Brothers Osborne / Caitlyn Smith / Cam / Chris Janson / CMTT Exclusives / Drake White / Eric Paslay / High Valley / Kacey Musgraves / Lee Brice / Lists / Raelynn

10 Of The Most Underrated Country Acts

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Flip to a country radio station and you’ll hear the familiar voices of artists like Luke Bryan, Maren Morris and Blake Shelton, but only occasionally do you hear those behind the ones already dominating the genre. If you dig, though, you’ll find some of country music’s most hidden, and valuable, gems. Below, we’ve compiled a list of country’s most underrated acts (in no particular order), plus the explanation of just how they landed themselves on this list.

 

 

Lee Brice
“Hard to Love,” “I Don’t Dance,” “I Drive Your Truck,” “A Woman Like You” — what do these four songs have in common? They were written and cut by Lee Brice. But wait, the list goes on: “Love Like Crazy,” “That Don’t Sound Like You,” “Drinking Class,” “Parking Lot Party.” You get the point. Brice is a star, but he’s an underrated star.

Out of all those fan-favorites, Brice has little hardware to show for his hard work. Nonetheless, he continues to release sincere, beautifully written tracks: His latest comes from his 2017 self-titled album and is titled “Boy.”

 

 

Drake White
Drake White, also known by his band name of Drake White and the Big Fire, released his debut album, Spark, in August 2016. While three of the album’s tracks — “Livin’ The Dream,” “Makin’ Me Look Good Again,” “It Feels Good” — landed on the Top 40, he deserves far more recognition than that milestone alone.

This Alabama native not only encompasses both traditional and modern country simultaneously, which is a feat by itself, but he also proves himself as a standout performer. The gravel in his voice pairs perfectly with his electrifying energy, allowing a Drake White concert to belong to a category of its own.

Whether you’ve been a fan since the beginning or you’re just now discovering him, you can look forward to new music May 4.

 

 

Cam
The 2015 release of “Burning House” landed Cam on country’s radar, but since then she’s slowly drifted, but unrightfully so. Untamed, her December 2015 release, also included “Mayday,” which received little recognition that ultimately unmatched its worth, and the upbeat and reckoning “Runaway Train,” but those were all set aside the spotlight.

Luckily, Cam’s back. In October 2017 she released her response to Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” in a track entitled “Diane,” and it’s finally making its way to country radio, just where it belongs.

Cam reintroduces country fans to the ‘90s-style tunes many fell in love with. So, if you’ve found yourself searching for that familiar sound, you now know where to find it.

 

 

Chris Janson
In 2015 Chris Janson released Buy Me a Boat, and that’s when its title track properly introduced fans to this star-in-the-making. Since then, he’s released his sophomore album, Everybody, been inducted to the Grand Ole Opry and most recently he made his first television performance at the 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards with “Redneck Life.”

Knowing just that, it sounds as if Janson isn’t underrated at all. Wrong.

Janson has been fighting his way to the limelight for quite some time now. He began writing years ago, and he’s accredited with monster hits, such as Tim McGraw’s 2013 track “Truck Yeah” and “How I’ll Always Be,” also cut by McGraw. But Janson’s list of accolades is far shorter than what it should be, considering how many hits he’s made available to country fans.

 

 

Kacey Musgraves
Similar to Cam, this outspoken country artist embraces ‘90s nostalgia through her music, and that’s something you can’t ever get enough of. Unfortunately, though, it’s not something you often hear on the radio. Aside from “Space Cowboy,” a single off her recently dropped album, Golden Hour, Musgraves’ music doesn’t exist on the radio airplay.

Still, Musgraves’ commitment to the genre is admirable. If you’re looking for a fresh take on country music, listen to who we consider one of country’s leading women —  Golden Hour is now available and includes 13 new tracks.

 

 

Eric Paslay
You may not hear Eric Paslay’s voice on the radio often, but you certainly hear his songs. That’s because he’s the one behind No. 1 tracks like Jake Owen’s “Barefoot Blue Jean Night,” Eli Young Band’s “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” and Love and Theft’s “Angel Eyes.”

Paslay does have tracks of his own, too, though. First cut by Lady Antebellum on Own the Night, Paslay later released his own “Friday Night” on his 2014 self-titled album. That same album also includes heartbroken ballad “She Don’t Love You” and “Song About a Girl.” Fast forward a year and Paslay released the upbeat “High Class” before just recently dropping single “Young Forever.”

Paslay’s talent simply does not earn the acknowledgement it demands.

 

 


Brothers Osborne
Just as their duo name suggests, Brothers Osborne consists of brothers T.J. and John Osborne. And, unlike any other current duo in country music, they have served fans hit-after-hit, yet they still seem to be highly underrated. For example, the brothers took home the hardware for the Vocal Duo ACM and Video ACM for “It Ain’t My Fault,” but still they crept away from the award show without a performance. What sense does that make?

Regardless, their January 2016 album, Pawn Shop, was full of irresistible storytelling, and Brothers Osborne look to match it with Port Saint Joe, their 2018 album expected April 20.

 

 

RaeLynn
Following her journey on The Voice, where she belonged to “Team Blake,” RaeLynn released her debut album, WildHorse, in March 2017. While this project houses radio singles “Love Triangle” and “Lonely Call,” 10 other notable tracks can also be found on this album.

But what makes RaeLynn worth listening to? Her relatability. Years ago Taylor Swift released her self-titled debut album, and listeners connected to her lyricism on a very deep, personal level. Today, RaeLynn’s tracks maintain that same sense of relatability, and songs like “Insecure” and “Your Heart” only prove that.

If you’re looking to spice up your playlist, allow RaeLynn the honor.

 

 

High Valley
This Canadian duo is comprised of brothers Brad and Curtis Rempel, and let’s just say this family is doing something right. Great apart but better together, High Valley’s distinguished harmonies are nearly impossible to hear without singing along to. Plus, their debut LP, Dear Life, is full of hit-worthy tracks like “I Be U Be” and “She’s with Me.” And, let’s not overlook their ability to completely captivate an audience, thanks to their infectiously joyous personalities and instrumental ability.

Lately country radio seems to be missing those feel-good tracks you can’t help but lose yourself in, and that’s just what High Valley brings to the table.

 

 

Caitlyn Smith
Although Caitlyn Smith’s voice may better-belong to Americana stations, her songs have been cut by some of today’s most prominent artists, including country’s very own Garth Brooks. Smith’s track “Tacoma” can be found on Brooks’ 2014 release, Man Against Machine — Smith also wrote the Meghan Trainor/John Legend collaboration “Like I’m Gonna Lose You.”

The Nashville-based singer/songwriter recently released her own collection entitled Starfire. The 12-track project oozes with talent, and it also includes Smith’s own version of “Tacoma,” which showcases her incredible powerhouse vocal ability.

All too often artists will either be good songwriters or good singers; Smith is both. Allow yourself to fall in love with a talent just waiting to take the world by storm.

 

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