5 Newcomers You Shouldn’t Miss at the 2018 Taste of Country Music Festival (or Anywhere Else)
The 2018 Taste of Country Music Festival is coming up quick: On June 8-10, country fans will take over Hunter Mountain Resort in Hunter, N.Y., for three days of sun, fun and live music. While the event will be headlined by the all-star lineup of Florida Georgia Line, Eric Church and Sam Hunt, the festival will also feature plenty of appearances from up-and-coming artists that fans won't want to miss.
While this year's headliners' sets are highly anticipated, ToC Fest 2018 will continue the tradition of introducing fans not only to artists who are among the biggest names in country music today, but also newcomers on the rise who just might be fans' newest favorite artists. Read on to learn more about some of the newer acts who will be making appearances at the Northeast's biggest country music party!
It's been a big year for rising country artist Jordan Davis, who released his debut album, Home State -- which includes the breakout single "Singles You Up" -- in March. Davis, much like his also-musical brother Jacob, came to country music after graduating from Louisiana State University with a degree in environmental science with a specialty in resource concentration. His career plans changed, however, with a move to Nashville that made Davis realize how important music was in his life. He signed a publishing deal in 2015, and then a record deal the following year. "Singles You Up" quickly began to climb the charts after its release in 2017, but Davis says that the feeling of playing shows and hearing the audience sing his songs back to him is still a fresh and exciting feeling. He toured with Kip Moore in 2017 as an opening act for Moore's headlining Plead the Fifth Tour.
Up-and-comer -- and one of The Boot's 2018 Artists to Watch -- Devin Dawson grew up listening to country but took a detour through death metal, playing for a while in a band that also included his twin brother, Jacob. Fortunately for country fans, Dawson decided that his heart was in this genre instead, and he moved to Nashville to focus on songwriting. His debut album, Dark Horse, earned him a 2018 ACM Awards nod for New Male Vocalist of the Year -- an honor that, Dawson says, took him completely by surprise -- and his debut single, "All on Me," was the most-added single from a new artist at country radio when it was released, during the week of May 1, 2017. Just five days later, on May 5, Dawson made his Grand Ole Opry debut. Over the course of a year, Dawson has shot up the charts and become one of country's most-talked-about new artists, making him a can't-miss performer at this year's festival.
Hailing from Ontario, Canada, the James Barker Band will bring their fun-loving energy to this year's show. The group first attained mainstream attention after winning a competition surrounding the 2015 Boots and Hearts Music Festival, earning an opening slot for Thomas Rhett at the annual fest, as well as a record deal with Universal Music Group and and a trip to Nashville to write and record. The resulting 2016 single, "Lawn Chair Lazy," became the fastest-jumping single on the country Canadian charts. Since then, the group has kept busy touring in Canada and released another new single, "Just Saying."
Ashley McBryde released her major-label debut, Girl Going Nowhere, in 2018. One of The Boot's 2018 Artists to Watch, McBryde is known for her power-packed vocals and gritty, authentic lyrical prowess, and she writes songs that are both colorful and deeply relatable. For example, Girl Going Nowhere includes a love song to her platonic best friend, "Andy (I Can't Live Without You);" a tribute to the worst day ever -- which actually might be the best day ever in disguise -- called "A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega;" and a response to a nay-saying algebra teacher with "Girl Goin' Nowhere," to name just a few. Supported by her trusty backing band, Deadhorse, McBryde delivers a powerhouse live show that features a healthy balance of compelling storytelling and a raucous good time.
The first time UK singer-songwriter Sasha McVeigh made the trek to Nashville, she intended to perform a modest handful of shows; however, country music had other plans! McVeigh has since returned to the city numerous times to play gigs and festivals, and to record her 2016 single "When I'm Over You." McVeigh's dad introduced her to country music as a child, dancing her around the living room to CMT. Even then, she was musically precocious and loved to sing in shopping carts. Since she released her Kickstarter-funded debut album, I Stand Alone, in 2015, McVeigh has continued to play shows and festivals across the U.S., including Country Jam and Country Stampede; this year, she returns to the Taste of Country Music Festival stage.