One of our major focuses at Tailgate Country has been finding artists you won’t likely hear on the radio and may never have even heard of at all. Pop open Spotify and take notes on five artists we love that we think you need to listen to.
CJ has a unique blend of southern rock and country, heavily influenced by his Louisiana upbringing. He’s an accomplished songwriter, having co-written number-ones “Up Down” and “Some Girls.” CJ also has credits writing for Jason Aldean and Jarrod Neiman, among others.
In 2014, CJ signed with Sea Gayle Music (Brad Paisley).
He released his sophomore EP– Coming My Way– in April this year. The project is highlighted with CJ’s powerful vocals and prominent guitar. “Wild Hair” has surpassed 620,000 spins on Spotify and the title track, “Coming My Way,” has been streamed over 360,000 times. Previous releases “Tall Boy” and “American Girls” have been spun 2,000,000 and 1,100,000 times, respectively.
He’s a cowboy through and through straight out of Fort Worth, Texas. Wynn is a fresher face to country music, but he draws heavy influence from traditional Texas country music and his rodeo background.
A real appreciation for Wynn and his band is found during his live shows. His stage presence and sound is familiar to guys like Cody Johnson (and he plays a killer cover of “My Maria”). Songs like “Man What A Woman,” “You’ll Write Mine,” and “Yeah Buddy” really get a crowd going.
Wynn’s strong suit is his songwriting, which is on full display in songs like “Tornado,” “FM 1885,” and “Hide The Whiskey.” He released his debut self-titled album in January and has gotten to play tracks off it before acts like Parker McCollum and Josh Abbott. Fans of down-home Texas country, look no further than Texas’ next cowboy.
She released her debut EP in 2019, and Karissa Ella has found her way onto airwaves with hits like “Me and Luke” and “Vacay.” Her 2020 release, “Girls,” is a transition for her. Karissa cites her new work as empowering for girls and women everywhere.
Her bright personality is seen in all of her songs, particularly in “Rose All Day” and “Levi Jeans.” She also pays homage to heroes with “More Like Her.”
Karissa pulls in tones from many subgenres of country music, which can be attributed to her Ohio upbringing. She’s also a graduate of prestigious Belmont University in Nashville (Josh Turner, Trisha Yearwood, Chris Young). Keep an eye out for new songs released from Karissa upcoming!
There’s many words that can be used to describe Ohio-grown Kurt Freeman’s style, but none are more fitting than raw.
He’s got a gritty outlaw sound that’s capped with a gravelly voice and barebones production. Kurt’s second EP, “Outlaw,” was released in 2020 and is composed of three songs: “Timing,” “Outlaw,” and “One More Song.” Each one has its own sound and tells compelling stories.
Kurt has a unique sound that’s fresh on the country scene, but he draws traditional influences in his transparency and vulnerability in songs like “Texas.” If you’re a fan of Luke Combs, then head over to one of his shows– Kurt peppers in Luke Combs covers regularly.
What happens when you mix a powerful voice, clever songwriting, and catchy melodies? You end up with Matt Bennett. Matt often takes common song tropes and turns them on their head with songs like “God Sent You.”
His debut album, “Hi Matt,” was aptly named as a re-introduction (or, for some, a first introduction) and features songs that range from fun and lighthearted (“I’d Do It Again”) to heavy and vulnerable (“This Old Guitar”). He followed the album up with “Bad Women,” which was released in October.
Matt’s specialty is putting out songs you’ll break the repeat button over. He’s been grinding for years, but the Alabama man is bursting onto the scene– get on the bandwagon while you can.