5 contemporary country music artists you should listen to

Chris+Stapleton+performing+on+stage%2C+Knoxville%2C+Tenn%2C+Dec.+12%2C+2022.

Photo courtesy of @chrisstapleton on Instagram.

Chris Stapleton performing on stage, Knoxville, Tenn, Dec. 12, 2022.

Lindsay Giovannone, Sports Editor

Country music has definitely faced some growing pains and controversy over its long history. Many fans are split over the introduction of pop music into country music, and if this style can even be considered country music. In my opinion, country music should echo tradition and avoid becoming too reliant on the success of pop music.

These are five contemporary artists you should be listening to right now:

Zach Bryan

Arguably the best singer-songwriter in country music right now, Bryan embodies the musical amalgam of the U.S. It is obvious that Bryan puts his heart and soul into each song he produces, and I have never pressed skip when listening to one of his albums or EPs. His first studio album, “American Heartbreak” will be released May 20.
Album recommendations: “DeAnn” and “Quiet Heavy Dreams”

HARDY

An absolute juggernaut singer-songwriter, HARDY stands apart from other artists particularly because of his usage of clever wordplay and storytelling. He is also the pen behind most of fellow country singer Morgan Wallen’s songs. HARDY’s innovative HIXTAPE, a redneck spin on mixtapes, combines classic rock elements with traditional country themes. As HARDY’s presence in the genre grows, his lyrical ingenuity has yet to falter.
Album recommendations: “HIXTAPE: Vol. 1” and “A ROCK”

Avery Anna

Avery Anna is an absurdly underrated artist. Her profoundly heart wrenching songs center on the complexity of toxic relationships. If you want to have a lump form in the back of your throat, her music will do just that. While she has only released four singles so far,Anna’s talent is already evident. I’m excited to see what she has coming up next.
Song recommendations: “Just Cause I Love You” and “Narcissist”

Chris Stapleton

Stapleton’s music transcends genres. Even the pickiest listeners will find something of his to enjoy. Stapleton’s ability to incorporate so many different concepts into one album, while keeping it grounded, is his greatest strength. His songs are crooning odes to love, death and culture. With these themes, Stapleton discards old cliché lyrics and replaces them with expressive poetry.
Album recommendations: “Starting Over” and “From a Room: Volumes 1 and 2”

Tyler Childers

Childers is a must on this list. His songs are powerful tributes to his upbringing in Kentucky and encapsulate a robust range of emotions in his albums. Childers stands apart from many other popular country musicians in that he hasn’t changed his style from his bluegrass-folk sound. Some country artists fall victim to the influence of popular culture, becoming “pop country,” but Childers has stayed true to his roots.
Album recommendations: “Purgatory” and “Live on Red Barn Road”