In a new interview, Eagles frontman Don Henley revealed which country acts he’s kept on heavy rotation.
Henley recently released his first country album Cass County to rave reviews. Instead of taking the easier path traveled by fellow rock star Steven Tyler, Henley didn’t strive to make music that would fit into the mainstream country scene. Instead, he channeled the country legends of yesteryear like Hank Williams and Patsy Cline, along with inspiration developed from hearing some of the genre’s most talented up-and-comers.
“There are young people out there—some of them still relatively obscure—who are making thoughtful, authentic music,” Henley told Hey Reverb. “Of course, they’ll not all enter ‘the mainstream,’ but they will provide important standards that always need to be there to remind both the artist community and the industry that promotes it what quality and authenticity are. Otherwise, music spirals into a down cycle.”
Here’s a list of Don Henley’s current favorites.
These days, Americana favorite Jason Isbell needs no introduction. After releasing a second solo album that unexpectedly hit the top of the country charts, Isbell’s influence has never been stronger or more apparent.
Longtime record producer Jeffrey Foucault has an impressive discography that goes back all the way to 2001. Henley has been a longtime fan, covering his track “Everybody’s Famous” during his 2011 tour in California.
Alabama native Jamey Johnson has been an influential songwriter and artist within country for many years. His solo work often gets overlooked, which is a true tragedy, as it’s some of the most honest and well-written work within the genre.
J.P. Harris & the Tough Choices
J.P. Harris has lived a hard and adventurous life and documents it wholeheartedly in every country song he releases.
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
Former folk favorite Nathaniel Rateliff changed the game with his band’s mixture of country, R&B and big band. His music is big and bold, with an energy that makes you want to get up and dance immediately.
Along with Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson has managed to change the landscape of country music for the better. With a voice that is simply timeless, Simpson reminded everyone what true talent really sounds like.
Andrew Combs has created a well-crafted sound that lies between country, pop and alt-rock that is a true work of art. He is one of the most talented young artists in Nashville, which is proven with one listen of his newest album, All These Dreams.
Earlier this year, we sat down with Nashville transplant Kelsey Waldon to discuss her authentic throwback sound. With a new album in the works and a solid back catalog of music under her belt, she’ll likely earn even more buzz in 2016.
Striking Matches have been making waves in Nashville since their formation at Belmont University in 2007. Their haunting harmonies and guitar-driven alt-country sound has been celebrated by country fans and critics alike.
Shovels & Rope
The married duo of Shovels and Rope have been supplying punchy, percussion-driven songs developed from their own life stories since 2008, and show no signs of stopping anytime soon.