Who’s next? That’s a question every country music fan finds themselves asking from time to time. We’ve take into consideration input from our fantastic Grizzly Rose fans, the Country Music Association, and the Academy of Country Music to compile our complete list of the top rising country artists this year. Here’s who we’ve chosen…
1. Luke Combs
Luke Combs, a native of North Carolina, is the winner of this year’s Academy of Country Music New Male Artist of the Year. From a very early age, he loved country music. As a teen he balanced playing football and singing in groups.
This country music singer and songwriter has signed a deal with Sony Music Nashville. His debut single, Hurricane” on the album This One’s For You, reached number one in May of 2017. The album was on the Billboard Top 200 Albums its first week. Other singles besides “Hurricane” include: “When It Rains It Pours”, “One Number Away”, and “She Got the Best of Me”. All four have reached Number One on Country Airplay.
2. Ashley McBryde
Ashley McBryde grew up in Mammoth Springs, Arkansas. She picked up her dad’s guitar as a teen. A graduate of Arkansas State University, Ashley released her first album in 2007. The two-time winner of the Country Showdown now lives in Nashville. In 2019, she was named Academy of Country Music’s New Female Artist of the Year.
Her distinctive voice has been called “raw” and “bourbon-soaked”. The former waitress at CiCi’s, Ashley got her start performing in churches, children’s groups, and restaurants. The American Idol singer/songwriter co-wrote all the songs on her sophomore album.
3. Josh Ward
A native of Texas, Josh Ward describes his work ethic as “all grit and no quit”.
This country singer is best known for his albums “Promises” and “Hard Whiskey”. Several of his songs have reached the top ten on Texas country stations.
Before he broke into country music, Josh was a rodeo performer where he sang and played guitar after his rodeo show.
A long-time fan of Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, Josh and his wife Heather have two children and live in Nashville.
4. Casey Donahew
Casey Donahew grew up in Burleson, Texas where he sang in the Casey Donahew Band. While he was in high school, he began to write and sing his own songs. His album, “Raw—Real in the Vile” reach the top thirty.
Donahew and his wife Melinda have methodically built up his career over the past decade. They’ve worked to attract fans on social media and show by show. His latest CD, Double Wide Dreams, is a long way up the success ladder from his first show at the Thirsty Armadillo in Fort Worth.
5. Cody Johnson
Texas native Cody Johnson left a successful career as a rodeo bull rider to pursue a career as a country singer-songwriter. He has released six albums independently. Now recording for Warner Music Nashville, his new album Ain’t Nothin’ to It, is rising on the charts.
Inspired by the style of Tim McGraw and Garth Brooks, Johnson is admired for his mellow baritone voice, his story ballads and his smooth southern charm. His songs are a delightful combination of Texas twang and polished musical backup instrumental.
6. Dustin Lynch
In his relatively brief career, Lubbock, Texas native Dustin Lynch already has six number one hits. Three of them came from his album, Where It’s At. This is a major departure from his high school wish to play football. Maybe the fact that he didn’t make the team worked to his advantage.
With Garth Brooks as his inspiration, Dustin is an old-fashioned kind of Texas gentleman. This comes through in his songs and his interviews. No wonder female fans swoon over this handsome rising star. Lately, they’ve been asking him to sign their foreheads at the concert.
7. Andrew Hyatt
CMA nominee and a fan favorite Andrew Hyatt is called one of Canada’s most promising voices. In Nashville, he is known as the man who has nickel bones and a Nashville soul. This is because he worked in his hometown at the Sudbury nickel mine. Hyatt released his well-received debut album, Iron and Ashes, in 2017. The title song, “On Me” reached the top of the charts.
Hyatt went on a national tour with fellow countryman Dallas Smith. They formed a bond which turned into a deal with Dallas’ label, Steelhead Music.
8. Granger Smith
American singer-songwriter Granger Smith sometimes performs as Earl Dibbles, Junior. On the country music scene for twenty years, he has released nine studio albums and a live album. Best known for his song, “Backroad Song” Granger and his wife are expecting their third child.
The three-time White House performer taught himself to play the guitar as a teenager and quickly started playing shows. Moving to Nashville nearly twenty years ago, Granger released his first album the year he started college. His first major album was “Remington” which he released this March.
9. Lauren Alaina
CMA nominee New Artist of the Year, twenty-four-year-old Lauren Alaina Kristine Suddeth is a Rossville Georgia native. Runner-up for the tenth season of “American Idol” this singer/songwriter released her debut album, Wildflower, in 2011. This was followed by Road Less Traveled in 2017. She has toured with her idols, Jason Aldean and Blake Shelton. She has also dueted with rising star Kane Brown.
10. Chris Janson
CMA nominee New Artist of the Year was born in Perryville Missouri. Growing up near the Mississippi River, Janson claims he has country in his soul. A self-released album, Buy Me a Boat, landed Chris at the top of the country charts and took him to fame as a self-proclaimed “unpredictable entertainer”.
The thirty-year-old is the co-writer of Tim McGraw’s “Truck, Yeah”. A master of many instruments, Janson played the harmonica on Lee Bryce’s Hard 2 Love” album.