15 Must-Listen Country Artists I Discovered In 2023

Erin Viancourt and Levi Turner
Justin Cook/Clay Gibson

There are few things better than coming across an artist new to you whose music resonates deeply.

Whether it’s a brand new artist releasing music for the first time, a band that’s been around for a while that is breaking through into the next phase of their careers following the release of a particularly well-received album, or an establish act whose catalog has somehow evaded your ears until now, uncovering new music is a beautiful thing.

While there are a lot of downsides to social media, apps like Instagram and TikTok have been an incredible catalyst in helping fans find new music and in helping artists grow their fan base and find exposure. And thanks to streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, there is an endless supply of music at our fingertips waiting to be discovered and appreciated.

With that being said, I have found a ton of artists and bands who are new to me, and as 2023 comes to a close and I reflect on all of those new artists that I have enjoyed throughout the year, I’ve come up with a list of 15 of my favorite that every country music fan should have on their radar as well.

Many of these discoveries have come through aforementioned avenues such as social media and Spotify, but another great way to find new music that I can not stress enough is getting out to shows and making sure to be there in time for the opener. They might just be your next favorite artist.

Check out some of my favorite artists I’ve found this year below.

Clay Street Unit

If you’re a bluegrass fan, this Denver based jam grass outfit may just be your next favorite band. With only four recorded songs in their potent catalog thus far, the up and coming band has plans for a full length record in 2024, and they put on a great live show.

“Tired of Being Tired” – A Mighty Fine Evening EP

Erin Viancourt

The first artist signed to Cody Jinks’ Late August Records, Viancourt has a timeless country sound that is winning over fans all across the country.

With a busy touring schedule that has seen Viancourt on the road with Jinks and Mike and the Moonpies, as well as plenty of headlining gigs, she’s proving that she could be one of the next big women in country music.

“Should’ve Known Better” – Won’t Die This Way

Harper O’Neill

With a soulful sound and captivating lyricism, this Lone Star songstress is on the verge of breaking through to the next phase in her career following the release of her spectacular 2023 record Dark Bar Daisy turning heads all across the country.

“Somebody – Dark Bar Daisy

Hunter Flynn

One of the latest names to catch fire out of the somewhat unassuming country music hotbed of Appalachia, Kentucky’s Hunter Flynn is doing more than his fair share in carrying the Bluegrass State’s proverbial torch. Releasing music for the first time at the age of 25 in 2022, Flynn’s music began to gain some serious traction earlier this year, and he shows no signs of letting up.

“Spanish Street Signs” – Appalachian Soul EP

Jon Charles Dwyer

A thoughtful songwriter from Asheville, NC, Dwyer’s music is brutally honest in nature yet maintains an optimistically refreshing outlook on life. I first found Dwyer’s music while he was playing a run of shows in support of legendary NC act, American Aquarium, and the way he is able to command a room with just an acoustic guitar and his original lyrics is something special.

“Heavy Feathers” – Junebug

Jordan Lee King

Another Eastern Kentucky troubadour, Jordan Lee King has a knack for the storytelling aspect of country music, an extremely important attribute for anyone trying to make a name for themselves in this trade.

Heavily influenced by the trials and tribulations often experienced by those living in the area that he calls home, King’s authenticity shines through in his music.


Lance Roark

Having previously befriended Turnpike Troubadours bassist R.C. Edwards and joined his band R.C. and the Ambers during Turnpike’s hiatus, those entrenched in the red dirt music scene have been loosely familiar with Lance Roark’s name for a little while now.

But it wasn’t until this year that many, including myself, heard what Roark is capable of as both a songwriter and a vocalist, with the release of his debut EP Better Man back in March. The Oklahoma songwriter is also credited with co-writing Turnpike’s 2023 hit “Chipping Mill” alongside Edwards.

“Searchin’” – Better Man

Levi Turner

The first artist signed to superstar Zach Bryan’s Belting Bronco label, the small town Georgia kid released his killer debut album Allergy Season in June, and has been tearing it up on the road with Zach ever since.

“Allergy Season” – Allergy Season

Meg McRee

Meg McRee is on track to be one of Nashville’s next big songwriters, and the proof is in her music. With song content that spans a variety of topics, she didn’t release her first single until 2022, and has proved prolific since, releasing a full album and an EP in 2023 alone.

“Wildflower” – History of Heartbreak EP

Midnight River Choir

I may be cheating a bit by including Midnight River Choir on this list, because I had definitely heard the name prior to this year, and I am sure I’ve come across their music at some point along the way. But for whatever reason, their music didn’t totally resonate with me until seeing them on the road with Jason Eady.

Prompted by their spectacular live performance, I dove deep into their near decade long catalog, and stumbled on a hidden gem of Texas country music gold that needs to be on everyone’s radar.

“Soul Food” – Welcome To Delirium?

Myron Elkins

If Dave Cobb is producing someone’s debut album, then that’s a pretty good indication that the artist in question is someone you should pay serious attention to. For Myron Elkins, a Michigan native who worked with Cobb on his Factories, Farms, & Amphetamines record, the sound and lyricism are already there, and with the right people in his corner, it’s just a matter of time until the masses take note.

“Factories, Farms, & Amphetamines” – Factories, Farms, & Amphetamines

Ritch Henderson

It’s been quite the year for country music coming out of the state of Alabama, with top-tier albums from bands like Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, Muscadine Bloodline, Drayton Farley, and Americana up and comer Ritch Henderson whose debut album Fallacies and Four-Letter Words deserves to be mentioned alongside the albums from his home state greats.

“Finally Comin’ Round” – Fallacies and Four-Letter Words

The Last Revel

Out of all the new artists I’ve come across this year, The Last Revel is probably my favorite, and I don’t know how I am so late to the party here. The genre defying Minneapolis, MN group blends bluegrass and rock and roll into an eclectic, string instrument fueled sound that is undeniably unique and sonically magnificent.

“Engine Trouble” – Hazard & Fate

The Wilson Springs Hotel

Another genre-defying group whose catalog flows seamlessly through bluegrass country ballads and full blown rock and roll tunes, The Wilson Springs Hotel is one of the best up and coming acts hailing from the state of Virginia at the moment.

With an electrifying live show characterized by heavily improvised jam-heavy instrumentation, each tune from The Wilson Springs Hotel is a sonic adventure you will not want to miss.

“Magnetawan” – The Wilson Springs Hotel

West Texas Exiles

A five-piece band of West Texas natives who now call Austin home, hence their band name, the West Texas exiles boast a classic, rootsy sound that, paired with impressive lyricism, is sure to gain more and more momentum as they continue to release their Lone Star state inspired music.

“Hotel Tomorrow” – Volume 1 EP


A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock