Guest Post: My Top 3 Favorite Country Artists and Why I Will Be A Fan For Life!
For this week’s feature, my editor suggested I write about my top 5 favorite artists. This proved more difficult than I could have imagined; not only to pick them but to limit what I said – we’d be here for hours if I didn’t! My list of favorites go on, but here is a snapshot into my musical loves. I hope you enjoy.
1. Miranda Lambert
Several years ago, when I was about 15, I watched a special on the Biography Channel on the women of country music (who knows why they were showing that the in the UK!), and among others, they showed Miranda Lambert, then a bright young star with an attitude and a recent sophomore release.
Upon the further advice of friends I checked out her music, and fell in love with the headstrong but vulnerable nature of Kerosene, her debut major label record. ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ was edgier, and it took a while for me to get used to it, my previous favourite artist being Dolly Parton, and it contrasted with Miranda’s self-titled independent release, a far more traditional country effort. But with versatility like that, I was in my element. I was pretty shy in my teens, and Miranda’s attitude, determination and rebelliousness so appealed to me when I was too scared to come out of my own skin. She was feisty, curvy and beautiful, and you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who disagrees.
I have remained a huge fan of Miranda over the years. She does things differently. She’s at the top of the tree but still experiments with new sounds, ideas and technology that’s a little to the left of the mainstream, whilst remaining commercially relevant. I believe every word she sings even though half the time she’s not even written it, and to me that’s worthy of my devotion any day.
2. Brad Paisley
In November 2007, the CMA Awards aired in the UK (they haven’t done so since). I was watching for Taylor Swift, but when she was dancing alongside this man playing guitar with another favorite Kellie Pickler, I sat up and took notice. The song Brad was playing was ‘Online’. I instantly went out and bought the album ‘5th Gear’, and it remains one of my favorite albums to this day.
Not only is Brad an amazing (too many superlatives) guitar player, he was the first artist I discovered who knew how to incorporate comedy into his songs, and as someone who likes to spend most of the day laughing, this was a big hit with me. I loved his love songs too; the quirky nature of ‘If Love Was A Plane’ and ‘Little Moments’, totally sold me.
I now have Brad’s entire album collection, and his CMT Crossroads with John Mayer helped me bond musically with the man I now share my life with (as he has a massive mancrush on John Mayer), so Brad has touched my life in many ways. His new album, ‘Wheelhouse’ is innovative; he is so creative and intelligent but never takes himself too seriously, and refuses to simply be average. His songs make me laugh, cry, and take a step back and see the world for what it is. He deserves far more recognition.
3. Holly Williams
If there were to be a list of underrated artists, Holly would top the list. The daughter of Hank Jr. and granddaughter of Hank Sr., her musical pedigree is colossal, yet she sounds so different to both. I discovered her music through a country magazine a friend sent me from Germany in 2008; we had no country magazines in the UK at that time (not that I knew of), so I was excited to read it. Holly’s celebrated sophomore album ‘Here With Me’ had a tiny review towards the
back, and I just happened to read it.
I bought it and fell totally in love with Holly’s stripped-back style and raspy vocals, a far cry from the country pop I had been listening to. Her songs were so glaringly
honest too, and her lyrics were beautiful. It was a pretty seminal album for me at
that time, but I drifted from her after a while until I heard she was releasing ‘The Highway’. This record tops her previous release by so much (hard to imagine), and I love every single second of it.
I wrote a glowing album review of it and tagged Holly on Twitter with the link – she read it and thanked me copiously, telling me I was a great listener. That totally added to my love for her, in that she is so kind to her fans. I will finally see her live in June and I absolutely cannot wait.