Does the radio have you down? Are you tired of country music that all sounds the same? Do you think country music is dying? If you answered yes to any of these questions, than these 5 artists are for you. These 5 artists are making country music the right way, with heart, soul, and that good ole traditional sound. Country music can sound modern and relevant, and still retain its core values. These bands handle that thankless task, and are a guiding light for the genre. Some are newer, some have a larger catalog, but all are solid country gold.
1. Chris Knight
Chris Knight is a honest-as-can-be songwriter with strong vocal chops to match. Chris' trademark is pretty simple: he tells it like it is. With song topics ranging from manslaughter to the economy to farming to love and loss, Chris covers the trials of the every man with grit and realism not heard on your radio dial. He has had a taste of mainstream success, penning the hit "She Couldn't Change Me" for Montgomery Gentry and album cuts for Blake Shelton, Randy Travis, and John Anderson. The stories Chris brings are a perfect picture of rural and working class life in America, and as relatable as you can get.
Songs to check out: "Framed", "Nothin' On Me", "Enough Rope"
2. Hellbound Glory
Hellbound Glory are a tough and gritty group of outlaws from Reno, Nevada. Lead singer Leroy Virgil is gaining traction as a skillful and poignant songwriter. They dub themselves "scumbags", and sing rough and rowdy songs about broken homes, drugs, and pain. Hellbound Glory recently caught the eye of Kid Rock, who asked them to open his tour this past year. The time is now to jump on the bandwagon, these guys are going places! You may not be able to relate to all the songs if you aren't a hard-liver, but the truth and realism in the songs will make you appreciate them just the same.
Songs to check out: "Bastard Child" "Lost Cause" "The Ballad of Scumbag Country"
3. Corb Lund
Corb Lund is a throwback to the old cowboy singers of yesteryear. Corb hails from the great land up north of Canada, and brings us tales of loneliness and struggle with dashes of wit and poetry. Corb is a master at making you want to cry with one track and busting your gut with laughter the next. Corb is well established, with a large catalog to explore. Go through it and laugh and cry with Corb, you won't regret it!
Songs to check out: "September" "Dig Gravedigger Dig", "I Wanna Be In The Calvary" "Hair In My Eyes Like A Highland Steer" "Gettin' Down On The Mountain"
"Dig Gravedigger Dig"
4. Holly Williams
Holly Williams is Hank Williams' granddaughter and Hank Jr's daughter. Now that we have that out of the way, Holly Williams has a thing or two to say all on her own. Her latest album, The Highway,(full review here) is a fantastic listening experience. Holly blends heartache with superior storytelling to create a soulful collection of tales that will hit you hard. Holly has a rasp to her voice that really sets her apart. You always know when its her as soon the song starts. The ladies of country have made some noise in 2013, and none have been louder or greater than Holly Williams.
Songs to check out: "Drinkin'", "The Highway", "Til It Runs Dry", "Gone Away From Me"
5. The Turnpike Troubadours
The Turnpike Troubadours are my high on my list of favorite artists. They combine solid fiddle and steel country arrangements with witty and heartfelt lyrics and tight vocals. They are simply everything you would want in a country band. Their latest album Goodbye Normal Street narrowly lost the 2012 Keep It Country Kids Album of the Year, only because of the strength of Kellie Pickler's 100 Proof. Any other year, Troubadours would win hands down. The simply do nothing but put out great songs and great albums. They are poised to be the next big thing, they have the look, the sound, and the "it factor". If traditional country is gonna catch back on with the mainstream, The Turnpike Troubadours will have something to do with it. Bet on it.
Songs to check out: "Every Girl" "Gin, Smoke, Lies", "Gone Gone Gone", "Good Lord Lorrie", "Kansas City Southern" "Diamonds & Gasoline"
"Gin, Smoke, Lies"
There you have it. 5 current artists keeping real country music alive. Do yourself a favor and check a few of these guys out. If you are already a fan, tell a friend about these artists! Spread the word!! Keep it country kids!!!