral): “Girl In A Country Song”

WHY:

On first glance, Maddie & Tae might look like the glossy, gorgeous country duos we’ve all gotten used to over the last few years. They have similar elements: big blonde hair, expertly applied/slightly winged eyeliner, super tight harmonies, catchy melodies. The exception? They’re one of the first country acts to call out the monstrously huge and widely debated “bro country” sub genre, in which women are typically referred to as “girls” who have only ever worn denim cutoffs and are apparently experts at opening a dude’s beer. Like all the great country artists in history, Maddie & Tae have something to say. We’re looking forward to more!

Jackie Lee

IF YOU LIKE:

Driving in your car with the windows down, dudes who are tall and charming, sweet tenor harmonies, the moment in an outdoor concert where the artist unplugs and serves up some boss stand-alone vocals

WHAT TO LISTEN TO:

“Tell Me”

WHY:

The above song is just a perfect example of a male country artist using “girl” in the right way – a term of endearment and affection used in a sincere plea for the “girl” in question to tell him what she wants so he can give it to her. Jackie Lee has been signed (fairly recently) to Broken Bow Records, and we have a feeling he’s about to blow UP. There’s something super authentic about his songwriting, his voice is like butta, and you just get the feeling he would never talk-sing on a verse with Ludacris (or if he did, he would figure out a way to make it really awesome). The videos from his radio tour are killer – we’ll be staying tuned.

The Black Lillies

IF YOU LIKE:

Getting into mischief, eating in a diner with really good pie where the waitress would call you “hun”, banjos, two-stepping the night away at a random bar, hanging out in East Nashville

WHAT TO LISTEN TO:

“Smokestack Lady”

WHY:

This is a fuuuun group. The Black Lillies feel like they could have all assembled on a street corner of Nashville with their banjos on a hot summer’s day; their East Tennessee vibe definitely stands out in the crowd. Their upbeat driven melodies are one part rockabilly, one part classic country, and all parts whimsical. Definitely a band you’d want to see live (and don’t forget a dancing partner). We hope to see this stuff hitting ALL the airwaves soon (we’d also settle for a Wanda Jackson duet on their next project, because it would be a match made in heaven).

Kelsea Ballerini

IF YOU LIKE:

The rare and beautiful occasions when Kelly Clarkson sings country, singing into your hairbrush in the privacy of your own room, sundresses, when Taylor Swift still lets a bit of twang come through on her pop crossover stuff, heartfelt ultimatums

WHAT TO LISTEN TO:

“Love Me Like You Mean It”

WHY:

Kelsea Ballerini is brand-new on the country music scene, and she is about to tear it up y’all! Signed to Black River, Kelsea is leading the charge on the pop-country crossover with her song “Love Me Like You Mean It”. She’s got twang and vocal chops for days, but ever so often you hear her trail off on a vocal run that sounds like Demi Lovato (at her fiercest) singing a country music riff. Magic. Her debut single is a strong ultimatum to a potential love interest, and the song has energy for days. Can’t wait to hear the next one!

So there you go, Nashville. 4 country artists we’re diggin’ to start your Monday off right. Head to Acme Feed & Seed for New Country Night, and to find all your Nashville adventures, grab Wannado. From happy hours to live music to free outdoor yoga and more, we’ll make sure you stay in the know.