Some emerging country artists in 2015 include Striking Matches, Kelsea Ballerini, and Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear. These artists all gained significant hype in 2015, releasing prominent records and playing major live shows.
Guitar duo Striking Matches combines the unique playing styles of members Sarah Zimmerman and Justin Davis into a form of country that’s heavy on solos but still features plenty of hooks. Zimmerman’s fondness for slide guitar and Davis’ love of fingerpicking make for a varied, complex sound that’s also highly tuneful. With a song featured on ABC’s popular series “Nashville” and a debut album produced by tastemaker T Bone Burnett, Striking Matches stand posed for superstardom.
Kelsea Ballerini moved to Nashville at age 15, set on following the same path to crossover success as her idol Taylor Swift. But years of struggling taught the young singer-songwriter to embrace her own voice, and her unique blend of country and modern has critics hailing her as a successor to both Carrie Underwood and Swift. A chart-climbing debut single has lent credence to those claims.
Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear are a mother and son duo, which makes them a musical rarity, but they get by on far more than novelty. The duo experienced a whirlwind of success after their public debut, including a record deal, performances at SXSW and an appearance on “David Letterman.”