Ever since Hank Snow rode a train to Nashville in the mid-1940s, Canadian-born country singers have made a mark on the genre. Stars ranging from Shania Twain to Paul Brandt kept this trend alive in the past 20 years, reminding contemporary fans that tales of rural living resound beyond the American Southeast and Southwest. These eight young stars exemplify the sorts of talents that are furthering the Great White North’s role in making country music an international phenomenon.
Critiques of the lack of women played on commercial radio in the states rightly point to Ell as a young talent who’s getting the shaft. A talented storyteller and guitarist with an ear for pop-accessible songs, Ell might be a breakthrough hit away from widespread fame.
Kissel’s sound was ready-made for crossover success. He mirrors the mainstream chart’s embracing of dance beats and apparent obsession with John Mellencamp’s “Jack & Diane”–seriously, that’s a trope at this point.
Lund’s rich descriptions of life as a rancher speak to rural folks beyond Canada’s border. Plus, as his live show proves, the man is hilarious. The tongue-in-cheek appeal of “Cows Around” and other signature songs stand out even more when Lund and his band take the stage.
Few contemporary women singers lauded as traditionalists match Ortega’s innate skill at recapturing her heroes’ impeccable style and timeless sound. That’s not to cast Ortega as stuck in the past. She writes songs pertinent to her life and the lives of other young creative types.
During a recent Atlanta tour stop with Corb Lund, Patrick joked that her poor taste in men makes for good songs. Seriously, Patrick’s confessional songs about the single life and her upbringing really do set her apart, making her an award-winning country singer, guitarist and songwriter.
Although she hangs her hat in Texas now, Rose originally hails from Prince Edward Island. As evidenced by last year’s album Rule 62, Rose would be one of any nation’s best and brightest talents when it comes to both old-school country and old-time rock ‘n’ roll
Meet one of the most unsung roots-minded talents you’ll find anywhere. He represents the young singer-songwriters out there raised on Seger and Springsteen before blazing their own creative path with country, rock and blues influences.
A lot could be said about Wall’s talent, and a great starting point is always that distinct voice. It’s an irreplaceable advantage for everyone from Johnny Cash to Randy Travis. Wall’s instantly recognizable and out of this world vocal delivery sets him apart from the pack.