Another dynamic group takes center stage in this month's list of burgeoning artists.
You'll see breakthrough country and soul powerhouse Yola included, along with budding Americana star Katie Pruitt, who's bringing topics such as mental health and same-sex relationships into the forefront with her moving songs. The daughter of a country music superstar also appears on this list with her beautiful voice and refreshing songwriting, while the bubbly nature of sister duo Walker County lives alongside the rugged voice of Dylan Jakobsen.
Pure voices are a common theme across this group, particularly with Yola, Pruitt and Allie Colleen. Together, all five artists prove that Nashville is brimming with talent that reaches across the musical landscape the city has to offer.
Here are five artists to watch in November 2019:
American audiences were introduced to the true powerhouse that is Yola when she took the stage with the Highwomen at 2019 Newport Folk Festival, later becoming the character of the brave Freedom Rider on the title track of the group’s debut album. The British singer-songwriter has one of those timeless voices that will translate across generations, and it's at the forefront of her debut album, Walk Through Fire. The project is a mesmerizing blend of country, Americana and soul that finds her embracing themes ranging from resilience (“Walk Through Fire”) to pure love (“Love is Light”). Nashville has been mesmerized by Yola’s magnetic voice, which soars through the speakers and grabs you, with her big-name fans ranging from Kacey Musgraves to Elton John. Listen for Yola’s words to echo in your soul for years to come, as her star power is only destined to grow.
Katie Pruitt is blazing a distinguishable path through Nashville with her brilliant songwriting and captivating voice to match. The Atlanta native strikes a chord with her perfect blend of a soft rock sound and compelling, thought-provoking songwriting, which makes her a natural fit in the revered genre. Pruitt proves herself as a powerful and important artist coming out of the South with her genuine messages and expert musicianship on her live EP, OurVinyl, particularly with the truthful “Loving Her.” “See, I used to be ashamed to write a song that said her name / 'Cause I was too afraid of what they all might say / But if loving her is wrong / And it’s not right to write this song / I’m still not gonna stop / You can turn the damn thing off,” she proclaims poignantly over the plucking of an acoustic guitar. This confidence and her honest songwriting are two reasons Pruitt is a respect-worthy artist. Her debut album, Expectations, drops in February 2020.
Allie Colleen has a truly distinct voice, one that’s as crisp as the autumn air, with a faint echo akin to Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks. She's unafraid to take an unapologetic look at herself, as exemplified on her debut single “Work in Progress,” in which she introduces herself as “the best I’ve ever been / But not the best I’ll ever be / I have faith in the things that I can’t see / On this journey to me.” In "Along the Way," meanwhile, she encourages a loved one to make their own voyage to self-discovery. A piercing vocalist with an honest heart that leads her songwriting, watch for Allie Colleen’s talent to only keep soaring as she becomes a noteworthy young artist in country music.
The bright duo of sisters Ivy Dene and Sophie Dawn Walker bring their own flair to country music with sparkles, shimmering harmonies and charming tunes. With Sophie on drums and Ivy playing guitar, they embrace the ear-catching factor of modern pop-country music that showcases their stellar voices, as demonstrated by their current single, “The Hamptons.” The bubbly song finds them showing off their pride for their small-town roots in a unique way, with images of a silver spoon in a Fruit Loops bowl and Dollywood as their idea of Hollywood. “Be proud of where you came from / Nobody’s from the Hamptons,” they preach with those glowing harmonies. With a pair of enduring voices matched by their vibrant presence, Walker County glimmer within the spectrum of modern country music.
There’s a thread of positivity that Dylan Jakobsen weaves throughout his catalog. The rising star was born and raised in Seattle, and came into country music through the back door, inspired by the masterful songwriting of three of music’s greats: Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen and John Mellencamp. Whether delivering a personal soliloquy with his smoky, rugged voice; thanking the core group of people who’ve always believed in him in his new single “I Am;” or encouraging others to take a leap of faith in spite of self doubt on "What Are You Waiting For?" -- a message that becomes truly triumphant as he invites fans’ voices to sing the final chorus -- positivity and encouragement are unwavering themes in his music, and have helped him collect fans across the country. Watch for Jakobsen’s uplifting nature to only keep elevating him.