10 Country Artists Set To Break Out in 2018

Tyler Childers Country Music

We know what we’re talking about when it comes to this stuff.

We see the build. We see the social media buzz. We see it all. Most importantly, we appreciate creativity and authenticity, which in this case leads to incredible music from rising country stars.

On a side note these “new artists” lists are a little weird. There isn’t a clear point where an artist is new vs not new. So you may say, “Hey, why isn’t Ryan Hurd or Luke Combs on this list?” And I’ll say I love Ryan Hurd and Luke Combs, but to me they’re past the new phase, I guess. Same for Carly Pearce (she broke out in 2017). And Midland. I don’t know, guys, nobody does. Anyways.

Here’s Whiskey Riff’s list of 10 artists set to break out in 2018.

10. Fan Voted: Jordan Davis

We tweeted the following: “Favorite new artist from 2017. GO.”

Your responses poured in, and the most-mentioned artist was Jordan Davis. It’s not hard to see why with his recent success, touring with artists like Kip Moore, and a single climbing up the charts. Big year ahead.

A group of people in the snow

9. Carter Winter

The first country artist to sign with Jay Z’s ROC Nation. Yup, you heard me. We’ve been fans for some time, but this year he’s set for a breakout. Carter Winter flirts with the lines of modern, traditional, and everything in between.

8. Muscadine Bloodline

Talk about unique. Muscadine Bloodline is unlike any country duo out there. They are country. Country country. You know that type of country, and you’re about to get it at its best with these two.

A kitchen with a sink and a toaster oven

7. Riley Green

I could see us looking back at this post in three or four years when Riley Green is a superstar and going well, yeah, that one was obvious. Do yourself a favor and listen to the Alabama native’s new EP Outlaws Like Us.

Side note: He probably has my favorite cover of “Atlantic City” I’ve ever heard.

A kitchen with a sink and a toaster oven

6. Ashley McBryde

Ashley is new-ish. But I had to put her in this list. I was fortunate enough to see her live during Eric Church’s ‘Holdin’ My Own’ Tour and she blew the roof off the place in front of a packed arena, for one of the year’s biggest tours. Way back in July of 2016, I wrote about her song, “Bible and a .44,” and since then she’s done nothing but put out country music with an in-your-face no bullshit approach.

5. Colter Wall

Colter made our list of Top 30 albums of 2017. It won’t take more than one verse before you understand why. The young Saskatchewan born artist, has a rawness, a folk-y bluegrass style that’s completely addicting, and soothing.

4. Runaway June

When this trio sings, you stop. The harmonies are beautiful, they put on a great live show, and their music matches. They’re rootsy, yet modern and provide a sound lacking right now in country music. Big, big things coming.

A kitchen with a sink and a toaster oven

3. Walker Hayes

As unique an artist and sound you’ll find. Walker Hayes has already begun his breakout with his new album, boom. He also just joined us on our podcast. A true underdog story of grit, and hard work finally paying off.

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2. Jillian Jacqueline

Jillian Jacqueline has that “it” factor you always hear about. She’s immensely creative, from her style to her music. A calming and sultry voice, along with powerful songwriting in songs like “God Bless This Mess,” shows she’s a force. She’s a badass, actually.

A kitchen with a sink and a toaster oven

1. Tyler Childers

“Gingers don’t have a soul my fucking ass. This dudes got soul coming from every orifice.”

That was one of the top-rated comments on the following video where you’ll watch Tyler Childers perform “Whitehouse Road;” personally, my favorite song of his. The Kentucky native made our list of Top 30 albums of 2017 with Purgatory, produced by none other than Sturgill Simpson.

When Tyler performs, you feel it. The bluegrass, the country, the soul. It’s all there.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock