Every year, the Nashville labels trot out one or two new artists apiece. And the truth is, not many become even “B” list country stars. Most will see their single releases stall out in the mid-30’s on the country charts and after a few of those, the labels will bid them adieu and move on to the next big thing.
Country music has definitely shifted from being an artist-driven genre to being a song-driven genre. Yes, you still have your superstar artists like Blake, Carrie, Brad and Taylor… and perhaps Miranda.
The old list of usual suspects have now been put to pasture as far as radio is concerned. It’s very hard for Martina, Faith, Alan and George to get automatic airplay and even now to have top ten songs. It’s sad, but that’s change. In 2013, I predict the same fate for Tim McGraw and Rascal Flatts. Their music just doesn’t appeal to the younger demographics like it used to. Hence, less airplay and songs that die mid-chart.
But there is new blood on the horizon and talent is abundant. Whether or not it is marketable talent is up for debate. And marketability is at least 50 percent of an artist’s success. Nashville is filled with really talented singers, songwriters and musicians. But it’s that certain something that is both hard to define and difficult to quantify that separates the talented from the stars.
Here is my list of five that I believe have the chops to make a run to the top in 2013. See what you think.
This four-piece band has just enough of a rock ‘n’ roll attitude to get people’s attention. Their first single called Musta Had a Good Time did okay, but eventually fizzled out due to lack of exposure. But some folks noticed. I thought the song was catchy and I feel even better about their second single Carolina.
Their label, Stoney Creek, has a good promotions team and has big success with the likes of Randy Houser and Thompson Square. Hopefully, the promotions team isn’t spread so thin that they can’t give Parmalee the backing they deserve.
I really dig their first single called American Beautiful, although it is starting to show signs of death. Again, it’s just really hard to get exposure on a debut single from the established country outlets. Slacker New Country has seen positive feedback from you, our listeners. So, I feel confident in my own opinion that perhaps their next single will be the one to get them into the top ten.
Their Achilles heel might be the abundance of groups featuring two guys and a girl (Band Perry, Lady Antebellum, etc.). However, the twist here is it’s a brother, sister and dad. Hope dad doesn’t hold the kids back.
She certainly has the look. Wow! And looks mean marketability in country music. Does she have the talent? I think she does. Her first single Merry Go Round has rocketed up the charts and is threatening to crack the top ten.
If it does – look out. Radio programmers will be chompin’ at the bit to get her next song and see if she’s the real deal. I like her a lot. And again, our feedback from listeners has been positive.
It’s been a long time since I heard a band that make my heart skip a beat the first time I heard them. Not since the Zac Brown Band have I been as excited as I am with Blackberry Smoke. They are edgy and earthy at the same time. They can twang and they can bang. And they are oh, so cooool. Look at their pictures and you’d think it was Three Dog Night or Creedence Clearwater Revival. But these guys are country rock at its best. Of course, it could just be me. Living in Austin, I tend to lean favorably to this sound. We’ll see. Listen for their debut single Pretty Little Lie, now playing on Slacker New Country.
Florida Georgia Line
Yeah, I know… you’re saying that these guys are already a hit in 2013, and you’re right. Their debut song Cruise went all the way to number one and then stayed there for another week. Multi-week number ones are rare enough in this genre, but from a debut single? Unheard of. These guys are the real deal and their follow-up single Get Your Shine On is already screaming the charts and will positively be a top ten song for them… and ultimately another number one. Slacker Country listeners continue to tell us that this duo is the next Brooks & Dunn and they have already been featured as Artist of the Week. I have to agree. Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard, aka Florida Georgia Line, are superstar material.
Till next time … keep your powder dry and keep listening to Slacker Country!