A look at CMT’s current roster of videos promises more new artists to discover in 2014 than ever before. It sure seems that way, at least.
True, we’re still absorbing the massive impact of newer artists like Florida Georgia Line and Thomas Rhett, but it never hurts to look ahead. After all, you never know who will drop the next “Cruise.” Check out these 10 fresh faces hoping to grab your attention, listed in alphabetical order.
Michigan native Frankie Ballard arrived on the scene with “Tell Me You Get Lonely” in 2010 and “A Buncha Girls” in 2011, but the handsome singer found his big hit elusive. Now that he’s back with “Helluva Life,” Ballard’s aiming for the stars. His new album, Sunshine & Whiskey, will be released Feb. 11.
Kelleigh Bannen is taking the familiar “done-me-wrong” theme and bringing it into the age of social media. “You cheated on me, you hurt me — so I’m going to make you famous,” she says about her new single “Famous.” “It’s not just revengeful, there’s a little smile and wink to it — and I love that.” An interesting side note: Bannen is one of the rare country singers actually born in Nashville.
By winning the fourth season of The Voice, 17-year-old Danielle Bradbery has already achieved more than most teenagers. The Texas native followed that victory with the release of her self-titled debut album and its lead single, “The Heart of Dixie.” Listen for her new song “My Day” during telecasts of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
The Cadillac Three
The Cadillac Three, a shaggy-haired three-piece band, have already made tons of friends in country music, as you can see in their video for their loud-and-proud single, “The South.” Florida Georgia Line, Dierks Bentley and Mike Eli of the Eli Young Band even sing on the song. Plus, the band made a guest appearance on ABC’s hit series Nashville.
Dan + Shay
Smooth harmonies and sensitive lyrics are the name of the game for Dan + Shay, the duo of Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney. Their clever debut single, “19 You + Me,” tells a romantic story of falling in love in the summer but allows listeners to choose their own year — so long as it’s somewhere in the 1900s. They’ll take their relatable song on the road this year with Blake Shelton and The Band Perry, as well as Hunter Hayes and Danielle Bradbery.
Brett Eldredge scored his first No. 1 hit at country radio in 2013 with the pretty-girl-centric “Don’t Ya.” He’s following it up with “Beat of the Music,” an infectious tune about meeting the girl of his dreams on the last day of a Mexican vacation. Timing is everything, and Eldredge is betting that listeners can use a break from the polar vortex right about now. The video features all the sun and sand you’ve been dreaming of, plus world-famous swimming pigs!
California native Jon Pardi joins the wave of artists tapping into their love of good friends and good times with “Up All Night,” but the easygoing singer told CMT he’s holding on to the classics for inspiration. “I would say we’re a little more country,” he said. “We’ve got a little bit more traditional feel to it, but it’s still new school.”
Tall, lanky and sporting a head (and face) full of bright red hair, Eric Paslay may be one of the most memorable-looking new artists in years. His songs leave an impression, too. Paslay co-wrote “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” for Jake Owen and “Even if It Breaks Your Heart” for Eli Young Band. Now the gentle ginger giant has a No. 1 single of his own, the urgent yet casual “Friday Night.”
Chase Rice was already something of an accomplished renaissance man before he entered the country music world. He played linebacker for the North Carolina Tar Heels, was a member of two NASCAR pit crews and placed second on the reality show Survivor: Nicaragua. Then he co-wrote Florida Georgia Line’s massive smash hit “Cruise.” His fast-talking current single is “Ready Set Roll,” from his new EP of the same name.
At one time, Cole Swindell sold T-shirts and merchandise at concerts for fraternity brother Luke Bryan, but now the Georgia native is opening shows on Bryan’s My Kind of Night tour, and his single “Chillin’ It” is in no hurry to leave the Top 5 of Billboard’s country songs chart. Swindell’s self-titled debut album arrives Feb. 18.