We understand. Not everyone loves country music. And if you do, you might only like "the old stuff." However, country is changing. The genre has morphed into a variety of directions, and 2012 was further proof of artists experimenting with the mainstream.
So whether you're a fan of indie rock or Americana, roots or R&B, there may just be something on this list that will appeal to your musical tastes. Be warned, however, next thing you know ya'll may be humming these tunes as you walk around your local Ford dealership sizing up the new F-150s.
Artist: Eric Church
For fans of: Bruce Springsteen. Church received a letter from Springsteen himself about his hit song earlier this year. And if the Boss likes it, you'll like it.
Artist: Little Big Town
For fans of: foot-stomping folk. Little Big Town may have made the mainstream country record of the year with their fifth album, Tornado. The title track has the same kind of pop appeal that makes Mumford & Sons and Coldplay so ubiquitous.
Song: "She Is"
Artist: Ne-Yo featuring Tim McGraw
For fans of: highly produced R&B. Ne-Yo told Soul Culture that "She Is" was his best attempt at a country song. It works as one, even without McGraw's country drawl.
Song: "Something 'Bout a Truck"
Artist: Kip Moore
For fans of: Bruce Springsteen. OK, this one is the biggest stretch on the list. Moore has been labelled a countrified version of the Boss, but it's still pretty twangy, and songs about trucks may not have wide appeal outside of country music.
Song: "True Believers"
Artist: Darius Rucker
For fans of: Hootie & the Blowfish. If you don't pay attention to country music, you may not know that Rucker, former lead singer of Hootie & the Blowfish, has become one of country music's biggest stars. If you danced to "Let Her Cry," and rocked out to "Only Wanna Be With You" in college, this is your new jam.
Song: "I Could Be A King"
Artist: The Dunwells
For fans of: Mumford & Sons. British bands making Americana isn't new. But with a decidedly new country twinge, the Dunwells might be a hit on both country radio and beyond.
Song: "The Day You Die"
Artist: Lindi Ortega
For fans of: pop. If Gwen Stefani went country, she might sound and look very much like Lindi Ortega. Influenced by old school country, but making it her own, Toronto-raised, Nashville-based Ortega has been reaching new audiences with her appearance on ABC's hit show Nashville.
Song: "Let it Be Me"
Artist: High Valley
For fans of: crooning. These three Alberta brothers have been coached by one of Canada's greatest country stars, Paul Brandt, and have spent 2012 spreading wholesome, rootsy, harmonic country through this country and beyond.
Song: "Dig Gravedigger Dig"
Artist: Corb Lund
For fans of: Americana. This song, by Alberta's Corb Lund, wouldn't have been out of place beside Ralph Stanley and the Soggy Bottom Boys on the popular soundtrack for O Brother Where Art Thou.
Song: "Goodbye in Her Eyes"
Artist: Zac Brown Band
For fans of: The Allman Brothers. Zac Brown and his band of merry men make the kind of approachable, feel-good or feel-sad music that can play across any variety of dive bars – and we mean that as a compliment.
Song: "State of Grace"
Artist: Taylor Swift
For fans of: U2. If you ever wondered what Taylor Swift would sound like with U2 as her backup band, behold.
Song: "Southern Comfort Zone"
Artist: Brad Paisley
For fans of: Coldplay. This is the first song from Paisley's forthcoming "experimental" album. The soaring falsetto, thumping drums, unexpected lyrical content and swelling choir contained within may find Paisley a new fanbase.
Song: "American Beauty"
Artist: The Lost Trailers
For fans of: Jason Mraz. When we say "Jason Mraz," we mean: this song sounds exactly like Mraz's "I'm Yours." We'll leave that to the musical scientists to research, though.
WATCH: CCMA performances by Miranda Lambert, Eric Church, Jason Aldean, Paul Brandt, Johnny Reid and more
Video: Corb Lund, live at the Arden Theatre
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on Dec 03, 2012