By March of 2020, COVID-19 had put the brakes on the music industry almost entirely. Festivals and concerts were stripped from the calendar. Tours were canceled. Major artists delayed album releases. And broadcasting for up-and-coming aspiring music artists was essentially turned off air. By the time mid-March rolled around and stay-at-home orders were put in place, according to Rolling Stone, “as cities quieted, the music did too, with even the smallest of venues forced to shut their doors.” Eliminating live performances only exacerbated the challenges aspiring musicians face along their journey. Everything stopped. But the sun always rises and musicians from every corner of the industry are finding new and creative ways to persevere. In support of their return, we are partnering with aspiring music artists within the Western community to help share their music on air, featuring each artist and their music through a Boot Barn sponsored 30-second radio spot. Keep tabs on this page—we will be updating it regularly with new up-and-coming artists.
As a rising country singer-songwriter, Ontario-native Madison Kozak is inspiring listeners with her strong pen. Her breakout track, “First Last Name” not only scored the then-junior at Belmont University and a publishing deal with Big Loud, but it also compelled the award-winning songwriter Nicolle Galyon to launch a female-driven label, Songs & Daughters, and sign Kozak as the flagship artist. Shortly thereafter, Kozak graduated with a Music Business degree; toured the U.S. and Canada with Morgan Evans, Aaron Watson, and Mason Ramsey; and made her Grand Ole Opry debut to a standing ovation. Named among CMT’s 2021 LISTEN UP roster, the Lindsay, Kozak wrapped 2019 having traveled Europe for the first time with Chase Rice, as well as supporting Tanya Tucker as a CMT Next Women of Country Class of 2020 member. Featured on “Artists to Watch” 2020 lists by Pandora, Pop Culture, and Sounds Like Nashville, she will continue releasing new music after dropping a trio of tracks: “OMG ILY,” “Household,” and “Click.”
Joe Peters is a country music artist from Bakersfield, California, a town known to locals as the Country Music Capital of the West. At eight years old, he received his first guitar and started playing along to some of his favorite artists, including Waylon Jennings, George Strait, and Merle Haggard. Throughout his youth and into his early 20s, Joe worked on his family ranch and competed in rodeos, riding rough stock and team roping. While he started out playing music on the rodeo grounds after competitions to anyone who would listen, today he performs all over the country to a growing fan base. His current single, “I’ve Seen Me Do It” is now available everywhere.
Victoria Bailey is a singer-songwriter living in Huntington Beach, California. Deeply influenced by country music’s reigning queens Dolly and Emmylou, Bailey’s songwriting remains true to its roots with all roads leading back to heartfelt storytelling. From barn-burning ballads and cowboy laments to straight-from-the-heart love songs, Bailey offers a thematic collection of originals along with one classic cover on her first full-length country album, Jesus, Red Wine & Patsy Cline, released on Nashville label Rock Ridge Music. Victoria charms the crowd with her warm disposition. She is full of California country and heart with over a decade of songwriting and dive bar strumming under her turquoise studded belt. Victoria will be showcasing at the 2021 Americana Music Festival in Nashville, TN and releasing a brand new single in late September.
Brandon Davis is a rising Tennessee songwriter whose debut single, “Step by Step” reached #1 on the iTunes Country Singles chart. With his wife’s encouragement, Davis posted his first TikTok video on Father’s Day 2020 which generated an immediate response to his authentic voice and laid-back style. In less than a year, he has since built an online audience of nearly one and a half million TikTok followers, with thousands of additional fans on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. With support from his family, tremendous talent, a big personality, and growing awareness within the industry, Brandon Davis is an artist on the move who is ready to make a big imprint in Nashville.
Hailing from Samsula, Florida, Brandon Bing contributes a gritty, unique voice to traditional country music. Brandon writes true, relatable, and inspiring stories and brings them to life through song. His first EP released in 2020, The Florida Man, launched Brandon into the country music scene. His most recent 2021 EP, Dyin’ Breed, is filled with vulnerable and rowdy songs. Brandon discovered his true passion for country music while performing for the first time in Nashville during the CMA Fest. He has since performed at The Barn in Sanford, FL, Savage, MT, Skyline Club, Columbia, SC, Higgston, GA Veterans Camp, Oxford Downs, Summerfield, FL, 25th Anniversary BMI Key West Songwriters Fest in 2021, and Live Oak in Nashville. Brandon has been building strong relationships with his rapidly growing fan base.
Kansas native, Cameron Bedell is a Country/Soul and R&B singer-songwriter. He has written and produced numerous acts including Hunter Hayes, Tiera, Dylan Scott, Seaforth, Lauren Alaina, and Jimmie Allen. After going viral for his renditions of Julia Michaels’ “Issues” and The Weeknd’s “Earned It,” Bedell has once again begun releasing his own music. HIs first single, “Drop It Like a Tailgate” is available on all platforms July 30th, 2021.
Raised between the coasts of California and Florida, Ashley Cooke is an up-and-coming country artist who brings authentic and honest storytelling to her music. Pursuing her passion for music at Belmont University, she won the Country Showcase, placing her in an elite class of winners that includes Brad Paisley, Chris Young, and Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line. Throughout 2020, Cooke continued gaining traction on TikTok where she has amassed 625K followers and 7.2M likes. In October 2020, Cooke co-founded The 615 House, a content creation studio in Nashville, and released “Jealous of the Sky,” a poignant single written about the pain of losing her best friend to cancer at age 18. Cooke has been writing with Nashville’s A-List songwriters including Craig Wiseman, Nicolle Galyon, and Tofer Brown. Her newest single, “Already Drank That Beer” dropped in June and she will be releasing a new project later in 2021 produced by award-winner Jimmy Robbins.
Ian Munsick is pioneering a new brand of country by breathing fresh Rocky Mountain air into the Nashville music scene. The Wyoming-born singer-songwriter’s upbringing was a mix of working the ranch and working the crowds. Munsick and his two older brothers grew up playing everything from bluegrass to The Beatles under the tutelage of their fiddle-playing father. Incorporating elements across genres, he has now begun to establish himself as a progressive artist with an old soul. Captivated by traditional lyrical truth and the modern soundscape, Munsick followed his ear to Music City. In 2017, he released a self-titled EP, winning iHeartRadio’s Rocky Mountain Song of the Year for “Horses Are Faster” and becoming the only artist who simultaneously qualified two tracks as finalists in the NSAI/CMT songwriting competition. Now in 2021, Munsick has signed a major label record deal with Warner Music Nashville, earned more than 45 million global streams, and has been named one of Spotify’s inaugural Hot Country Artists to Watch. His debut album Coyote Cry, out now, features his mile-high tenor underscoring self-penned songs that conjure equal parts epic adventure and down-to-earth wisdom. The record marks the dawn of western pop-laced country, pulling a thread straight from Chris LeDoux through Post Malone. His debut single “Long Haul” has twice charted on Spotify’s US Viral 50 and been praised for its “heart-tugging tenor” and “marvelous sense of melody” (MusicRow). They say that with Ian Munsick, western country is being reborn.
According to Jenna Paulette, the West is where desire meets adventure. She states it is endless skies, freedom and hard work, sleeping on a blanket underneath the stars, men with callused hands and a long history of women rising to the occasion. Jenna Paulette is the embodiment of all of the above as she blazes a trail with her “New West” style of country. She replaces convention for a pedal steel-rooted sensibility that marries the traditional with the contemporary.
From opening gigs with Zac Brown Band, Joe Nichols, Parmalee, Clay Walker, and High Valley, to putting out her Modern Cowgirl Vol. 1 EP, Paulette is becoming an unstoppable force. She has been added to Apple Music’s Breaking Country Playlist, Google Play Country’s New Crop Playlist, named a CMT Discovery Artist, and featured on Apple Music's The Kelleigh Bannen Show and The Circle Network's The Southern Weekend with Natalie Stovall. As a result, she has earned over 1 million streams thus far. Her music has an undertone of pop and an overtone of cowgirl. Her goal is to bring people together based on common experiences and to put into words what cannot always be expressed emotionally. Her vehicle for accomplishing this is what she represents and who she is, a ‘modern cowgirl.’
Growing up in the suburbs of Music City, Kyle Elliott was brought up with the legends of ‘90s country music always playing on the radio. He likes to believe that being born in Nashville means that there is country music in his blood. Music Row Magazine has said that Kyle has “a luxuriously rich baritone that he puts to good advantage.” With influences stemming from artists such as Josh Turner, Randy Travis, Chris Young, and Chris Stapleton, Kyle is set to release the rest of his EP “Love Hangover” by the end of 2021. He is determined to continue writing songs that his fans can relate to.
Royale Lynn is a cowgirl who started her music career at the age of 15, writing songs and developing her stage presence through music lessons and local shows. In 2015, she moved to Nashville from a small town in southern Ontario in hopes of writing for some of the greats. Her passion lies within the art of storytelling and she spends most of her weeks in a writing room among artists in Nashville. She recently wrote the song "Far Boy" for country music artist Leah Marie Mason, and within two months it has garnered over 13 Million views on TikTok and half a million streams. Royale Lynn recently debuted on Nashville's Country station 103.3 as their "tune up song of the day." Her new single, “His & Hers” is set to drop May 7th on all streaming platforms and is anticipated to be one of her biggest releases yet.
North Carolina native Kameron Marlowe has been touted by Everything Nash as “the piece country music has been missing” and by Billboard as a “nascent talent.” Since coming onto the scene with his autobiographical, self-penned release “Giving You Up,” Marlowe has gone on to amass more than 115 million career on-demand streams; joined the roster of Columbia Nashville alongside superstars Luke Combs and Maren Morris; and been named an Artist to Watch in 2021 by more than a dozen media outlets including Sounds Like Nashville, NY Country Swag, Country Now, and more – all before his debut single “Sober as a Drunk” even hit airwaves. With his soaring, emotive vocals and gritty, rock-infused sound, Marlowe calls upon influences ranging from Brooks & Dunn and George Strait to Travis Tritt and Ray Charles, creating a sound that reflects his life-long love of country music. Quickly becoming an undeniable force in the genre, Marlowe is set to stake his claim as the new face of country.
Lauren Duski is an independent artist from Northern Michigan with a deep love for people. Runner-up on season 12 of NBC's "The Voice," Duski has toured across North America in the fall of 2019 as direct and sole support with Lukas Graham, as well as Lewis Capaldi and Bobby Bones. Duski's latest single "I Would For You" just debuted at number-three all-genre and number-one on the Country charts. She is committed to writing songs that inspire listeners to call their loved ones.
Coming from a small town in North Dakota, Chloe Fredericks was raised on old country music and the cowboy way of life. She has always been drawn to songwriting and soulful music since she could remember and often teases she was born in the wrong generation considering her draw to some of the greats. She is inspired by Sheryl Crow, Bob Dylan, Kasey Musgraves, and one of her favorites Amy Winehouse. Alongside being a recording artist, Chloe is a prolific songwriter and enjoys co-writes and writing sessions. Above all she loves to perform and entertain. In 2019, she moved to LA to record her first EP and ever since has been making plans to release new music and deliver the light of her soul through her art.
Jon Wood was born into music. Six years before Jon was born, his father, Steven Wood, moved to Nashville to pursue his dream in the music business, working for Calvary Records and later becoming an artist playing at festivals, churches, and anywhere that would have him. When Jon was two years old, his family moved out of Nashville and eventually settled in Wake Forest, North Carolina. At an early age in North Carolina, Jon discovered his love for music. His father built a recording studio in their home where the family, including Jon’s two brothers and mother, came together and recorded. They put together a family band, played concerts, and even recorded a small album. After a series of odd jobs following high school, Jon realized his main passion is music. At 21, Jon left his small town and chased his neon dreams to Nashville. Five months in Nashville, songwriter and producer, Justin Weaver, reached out to Jon via Instagram. From there they started writing together and released Jon’s debut EP in June of 2019 with the songs co-written by Wood, Weaver, and additional Nashville writers. "Drop on By" was released later that same year. Since the beginning of the COVID pandemic, Jon has been writing songs and is now getting ready to release them in 2021. His latest release is "What Her Leaving Left."
Caitlyn Smith has established herself as one of Nashville’s brightest rising stars after winning a Critics Choice Award and writing songs for the likes of Miley Cyrus, Dolly Parton, Meghan Trainor and John Legend, Garth Brooks, and Jason Aldean. As an undeniably talented vocalist, Smith’s 2018 Starfire and 2020 Supernova saw her in the pages of TIME Magazine and The New York Times, and had her named to Rolling Stone’s 10 country artists to know and Paste’s 10 country artists to watch. Her current single “I Can’t” featuring Old Dominion, is currently climbing the country radio charts.
Tucker Wetmore knows his way around a country song. From his small-town upbringing in Kalama, WA, population 2,700, he has been funneling his feelings into music since he was 11 years old. Less than a year after college, Wetmore moved to Nashville to begin chasing down his own version of the American Dream, sharpening his unique country sound with help from collaborators including Grammy-winner Chad Brown and co-producer Jesse Thompson. Blending his baritone vocals with Telecaster twang, Wetmore’s original songs mix country storytelling with modern melodies—creating country music for the modern world.
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