Discussion: Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes?

In between the completion of the nineties No. 1 country single retrospective and the beginning of the eighties-focused series, we’re going to be running a series of album reviews to showcase some great contemporary country artists that are all, in their own ways, fulfilling the promise of the those golden eras of country music.  Some of them are radio artists; others are more closely associated with folk and Americana.  But all of them are making music that is as vital and essential as the best country music of days gone by.

The introduction and first review will launch tomorrow, and we’ll preview all seven artists that will have their recent albums reviewed throughout the series.

But before we do that, we want to acknowledge that the Country Universe is vast, and there is no way we could completely cover all the great music that is out there.

So we ask our readers: Who’s filling them shoes? 

Share your favorite contemporary artists in the comments, and recommend some albums and tracks that we should all be listening to!


  1. Chapel Hart are a new discovery of mine, and they have a great contemporary sound with traditional underpinnings. I discovered them through the song, “You Can Have Him, Jolene”, which is a fun twist on the Dolly/Olivia Newton-John classic, one which I heartily agree on. The video is great but their performance is what makes it.

  2. A couple of years ago, I first heard of this really good Americana singer/songwriter from right here in Southern California named Alice Wallace. Back in 2019, she released an independent album called Into The Blue, which included such songs as “Santa Ana Winds” (about the dry winds that aid in the explosive nature of brushfires here), and “Desert Rose” (a Mexican migrant story).

    And just prior to COVID setting in, she recorded a long-standing favorite of hers, the 1970 Linda Ronstadt classic “Long Long Time”:

    Alice thus joins what seems to be a virtual small town of female singers who consider Linda a prime influence in their decision to not only become singers but who choose to follow in her California-based country-rock footsteps

  3. Limiting myself to people who have released albums this year, some of my favorites have been The Broken Spokes, Joshua Hedley, Kimberly Kelly, The Vandoliers, Hellbound Glory, 49 Winchester, and Bri Bagwell.

  4. Kaitlin Butt’s What Else Can She Do is probably my favorite album so far this year. “Blood” is essential listening for anyone with a troubled family relationship.

  5. Some of my “newer” favourites that I’ve discovered in the past 5-10 years:
    – Sam Outlaw
    – Michaela Anne
    – Emily Scott Robinson
    – Dori Freeman
    – Charley Crockett
    – David Quinn
    – Kelsey Waldon
    – Western Centuries
    – Jason Eady

    Some really good Canadian artists that I enjoy as well:
    – Corb Lund (one of my all-time favourites)
    – Colter Wall
    – Blake Berglund

  6. …met sunny sweeney on september 1 after her acoustic gig in a small village theatre near the swiss capital berne. she sent me the file of her new album “married alone” two days later, which was due to drop a couple of weeks later, to review it. conclusion: a grammy contestant in the (unfortunately) not existing “honky tonk” category. what an album she has just come out with!

    whitey rose, anyone? her husband left me her latest album “we still go to rodeos” (release date: april 2020) at her recent gig near basle, switzerland. it came out right when covid struck the world and got kinda washed away by the virus. however, this is one of my absolute favourite albums that i got hold of this year. miss rose is da bomb. a terrific look back over the shoulder. check out “thanks for trying”. her next album should be finished sometime soon.

    swiss country singer andrea benz, who lives in nashville nowadays and plays at the “bluebird café” and other places in the music city, unless she’s on the road as guitarist with all women trio farewell angelina, just came out with her debut album “who i am”. a singer that lost her heart on the 90’s country sound. boomer delight that thing – “i did it anyway” tells it in a nutshell.

    by the way, lbt’s latest album “mr. sun” is absolutely outstanding. probably their best so far. check out “god fearing gypsies” or “something strong” – actually all 16 songs. a modern country masterpiece and a strong grammy candidate for “country album of the year” in my book. the probaly never sounded better – and we’re talking little big town here.

  7. I take it I am late to the party. Off the top of my head:
    Luke Combs, Kimberly Kelly, Randall King, Jon Pardi, and Lainey Wilson (her recent album is great and she will be in season 5 of Yellowstone, so her career is about to really take off)

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