What does “underappreciated” mean when it comes to an artist? It’s hard to say.
For some it may be lack of nominations for awards shows. For others, it may be lack of radio play. For me, it’s more about an overall feeling of people not understanding just how valuable the artist may be for the landscape of music as it sits today. There are some intangibles to it, of course, along with the obvious like the aforementioned awards show snubs.
I got to thinking about some artists that are just that, artists. Artists I feel deserve much more respect and admiration. Don’t get me wrong, none of these artists are ‘unknown.’ They have that “superstar” package, but don’t get that level of recognition at times. Maybe their sound it too different, their opinions too strong. Whatever it is, know that they are among the most talented people on the planet.
If you aren’t listening to them yet, get to it…now.
10. Thompson Square
One of the most talented duos anywhere, with nothing but great songs being released. The chemistry and harmonies are undeniable.
9. Wade Bowen
He’s one of those super talented Texas guys that doesn’t get talked about NEARLY enough. In my opinion, he’s had plenty of songs that would of been success on mainstream radio – but we know that’s not how the business works. Wade is everything a country artist should be.
8. Wheeler Walker Jr.
Country music with zero fucks given. He’s gaining some serious street cred, but not enough. Look closely, and you’ll see a lot of your favorite artists are fans of this badass MF’er.
7. Frankie Ballard
The coolest cat out there. His new album is damn near perfect, as we said here.See him live and you’ll understand why he’s one of the best out there.
6. Justin Moore
Sure, he won New Artist of the Year a couple years ago. Problem was that was 6 years after his debut single was released. Justin is one of the most genuine, real deal, country guys out there. He’s toured with some of country’s biggest acts, and headlined himself. I always bring him up as one of country’s best live acts. He’s traditional in the most modern of ways.
5. Charlie Worsham
Plain and simple, one of the most insanely talented guys out there. He’s such a unique artist. Where people get annoyed with “all country sounding the same” – Charlie does the exact opposite. He’s old school, and new school. Nobody quite like him.
4. Craig Campbell
Other artists know how special Brandy is, and I hope fans of those artists will soon as well. She’s written hits for everyone from Miranda Lambert to Darius Rucker. Her writing ability is on another level and she can sing too. Really sing.
2. Will Hoge
Hoge has been out there grinding for years. His music reflects that. It’s an in-your-face slap of ‘whoa, that’s music.’ “Middle of America” is probably one of my favorite songs in the last ten years. Guy is a pro’s pro. A gifted songwriter and performer, and one of the best shows to see live.
1. Kip Moore
This one really gets to me. In my opinion, one of the best artists (any genre) out there, period. His first two albums were beautifully crafted pieces of art, not just a collection of songs to top the charts. The fact a song like “Dirt Road” couldn’t get played on radio still pisses me off. If you want a guy that cares about his fans, puts on one of the best live shows, and writes EVERYTHING he releases, it’s Kip.