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Think Country 2017 Watch List

As we head into this new year with artists new and seasoned alike having tunes slide up the chart, we’re starting to keep note of the ones to watch.


5. Kelsea Ballerini

With her 4th single “Yeah Boy” climbing up the charts and 3 #1’s in her back pocket, Ballerini is proving to be a constant in the genre. As strong female singer, her youth doesn’t stymie her from holding her weight alongside country heavy hitters Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert. It would seem where Taylor Swift left a slot, Ballerini has in turn filled.


4. Jon Pardi 

Hailing from California, a state that birthed greats like Buck Owens and Dwight Yoakam, just to name a few, I feel like Pardi will finally hit his break this year. While his first 4 singles didn’t garner the momentum we’d hoped, Pardi delivered his first #1 Single in 2015 with “Head Over Boots“. From music video themes to red carpet styles, its no secret Pardi is nodding to country music of the past. I look forward to seeing Pardi’s current single “Dirt On My Boots” climb the charts to #1 for this well deserved artist.

3. Garth Brooks

I mentioned seasoned and this man continues to deliver. Brooks, who with a lengthy career, has come back full force after taking an extended break to raise a family. Already hosting an energetic and extremely successful tour for the last few years, Brooks brings his single, “Baby, Lets Lay Down And Dance” in routine Brooks style. Reminiscent of the playful lyrics and energy delivered in “Callin’ Baton Rouge“, I am sure this single won’t fail to reach it’s highest potential. Not only a continually great entertainer, Brooks continues to grace us with his humble and loving nature, mentoring and showing appreciation for his younger peers in the genre.

2. Lauren Alaina

Beginning her debut on American Idol as runner up to country heartthrob Scotty McCreery, Alaina is pulling away from the pack and starting to gain momentum on her career. One of my current jams, “Road Less Travelled” it’s no doubt be Alaina’s major breakout hit. Besides inspiring girls through her powerhouse vocals on this song, this single’s actually become inspiration for a movie. Aptly titled by the same name, the film is due to release early this year starring the country darlin’ herself. This Georgia Peach is too cute to watch on her snaps, humbly and genuinely showing excitement every time she hears her rising hit get airplay.

1. William Michael Morgan

What a lovely thing it is to be brought back to, some of my favorite decades in the genre, the 80s/90s of country. Morgan is going to be 2017’s biggest success in my opinion. With his debut single “I Met A Girl” already #1, Morgan’s debut album “Vinyl” hosts a multitude of great songs. “People Like Me“, one of my favorites while it’s not his current single, boasts a nod similar to the likes of Mark Chesnutt’s “Bubba Shot The Jukebox”. This artist may be young in age but it’s no doubt he’s an old soul at heart! It’s a breath of fresh air to see younger artists embrace the very things that make this genre so great. Besides being newly engaged to fiancé Jennifer Wayne, I feel like 2017 is going to be this classic country singer’s year!


Sammy Boots
I am a country music loving asphalt cowgirl with a passion for helping kids with cancer. I was born and raised in Orlando, FL where I currently reside. Although I was born and raised in the city don’t let that fool you. If you run into me, there’s no doubt you will find me wearing one of my many pairs of cowboy boots! There’s really not a time I can recall as a child where I wasn’t jammin’ out to country on the radio with my mom and two sisters in the car. Country music has always been a strong part of my life; recalling when I was 5, I sat on Santa’s lap and all I asked for was an Alan Jackson CD. Who knew a year later I would attend my very first concert to see Mr. Jackson. When not submerged in country music, I am a professional photographer, social media junkie, and most importantly spend my time devoted to my involvement with children with cancer. My passion started when a family friend was diagnosed with osteosarcoma at the tender age of 12. What began with putting together some material, making her a blanket and wanting to get involved, turned into making blankets through her organization for her friends and other kids at a local hospital. One day I picked up a crochet book and decided to add crochet hats to the packages. Pairing that decision with my passion to help eventually turned into my own organization, “Unraveled by Samantha Dawn”. Word started to spread about what I was doing and parents began contacting me to crochet hats and wigs for their own child suffering from cancer. From 2012 to 2016, I’ve crocheted almost 200 hats and wigs, and just added dolls in the last year that have shipped to kids all over the United States, England, Holland, New Zealand, Australia, Brazil and Canada. I have been fortunate enough to meet a number of the kids and their families here in Orlando, in Nashville and along road trips to North Carolina. Jesus has blessed me with this opportunity and I am forever thankful for it. I look to Country Music for comfort, joy, and relaxation. It’s cool to be part of the very best fan base ever! I’m so lucky that my passion for these kids has effortlessly paired with my love for this genre and I hope one day to start a program to get these down to earth artists involved in more children’s hospitals around the US.
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