By: Reiley Bartel, Online Editor
Tired of the modern country music that is on all of the country stations anymore? Me too. Country is not like what it used to be, but I have found a few country artists who are holding to the traditions of good ole’ country music: Zach Bryan, Tyler Childers, Riley Green, Sam Barber, and Cody Johnson. Though these boys may not be as pretty as George Strait (who is?) their voices make up for it.
Here’s a closer look at each of these artists, who I recommend you check out if you feel like I do about modern country music.
First up is Zach Bryan. He is not as new on the scene as most of us think he is. He started his singing career on YouTube in 2017 but is just now starting to gain widespread popularity. And it's about time. Though I enjoyed having him to myself, it's nice to finally hear him on the radio. Bryan is a Navy veteran who blends folk country, rock and country — as it should be. My favorite songs of his are “Oklahoma Smokeshow” and “Open the Gate.” If you’re just getting started, I recommend you check out his albums “Quiet Heavy Dreams” (2020) and American Heartbreak (2022).
Next up: Tyler Childers, whose music pairs well with Bryan’s. He mixes neotraditional country, bluegrass and folk music. My favorite song of his (don’t judge) is “Feathered Indians.” I highly recommend you listen to that song first. His best album is “Purgatory” (2017).
I also love Riley Green, whose music is inspired by traditional country, bluegrass, and Southern gospel. My favorite songs of his are “There was this Girl,” and “If I didn’t Wear Boots.” My favorite album is Valley Road (2020).
Sam Barber also is worth checking out. My favorite song of his is “Straight and Narrow,” and my favorite album is “Rambiln Man” (2022). He is known for his romantic lyrics as well as for being a traditional outlaw country singer.
Finally, I have to recommend Cody Johnson. His music style is a mix of contemporary country and cowboy. My favorite song of his is “Wild as You,” and his best album is “Black and White Label” (2011).
PHOTO: Courtesy photo, Warner Records Press