NECM’s Artists to Watch in 2018

Last year we predicted that Luke Combs would be an Artist to Watch- and boy were we right! Luke Combs had a massive year with two Number One’s, sold out shows, festival appearances and more. As we look into 2018, what artists are going to be the next big thing? Check out our list below and then check out these artists- they could be the next big thing!

Ashley McBryde

When Eric Church is a fan of someone, you gotta be a fan of them also, right? Well, you will be and not just because of Eric Church. Ashley McBryde has an AMAZING voice that rivals any voice on country radio. And we’re not exaggerating. This girl is so damn talented it’s not even funny. She’s opened for Chris Stapleton, Willie Nelson, Hank Jr. and more. If you like Miranda Lambert, you’ll easily be a fan. If you like just pure out raw talent, you’ll easily be a fan. It’s time for the world to meet Ashley McBryde.

Brandon Lay

We absolutely love this guy. We’ve worked with him a bit this year and when we saw him play at Tortuga we were floored by his natural talent and stage presence. We love his single ‘Speakers, Bleachers and Preachers’ and he’s going to be playing for A LOT of fans in 2018 as he opens for Kenny Chesney in stadiums across the country. Look what Kenny did for Old Dominion- Brandon may be following in their footsteps.

Cody Jinks

Cody is someone who made our list last year and we’re including him again. This guy is seriously talented- he just isn’t mainstream so he doesn’t get the radio play he deserves. He has a rabid following with fan club members who have actual membership numbers and use those numbers to talk to each other. Jinks reminds us of Stapleton with his following. He headlined the peak night of last year’s Tumbleweed Festival which drew over 5,000 fans.If you’re a fan of traditional or even outlaw country, you gotta check out Jinks.

Delta Rae

Delta Rae is a six-piece band signed to Big Machine’s Valory Music Group that played nearly every large music festival. Tortuga, Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza and more. They have ridiculous harmonies that will knock your socks off and are set to release ‘No Peace In Quiet’ to country radio very soon. The band has a couple shows in New England in March and they sold out a show in Natick, MA earlier this year.

Devin Dawson

If you listed to Sirius XM The Highway, you’ve heard of Devin Dawson. He’s starting to get some more traction on FM radio. Devin is undeniably talented and we love his single ‘Dark Horse.’ Dawson is set to hit the road with Brett Eldredge on Brett’s headlining The Long Way Tour which has already sold out in several venues including two here in New England. He also toured with our buddy Michael Ray in 2017. With touring and his tunes starting to be played more on radio, 2018 should be a good year for Devin Dawson.

Jimmie Allen

Hard work is paying off for Jimmie. He’s been making his rounds for a few years now but that time, hard work and persistence finally paid off with a record deal with Broken Bow Records (Jason Aldean, Chase Rice, Granger Smith, Trace Adkins) in August. We’re big fans of his ‘Blue Jean Baby’ and we’re hoping that Jimmie makes his way up to New England because we’ll be there in the audience! With BBR backing Jimmie, it’s just a matter of time before Jimmie is a staple in country music.

Jon Langston

It’s just a matter of time before Jon Langston is all over the radio waves. He’s well known in the south, especially in his home state of Georgia. I mean you gotta be talented for someone like Luke Bryan to pick you to open for him on the Farm Tour, right? And Jon is exactly that- talented! When we saw Jon at Tortuga this past year, he had the crowd rocking with an amazing stage presence. We’re thinking 2018 is the year that we start hearing Jon’s name more and more. Check him out at the Mohegan Sun Wolf Den next week!

Jordan Davis

We’ve been a fan of the bearded twin brother of Jacob Davis for a couple years now as we first saw the Louisiana native open for Chase Rice in Lowell, MA a couple years ago. Since then, we’ve seen him at Tortuga (where he took over our Instagram), and he was all over country radio this summer with ‘Singles You Up.’ He also just wrapped up a tour with Kip Moore. Jordan should continuing rolling in 2018 and we expect him to do just that.

Kalie Shorr

Kalie was also on our list last year and she’s made it again. Why? Well she’s about to head out on the CMT Next Women of Country tour with Sara Evans and Raelynn- a tour she calls her “dream tour.” We may have just been a year ahead with our prediction last year! She’s also making her way around the web with a cover of Taylor Swift’s ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ with Kelleigh Bannen and Lindsay Ell. Last year Kalie was making waves with ‘Fight Like A Girl’ and she’s heading into 2018 with a new single called ‘Two Hands,’ which you can buy on iTunes here.

Oh, and let’s not forget she’s a native New Englander!


Yes, LANco scored their first Number One single this year with ‘Greatest Love Story.’ It’s an awesome song and absolutely deserved to go Number One on the charts. But we’re thinking that the band has only scratched the surface of what they can do. The group will be headed out on the road with Chris Young in early 2018 and that will be big for them as Young is known to play for sell out crowds. Watch out for LANco in 2018!

Levi Hummon

You may have seen Levi open for the Eli Young Band this fall but that is just a glimpse into Levi’s journey in country music. This is a guy who was born and raised in Music City with a GRAMMY award winning songwriter for a father. It was only a matter of time before Levi landed in country music and he did so by associating with some of the best writers in the business. People like Shane McAnally, Trevor Rosen, Brandy Clark and Jimmy Robbins. But he’s done more than just writing songs as he’s released a couple singles this year, including ‘Stupid’ (which is a jam!), and we’re expecting more in 2018 from Levi Hummon.

Mike Ryan

Good ole Texas country music is the heart and soul of Mike Ryan. He reminds us a bit of Josh Abbott so if JAB is your thing, you’ll love Mike Ryan. He released his album, titled ‘Blink You’ll Miss It,’ which earned high praise. Down in Texas, Mike is VERY well known has his previous album yielded three Number One singles on the Texas Music Chart as well as the New Male Vocalist of the Year by Texas Radio. We’re thinking that 2018 will be the year that Mike becomes more well known outside of the Lonestar State.

You can purchase Mike’s ‘Blink You’ll Miss It‘ on iTunes here.

Morgan Evans

Evans had a good debut year with a hit song in ‘Kiss Somebody’ as well as in his personal life as he tied the knot with country songstress, Kelsea Ballerini. We’ve talked to some radio folks and they were uberly impressed with Evans in his radio tour this year which is always a good thing. The Australian native has been teasing some new music on social media and we’re excited to hear what he has in store in 2018.

Morgan Wallen

Was Friday after five, I got here just in time…‘ are the opening lyrics to Wallen’s single ‘Up Down’ – a single that was the most added to country radio just a few weeks ago and is a JAM! The single also features the boys of FGL, which doesn’t hurt. Wallen got to tour with FGL this past summer on select dates of their tour. So with the exposure and the radio play, Wallen is looking good heading into 2018. He will be stopping at Mohegan Sun in March if you want to check him out live.

Tyler Childers

After 2011’s independent release, ‘Bottles and Bibles’ saw moderate success, Tyler Childers 2017 follow up ‘Purgatory,’ was in contention for many outlets’ Album of the Year. Produced by GRAMMY winning Sturgill Simpson should speak volumes, as he took most of 2017 off from recording and touring to work on the album. Childers has risen the ranks and now selling mid-sized halls across the country, due largely to his broad appeal. His blend of outlaw sounds and mainstream vocals are bound to please anybody, most notable in the hit song, ‘Feathered Indians.’ Look for big things to come in Tyler Childers’ future, including stops at the Mohegan Sun Wolf Den and The Sinclair in Cambridge, MA in late February.