With each month comes a new crop of artists worthy of country fans' attention, and August's group brings genre-bending sounds, honest lyrics and powerful voices to the table.
Blanco Brown comes as no surprise, as his country-rap hit "The Git Up" catapulted him to the top of the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, while Jameson Rodgers, who has also locked in two hits for other acts, is a natural fit for this list.
As the conversation surrounding the lack of female artists on country radio continues, a trio of Nashville's many talented female artists make for compelling figures this month. Candi Carpenter, a 20-year veteran of the Nashville industry, is a powerhouse vocalist with lyrics to match, making her an undeniable choice. Emma White follows a similar path, her observations of life and trying to make it in Nashville taking shape in a thought-provoking song that's poised as her breakthrough hit, while newcomer Jenny Tolman also proves to be equally talented and engaging with her empathetic tunes.
Here are five new artists to watch for in August 2019:
With a song that skyrocketed to the top of the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, along with a viral dance craze that stretched beyond the lines of country music, Blanco Brown proved his unique talent has the power to captivate country audiences with “The Git Up.” The producer-turned-country-star, whose previous credits include Kane Brown and Childish Gambino, is a master of the element of surprise in his own work, his sharp instincts making each song an experience. And while the country-rap hit was his breakthrough, songs including “Ghett Ol Memories” and “Georgia Power” are what provide him with staying power, through his honest portrayal of hearing gunshots growing up in his Atlanta neighborhood in the former to his stark portrait of a soul-crushed man in the latter. His songwriting prowess, coupled with his eclectic blend of genres at the core of his production, give Brown a distinct voice and perspective that country music will undoubtedly grow from.
Blessed with the kind of angelic voice that’s made people fall in love with country music for generations, Jenny Tolman positions herself as an artist capable of capturing audiences for years to come. Through her vintage country sound accented with a hint of folk, and a writing style anchored in capturing multi-faceted characters from a kind-hearted, empathetic perspective, Tolman puts forth a humble mentality we should all strive for. This is evident all over her debut album, There Goes the Neighborhood. One instance is “So Pretty,” a waning country ballad where Tolman leads with vulnerability, singing to the woman who has the heart of the man she loves, replacing feelings of jealousy with kindness and admiration. But her true glory moment shines in “My Welcome Mat,” a song so rooted in Tolman’s non-judgemental nature that it made a fan out of Jeff Bridges. Country music needs artists like Tolman to carry forth its future, one who is led by her moral compass of diversity, acceptance and love.
Honesty is an important element that makes country music thrive, and in every song she creates, Emma White leads with both honesty and heart. Throughout her catalog, fans hear the unfiltered perspective of a modern woman, like when she rejects the “swipe right” culture of internet dating and confidently tells her partner what she wants out of a relationship, holding him to that same standard, with "If You're In It." But where she truly defines herself as an artist is through the brutally honest “Ten Year Town.” The poignant, but pointed track demonstrates White’s integrity as a writer, standing fearless in her dissection of the music industry. Whether admitting to selling her soul for her craft to powerfully putting radio’s lack of women under a microscope by singing, “They don’t hear a hit yet, so they don’t give a s-t yet, and they don’t play girls anyway,” White clearly and confidently states her mind while baring her soul as a songwriter. With her debt EP slated for release this month, White has the talent and grit to demand the attention of country fans.
If you want to know what solidifies Jameson Rodgers as a star on the rise, just listen to the radio. As a co-writer of Florida Georgia Line’s “Talk You Out of It” and “I Don’t Know About You” by Chris Lane, Rodgers proves himself to be an impressive writer in the modern country landscape. But what will make him an artist of similar stature are songs like “Midnight Daydream,” a pop-country number accented with his gritty vocals and the mini-movie he paints in one’s head of a woman he can’t get off his mind, and “Some Girls,” his debut single that’s begging to be a radio hit. Look for him to break through as he continues to serve as an opening act on Luke Combs’ Beer Never Broke My Heart Tour, an opportunity that’s bound to make his talent and star power grow.
If there is one artist who truly deserves to be one of Nashville’s next breakthrough stars, it’s Candi Carpenter. With 20 years of experience under her belt in the country music world and her status as a fixture of the weekly all-female songwriters showcase Song Suffragettes, Carpenter has long harbored the perseverance and passion to make an impact in the genre. This determination is an added bonus to her impeccable voice and songwriting, letting her booming voice filled with soul shine on powerhouse tracks like “Cry Baby” and the stoic “Burn the Bed,” the latter of which has become her signature song with the powerful way she turns the true story of a cheating lover into a compelling ballad of pain. With a fan in Dolly Parton and Brandi Carlile producing and providing background vocals on a series of new tracks, Carpenter is at the center of a perfect storm set to catapult her to the next level. Look for her to be one of country music’s undeniable powerhouse voices.