Top 20 – October 2016

#1. Marshall – Tailspin

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About Marshall:

Country singer, storyteller and entertainer Marshall makes dynamic, homespun music based on his everyday life and observations about the human condition. Packed with soul and grit, his tunes are radiant with infectious guitar melodies, rollicking rhythms and nostalgic poetry. Marshall channels his fresh, frank views on love, loss, self-discovery and moving on through his gravelly voice seasoned with a drop of sweetness. A generous and engaging performer, he connects to audiences through his energetic live shows, inviting them into his expressive inner world.
Marshall’s solo debut, Sinners and Saints features six heartfelt songs that bloom from a place of deep honesty and real-world experience. Produced by two-time Grammy nominee Travis Wyrick (Dolly Parton, Charlie Daniels, Shinedown) in Knoxville, the material on the EP flowed out of Marshall when he moved to Nashville after the brutal end of a long-time romance. The album is brimming with heartbreak and hope and shows his growth as a songwriter as well as his ability to glide through many musical styles, including modern and retro country, rock, folk and everything in between.
A passion for music has coursed through Marshall’s veins since his childhood split between rural West Virginia and North Carolina; he hails from three generations of accomplished musicians and singers. He came up listening to country radio hits by artists such as Restless Heart, Lonestar, George Strait and John Michael Montgomery, often while riding around in his uncle’s truck. On New Year’s Day when he was 16-years old, he discovered his father’s old bass guitar in a closet and started learning to play it while experimenting with throwing together his own lyrics. Before long, he was seeking out concerts with friends, playing in bands and putting poetry to music, embracing that he was fated to be a country singer/songwriter. Marshall has already garnered many accomplishments as a musician. He has played bass and sung in both rock and country groups, played thousands of shows and recorded half a dozen studio albums. He has released singles that have charted in the top 10 on R&R charts. Marshall also supported country artist Jody Lee Petty on bass, touring the southeast and opening for nationally-known acts including Colt Ford, Josh Thompson, Justin Moore and David Allen Coe. Drawing inspiration from great country crooners such as Travis Meadows, Jason Isbell, Chris Stapleton and Dierks Bentley, who are capable of painting vivid pictures with words, Marshall is now boldly embarking on a solo career and preparing for the official release of Sinners and Saints. He is currently building a robust backing band and booking both acoustic and full-band shows throughout the southeast and mid-Atlantic states.

#2. Jody Booth – Found Me In A Honky Tonk

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About Jody:

Texas has produced some of country music’s biggest legends, and Jody Booth could well be the next member to join that near-cosmic lineup. With a gritty edge that defies convention and a lyrical vulnerability startling in its honesty, this intense guitar-playing singer/songwriter from the small town of Livingston, Texas is hovering on the borderline between regional acclaim and national fame – and he’s reaching out for the “big time.”

Jody’s music is pure and heartfelt; his writing is forged by a life lived in the trenches of responsibility while dancing on the edge. “I don’t always write about my life” Jody states. “But I think I’m a good observer of the human condition and I think it shows in my songs”

Jody’s playing all over the state of Texas, both acoustic sets and full band. He has made a name for himself, playing Honky-Tonks, festivals and fairs, and while he doesn’t like to “drop names”, he modestly admits to opening for the likes of Willie Nelson, Tracy Lawrence, Jack Ingram, Roger Creager, Aaron Watson, Tracy Byrd, and his absolute favorite, Merle Haggard. As a songwriter Jody has written with a ton of Texas acts such as Kevin Fowler, Roger Creager, Cory Morrow, Dean Dillion, Josh Ward, Bri Bagwell, Jake Worthington, John Slaughter, Jason Allen, Jason Cassidy, and the list goes on and on. He has co-written two number ones from Roger Creager and Jason Cassidy, and several top ten hits From Josh Ward and John Slaughter. When Jody is not writing or performing, he’s playing golf or poker, and getting ready for hunting season.

#3. Jake Worthington – How Do You Honky Tonk

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About Jake:

At only 20 years old Jake Worthington has quite the resume. In 2014 Jake he was named “Runner-Up” on Season 6 of the hit NBC TV Show “The Voice”. While on the show Jake managed to release 2 songs that reached the Top 20 on Billboard Heatseekers: His cover of Richard Marx’s “Right Here Waiting” hit #14 & his remake of Keith Whitley’s “Don’t Close Your Eyes” went to #17. But perhaps the most impressive of the feats was when Jake’s rendition of the Bryan Adam’s hit song “Heaven” reached #3 on Billboard Country Top Digital Songs.
Success from the TV show has led to a Social Media presence that reaches nearly 250,000 total people across the world; resulting in numerous YouTube videos with over 1 Million views each.
In October 2015 Jake released his debut EP of original songs. The EP debuted: #6 Billboard South Central, #16 Billboard Heatseekers & #44 Billboard Country. The debut single from the EP “Just Keep Falling In Love” is currently climbing the country music charts and the music video has been featured on GAC, CMT and many other TV outlets.

#4. Toby Keith – A Few More Cowboys
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About Toby Keith:

Toby Keith Covel, known professionally as Toby Keith, is an American country music singer, songwriter, actor and record producer. Keith released his first four studio albums—1993’s Toby Keith, 1994’s Boomtown, 1996’s Blue Moon and 1997’s Dream Walkin’, plus a Greatest Hits package for various divisions of Mercury Records before leaving Mercury in 1998. These albums all earned Gold or higher certification, and produced several chart singles, including his debut “Should’ve Been a Cowboy”, which topped the country charts and was
the most-played country song of the 1990s. The song has received three million spins since its release, according to Broadcast Music Incorporated.
Signed to DreamWorks Records Nashville in 1998, Keith released his breakthrough single “How Do You Like Me Now?!” that year. This song, the title track to his 1999 album of the same name, was the number one country song of 2000, and one of several chart-toppers during his tenure on DreamWorks Nashville. His next three albums, Pull My Chain, Unleashed, and Shock’n Y’all, produced three more number ones
each, and all of the albums were certified 4x Platinum.

#5. Trace Adkins – Lit

About Trace Adkins:

Trace Adkins’ trademark baritone has powered countless hits to the top of the charts and turned albums into Platinum plaques, selling over 10 million albums, cumulatively. The Grammy-nominated member of the Grand Ole Opry is a television personality, actor, author, spokesman for the Wounded Warrior Program, the American Red Cross and has performed seven USO Tours.

#6. Aaron Lewis – That Ain’t Country
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About Aaron:

Aaron Lewis is an American musician and songwriter, who is the lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist, and founding member of the rock group Staind, with whom he has released seven studio albums. He has since ventured into country music with his debut solo EP Town Line, which was released on March 1, 2011 on Stroudavarious Records. Lewis’ first full-length solo release, The Road, was released by Blaster Records on November 13, 2012.
In 2006, Lewis was ranked at number 49 in the Top 100 Heavy Metal Vocalists by Hit Parader.

#7. Alan Jackson – Jim and Jack and Hank
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About Alan:

For more than 25 years Alan Jackson’s music has provided a soundtrack for American life. Whether someone is plowing a Kansas field or toiling away in a factory in an urban metropolis, Jackson’s songs have chronicled the hopes, dreams and values of everyday people. Hits like “Remember When,” “Drive” and “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)” have become an enduring part of America’s musical landscape, but Jackson’s restless creative spirit won’t let him sit on his considerable laurels.

With Angels and Alcohol, Jackson’s first studio album of new music in three years, he continues to deliver the kind of insightful and thoroughly engaging songs that have long been the foundation of his successful career. From the pensive title track to the up-tempo first single, “Jim and Jack and Hank,” Jackson takes the listener on an emotional journey. “I’ve always got my eyes and ears open for ideas, melodies and things,” Jackson says. “I keep a running list of good hooks and titles, and if I have a melody that I come up with now, I just put it on my phone so I won’t forget. If I get inspired by something, I’ll sit down and write a whole song right away, but most of the time I just collect ideas and hooks and melodies and eventually I’ll get around to writing it.”

Jackson’s observational skills have served him well throughout his 25-year career. The Newnan, Georgia native has sold nearly 60 million albums and released more than 60 singles with 50 landing in the top ten and 35 soaring all the way to No. 1. A member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry, Jackson has won more than 150 industry awards, including 18 Academy of Country Music Awards, 16 Country Music Association Awards, two Grammys and ASCAP’s Founders and Golden Note Awards. He also received the first-ever ASCAP Heritage Award in 2014 having earned the title of most performed country music songwriter-artist of ASCAP’s first 100 years.

Among all the accolades he’s earned, Jackson admits that being recognized for his songwriting means the most to him. “If I had to pick something, I’d rather them remember me for songwriting,” he says of his legacy. “I’ve always been proud of that and I feel that’s the most important part of the business. I’d like to think that my songwriting made a difference. I’ve had so many people tell me that my songs are the reason they moved to Nashville. I’ve heard that so many times and it makes me feel good that I’ve inspired somebody.”

#8. Daryle Singletary – Get Out Of My Country
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About Daryle Singletary:

Hardcore country traditionalist, Daryle Singletary, has built a career based on musical integrity.

“When I moved to Nashville in 1990, I left Georgia telling my Daddy, ‘I want to make my living in country music,’” Daryle recalls. “I didn’t tell him I wanted to be played on the radio every day or be on a video channel every day. I said, ‘I want to make a living playing for the people who enjoy my kind of music.’ Fortunately and thankfully, I have been able to do that since 1995.

“We’ve been very fortunate to stay on the road, year in, year out. I continue to work and continue to build a fan base. There are still people out there who want to hear traditional country music. I’ve been fortunate to be able to always keep it real and not have to compromise. I can’t ask for nothin’ better, I don’t guess.”

Daryle Singletary earned his notoriety for country authenticity with such unforgettable hits as “I Let Her Lie,” “Too Much Fun,” “Amen Kind of Love” and “The Note.” His newest album, “There’s Still A Little Country Left” , finds the country singer smack dab in the middle of what he loves the most, traditional Country music. On past albums, some of the greatest talents in his industry have lined up to sing with Daryle, including the late George Jones and Johnny Paycheck, Dwight Yoakam, Merle Haggard, Ricky Skaggs, John Anderson and Rhonda Vincent. On “There’s Still A Little Country Left”, Daryle finds harmony vocal assistance from Grand Ole Opry member Vince Gill on the poignant and moving “Say Hello To Heaven.”

Daryle is from rural Georgia. His father is a retired postmaster and his mother is a hair dresser. They sang gospel music on weekends. By the time he reached his teens, Daryle was a rabid country music fan, enthralled by the sounds of Keith Whitley and his all-time favorite, Randy Travis.

He moved to Nashville in the fall of 1990 and made the rounds of Music City’s nightclub talent contests, picking up $100 here and there. Producer Greg Cole began playing drums in his band at a club called The Broken Spoke. Daryle recorded a pair of singles for the independent label Evergreen Records in 1992, but neither was a success. In the meantime, he was badgering his idol with letters. After members of the Randy Travis band heard Daryle at The Broken Spoke, they urged the star to listen, too. With Randy as his co-producer, Daryle Singletary issued his debut album on Giant Records in 1995. It included the career-launching singles “I’m Living Up to Her Low Expectations,” “I Let Her Lie,” “Too Much Fun” and “Workin’ It Out.” Traditional honky-tonk fans shouted “Hallelujah!” in response. Daryle’s consequent projects included the hits “Amen Kind Of Love”, The Used To Be’s and The Note. 2015 will bring the newest CD release “There’s Still A Little Country Left”, many corporate collaborations and a tour schedule packed with dates from March until December.

When asked about the current state of Country Music Singletary says, There are still great country songs out there. You just have to either write them or ask the songwriting community for them… and say, ‘Look, when I say country, I mean country.’ “And lucky for me, on this new CD I did both… and there are fans who still appreciate that. My fans are not fans of the bro-country movement, which doesn’t bother me a bit. They’re people who like it real, and that’s what I give them. “Like I say, I’ve been very fortunate. I just wanted to make a living doing something I love to do. I’m by no means a millionaire, but I make a living singing what I love, honest country music.”

#9. Josh Ward – Broken Heart

About Josh Ward:

Country Music traditionalist Josh Ward has a unique, almost untouchable voice that grabs your attention. Just a few songs into a set and you will see just why Josh turns heads everywhere he performs. Josh Ward’s influences stretch back to some of the founding fathers of country music like Hank and Lefty, and to the outlaws like Waylon and Willie. Josh Ward’s live show leaves no one disappointed, and everyone asking for more!

A Houston native, Josh’s earliest musical exposure was to old gospel hymns he sang in church. As a teenager riding in the high school Rodeo Circuit he discovered the likes of Willie, Waylon, Merle, Jones and Strait. Those musical legends inspired him to pick up a guitar and start singing in the parking lots of his rodeo events. Encouraged by his reception at the rodeos, he put his first band together and began paying his dues at the local honky-tonks in 2003. Through tenacity and hard work Josh has grown into one of the most respected and appreciated musicians in the state. His honest and emotive delivery of every song compels audiences to feel his lyrics with him as he takes them on his musical journey. Fellow songwriter Mike Ethan Messick once said of Josh, “Josh Ward sings like Mike Tyson hits. Hard.”

Josh Ward is also an avid outdoorsman. When not on stage he spends many hours on the water or in the woods. He won the Oakley Big Bass Championship in March of 2011, and has placed first in many of the weekly bass tournaments on Lake Conroe. Josh is currently sponsored by W4 Outdoors, Falcon Rods, and Costa Del Mar Sunglasses.

Josh Ward released his 3rd album “Promises” in June 2012. The first single “Get Away” reached #18 on the Texas Regional Radio Chart – almost unheard of for a debut artist. Josh’s second single “Rainout Hangout” quickly moved up the Texas and Regional Radio charts – reaching Top 5 status. The third single “Sent Me You”, a ballad written by Scott Brown (Scooter Brown Band), gave Ward his very first Number 1 on both the Texas Regional Radio Report & The Texas Music Chart in April 2013. He followed with another #1 on his 4th single, “Promises” in Sept 2013. Josh’s most recent single, “Hard Whiskey” was released in November 2013 and reached #1 on the Texas Regional Radio Report and #3 on the Texas Music Chart.

#10. Matthew Huff – That’s My Baby
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About Matthew Huff:

Matthew Huff, an independent artist, making his own way as a fusion genre’d artist with a mix best described as a little bit of Keith Urban, John Mayer, John Mellencamp, and James Taylor all rolled up in to one. A country rooted artist with several musical genre inspirations.
Huff recently was awarded a 2015 Independent Music Network Award for Favorite Country Single (A Little Bit of Crown).

#11. George Strait – Goin’ Goin’ Gone

About George:

Out of all the country singers to emerge in the 1980s, George Strait stayed the closest to traditional country. Drawing from both the honky tonk and Western swing traditions, Strait didn’t refashion the genres; instead, he revitalized them. In the process, he became one of the most popular and influential singers of the era, sparking a wave of neo-traditionalist singers from Randy Travis and Dwight Yoakam to Clint Black, Garth Brooks, and Alan Jackson.

Strait was born and raised in Texas, the son of a junior high school teacher who also owned and operated a ranch that had been in the Strait family for nearly 100 years. When George was a child, his mother left the family, taking her daughter but leaving her sons behind with their father. During his childhood, he would spend his weekdays in town and his weekends on the ranch. Strait began playing music as a teenager, joining a rock & roll garage band. After his high school graduation in the late ’60s, he enrolled in college but soon dropped out and eloped with his high school sweetheart, Norma. In 1971, Strait enlisted in the Army; two years later, he was stationed in Hawaii. While there, he began playing country music, initially with an Army-sponsored country band called Rambling Country. They played several dates off the base under the name Santee. Strait left the Army in 1975, returning to Texas with the intent of completing his education. He enrolled in Southwest Texas State University at San Marcos, where he studied agriculture. While he was studying, he formed his own country band, Ace in the Hole.

Ace in the Hole made a few records for the independent Dallas-based label D in the late ’70s, but they never went anywhere. Toward the end of the decade, Strait attempted to carve out a niche in Nashville, but he failed since he lacked any strong connections. In 1979, he became friends with Erv Woolsey, a Texas club owner who had formerly worked for MCA Records. Woolsey had several MCA executives come down to Texas to hear Strait. His performance convinced the company to sign him in 1980. “Unwound,” Strait’s first single, was released in the spring of 1981 and climbed into the Top Ten. The follow-up, “Down and Out,” stalled at 16, but “If You’re Thinking You Want a Stranger (There’s One Coming Home)” reached number three in early 1982. The song sparked a remarkable string of Top Ten hits that ran well into the ’90s. During that time he had an astonishing 31 number one singles, beginning with 1982’s “Fool Hearted Memory.”

Throughout the ’80s, he dominated the country singles charts, and his albums consistently went platinum or gold. Strait rarely abandoned hardcore honky tonk and Western swing — toward the beginning of the ’90s, his sound became a little slicker, but it was only a relative change. Strait was also one of the few ’80s superstars to survive the generational shift of the early ’90s that began with the phenomenal success of Garth Brooks. In 1992, he made his first movie, Pure Country, which featured him in the lead role. Strait released a four-disc box set career retrospective, Strait Out of the Box, in 1995. By the spring of 1996, it had become one of the five biggest-selling box sets in popular music history. Blue Clear Sky, his 1996 album, debuted on the country charts at number one and the pop charts at number seven. In 1997, he released Carrying Your Love with Me, following it with One Step at a Time in 1998. Always Never the Same appeared a year later, as did the seasonal effort Merry Christmas Wherever You Are. The simply titled George Strait, featuring the hit single “Go On,” hit the shelves in late 2000.

Did Strait slow down in the 2000s? Nah. The following year saw the release of The Road Less Traveled, which qualified as an experimental album of sorts for the veteran performer. While it didn’t stray very far from his new traditionalist country sound, Road did include a foray into vocal processing that was about as country as a pair of stiletto-healed cowboy boots. But the experimentation was welcome, for it revealed that Strait was still hungry, even after millions upon millions of records sold. Strait issued two projects in 2003. For the Last Time: Live from the Astrodome chronicled his headlining set at the last Houston Livestock and Rodeo ever held in the big Texas dome, while Honkytonkville was a fiery set of hard country, lauded by critics for its mixture of the old Strait with his modern, superstar self. Somewhere Down in Texas arrived in 2005, followed by It Just Comes Natural in 2006 and Troubadour and the holiday album Classic Christmas in 2008. None of them had any trouble topping the country charts, while Somewhere Down in Texas and Troubadour hit number one on the overall chart. Another chart-topping album, Twang, appeared in 2009, co-produced by Strait and Tony Brown. Still, it turned out to be his first and only album of the 2000s that didn’t reach platinum certification.

Strait co-wrote seven of the 11 songs (sharing credits with Dean Dillon, Bobby Boyd, and his son, Bubba Strait) on 2011’s Here for a Good Time, his 39th studio album, which was co-produced by Strait and Brown and recorded at Jimmy Buffett’s Shrimpboat Sound Studio in Key West, Florida. It gave him two more Top Ten singles: “Here for a Good Time” and “Love’s Gonna Make It Alright,” although they both missed the top of the charts (peaking at two and three, respectively). About a year after its release, Strait announced that he was retiring from steady touring. He planned one last tour, called The Cowboy Rides Away Tour, beginning in 2013 and ending in 2014. Just before this farewell journey kicked off, Strait released a new album, Love Is Everything, in May of 2013; it was preceded by the Top Ten country single “Give It All We Got Tonight.”

The final tour turned out to be a country event of its own; it featured a parade of opening performers to salute him, including Miranda Lambert, Merle Haggard, Alan Jackson, Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean, Eric Church, Asleep at the Wheel, Vince Gill, and Faith Hill, among others. The tour’s final show at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas attracted over 100,000 people and was documented both in a live album (The Cowboy Rides Away: Live from AT&T Stadium) and a two-hour television special broadcast on CMT. Strait opened up the next phase of his career in September 2015, when he announced a residency at the new Las Vegas Arena in 2016 along with the surprise release of a new album called Cold Beer Conversation.

#12. Jon Pardi – Dirt On My Boots

About Jon Pardi:

“All I ever wanted to do coming to Nashville was to write rowdy, in-your-face, straight country music,” says Jon Pardi, “and that’s what this album is.”

Pardi’s high-energy approach, perfected on stages throughout his native California, has its stamp all over his Capitol Records Nashville debut. Just as importantly, that energy is applied to music rooted in songwriting legend Harlan Howard’s adage that country is three chords and the truth.

“If you can take a piece of life and put it in a song,” says Pardi, “it’s going to be a good song—especially if it’s from the heart.”

Life and love, truth and energy wind their way all through his debut album, which showcases a young artist who is clearly no ordinary newcomer. Few artists hit stride as quickly and as forcefully as he has, and his fellow artists have been among the first to take note.

“People ask me who I’d like to open up for,” he says with a smile, “but I’ve been lucky enough to have opened for several artists I look up to.”

It’s a list that includes Alan Jackson, Dwight Yoakam, Dierks Bentley, Gary Allan and Luke Bryan, artists who appreciate the kind of influences Pardi brings to the table—echoes of the crisp Bakersfield sound of Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, hints of the driving beat of Waylon Jennings and the excitement of Jerry Lee Lewis. He brings all of it together and puts his unique stamp on it, topping it off with just a bit of swagger that gives a little edge to his undeniable appeal.

#13. Ronnie Dunn – Damn Drunk

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About Ronnie Dunn:

His voice has helped define the soundtrack of country music for two decades, and now Ronnie Dunn is poised to continue that legacy with the release of his now second solo debut album Peace Love and Country Music.

With 28 Academy of Country Music Awards, 20 Country Music Association Awards, two GRAMMY Awards and more than 30 million records sold as half of country music’s legendary duo Brooks & Dunn, it’s evident that Ronnie Dunn knows a thing or two about pleasing his fans.

Now, having embarked on a solo career after Brooks & Dunn ended its 20-year run in 2011, the acclaimed vocalist is getting back to basics and taking a grassroots approach to releasing new music and re-connecting with fans on a more intimate level.

#14. Chris Brade – White Trash Blue Collar Rednecks
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Artists Website

#15. Cody Johnson – With You I Am
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About Cody Johnson:

When Cody Johnson’s Cowboy Like Me debuted in the Top 10 on the Billboard Country Albums chart in January 2014, jaws dropped in offices all over Nashville.

“I got a lot of ‘Who is this kid?’” Johnson says with a laugh two years later. “I love that. That was a new horizon. And I’m gonna work to make sure people know exactly who I am.”

Johnson does that from the start in Gotta Be Me, a follow-up project that’s loaded with solid country instrumentation and winsome melodies. In the first minute alone, he paints himself as a cowboy, raised on outlaw country, who drinks too much, fights too much and won’t apologize for having an opinion. By the time the 14-track journey is over, he’s shared his rodeo history in “The Only One I Know (Cowboy Life),” demonstrated his woman’s influence in “With You I Am” and paid homage to his gospel heritage in “I Can’t Even Walk.”

Johnson delivers it all with an uncanny confidence. His smoky baritone and ultra-Southern enunciations give him a voice as uniquely identifiable as country kingpins Jason Aldean or Tim McGraw. And he uses it to convey a Texas-proud swagger, a real-man charm and an unwavering honesty about who he is, where he comes from and where he hopes to go.

#16. Jon Wolfe – Boots On A Dancefloor
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About Jon Wolfe:

The best introduction to Jon Wolfe is the basic yet not so simple fact that he’s a country singer and songwriter. Country music, as it was, is and always should be, with boots firmly standing on the bedrock of tradition and an eye focused on taking it into the future. And that, as any fan of true country knows, is no simple proposition.

“At heart, it’s all about being a great singer and storyteller.”

Hence the other best introduction to Jon Wolfe is to hear him sing and share the stories in the songs he performs and writes. And to learn his life story — from small town Oklahoma to the bustling big city commodities trading floor to the dancehalls and honky-tonks of Texas and Oklahoma to Music Row, to give the highlights — and witness his faith in the power of music and determination to touch the hearts of others with something that means so much to him.

It’s world class country music from the American heartland, informed by the great singers that inspired Wolfe — like George Strait, Garth Brooks (a fellow Okie), Clint Black, Merle Haggard, Alan Jackson and Dwight Yoakam, to name a few — yet fired by his own contemporary energy and vision.

Wolfe’s music has been burning up the Texas Charts where he garnered six consecutive Top Ten singles(“Let A Country Boy Love You,” “That Girl In Texas,” “I Don’t Dance,” “It All Happened In A Honky Tonk,” “The Only Time You Call” and “What Are You Doin’ Right Now”), making Wolfe a “must see” act in the Texas touring scene.

#17. Mark Chesnutt – Hot
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About Mark Chesnutt:

Mark Chesnutt is one of Country’s true musical treasures. Critics have hailed him as a classic Country singer of the first order and some of Country music’s most elite entertainers, from George Jones to George Strait, echo the sentiment.

Mark Chesnutt’s stature is easily gauged. He has 14 No. 1 hits, 23 top ten singles, four platinum albums and five gold records to his credit; he maintains a front-and-center presence with a hefty tour schedule year after year.

Country music critics and fans alike need look no further when it comes to Country music basics. If you ask Chesnutt, he’ll tell you, “It’s the music and the fans that have kept me around this long.

” In a creative forum that sometimes confuses style with substance, Mark Chesnutt possesses both. Remaining true to himself as a traditional country artist, while keeping the pace with the ever-changing country recording landscape, Mark Chesnutt has a knack for picking great songs, delivering them with world- class style and a heart-felt emotion that’s lived-in.

With a trademarked voice, Chesnutt has set the bar for his generation and those that follow in his footsteps shaping the music of today’s country music newcomers and the new country music format.

Mark Chesnutt’s personal integrity combined

“Mark Chesnutt gave honky-tonk music back its soul,” noted music critic Robert K. Oermann. “When Chesnutt appeared on an arid musical landscape back in 1990, I dubbed him the hillbilly messiah.” Oermann stated. “I still feel that way today and I’ll feel that way decades from now.”

Now, some twenty-odd years later, Mark Chesnutt marches on to preserve and honor the splendid works of the sculpturing forefathers, George Jones and Waylon Jennings, to bring music from the honky tonks right back to where country music began.

Dubbed as one of the “most reliable country artists” (Craig Shelburne/CMT.com), Chesnutt does not disappoint. He is masterful in his natural ability to let his voice shape the words to create a moving musical motion picture (reminiscent of traditional country music standards such as Charlie Rich’s “Behind Closed Doors” and Vern Gosdin’s “Is It Raining At Your House”) and his current single, entitled “When The Lights Go Out (Tracie’s Song)” is the very essence of Chesnutt’s musical fiber as an autobiographical reflection of his life and loves– country music and his wife, Tracie.

Chesnutt got his start in the honky-tonks of Beaumont, Texas, learning from his father, Bob Chesnutt, a singer, record collector and major fan of classic country music. Playing alongside his dad, Mark embraced his father’s influence one set at a time and to begin making a name for himself. Mark sang covers by Lefty, Merle, George and Waylon to develop his unmatched crowd- pleasing rapport and his authentic country style.

Bob Chesnutt often traveled to Nashville to record and to broaden his exposure. He began taking Mark along to record when he was just 17. After nearly a decade of recording on regional labels, word got out about this young country vocalist. Music Row executives came to hear Mark on his own Texas turf and recognized the depth of Mark Chesnutt’s raw talent. In 1989, he was signed to MCA Nashville and his list of accolades tells the rest of his story. With the release of his first single “Too Cold At Home,” Mark established himself as one of country’s most authentic and talented vocalists. He won the CMA Horizon Award attracting the attention of country legend [and Mark’s greatest mentor] George Jones who introduced him as “A boy from Beaumont, Texas who is the real deal.

” That recognition and initial success opened the door to offer Mark his chance of a lifetime, to do what he loved most—sing country music for country fans; this time, on a national level. “The first couple years it was non-stop.” Mark says. “I can remember one time during a tour, I didn’t step foot on the front porch for ten months, with exception of a day or a day-and-a- half, then, it was right back out again.

” Mark’s dedication paid off. He developed a true blue fan base. Fans, he confides, “are the reason for my success.” His fans helped his records to climb the charts one right after the other making him one of Billboard’s Ten Most-Played Radio Artists of the ‘90’s. Mark’s singles were some the decade’s most memorable; from the fun tempo “Bubba Shot The Jukebox” to emotional ballad “I’ll Think Of Something.” Mark is easily identified for his string of hits including “Brother Jukebox,” “Blame It On Texas,” “Old Flames Have New Names,” “Old Country,” “It Sure Is Monday,” “Almost Goodbye,” “I Just Wanted You To Know,” “Going Through The Big D,” “It’s A Little Too Late,” “Gonna Get A Life,” and one of his biggest, “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing;” a song that held its position at the top of the charts for four consecutive weeks.

Of all the recorded highlights Chesnutt has enjoyed, they take a back seat to his first love; Mark Chesnutt lives to perform on stage. “I just make records because I want people to come see my show,” he says with a grin. “Recording music for folks to just listen to music is great,” he says, “but I’ve got to be out there on stage making it.” Fans who have seen him perform agree. Known as one of the industry’s hardest-working concert performers, maintaining a hefty tour schedule and steady presence in front of his fans, Mark’s dedication to deliver live music is unsurpassed. Mark has been on the road since 1990. Whether you hear Mark Chesnutt with a new release on the radio, or see his face on the cover of a new CD, folks can always find Mark doing what he was born to do playing. “The clubs and honky tonks are home for me; it’s comfortable and I’m always with friends,” says Chesnutt.

Married since 1992, Mark and Tracie Chesnutt are the loving parents of three boys, Waylon, Casey and Cameron.

#18. Laci Kaye Booth – I’m Over You
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More About Laci

#19. Brett Young – Sleep Without You
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About Brett:

Brett Young is an American country music singer-songwriter from Orange County, California. Young was a college baseball pitcher but took up songwriting after getting injured. His self-titled debut EP, produced by Dann Huff, was released by Republic Nashville on February 12, 2016. The lead single, “Sleep Without You”, was released on April 11. Young wrote the song with Justin Ebach and Kelly Archer. Billy Dukes of Taste of Country gave the song a favorable review, writing that “Young’s R&B influences come out in the sincerity and warmth of his delivery, not the sonic nature of this mostly acoustic jam.” The music video was filmed in Malibu, California and directed by Shane Drake. It co-stars Miss USA 2015 Olivia Jordan.

#20. Barrett Baber – Somethin’ ’bout the Summertime
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About Barrett Baber:

Once Again Barrett holds on to a spot in our top 5! Barrett has had 2 songs in the KROW Country Top 20 for an unprecedented 4 Months!

NBC’s The Voice finalist Barrett Baber gave millions of viewers one of the most memorable introductions to a true artist and entertainer the show has ever seen.
With commanding performance energy, Barrett owned the stage from round 1, and his unique, soulful country sound stood out among the entire show as something truly special. Blake Shelton says, “Barrett sounds like no one else on country radio. He can be a superstar in Country music.”