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!