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Variety Beat’s 10 Artists to Watch in 2018!

In 2017 we got to see a few of our artists from 18 Artists to Obsess Over in 2017 breakout in a huge way. Luke Combs had not one, but two #1 songs as well as a fully sold out headliner tour. Carly Pearce signed her first record deal early in the year and got her first #1 with her debut single, “Every Little Thing.” As 2017 has come to a close, we look out into the future of the bright stars looking to breakout in 2018.

Josh Dorr

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Dorr released his debut EP, Sundancer, back in November of this year, which featured five tracks. Dorr has been in the country music scene for some time now, which included him teaming up with Fender for a tour back in 2015. Dorr’s crisp and distinctive voice separates him from the rest of the pack. Dorr’s EP features the song “Ready or Not,”  which was co-written along with Ryan Hurd. Look for Dorr to make a huge impact in 2018.

Notable Songs: “Ready or Not,” “I Need a Highway” and “Before the Summer Dies”

Walker McGuire

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Walker McGuire have recently been making a big splash in the country music world. The duo comprises of members Jordan Walker and Johnny McGuire, who signed to Wheelhouse Records back in late 2016. Their debut single, “Til Tomorrow,” was released back in April of this year and cracked the top 50 on the Country Airplay Charts. Walker McGuire have opened for artists such as Old Dominion and Kane Brown. Walker McGuire are defining their own sound and it is a sound that has not been heard by any recent duos. In early 2018, be on the lookout for Walker McGuire’s debut EP.

Notable Songs: “Til Tomorrow,” “Mysteries of the World” and “Lost”

Taylor Acorn

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Acorn just recently signed with Play It Again in November of this year. Acorn is a Lynchburg, Virginia native, who previously released three singles independently. Acorn just released her debut EP titled, Put It In a Song on November 17th. The EP features Acorn’s infectious title track “Put It In a Song.” Acorn has opened for artists such as Scotty McCreery and Parmalee. Acorn brings a fresh voice with intelligent songwriting that will attract fans from all over. Be on the lookout for Acorn to gain more traction in the upcoming year.

Notable Songs: “Put It In a Song,” “Same” and “Something Tonight”

High Valley

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High Valley is a brother duo with members Brad Rempel and Curtis Rempel who are Alberta, Canada natives. High Valley has had major success in the Canadian market with numerous top 10 songs like “I Be U Be” reaching the #1 spot. Today, High Valley is currently signed with Atlantic Records and are making a major impact in the US market. High Valley’s style takes some of the traditional elements of country music and blends it with a modern spin. High Valley have recently just finished their first headline tour with Sirius XM The Highway and are looking for an even more successful 2018.

Notable Songs: “Make You Mine,” “The Only” and “She’s With Me”

Mike Ryan

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Ryan is a San Antonio, Texas native and has been having a successful career in the Texas music scene with multiple #1 singles on the Texas Music Chart. Ryan has been featured as a “Highway Find” on Sirius XM’s The Highway with his song “Sad Song.” Ryan released his third studio album titled, Blink You’ll Miss It, which features the lead single “New Hometown.” Ryan is an avid touring artist playing over 100 shows per year, securing him a devoted fan following. Ryan’s voice is pure and the epitome of the what country music is, look for Ryan to have breakout success in this upcoming year.

Notable Songs: “New Hometown,”Damn Good Goodbye” and “Other Side of the Radio”

Smithfield

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Smithfield is made up of members Jennifer Fiedler and Trey Smith, who happen to be childhood friends. Fiedler and Smith did not foresee themselves forming the duo, as they both ventured into their own solo careers before rekindling just a few years ago. Today, Smithfield is one of the hottest duos in the Nashville music scene. Smithfield’s latest single, “When You’re Gone,”  has been featured on Sirus XM’s The Highway along with their previous single “Hey Whiskey.” Smithfield also went on the road back this past year on The Highway Finds tour with Steve Moakler. Smithfield is currently working on new music which is slated for release in the new year.

Check out our interview with them!

Meet Country Duo Smithfield + Watch An Acoustic Performance of “When You’re Gone”

Notable Songs: “Hey Whiskey,” “You Don’t Know” and “Good Ol’ Days”

Bailey Bryan

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Bryan was just recently inducted as a member of CMT’s Next Women of Country class of 2018 and is looking for a breakout year. Bryan released her debut EP, So Far, earlier in 2017. Bryan also had her first tour exposure when she hit the road with Dan + Shay on their Obsessed Tour. Bryan has also hit the road with Chris Lane on his Take Back Home Tour in the last quarter of this year. Bryan is looking to set herself apart with her distinctive vocals and lyrical style, with hopes of breaking out in 2018.

Check out our photo gallery of Bailey Bryan at Route 91!

Notable Songs: “Own It,” “Hard Drive Home” and “Life Goes On”

Brandon Lay

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Lay is a Jackson, Tennessee native and has been starting to make an impact in the industry. Lay signed with EMI Records back in early 2016 and he released his debut single, Speakers, Bleachers and Preachers,” in the summer of 2017. Lay has opened for Old Dominion and is slated to open for Kenny Chesney starting in April of 2018. Lay likes to describe his style as a cross between eighties country and nineties rock, clearly defining his own sound. Lay is currently working on his debut album, in hopes to release it in the near future.

Notable Songs: “Speakers, Bleachers and Preachers,” “Let It” and “Wilder Horses”

Jordan Davis

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Davis is a Shreveport, LA native who moved to Nashville after being influenced from his brother to take the chance. A few years late, Davis signed with UMG Nashville and is currently working on his debut album. Davis released his debut single, “Singles You Up,” in May of 2017. “Singles You Up” has flown up the charts and is currently on it’s way to the top 20 of the airplay charts, with no signs of slowing down. Davis recently finished opening for Kip Moore on his “Please the Fifth Tour” late this year and is looking to keep the momentum going into 2018.

Notable Songs: “Singles You Up,” “Slow Dance in a Parking Lot” and “Take It From Me”

Abby Anderson

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At only 20 years old, Anderson has already begun to burst onto the scene in 2017. Anderson signed a record deal with Black River Entertainment back in February of this year. Anderson released her debut single, “This Feeling,” this past September. Anderson also had the opportunity to open for Kelsea Ballerini and she is currently working on her debut album. Anderson also was inducted to CMT’s Next Women of Country for 2018 and is looking to build off of this success.

Notable Song: “This Feeling”

Spotify Playlist of the Artists Featured

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