Perhaps the most prominent artist on the non-mainstream country music scene, Childers took to Instagram earlier this month, for the first time in nearly two years, to tease his new song “Angel Band.”
His first original release since the surprise fiddle project Long Violent History in 2020, and his 2019 studio album, Country Squire, Childers has managed to stay out of the spotlight, for the most part, in recent years. Nevertheless, fans have been foaming at the mouth for new music this entire time.
The artist known worldwide for hit songs like “Feathered Indians” and “Whitehouse Road,” as well as many, many others, has revolutionized the country music scene throughout his career and led the charge in revitalizing the genre and drawing attention toward the incredible music that has been coming out of the Appalachian region.
Every country music fan is familiar with the region’s greats, dating back to old time legends like Bill Monroe and Doc Watson, who paved the way for golden age powerhouses like Loretta Lynn and Keith Whitley, to even more recent artists that have come out of the region like Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, and Childers. The list of artists that fall under this country music lineage could go one forever.
All of these artists have had a great impact on the good country music out there, but the more recent ones, like Simpson and Childers in particular, have opened the door for tons of newer artists in the region to follow in their footsteps and grace the world with their music through a larger platform.
In Childers’ absence from the spotlight, there have been countless of these Appalachian artists carrying the torch and keeping the spirit of the region’s music scene alive.
So as we all keep “Angel Band” on repeat and anticipate his upcoming music, we should continue to seek out and listen to all of this other music as well.
For those of you who may not be quite as familiar with the region’s music, or even if you are, here are some of the best artists that hail from this region and have continued to make music the right way over the last few years.
If you want proof that country music is in a GREAT place right now, you won’t find it in the mainstream, look no further than Appalachia.
The Castlewood, Virginia based Appalachian Soul outfit hasn’t only been carrying Childers’ torch on throughout Appalachia – they have become one of the hottest bands in the country. Opening shows for Turnpike Troubadours and Whiskey Myers, among others, and headlining shows across the country at venues as heralded and the Grand Ole Opry, these guys are the real deal.
With songs that traverse between blues, rock, country, and soul, 49 Winchester’s deep catalog is highlighted by their most recent album, Fortune Favors the Bold. A musical masterpiece, FFTB is one of the very best albums of 2022, and an absolute must-listen for everyone.
“Damn’ Darlin’” – Fortune Favors the Bold (2022)
McKinley may be from Cincinnati, OH, just outside of Appalachia, but he has cut his teeth and made himself known playing shows throughout Appalachia for over a decade, cementing his place as one of the scene’s elite songwriters.
His 2022 album This Mess We’re In is a lyrical masterpiece and an absolute force to be reckoned with.
“Rushintherug” – This Mess We’re In (2022)
Logan Halstead is also one of the youngest artists killing it out of the Appalachian music scene right now. Remember the name.
“Back Home” ft. Logan Halstead This Mess We’re In (2022)
Charles Wesley Godwin
CWG established himself as a powerhouse with 2019’s Seneca Creek and proved he’s not going anywhere with Whiskey Riff’s top of album of 2021,How the Mighty Fall. The Morgantown, WV native has spent 2022 headlining shows across the country, playing high profile festivals, and supporting his new found touring buddy and country music superstar Zach Bryan, continuing to grow his brand and fanbase.
This guy is going to be huge.
“Jesse” – How the Mighty Fall (2021)
CWG was recently featured on Zach’s second album of 2022, Summertime Blues.
“Jamie” by Zach Bryan ft. Charles Wesley Godwin – Summertime Blues (2022)
Chaney came out hot with the release of his debut album Mercy in 2021, and hasn’t looked back. The young Eastern Kentucky artist has quickly amassed a strong fanbase, and in my opinion, is still one of the most underappreciated artists in the region.
His OurVinyl Sessions that were released earlier this month are a must-listen.
“Charlene” – Cole Chaney | OurVinyl Sessions EP (2022)
The Beattyville, KY native is one of the best storytellers in the business, and his latest album River Fools & Mountain Saints is more than enough proof. It’s another one of the best albums of the year thus far.
“Tom Barrett” – River Fools & Mountain Saints (2022)
John R. Miller
A does-it-his-own-way songwriting extraordinaire, John R. Miller is another one of the most underrated artists in all of country music. His deep catalog, highlighted by 2021’s Depreciated, is a sonic joyride through the trials and tribulations of life in Appalachia, and it’s a ride you’re gonna want to hop on sooner rather than later.
“Shenandoah Shakedown” – Depreciated (2021)
“Coming Down” – Depreciated (2021)
Song sound familiar? Tyler Childers recorded it on his Live at Red Barn record, but it was originally written by John R. Miller. The two performed it together at Red Rocks last year.
Waldon has been one of the strongest artists on the scene for several years now, and her latest album No Regular Dog has only bolstered that status. Raised in Monkey’s Eyebrow, KY, Waldon’s Appalachian roots play a huge part in her music, and it’s paying off.
“Simple As Love” – No Regular Dog (2022)
Lost Dog Street Band
Benjamin Tod and his wife Ashley Mae have traveled and lived all across this country, but have never forgotten their Appalachian roots. After years of hopping trains, moving around, and touring, the couple, who met as teenagers in Muhlenberg County, KY eventually settled down in the region and have continued to make top-tier country music.
Their latest album Glory is no exception. Go see them live now while they’re still touring, because Tod announced earlier this summer that they’d be stepping away from the road for the foreseeable future.
Benjamin Tod also just released a solo project titled, Songs I Swore I’d Never Sing
“What Keeps Me Up Now” – Glory (2022)
Nicholas Jamerson / Sundy Best
Sundy Best, the Prestonburg, KY duo of long time friends Nicholas Jamerson and Kris Bentley, formed in 2010, and by the time of their breakup in 2018, they had established themselves as one of the best duos in country music.
Luckily for us fans, they announced they’d be reuniting in 2020, and have released a few songs over the last year or so, including their latest “Above Ground.” During the band’s hiatus, Jamerson continued to make and play shows with his band the Morning Jays.
“Hindman” – Almar Sky (2016)
Another West Virginia native, Ferrell’s distinct vocals and sonically spectacular instrumentation have catalyzed an impressive rise to prominence on the non-mainstream country scene nationally, not just in Appalachia. With eclectic influences that span several genres, Ferrell’s robust catalog has something that will appeal to every music fan.
“In Dreams” – Long Time Coming (2021)
The Floyd, Virginia, native made waves with her debut album Reckless in 2021, and has just announced her debut headlining tour. Perhaps more of a sonic enigma, Wade blurs the lines between country, rock, pop and folk with a sound that is uniquely her own.
“Met You” – Reckless (2021)
There may not be a region in the country producing talented country music artists quite like Appalachia has been over the last few years. And of course, these are just some some of the artists making noise from the region… if you like what you hear, be sure to check out artists like Jeremy Pinnell, Tony Logue, Abby Hamilton, Brit Taylor, Leah Blevins, Grayson Jenkins, and more.
And if you haven’t had the chance to listen yet, check out Tyler Childers’ debut single “Angel Band” from his upcoming album Can I Take My Hounds To Heaven?