You know that incredible feeling when you find an artist before any of your friends do, you go see them play small clubs and meet them after shows, and you get to be a part of their growth into a household name? These four acts have one thing in common: they barely have any music released and yet they’ve already captured the hearts and ears of industry veterans and eager fans alike. Thank us later, when all your friends are jealous you found these talents first.
Female Solo: Clare Dunn
Not many up and coming artists can say that Dierks Bentley has called their music “badass,” with “a totally unique vibe,” but that’s the response Clare Dunn’s current single, “Move On,” elicited from Bentley. Dunn’s music has a distinct edge; on “Move On,” she’s the smooth-talker sliding up next to the listener at the bar, dressed in intrigue and black leather, effortlessly commanding their attention. There’s no real comparison point in country – NPR compared her to Florence (of Florence and the Machine) and Bonnie Raitt – which will allow her to do well with ease. Dunn’s self-titled EP is due September 18 via MCA Nashville, on which she co-wrote and co-produced every song.
The single: “Move On” (iTunes)
Male Solo: Levi Hummon
It seems a safe bet that most 24-year-olds haven’t had one of their songs on the Oscar short list for “Best Original Song.” However, it’s an accolade that Levi Hummon can claim, as his song “Make It Love,” which Hummon released as part of a duo with his father, caught Oscar ears with its inclusion on a film soundtrack. Currently working on his debut with producer and songwriter Jimmy Robbins (“We Were Us,” “Beachin’,” “Sure Be Cool If You Did”), Hummon’s sound is a fusion of organic, lyrically-minded songs and pop-painted production, at times even soul-leaning. It’s undeniably catchy, both stadium-watt bright and single-flame captivating.
The song: “Make It Love”
To become a believer in this high-energy group is to see them live. LANco frontman Brandon Lancaster has the energy of a child who ate pop-rocks for breakfast, flawlessly delivering uptempo originals and covers like Walk The Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance” (a command for which the crowd never needs prompting) alike. Ranging from old-school rock vibes – single “Troublemaker” recalls artists like Crowded House or Nick Lowe – to pop-bursting hooks and country-tinted windows, LANco’s music is a treat. The band is working with producer Jay Joyce (The Wallflowers, Patty Griffin, Eric Church, Little Big Town) for their record, further ensuring an engaging debut.
The single: “Troublemaker” (iTunes)
Duo: Muddy Magnolias
The Delta blues meet the streets of Brooklyn in this captivating duo. Their music feels like Steven Tyler and The Beastie Boys shaken with The Dixie Chicks and Fleetwood Mac, served on the rocks. It’s at once bold and abrupt, bluesy and off-kilter and reaching. The duo are working on their debut album with Butch Walker, and recently opened The Zac Brown Band’s three-night, sold-out set of shows at Boston’s Fenway Park.
The single: “American Woman” (iTunes)