With a new dawn of the morning, the sun shines bright on our old Kentucky home. As we welcome the new year, we reveal a list of Kentucky music acts that are set to rise just like the sun creeping through the windows. Each of these acts show a promising career full of excellent songwriting, performance, and perseverance. Without further ado, here is the 2021 Kentucky country music acts to watch list.
Eight Daze Sober
Back a couple of years ago, Elijah Jarvis and Justin Riley got our attention thanks to their videos on social media. Their vocal harmonies were on the spot and folks were begging for more of Eight Daze Sober. These days, the duo turned into a 5-piece band performing shows throughout Kentucky. Eight Daze Sober released their debut album, “9th Day” with Austin City Productions. With great songwriting, tight musicianship, and a live show like no other, you need to pay attention to this great band.
Several months ago, we learned about a young man that writes some powerful music. Lance Rogers’ rustic heartfelt vocals captivates the listener. Currently, Lance is recording his debut album that became a reality thanks to a Kickstarter Campaign. His humble attitude and a way with words have made us a fan. Be sure to check out “Was I Always Killing You?”
Jen Tackett is probably the biggest cheerleader of local music of Kentucky, as well as being a performer herself. The central Kentucky native has the sass and soul with some spunk with her music. You can best hear her in a quiet room like Bluebird Café as she sings the songs, hanging on to every note and lyric. Be sure to check out her song, “Haunt You,” that was released in 2020.
East Kentucky native, Brit Taylor, will capture your ears within one song. Brit recently released her album, “Real Me.” Her beautiful vocals blend Appalachian mountain soul with some spice and western. Pay close attention to this talented singer-songwriter. Be sure to check out “Back in the Fire” and our interview with Brit Taylor here.
Dillon Carmichael has worked his way up in the music business. We first heard about him via the Froggy Field Parties with WFKY. These days he is playing in Nashville, as well as making appearances at Austin City Saloon. His strong Kentucky southern accent comes out as he performs stone cold country music. Dillon may have a strong family tree of country music and gospel performers, but he stands out on his own through his music. Be sure to check out his latest single, “Hot Beer,” off his new album coming out in 2021.
While at the beautiful Ponderosa Pines in Manchester, a young man walked out on stage with a guitar and a sack full of stone cold country songs. Branden Martin has got the song quality and vocals that fans of Jamey Johnson, Josh Morningstar, Steel Woods, and others would enjoy. The performance was about the craft of a good song and delivery to make a talkative crowd shut up and listen. Be sure to check out “Nothing,” off his latest release “Live at Southern Ground.”
Outside of Kentucky Lines
There are three acts that we must mention as they are making an impact in Kentucky, but from just outside the state lines – Morgan Wade, Clint Park, and 49 Winchester. If there was a soundtrack to 2020, we believe Morgan Wade had a hand in writing it. Morgan put awareness to mental health and how others deal with it through song. Her recent song, “Don’ Cry,” is worth listening to. Morgan is also one to shut up a rowdy honky-tonk as the Virginia native delivers the most profound performance of her music.
49 Winchester is a rocking rowdy group out of Virginia. Their stage performances gets you up on your feet. Their recent release, “III,” is full of downhome foot stomping tunes. Check out “Long Hard Life” to get a first listen to this group.
Clint Park is one artist that we have been rooting for over 10 years. The first time we saw him was back 10 or so years ago as a duo with his father, Johnny Park. Ever since then, Clint has been making a name for himself through his songwriting and performing. You may have seen him perform guitar for Ward Davis the last couple of years. Clint is set to release his debut solo album, “Better Off Dead,” in January. His rustic vocals provide real grit to his song lyrics.
Stay tune as we will continue to update on the careers of each of these folks who we think you should take a chance and listen to.
Jessica Blankenship is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website. The Berea College graduate has been a music journalist and historian for over 20 years. She enjoys providing concert photography, reviews, historical articles, red carpet event coverage, and exclusive interviews of your favorite musicians. Jessica is proud to be a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the FFA and 4-H Clubs. In 2018, she was named one of Laurel County’s Ten Under 40 Award Recipients. In 2019, she was a member of the Inaugural class of BRIGHT Kentucky as part of Leadership Kentucky. She has been featured on the Kentucky Music Preview podcast, Hollercast podcast, Overtones radio show, WFKY Nashville News Roundup, KET, and more. Beyond music, she enjoys traveling, helping her community, collecting gnomes, and Volkswagens.