Underground Country – A Round-Up Review

Country music sometimes gets a bit of a bad rep, but there are plenty of fantastic artists out there that perform music within the genre. I wanted to check out some underground artists/bands from the genre – all the acts in this list have elements of country in their music. Make sure you check out the playlist at the bottom!

Review by Jane Howkins

Picture by TERRY K 3TL

TERRY K 3TL – 15’s Up.

15’s Up is a new song from TERRY K 3TL and it has quite a unique sound to it – whilst the vocals have a definitive country sound to them, the music has an eastern vibe, particularly in the percussion style. This makes the track sound very different from a lot of the other songs on this list. I found myself particularly reminded of the music that Bruce Springsteen makes, especially in terms of the vocal style. Check out Terry K 3TL’s website here and his social media pages below.

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Luce – Lamplight.

Lamplight is a track by Luce, an up and coming singer-songwriter and musician with a gorgeous sound to her music. Lamplight certainly has a country feel to it, but it also contains elements of folk, bluegrass and Americana music, making it sound amazing. There’s something very vulnerable about the song, in part due to her beautiful vocal style. The track isn’t out until February, so it’s worth making a note to check it out then!

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Bob Gemmell – The Saint Of Everything.

Bob Gemmell is a musician and singer-songwriter from Santa Cruz, perhaps more well known as being the frontman of the band Big Medicine Head. The Saint Of Everything is a lovely country song with a mid-tempo beat to it – the vocal harmonies are lush and I liked the slight 50s feel the track has to it. It also sounds rather bluesy and folky at times – the strings in the background were a nice surprise too.

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Dixie Darling – Every Time You Come Round.

Every Time You Come Round is the debut single from country starlet Dixie Darling, making the song sound even more impressive with how good it is. The track has quite a heartfelt feel to it, especially in terms of the lyrics, with Dixie also having a fantastic singing voice. The track has a pop-rock feel to it, so this should appeal to those into their rock and pop, as well as country fans.

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Mock Deer – Contempt For Others.

Mock Deer is a folk artist from London, although his music also has some elements of country present within it. The song has a pretty acoustic guitar melody to it and his vocal style sounds very unique, suiting the style of Contempt For Others well. The track changes dynamics between the verses and chorus – the chorus sounds really beautiful at times.

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The Kindly Ravens – Bittersweet Lie.

Whilst they certainly have country moments in their sound, The Kindly Ravens’ music contains elements of folk, Americana and bluegrass music. Latest release Bittersweet Lie has a traditional folk vibe to it, with violins, banjos and acoustic guitars being the name of the game here. The way the lead and backing vocals harmonise together sounds truly beautiful, and the rhythm suits the genre well. This is one of my favourite songs on the list.

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Arn-Identified Flying Objects and Alien Friends But Come On Now.

The curiously titled Arn-Identified Flying Objects and Alien Friends are a Swedish band who’s music combines together moments of folk, country, dream pop and chamber pop, giving the song a nostalgic 60s feel. The rhythm and guitar melodies are very reminiscent of the country movement, but there is so much else going on here that it all makes for an intriguing listen. But Come On Now is quite different from some of the other songs here, but that makes it no less worthy of your attention.

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Brick Blair – On The Zooms.

On The Zooms is a new single from rising folk/country artist Brick Blair, with the song being written about the current coronavirus pandemic. It’s about a relationship he started during the beginning of the pandemic, and how the pandemic led to the relationship failing, giving it a melancholy feel. The percussive rhythm is quite interesting and you can really feel the emotion in Brick’s vocal delivery.

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No Lonesome – Strange How.

No Lonesome is another band that have folky moments to their music, with both genres overlapping with each other rather nicely. The rhythm of Strange How has that classic country vibe, but the fingerpicked acoustic guitar melodies sound simply beautiful. The vocals have a soulful quality to them, conveying the sad message in the lyrics in a perfect manner. The main chord sequence used also sounds fantastic when played in a fingerpicked way.

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Phil Dutra – Not Enough (Falling For Your Love).

Not Enough (Falling For Your Love) is a song written by Texan singer-songwriter and musician Phil Dutra. Phil has had quite a long career in the music industry, with this release showing just why, as he’s clearly very talented. The production on the song sounds amazing – it’s quite upbeat for the most part, with the chorus and backing vocals creating a singalong quality on the track.

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100 Watt Shine – Golden Dust.

Golden Dust is a track from rock band 100 Watt Shine – whilst their music is perhaps more in line with the classic rock/southern rock genres, there are still elements of country music contained within the song. The guitar riffs have a bluesy feel to them, giving the song a real groove. Despite the heaviness of the tune, it’s also quite catchy at times – just check out that chorus!

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Phillip Good – Let The Song Cry.

Let The Song Cry is rather different from a lot of the other songs on offer here – the guitar melodies and lyrical content have a country style to them, but the song also incorporates hip-hop into it, making for a very interesting listen. Phillip Good’s vocals are rapped over the percussion and acoustic guitar melodies – make sure you check out his website here.

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Down South Pepper Band – Boots And Overcoat.

Boots And Overcoat is one of my favourite songs on this list. It was created by Down South Pepper Band and has a wonderful driving rhythm to it. The eerie atmosphere and rhythm give the song a proper spaghetti western vibe – the guitar melodies and organ also suit the music really well. The lyrics have a ballad quality to them and are well worth listening to all the way through for this reason alone.

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Lone Stag – Don’t Lie.

Lone Stag is a folk artist that also has moments of country within his music, although the folk elements do take over for the large part. The acoustic guitar melody that runs underneath the vocals is beautiful – the odd minor note changes makes the verses of Don’t Lie sound haunting. The slide guitar on the chorus also gives it that classic country feel.

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Martin Reynolds – The Boy’s Got Rhythm.

Martin Reynolds is a musician who specialises in songs with a combination of heartland folk and country music. The Boy’s Got Rhythm starts off with acapella style vocals, before the simple percussion and bluesy guitar melodies kick in. The lyrics are fantastic, and the song has a haunting, western feel to it, which I loved.

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Katie Belle – Daughter.

Katie Belle is an American pop artist, who featured on American Idol Season 17. Whilst she is largely a pop singer, she also has country elements to her music, and she writes her own music. Daughter is a beautiful song with a very sad feel to it – the piano provides most of the music, sounding simply haunting when mixed with Katie’s vocal delivery.

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Arn-Identified Flying Objects and Alien FriendsSomeone Told Me That You Were Dead.

Someone Told Me That You Were Dead is another song by Arn-Identified Flying Objects and Alien Friends. I liked their music so much that I decided to include another track here – it’s not too dissimilar in style to But Come On Now, but fans of country, chamber pop and 60s music should find something to love within their music, so make sure you check it out!

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Kate Ellis – Scars.

We’ve actually featured Kate Ellis a few times in these pages before, and I’m pleased to announce that she’s back with a new song, titled Scars. It’s one of the most full on country songs present in this list, with the frantic rhythm and guitar melodies suiting the genre well. It sounds perfect for dancing along to, and Kate’s vocals are as fantastic as ever.

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Dr Mann – Stubborn Mule.

Stubborn Mule is a song from Dr Mann, the solo project of Australian native Danny Mann. It can be rare to hear country music from places not in the USA, but Dr Mann manages to pull it off well. The song is catchy and the vocal harmonies make it sound quite different to the norm, as Danny has an interesting vocal style. The slide guitar in the background ties the song down to the country themes, although I also felt there was a general pop-rock energy present too.

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Spyderhuff – Desert Rain.

Spyderhuff are a country band that have elements of the blues, rock, folk & soul in their music. The vocals on Desert Rain have that wonderful country twang to them, whereas the rhythm and guitar melodies give the song a groovy rock and roll attitude that really works well with the rest of the music. There’s something almost sultry about the song – just check it out in our playlist and see if you agree!

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