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The Leaders Of Country’s Southern Rock Movement

A couple days ago, I had a comment on the WKDQ Facebook page that said: “Country is sounding more like southern rock to me. AND I LIKE IT!”  That got me thinking about the young stars that are leading this movement that seems to be very popular.

While guys like Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton, and Luke Bryan lead the young country mainstream scene, there’s a crop of guys going a different direction with their sound.  Now, this isn’t the first time it’s happened, as Hank Jr. and Waylon Jennings certainly put their touches on the genre, but it seems now more than ever, a country message with some gravelly vocals and hard guitar licks is what’s burning up the charts.  Here are my choices for the guys (sorry, it’s only guys right now) leading the way.

1) Eric Church

Rick Diamond, Getty Images

He’s been around a while, but people are just starting to take notice, and Eric hasn’t changed a thing about what he does.  He goes out there and plays music he loves.  Without the massive fan-base he’s gained from his live shows, a song like Creepin’ would have never made the radio.

2) Brantley Gilbert

Michael Loccisano, Getty Images

Church’s touring partner from earlier in the year has been making music and gaining a fan base, long before he ever had a single on the radio.  Now after two number ones written for Jason Aldean and two of his own, he’s re-released Kick It In The Sticks, a song radio people didn’t want to play because it was too rock…bet it hits number one too now!

3) Kip Moore

Rick Diamond, Getty Images

After his first single, Something Bout A Truck, I thought I might lump Kip into the more mainstream group with guys like Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan, but listening to his new song, Beer Money I think he fits this category pretty well.

4) Thomas Rhett

Courtesy of Valory Music Co.

It took his dad, Rhett Akins a long time to get noticed, and even after he did, he only managed one number one tune of his own.  Thomas has already got a ton of attention with his debut single, Something To Do With My Hands, and I think with driving guitar riffs like that, he’s got a long career coming!

5) Randy Houser

Rick Diamond / Getty Images

While Randy can sing a ballad like Anything Goes better than anyone, he knows how to rock it too, and you can tell that’s what he truly enjoys to do.  It is evident in his live shows and songs like Whistlin’ Dixie.


Do you like the “Southern Rock” sound, or do you prefer more traditional music?  Comment below.

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