We, at New England Country Music, want to bring on the new year with a fun series spotlighting women in country music. While the acronym WCW, standing for Women Crush Wednesday, is often used for physical attraction, that is not the case here. This series will feature talented women who are crushing it in the country music scene.
This week we’re featuring Rachal Wammack, a twenty-five-year-old singer, songwriter, and musician from Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Which of course gets you singing the Lynyrd Skynyrd song: ‘Now Muscle Shoals has got the Swampers… And they’ve been known to pick a song or two… Yes they do.’ The ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ girl dabbled in the art of songwriting and finished her first write before she reached her teenage years. In middle school, she joined the marching band where she played marimba in the percussion section. When Wammack got a bit older, she played the piano and sang at bars in and around Muscle Shoals. It was at one of these gigs, when she was seventeen, that she was approached by Jim Catino of Sony Music Nashville. In an interview with The Boot, Wammack said: “Catino was at the restaurant I was playing at in my hometown, and he was staying at the hotel that was connected to the restaurant. So it was like fate, because I’m just doing my regular thing, playing covers, throwing in a couple of originals, and then he’s like, ‘Hey, what are these originals that you played tonight? They’re really amazing.” Catino and Wammack stayed in touch and she mentioned: “He ended up being a mentor to me all throughout college.” After finishing high school, staying true to her roots, she attended the University of North Alabama to pursue a degree in English. While at UNA, Wammack she participated in pageants and won the Miss University of North Alabama. Shortly after graduating from UNA, she moved to Nashville and worked as a bartender. In early 2018 she signed with Sony Music Nashville/RCA. Her years spent participating in the drumline of a marching band, combined with the poise and speaking skills learned during pageantry, helped to prepare her for the discipline needed for a successful career in Nashville.
In April of 2018, Rachel Wammack released her first EP. The self-titled album was produced by the award-winning Dan Huff. Her debut single, ‘Damage,’ was written during one of those typical Nashville songwriting sessions with the legendary writers Tom Douglas and David Hodges. It’s a real-life story from Wammack’s time spent as a bartender. Another track from her EP, ‘My Boyfriend Doesn’t Speak For Me Anymore,’ was described by Rolling Stone as “mixing the power pop pipes of Adele with the women-first attitude of Loretta Lynn.” Each of her songs is as unique as that revolving restaurant where she first met Jim Catino.
Though fairly new to the country music scene, Rachel Wammack already has a few big accomplishments under her belt. She has been recognized by Rolling Stone Magazine. They listed her as “one of ten new country artists you need to know.” She made her Grande Ol Opry debut in September 2018. In early January, Wammack was named to the all-female Bobby Bones Show Class of 2019. Bones chose her as one of only five female artists that he believes has what it takes to make it.
Rachel Wammack rocked her very first tour with Brett Young. The CMT on Tour: Here Tonight 2018 made its way to our neck of the woods and stopped at The House of Blues in early December. She put on one amazing performance that night. It was hard to believe that the gorgeous woman in the rainbow sequin skirt and knee-high boots was the opening act! Wammack commanded the stage and the crowd loved every moment of her performance.
We can’t wait to see what the future holds for this WCW.
Rachel will be performing at the Country 102.5 Street Party on May 25th! Along with Justin Moore, Chase Rice, Devin Dawson, and Jimmie Allen.
Be sure to download ‘Damage’ from her album ‘Rachel Wammack’ on iTunes here.
In the past, we’ve projected breakouts from artists like Old Dominion, Luke Combs, Jordan Davis, LANCO, Morgan Wallen and many more! The following artists are our 2019 class of Artists to Watch. Whether they’re new to the scene and just start to be heard or someone that we think is going to take the next step in their careers, they are all ones you should check out and keep tabs on.
Abby moved to Nashville in 2015 after graduating high school early to pursue her dream of country music. She was a member of the 2018 class of CMT Next Women of Country. The Black River Entertainment recording artist released her ‘I’m Good‘ EP on September 7th to rave reviews. The EP featured her debut single ‘Make Him Wait.’ Abby spent much of the year touring with artists like Chase Rice and Russell Dickerson as well as Brett Eldredge and Devin Dawson on the fall leg of The Long Way Tour.
Hambrick really broke into the country music scene as a songwriter, penning some big songs for major acts. He co-wrote Dan + Shay’s ‘How Not To’ and Justin Moore’s ‘Somebody Else Will.’ Inspired by artists like Alan Jackson, Joe Diffie and Mark Chesnutt, he released his debut single ‘Rockin’ All Night Long’ back in September which is crazy infectious. It’s time for the world to hear more of Adam and we think 2019 will do just that.
Brown and Gray really stepped into the scene in 2018 with their infectious single ‘Top Down.’ We heard it all over The Highway before FM stations began playing the single. And they really impressed us when we saw them live at the WKLB Street Party last year! We think Brown and Gray continues to ride their hot hand into 2019 and really take off even more!
Chances are you’ve never heard of Carlton. But he is absolutely one of our favorite new artists. The native Texan just has this very genuine sound with his traditional voice and plays with contemporary themes in his debut single ‘Drop Everything.’ He was frequently found playing in Honky Tonks up and down Broadway in Nashville over the past few years and you can still find him playing writers rounds in Music City these days. If you love a great smooth, traditional country voice, you MUST check out Carlton!
Caroline Jones is someone who had a fantastic 2018 as she opened for some of the biggest stars in country music and beyond. Artists like Zac Brown Band, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Jimmy Buffett and more! When you’re playing for these artists’ fanbases, you’re destined to have a great year. And she’s definitely riding that wave as she will be touring with none other than Kenny Chesney in 2019! How awesome is that? Oh and did we mention that Caroline hails from Connecticut!? A New England girl going on tour with Mr. Kenny Chesney! Yep, 2019 is going to be a helluva year for this talented artist!
She will be playing a show in Boston, MA on January 19th and another show in Uncasville, CT on January 20th!
GRAMMY award winning producer Dave Cobb has worked with some of country music’s biggest and best stars. Artists like Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell, Jamey Johnson and many more. And add Dillon Carmichael to the list. For a producer like Cobb to latch onto Carmichael says a lot. And it should, as he is such a rising star with this classic smooth baritone voice that hits you right in the feels. You most likely won’t hear Carmichael on the radio as even Chris Stapleton doesn’t get the airplay he deserves, but that shouldn’t stop Dillon from taking off in 2019. We see a huge fanbase coming together and supporting this Kentucky boy through and through based on his undeniable talent alone. Give this guy a listen!
This young lady is another one of our favorite rising acts. She’s opened for everyone from Lee Brice to Russell Dickerson and Jake Owen and she is one of the members of the newest CMT Next Women of Country class! She will even be on the Next Women of Country Tour that will also feature Cassadee Pope and Clare Dunn (and will come through New England!). Her self-titled EP showed so much versatility with piano ballads to up tempo songs meant for live shows.
Hardy is another guy who made his first big break in country with songwriting. He is one of the co-writers on Morgan Wallen’s smash hit ‘Up Down’ as well as Florida Georgia Line’s ‘Simple.’ And the guys of FGL knew Hardy had the star power as they invited him to join them on stage several times this summer on their festival circuit appearances. Hardy released his ‘This Ole Boy’ EP back in October which features the fun ‘Rednecker.’ Watch out 2019, Hardy is comin’ for ya.
By now, you’ve heard of Mitchell. He took 2018 by storm with his debut single, ‘Drunk Me,’ hitting the top of the charts just a few weeks ago. We fell in love with his sound back in 2017 which led us to bringing him to our festival in August where he absolutely killed it. Now, all we see is videos on social media of massive crowds singing his songs back to him. His ‘Telling All My Secrets‘ album was one of the best debut releases we’ve heard in a long time- which is why you’ll find it on another of our lists that you’ll see in a couple days! Not many people had a better 2018 than Mitchell but we think 2019 could be even bigger. We wouldn’t be surprised if ‘Alcohol You Later’ is the next Number One in Tenpenny’s catalog.
This young lady caught our attention with her mesmerizing vocals and her powerful piano ballads. Her poignant debut single, ‘Damage,’ caught our attention the first time we heard it and we were absolutely hooked. And she showed off her talents while she was on tour with Brett Young this past fall and winter. In a time where country radio needs more female voices, Rachel Wammack is here to answer the call.
You may not know Ray Fulcher by name but you know his work- guaranteed. He just happens to be the co-writer on 8 of the tracks on Luke Combs’ ‘This One’s For You‘ record including ‘When It Rains It Pours.’ Pretty impressive stuff from the Georgia native who is also a performer in his own right. Combs isn’t the only who who has recognized Ray’s talent as he has shared the stage with artists like Old Dominion, Keith Urban, Lee Brice, Kid Rock and many more. He will be joining Luke Combs on his headlining tour this summer- including a show at the Bank of NH Pavilion in Gilford. So make sure you check out Ray’s music and go see him live with Luke Combs later this year!
We fell in love with Riley in 2018 as he captivated us with his debut single, ‘There Was This Girl.’ I mean, this song is so catchy. It’ll have you bobbing your head and singing along on the first listen, guaranteed. Hell, his whole EP is special. He’s an absolute star in the making that is going to take the world by storm in 2019. Trust us.
Ross was named a ‘Highway Find’ on Sirius XM The Highway in 2017 and ever since has been a staple on the satellite radio channel. We particularly love his single ‘Ghosts,’ which really shows off his unique voice. Ross has also had some success with songwriting as Tim McGraw cut ‘Neon Church’ last year- a song that Ross co-wrote with Ben Goldsmith and Ben Dennis. He’s set to play the iconic Stagecoach festival in April but we’re expecting even more from Ross in 2019!
No that isn’t David Ashley Parker from Powder Springs but it is the man behind the debut single, Travis Denning! After a few years of playing bars in Georgia, Travis made the move to Nashville in 2014 where he scored a publishing deal that led him to cuts by Jason Aldean, Michael Ray, Justin Moore and Chase Rice and eventually a record deal with UMG in 2017. Fans love his debut single ‘David Ashley Parker from Powder Springs’ with its upbeat sound and relatable theme of a fake ID. Denning is set to join his fellow Georgian in Mexico later this month for Luke Bryan’s Crash My Playa. He also has a headlining tour set for next month and a brand new single, titled ‘After A Few,’ which will be released next week.