Artists to Watch in 2008 (Part 4 of 5): New Faces

Jim Malec | January 10th, 2008

Will country music see a breakout artist, the likes of Taylor Swift, in 2008? Will the indie revolution continue?

Your 2008 New Faces of Country Music are…

Marcel Chagnon (Lyric Street)
From: Grosse Pointe, MI
Factoid: Marcel is engaged to long-time girlfriend and fellow country singer Jessica Andrews.
Not exactly a “new” face, I’m almost certain that Marcel will be unfamiliar to at least 99% of our readers. The enigmatic singer-songwriter re-launches, following 2003′s commercially unsuccessful You, Me and the Windshield, with a new single called “I Love This Song” due in the first quarter of ’08. Like labelmate Sarah Buxton, Marcel is an established songwriter, having penned “Nothin’ to Lose” for Josh Gracin. Also like Buxton, however, Marcel’s voice sounds so significantly different from the rest of the format that it is almost jarring in comparison. Contrast aside, the fact remains that he is an excellent and distinctive singer, and I can’t help but wish that Lyric Street would lead with the phenomenal song “One Big Church” as opposed to the quirky “I Love This Song”–a track which covers much the same ground as previous debut “Country Rock Star,” and which will probably fare about as well (which is not well at all). Still, if Marcel’s new project is half as good as his previous, it’s worth pre-ordering.

Star De Azlan (Curb Records)
From: Texas
Factoid: De Azlan used to be in a mariachi band.
De Azlan launched in 2007 with the starkly traditional “She’s Pretty,” an excellent song with an embracing vocal performance that is still lingering on the charts and managing to pick up a few spins here and there, including some support from WGGR-Ft. Myers and KKGO-Los Angeles. This gorgeous twenty-two year old has some major chops, and she may be the most vocally convincing of the current batch of female neotraditionalists.

Jypsi (Arista Nashville)
From: Nashville
Factoid: Jypsi used to be known by the name Silk ‘n Saddle.
Jypsi is supposed to represent “truth in music” according to its label, Artista. Truth? If we’re talking about truth…this whole package is just too weird. Do you know what Jypsi’s promo pix say to me? They say things like “We got our outfits on clearance at the vintage thrift store,” and “It’s costume night at Sizzler–come in dressed up and get a free milkshake!”. Truth? Supremely un-country voices aside, this is hokey, cheesy, and completely pointless.

Katie Armiger (Cold River Records/Nine North)
From: Houston, TX
Factoid: The 16 year old Armiger won the junior division of Houston radio station WKKBQ-93′s “Houston’s Best Country Singer” contest.
Talk about putting all your eggs in one basket. Cold River has been pushing Armiger like nobody’s business over the past few weeks. The label was banking on the effectiveness of a radio tour in support of “17 in Abeline” (a single it has already abandoned). Other attempts to stir up buzz include a series of full-page ads in various trade magazines which have been declaring her a “Phenom” and raving about “That voice!”. The problem? That voice is…not so phenomenal. Like most young vocalists, Armiger sounds fine when she’s belting power notes, but her lack of vocal maturity becomes apparent whenever a song calls for a more dialed-back approach. Aside from the single, the vocals on the songs on Armiger’s MySpace page are sometimes borderline unbearable, and her songwriting is not half as good as fellow teen songstress Taylor Swift. So despite Cold River’s claims that “Her star is on the rise,” I have a feeling that this project is about to come crashing down.

Dean Brody (Broken Bow)
From: “The edge of the Canadian Rocky Mountains”
Factoid: Brody was a punter for a semi-pro football team.
Cited by his label as a “prolific singer-songwriter,” Brody’s voice boasts a rich, understated character. But like Broken Bow’s Lila McCann, I’m just not sure what the selling points are here; how does Brody position himself against all the other new male artists vying for our attention? If BB is smart, they will release “That’s What Brothers Are For,” a fantastic and deeply poignant song. Otherwise, I have a feeling Brody goes three-and-out.

Carmen Rasmusen (Loften Creek)
From: Bountiful, Utah
Factoid: Rasmusen finished sixth on American Idol’s second season.
Yet another Idol castoff making a play at country, Rasmusen might be the one person in the world who is not aided by weeks of national exposure. From her look to her sound to her milk-it-for-all-it’s-worth attitude (check out her new book “Staying in Tune”), everything about this young woman reeks of pop. That’s how she represented herself during Idol and after Idol, and I’m not sure that’s an image she’s going to be able to shake.

Laura Bryna (Equity Records)
From: Mount Airy, Maryland
Factoid: Bryna is a graduate of Philadelphia’s University of the Arts.
Call me heartless, but call me honest: Bryna’s debut single, “Make a Wish”–the video for which played continuously on 35 screens at the Luxor and Excalibur hotels (Las Vegas) through December ’07–is completely predictable, disturbingly saccharine, and way too heavy-handed to be effectively emotionally stirring. Likewise, her debut album, Trying To Be Me, launches on Jan. 14th behind a massive marketing campaign that seems to be overtly playing up an uber-sexy image that I’m not sure meshes with the exquisitely vanilla sound of her music.

Shauna Faegan (Category 5)
From: Coco Beach, FL
Factoid: Faegan’s myspace page features an American flag, a daily Bible Verse, and a link to a Christian dating website.
Faegan is one of the better pure vocalists in ’08′s batch of new faces. But here’s the rub: Can Category 5 make a serious push for any artist at this point? Travis Tritt’s Randy Jackson-produced album The Storm has failed to produce anything significant, and three artists have been dropped from the label in only two years of existence. Add on top that the fact that founder Raymond Termini is under investigation by the State of Connecticut, and that the label’s website hasn’t been updated since November, and things do not look promising. Still not convinced? How about this: Shauna’s top MySpace song is incorrectly labeled as “to good for to long”–as opposed to “Too Good For Too Long,” and her artist bio, one of the most grammatically abhorrent things I’ve ever had the unfortunate experience of encountering, is a rambling and almost entirely unreadable mess that it is presented in all italics and which incorrectly spells Joe Diffie’s name as “Joe Diffy”. Forgive me if I don’t put a lot of faith in a label that presents its artists so unprofessionally and makes such amateur (and easily correctable) mistakes.

Jeremy McComb (Parallel Records)
From: Somewhere on the Idaho/Washington border
Factoid: McComb used to be Larry the Cable Guy’s road manager.
McComb may have worked for a funnyman, but he is a very serious artist. Upcoming single “This Town Needs a Bar” is a starkly country record with a strong Americana influence, and there are hints of Brother Bruce Robison present in his voice. Hey, is Parallel Records really going to be able to get this guy on the radio? Everything in the universe points to no. And the truth is, even if debut album My Side Of Town were on a major label, McComb’s music would probably still be considered too progressive. But if you like a little edge with your country, give McComb a shot in ’08.

Justin Moore (Valory Music Co.)
From: Arkansas
Factoid: Was supposed to record in October ’07, but was apparently shifted from Big Machine to Valory, and as of Jan. is still in the studio.
Remember where you heard this name first. When I first started researching Justin Moore for this series, his MySpace page boasted a total of around 300 page views. A week later it had over 600. A second profile, seemingly unofficial, features what sounds like a demo of a song called “I Could Kick Your Ass,” which Moore co-wrote. It is kick ass, and with a sound like his Moore could very well step up and fill the rough-and-tumble cowboy role missing from the current format. Make no mistake–young, southern males (cowboy or not) are going to flip over this song. Moore will be introduced at CRS, and is already set to join Trace Adkins on tour in early ’08.

Shannon Walker (DM Nashville/Nine North)
From: Atlanta
Factoid: DM Nashville’s parent company, DM Records, is responsible for classics including Tag Team’s “Whoop! There it Is!” and Los Del Mar’s “Macarena”.
Walker’s music taps into some genuinely emotional undercurrents, but his lyrics are incomprehensibly heavy handed. Debut single “That’s Why God Made Me,” which goes for adds on Feb. 11, has a chorus that takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r to unwind into a sentiment so sappy that I swear it made my stomach hurt. I like Shannon Walker, especially for his enthusiasm. But his songwriting is disappointing, because the ideas are so good, but are executed to such a high degree of mediocrity. Some of these lines are just cringe-worthy, like when he sings, “If you support your family he’s gonna have a job/If you took him to church, your grandkids will know God,” in “His Father’s Son”.

Bluefield (Curb Records)
From: Nashville
Factoid: Jennifer Hicks was the last female booted during Nashville Star’s second season.
No one can argue with the talent of Rick Ferrell and Jennifer Hicks, the folksy Curb duo known as Bluefield. Launch single “Butterfly” is sonically, lyrically and melodically beautiful. And my greatest wish for country radio is that it will eventually embrace this kind of engaging, progressive country. But as much as I love this act, I just don’t think we’re there yet, and Curb would be smartest to turn this into an Americana pitch.

Stephen Cochran (Quarterback Records)
From: Nashville
Factoid: Cochran broke his back while serving as a Marine in Afghanistan.
Quarterback is making a mainstream play with Cochran, hoping that his background–he grew up in Music City, where his father was a struggling songwriter–will lend an air of credibility to his debut self-titled project. Likewise, Cochran’s artist bio boasts about his respect for the genre’s roots, and his desire to record a holistically country record. It’s a nice gesture, but at the end of the day Cochran is a big man with a small voice.

Crystal Shawanda (RCA Nashville)
From: Wikwemikong Reserve; Manitoulin Island, Ontario
Factoid: Shawanda is a full-blooded Ojibway Indian.
A fiery singer with a voice full of power and grit, Shawanda is a seasoned veteran of Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge. Producer Scott Hendricks has signed on to produce CS’s ’08 album, and I like her chances. There’s just something exceptionally genuine about Shawanda’s voice; unlike so many new faces that come and go in country music, Shawanda sounds exclusively country–contemporary, yes, and perhaps leaning a little to the southern rock side of the genre, but without even the faintest hint of Pop. And country radio has shown over and over that it will embrace a more country sound, so long as both the artist and the artist’s material are excellent. Both of those points are true in this case. This is an intriguing signing, and I applaud RCA Nashville for stepping up and taking a chance on singer with a unique personality, voice, name, and look.

Phil Stacey (Lyric Street)
From: Harlan County, Kentucky
Factoid: Stacey finished sixth on American Idol’s sixth season.
Just no.
Photo courtesy

Don’t miss tomorrow’s final installment of our 2008 Preview–my “Critic’s Picks” for 2008.

6 Pings

  1. [...] in ‘08. Part 3: Buzzworthy. The artists the industry is buzzing about. Part 4: New Faces. Fifteen new faces vying for your attention in ‘08. Part 5: Critic’s Picks. Jim Malec picks the best-of-the [...]
  2. [...] having a bit of fun at Count Stacey’s expense in my 2008 Country Preview Series, I decided that it was only fair to give Phil and his “Philnatics” a thoughtful review [...]
  3. [...] climate, it’s hard to break new female artists, especially if they’re traditional. Star De Azlan is a new female artist with a remarkably mature voice that has a certain traditional quality to it, so by all [...]
  4. [...] Ken Tucker introduces aspiring country artist Crystal Shawanda, who you might remember from Jim’s Artists to Watch series at the beginning of the [...]
  5. [...] in January, I briefly profiled Canadian artist Dean Brody in The 9513’s “New Faces” feature, and in that profile, I urged that his label, Broken Bow, [...]
  6. [...] New Faces: [...]
  1. Chris N.
    January 10, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    I’ll second the emotion on Marcel. Very talented dude.

  2. Brody Vercher
    January 10, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    With a last name as cool as Dean’s is, he better represent.

  3. Judith
    January 10, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    With all due respect, but why use a pic from a site that was looking to see Phil voted off, when there are so many wonderful pictures of him out there? And is “Just no…” all you can say? Find his new single on youtube, put out by PhilnaticsDotCom, and listen to it. The song was cowritten by Gary LeVox of Rascal Flatts, and suits Phil perfectly. I love his voice, and the message is him. He wants to say through it how much his wife’s love and support means to him. Mediabase has it at #90 on the charts right now. Don’t count him out!

  4. Melissa
    January 10, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    Phil Stacey’s new single it wonderful! It was only released on Monday and is already getting rave reviews. I wish you would’ve given him more of a chance in this article rather than actually commenting on his Country Music Debut Single.

  5. Gary Stacey
    January 10, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    Phil posing for VFTW was a hoot. All the contestants have been made well aware of the cynical website devoted to embarrassing the judges. I doubt that Phil spent a moment taking this blog seriously but enjoyed with the humor found by some of the bloggers there. I gotta tell ya’ this is a great vocal out of the gate. One person wrote that they imagined Levox sing this song and that Phil would have to lose. I heard Gary’s demo and it was great but Phil does the song justice indeed. Its a terrific song well-sung.

  6. Aleecia
    January 10, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    With all due respect, you picked some good artists, but Phil Stacey is going to do amazing too. You will see that you will have to eat those words someday.

  7. Vicki
    January 10, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    So I don’t wish to be rude about your review or dislike for Phil Stacey, but, you might as well become a phfan as this is a man you are going to see for awhile. His new single is AWESOME!!! The more I hear it, the better I like it. I can’t wait for the the whole CD. This guy can knock it out of the park. Phfabulous vocals. Yes I realize I am using ph on the front of some of these words, you will too after you give him a chance. He has that affect on you. Yes I am a bonafide PHILNATIC AND PROUD OF IT!!!! The is a vocalist you need to watch in 2008. Mark my word on that one.!!!!

  8. Jackie aka lilbluebird
    January 10, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    with all due respect I disagree with the article. Phil Stacey will and has done amazing, already in his first few days of his single release he has gone from 169 on mediabase to #90 in just a matter of 3 days. I see amazing things coming from this guy,his voice is comparible to that of rascall flatts if not better in my opinion. He will rise to the top with his vocals,his wife and his fan base behind him.

  9. Diane
    January 10, 2008 at 8:29 pm

    Phil’s new single is awesome and the CD is going to make a lot of money, mark my words! He is on his way to becoming a very successful country music artist. We’re proud of you, Phil!

  10. Double-L
    January 10, 2008 at 10:20 pm

    You’ve missed me? (re: MySpace comment) That’s sweet of you to say! I read all of your blogs EVERYDAY, but sometimes just don’t comment. HOWEVER, Jim, MAJOR PROPS to you for these new sets of blogs! I take pride in knowing most of what there is to know about my country music, but you always put me to shame! I know about 60% of these artists, but the rest of ‘em… I’ll be researching thanks to your blog! You are the BEST, 9513!

  11. Mike W.
    January 11, 2008 at 4:00 am

    “Jypsi” looks like a complete joke of a band. Now, granted, they might actually make some decent music, but whoever thought THAT was a good imagine to throw at Country radio and the majority of Country fans is an idiot.

  12. Matt B
    January 11, 2008 at 5:46 am

    Marcel is a very talented artist. I love that debut record.

    Rick Ferrell got another deal after Dreamworks? I loved that little-known record too. Cool.

    As for Phil Stacey, I actually like him. Is he ‘flatts’ style country? sure but you know what? He sings a LeVox song better than even LeVox did.

    I didn’t mind the Stephen Cochran record.

    Jypsi looks like one of those horrible ‘band’ photos from the Garth Brooks’
    “Chris Gaines” cd.

  13. Cindy
    January 11, 2008 at 8:00 am

    OK, so where is the mention of James Otto this week?
    If you can leave aside some of your feelings about the excesses of Big and Rich, you can’t get around the fact that this man can sing.
    Check out his Studio 330 session on CMT .. he gives props to Conway, Ronnie Milsap and Hank Jr.

  14. Lanibug65
    January 11, 2008 at 8:02 am

    Beyond the AI people on this list, I have only heard of Jypsi, and that was because itunes gave their song away free a couple of weeks ago — not the best but not the worst –

  15. Kelly
    January 11, 2008 at 8:27 am

    The Phil Stacey lovers need to exercise their “right to remain silent” also…How sad is it that Phils Stacey’s realistic “best case scenario” hope is that he MIGHT be the next Josh Gracin. Generic voice that isnt poppy enough for top 40, so he’s “country”. Let the cheesy ballads by cheesy LeVox’s flow….

  16. SW
    January 11, 2008 at 9:38 am

    Jypsi’s image is simply ridiculous; somebody should be fired for that snafu. I’ve seen them play a number of times and have the “Silk and Saddle” album. Regardless of their appearance and overtly pop take on bluegrass and country music, you cannot deny that the skills of those young siblings is astounding.

  17. Jim Malec
    January 11, 2008 at 9:38 am

    Cindy…hold your horses…and check back later ;-)

  18. Chris N.
    January 11, 2008 at 9:52 am

    “Philnatics”? Really?

  19. Vicki
    January 11, 2008 at 11:05 am

    Chris, yup there are Philnatics, lots of us!!!! Kelly, I think you should have exercised your right to remain SILENT!!!!! Don’t be on here bashing us just because you do not like Phil. How rude and how immature!!!

  20. Lanibug65
    January 11, 2008 at 11:15 am

    Vicki – well I see you have not been reading this board for very long – because that is the point, we all have a point and opinion and we can express it here, and if one of us does not like an artist we are free to express that opinion here and just because you like an artist does not mean that every one will -

  21. Diane
    January 11, 2008 at 11:31 am

    That is exactly what us Philnatics were doing- stating our opinion but then it is suggested we should remain silent. Lanibug65, seems like your comment was directed to the wrong person!

  22. Carol S
    January 11, 2008 at 11:36 am

    Actually, my personal favorite is Phil Stacey. He has the most interesting voice, is solid on the low tones, rocks on the high tones, has great control and phrasing, plus soulful interpretation. He’s in the race for the long run.

  23. Jim Malec
    January 11, 2008 at 11:44 am

    Lanibug65 didn’t mean to be personal of rude, I don’t think–she was referring to this recent conversation on The 9513.

  24. Judith
    January 11, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    What’s wrong with Phil and Gary LeVox being “cheesy?” I haven’t listened to country much for the reason that I haven’t heard much like how Rascal Flatts, and now Phil, sound. I like the uplifting message of the song, which I feel we need more of in any genre. I agree with Carol’s assessnent of Phil. He can sing anything. I have heard him, and I loved it all. But he himself had already said, before “American Idol,” that country was his genre. So there is nothing “generic” about his voice. And thanks, Matt B., for what you said about him singing better than Gary. That says a lot, I feel, about someone, that he can sound better than the original artist.

  25. Kelly
    January 11, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    We need MORE uplifting? Top 40 country radio is filled with uplifting and happy. Heaven forbid there be any songs about cheating and being bummed out, yet still able to entertain. Those items are as real as hope and fun and happiness. I get it, you like his voice, I don’t. You think he has something unique to offer, I don’t. You call yourself a phil-natic, and I just phil-sick…

  26. Sam
    January 11, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    Carmen Rasmusen’s album is really good!

  27. Lanibug65
    January 11, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    I was not directing my comment at one person in general – I was just stating that this is a place where everyone can have their opinions -

  28. Diane
    January 11, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    I agree this is a place where everyone can have an opinion and should not be told to keep silent as Kelly said in her comment posted at 8:27.

  29. Funk
    January 11, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    Jeremy McComb needs some better PR if he wants to succeed. When I read your blurb on him, where he is from caught my eye because that’s where I’m from. I know the music scene and I didn’t know Jeremy. I thought BS. Then I learned the band he joined (at age 14) was the Kelly Hughes band. That’s a great band that never went anywhere because they got rich staying home being the House Band at Kelly’s. Kelly’s was one of those places that makes a region worth living in. It’s just a barn down the road from a strip club in the middle of nowhere. It has a rodeo arena outback and 5 busy bars inside. It could have done well in Texas or anywhere and it rocked every single night it was open.

    The band was fantastic. It was all about fun and the band (and Kelly Hughes in particular) made it work. I am 100% sure those guys got rich, so it’s no shame Jeremy isn’t known regionally. Kelly’s closed and that’s when he started his new band and they were too good for the region from the beginning. Gone in 60 seconds.

    Now that I know who we are talking about I realize I played a lot of poker with this kid. Good guy. We should be rooting for him. I like the music on the website. I’ll buy the CD. Thanks to The9513 for the heads up. I would have never seen him opening for Tritt. Get a new PR rep Jeremy!

  30. Jordan Stacey
    January 11, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    I am one of the few who have Marcel’s first album, and I love it. I already head a couple of the songs from the new one and I hope country radio gives him a chance this time. Unfortunatly though I think Lyric Street’s Focus is going to be on Phil Stacey (P.S. To all the Philnatics, I didn’t like him from the start of American Idol, but I don’t hate him.) I’m still curious to hear Crystal S. And Star De Aslan because I have yet to hear anything. Jypsi have yet to convince me to buy into them, they don’t seem special enough, and their image is really bad. Both Katie And Carmen have decent albums but I don’t seem either of them going anywhere. And Laura Bryna my friend said it best, She Looks Like A B!tch. The rest I don’t know enough about them to have any opinion.

  31. Judith
    January 11, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    Yes, Kelly, I’m a Philnatic and proud of it. I’ll gladly go for more uplifting. Keep it coming, Phil. Sorry that Kelly will be sick hearing you, but many others won’t be.

  32. Danny
    January 11, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    I’m usually not a country radio listener but for days I would turn on country stations via my computer waiting to hear Phil Stacey’s new single and I honestly found all the “hit” country stations to be just as generic (if not more) as mainstream radio nowadays. I’m not sure if I heard the same five tracks in a ten minute period or it was just one long ever lasting song. Just a lot deep voiced twang with some cool Rascal Flatt’s tunes here and there. Now that I’ve heard Phil’s single I can say he’s exactly what country radio needs.

  33. Brody Vercher
    January 11, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    That’s the most depressing thing I’ve heard all day.

  34. Lucas
    January 11, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    NOTE: If you read this, don’t stop half way.

    All I can say is;
    Dear Nashville Record Executive,
    please continue pumping out contemporary country singers. ESPECIALLY the male ones! You’re setting us up for a new wave of hat-wearing, kicker kickin’, party style country singers after this all blows over – you know, like all those country mega stars that we came to know, love, and more importantly remember. McGraw, Keith, Chesney, Brooks, Jackson, etc.

    Reality show stars? Crossover artists? Old rock singers? Bring them on! Why not Jay Leno!?

    Hey, if I put their new songs on a CD, played them without looking who sang them and can’t tell them apart – all the better! It only makes listening to the radio more exciting, it’s like playing a game of “who done it?” I can listen to five songs in a row and go; “Man, that could be this guy, or this guy, maybe this guy… but it could be this girl too.” then when somebody like Alan Jackson goes on the radio I go “Hey! That’s Alan Jackson!” not only does it make a real country song MUCH more enjoyable, I can be entertained for hours just by guessing.

    You are exponentially increasing the chances of CDs from neotraditionalists being a HUGE success and at the same time increasing my odds of being signed in the future. If I could reach out and give you a big hug right now, I would Mr./Mrs. Record Executive.

    I’m not saying they’re bad singers – I’m just saying the people that buy country, buy country. That’s why those guys from the 90′s were and continue to this day to be such a big deal. There’s not enough of them!

    Guys like me are sitting back quietly until we get our shot when the time is right.

    I think Justin Moore has a shot, but they need to do a bit of image-control.

    I’m sure a lot of these people are extremely talented artists. But I doubt many of the new faces I’m seeing are going to be headlining football stadiums in the near future… to a country crowd.

    Are some of these people going to make a decent to good (maybe even great) run at the contemporary side of country for 3-7 years. More than likely. I can MORE than respect what they do, I just don’t like them compared to somebody like Garth Brooks. Sort of like when somebody asks you “Hey, do you like TV dinners?” “Yes, they’re good.” “Want TV dinner or steak tonight?” I think the answer is pretty obvious.

  35. Lucas
    January 11, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    Before I get chewed out here…
    I understand if you’re a pop fan. There’s a lot of good pop music out there too, I just think some of these people would be much better suited for pop. They’d probably be more successful too. Should country fans seriously settle for music they don’t like?

    I typed out my whole opinion on the second blog as far as date goes on my myspace site:

    Basically… I’m saying they’re good, they’re just not country.

  36. Matt B
    January 11, 2008 at 6:58 pm

    Perhaps country should have a CHR Country format or a “Hot Country” format with its own charts and instead of pushing ‘traditional’ aside it gets more segmented so that “Country” radio can include ‘true’ artists like Dale Watson. I don’t know why it hasn’t happened yet like it has with pop/AC and rock. Country has the most stations outside of Talk radio yet it doesn’t have seperate formats. It’s time. (And I don’t mean “Americana”) It should be multiple stations and they’d still do well, I know that.

  37. Lucas
    January 11, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    That’s actually a pretty darn good idea.

    A pop-country and neotraditional/tradtional-country chart. Then you could have an overall chart too.

    I think if that was to be done, combined sales would be highest on the pop-country chart and most of the albums selling in huge numbers (Garth, Alan, George, Kenny, etc.) would be on the traditional/neotraditional chart.

  38. Rick
    January 11, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    I will restrict my comments to those few artists I’ve actually heard from this interesting list.

    Star De Azlan has written a song worthy of Patsy Cline’s voice with “She’s Pretty”, but whereas LeAnn Rimes could break into radio with “Blue” the times they have a changed. The stone traditional sound of Star’s first single will sadly slam shut the door at most mainstream radio stations, which is a cryin’ shame. Fortunately here in LA the programmer for KKGO “GO Country” is a Latina woman named Tonya Campos who has fully embraced Star as a kindred spirit, even though Tonya has a long rock and roll radio background.

    Jypsi has an amazing raw talent in the form of 16 year old lead singer Lillie Mae. She has a voice similar to Cia Leigh Cherryholmes with a lot of unrealized potential if she could just smooth out the rough edges. This family band has enough talent that they don’t need the circus costumes which totally diminish their credibilty. With the right material Jypsi could really do well on radio, and their current single is doing much better than the first released “Love is a Drug” which had too hard of edge…..

    I have an early Crystal Shawanda demo CD with five songs she wrote on it and the material just isn’t interesting nor compelling. On the other hand,I do really like her song “Bigger Than The Problems” which was on the Garnier Nutrisse hair color promotional CD “Rising Stars of Country” mini-CD. Crystal recently made her Grand Ole Opry debut and her voice was completely shredded, which I hope was a temporary situation. I really don’t see Top 40 country radio playing anything Crystal will release based upon what I’ve heard. Now maybe if she changed her name to Shawanda Twain…..

  39. Kelly @ The Gobblers Knob
    January 11, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    okay, okay, ladies of the phil stacey harem, please listen. I am all MAN, not a woman like your 8th grade message board is assuming(thanks to Brady for the heads up). I just dont like him, it isnt an act of high-treason or anything that any fan of real country music doesnt feel also. Cheesy is bad by the way, and Rascal Flatts isnt country, they are pop and poor at that. Maybe phil can get the beat boxing guy to do an uplifting rhyme and rap on his cd, if it gets released. Enjoy your time on the phil message board, I doubt it will be operating long.

  40. Danny
    January 11, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    Wow Kelly, Christmas over. Why not come down from your mountain and visit the nice people of Who-ville?

  41. Judith
    January 11, 2008 at 8:11 pm

    Good one, Danny. My apologies, Kelly, for assuming you were a girl. FYI, the Phil boards have people of all ages on them, most of whom are past the 8th grade, and several of whom know Phil personally and know how to interact with people. We will be around a good long while, thank you, supporting not only a great singer, but a great human being.

  42. Vicki
    January 11, 2008 at 8:55 pm

    My, My this board has really gotten ugly. Phil would be very disappointed. He is a very, very nice guy. Quality all the way, great personality, great voice, great spirit about him, a great love for his country, his God, integrity and his beautiful wife. If you don’t like his singing you are entitled to your opinion just don’t try to silence his phfans or bad mouth us either. My husband agrees with Kelly,he does not care for Phil’s new single, he says it is not country enough. But, then Rascal Flatts is huge and they are not real country either. My husband does think that Phil can really sing and has a very good voice. He proved that on AI when he did Where The Blacktop Ends by Keith Urban and that was country and Phil got more votes that night than any of the contestants. He carried every state but 2 I think. Anyway, water under the bridge. Phil is coming out with a CD, it will be released and Lyric Street records will see to it and so will Rascal Flatts as Phil has become very good friends with Gary. That all said, lets stop with the bad stuff. Please. Oh and Kelly I am not a member of Phil’s harem as you call us I am old enough to be his Mother!!! Lots of the people in his phfan base are. So we are not little kids or teeny boppers that don’t know any better. Thank you all for you time. I don’t think I will be here anymore as the people here are not friendly at all and very combative. I am not interested in fighting with anyone. I am now and will forever remain a Phil Stacey Phfan and supporter.

  43. Chris N.
    January 11, 2008 at 9:25 pm

    “Phfan”? Really?

  44. Danny
    January 11, 2008 at 9:41 pm

    What’s wrong with a fun reference to Phil’s name? “Phfan” is just another way of saying “fan”.

    It’s creative.

  45. Melissa
    January 11, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    Actually, most of use say “phans”. ;)

  46. Lucas
    January 11, 2008 at 10:37 pm

    I know a great thing about the 9513 is we get to share our opinions, but we don’t need to attack each other! Hazel Smith said it best “country music is about loving people and helping people”

  47. Jim Malec
    January 11, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    Hey–there will be no Blake Lewis bashing in these comments. As far as I’m concerned, he’s the only artist ever to perform “You Give Love A Bad Name”. John Bon Who?

  48. Brady Vercher
    January 12, 2008 at 12:04 am

    Umm, all I got to say in regards to Blake Lewis is: “When The Stars Go Blue”

  49. Kelly
    January 12, 2008 at 6:03 am

    I will go on record and say that when I said phils fans should “remian silent” it was intended as an inside joke for the folks who read this blog everyday and I didint mean to mobilize the Phil Army. I am all for people expressing their interest or lack thereof in any artist. It would be boring if we all agreed on everything or all only listened to one “type” of country. Hopefully the fans that Phil brings in will listen to more country radio and here something along one of his songs that turns them on and gets them interested in seeking out other stars in the country galaxy. Maybe one of the phil fans that have commented above will be writing the next “all-willie nelson” blog or be on here a year from now saying they are glad to see that Ashton Shepherd & Ashley Monroe finally hit it big and got their due.

    Blake lewis was the second one to murder “when the stars go blue” by the way…

  50. Kelly
    January 12, 2008 at 6:06 am

    Sorry for the above misspellings, it’s early, the baby is up and i am working through my first cup of joe….

  51. Diane
    January 12, 2008 at 6:49 am

    Kelly, I appreciate your comments and as I commented earlier I am all for freedom of expressing ones opinion but I like to keep it positive. I have been a huge country fan for many years and that is about all I listen to on the radio. Time will tell if Phil “makes it” in the country music business. I just really like his voice no matter what he is singing and he is one of the nicest, most humble people you will ever meet. Thanks for your early morning comments.

  52. Matt B
    January 12, 2008 at 6:53 am

    The only problem with Phil Stacey’s fans taking the Phans or Phanatic plays on the real words “fans” or “fanatics” is that they’re already used by Phil Vassar’s fanclub. He also has “Phrends”

  53. Chris N.
    January 12, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    I’m afraid “Phfans” is another way of saying “Ffans.” “Ph” and “f” make the same sound.

    That said, it doesn’t seem fair that Phil Vassar fans should have a monopoly on all these terms. Can’t an amicable custody agreement be reached?

  54. Kevin
    January 12, 2008 at 5:07 pm

    I friggin’ loved the Marcel album, cheesy as it was. I’m a big fan of irony-free sincerity.

  55. Marty
    January 12, 2008 at 11:02 pm

    I Really Really like Phil Stacey!!!! His single is good but can’t wait for the CD to come out!!! I think he will make it just fine. He has a Great Voice and he can sing anything.

  56. Matt
    January 15, 2008 at 11:03 am

    I would love to hear from Marcel again. I like his version of Nothing to Lose much better than Josh Gracin. I agree about his voice being different, that is what got me to listen to more of his stuff.

  57. amy m
    January 16, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    if any of you have listened to the song Butterfly by Bluefield it is such a well written an beautifully performed song. if you haven’t heard it it would be worth your time to visit myspace and take a listen. Rick and Jenifer have so much talent and such a refreshing sound to music in general. i hope this song gets major play time on radio and is given a chance for the public to respond.

  58. Charlie Mack (First outta the Limo)
    January 17, 2008 at 4:44 am

    Damn, record labels in Nashville will sign anybody these days…

  59. alison
    January 17, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    I am with Kelly. We need more songs about cheating and drinking and no-good men. That is why I cannot believe Ashton Shepherd is not on this list. First single is great, and the rest of the album proves she is not just another one-hitter.

    Ashton Shepherd’s Music Has a Nice Raaainggg to It

  60. Jim Malec
    January 17, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    Alison–Ashton is on the previous day’s list, ““Buzzworthy”

  61. alison
    January 17, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    Sorry. I’m an impatient blog reader, and I never got that far. My mistake. But ain’t she somethin?

  62. Cal Preddy
    January 21, 2008 at 8:01 am

    I agree with the review of TRYING TO BE ME by Laura Bryna. I met her in Maryland and this girl is far from country. In fact, she’s a poor little rich girl from one of the most expensive counties in Maryland. She bought her way into the recording studio as she’s a trust fund baby and can afford massive advertising. Her parents are filthy rich and she’s not even country at all; she’s a little Jewish princess trying to parade herself as some kind of country diva. Her album lacks originality and depth and the songs lack any kind of star quality. But I’m sure it will do well as her family can easily afford to buy 1,000,000 copies of it just to put it on the charts.

  63. Peter Kohan
    January 21, 2008 at 9:22 am

    Cal – Don’t start bringing up an artist’s religion into your arguments. It’s offensive.

    I’m not quite sure when singing and recording Country music carried with it a maximum earnings requirement so that only poor and middle class people would be allowed to sing it either.

    Apparently you equate “being country” with hard living, paying dues, all those easy cliches. If she can self-fund her own career, great. But once the record is done it’s the audience’s choice if the artist has the chops and the songs to survive in this business. I’m not even saying I like her music per se, just that your dislike of her music seems based as much on external factors as musical factors.

  64. Jeff
    January 31, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    I just wanted to agree with you on your review of the new country artist, Justin Moore. This guy has tons of talent, and his songs are something that traditional country fans, as well as, contemporary fans will enjoy.

    Also, he is a great entertainer to be new to the business, and I could see someone like him being a future star. With his crowd engaging songs and energy on stage, don’t be surprised to hear his name on a list for entertainer of the year in about 5 years.

  65. MsW
    January 31, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    Just checked out Shannon Walker and I went to his myspace page and a IMEEM, etc… the songs you reviewed were not written by him but by Harley Allen. On his myspace was a song the Shannon wrote by himself that almost made me cry called “Big Dreams Are Small”… it’s traditional country and a really good song. Just wanted to point that out…

    Also, I might have to agree with you on a couple of the other reviews… a couple are wanting but the girl, Crystal Shawanda looks pretty promising so there’s my votes… Mr. Walker and Ms. Shawanda for this year… I liked Phil Stacey but he’s just not my cup o’ tea. I’m all for a traditional country male (which takes a lot of balls in today’s offerings) as Shannon Walker is proving to be the more I research him and Crystal is pretty organic and a real voice.

    OK… just had to add my opinion… keep up the good work!

  66. Robert
    February 8, 2008 at 11:25 am

    I agree with MsW. Shannon Walker is a stand out even though I disagree with the review b/c “That’s Why God Made Me” is a KILLER song… just heard it on the radio. He is a great songwriter in his own right “Big Dreams Are Small” is S.O.L.I.D. and well written, even by Nashville standards and he wrote that by himself. A grammy award winning songwriter wrote his first single and I have to say, it’s quite a tear jerker and going to be very appealing to the country market. I feel like we’ve got a serious contender on our hands with this guy. Loved this portion of this site and I look forward to seeing how each of our newcomers do. Hats off to all of them and best of luck…

  67. SeattleWayne
    February 8, 2008 at 11:32 am

    I almost agree w/ the last 2 posts. I’m in with Shannon Walker but I felt like Shauna Faegan might be the stand out from the girls. Jim gets it completely right when he talked about her “pure vocals”. Nice. Also, Jim gets it right about her presentation.. WHOA!!! How can you have that many typos when you’re trying to break an artist… looks REALLY BAD! Not very promising as far as getting her out there so I guess we’ll see how that plays out… Shannon Walker is also one of my top choices out of the bunch, and… I JUST HEARD IT ON THE RADIO! I really liked it and it’s actually COUNTRY! Imagine that??? A country song from a country artist… NICE!

  68. Kelly
    February 8, 2008 at 11:36 am

    What about Katie Armiger and Star De Azlan??

  69. Lucas
    February 8, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    Moore needs some serious image control, I’ll say it again. You shouldn’t try to make a country song and have your myspace page show some home photos of you in abercrombie clothes sitting at the beach. That’s the exact kind of people his knew song is poking fun at, and guys like me won’t buy it thanks to those photos.

    I’d bet money everybody on THIS part of the list sells under 2 million copies each. I predict none of their careers last longer than 3 years as serious country heavy hitters.

    People are tired of contemporary, it’s becoming apparent.

  70. Matt B.
    February 15, 2008 at 10:06 am

    Y’know, having heard BLUEFIELD’s myspace stuff, I am a fan (they’re on Country Thunder Records though).

    I heard the JYPSI record and it’s actually pretty good. Much better than the singles released or the kooky images they have

  71. Leeann
    February 17, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    I find myself pulling out that Marcel album from time to time. I didn’t realize anyone else had bought it.:) I thought I just secretly enjoyed it.

    I completely agree with Kelly’s comment about “When The Stars Go Blue.” I love The Corrs & Bono version.

  72. Robin
    April 12, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    It is my understanding Shauna Faegan is no longer connected with Category 5 Records. I have heard her live, this girl is a real performer and her vocals are amazing. I agree her myspace page has flaws, but her voice don’t.

  73. lisa goldstein
    December 11, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    Hi my name is lisa look out for this hot new country group Called “COLDWATER CANYON”the are different with a new sound called “CALI COUNTRY”!!!and there single “COUNTRY GIRLZ and VIDEO!!!

  74. Stormy
    December 11, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    Hey Lisa, you can use me as a reference when your internship expires. Also, please tell your band that in country music Girls is not spelled with a Z. And also, California based country is referred to as “Bakersfield” and was invented by Buck Owens.

  75. aleasha
    July 8, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    Lucas i dont get what you mean.I bet moore would prabaly look good in abercrombie but country boys look better in bluejeans cowboy boots a hat but no shirt.Actually im an expert on the whole topless guy thing they all look good without a shirt.Do you wear abercrombi alot?I dont realy imostly wear blue jeans and a tanktop.I dont wear much of that stuff.I was just raised areound bluejeans.I was born and raised in the stix.IM not shure im thinking you dont like moore but do you like tim mcgraw or my altime favorite jason aldean?Please reply.

  76. Lucas
    July 8, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    Actually, I like Justin Moore. Saying he needs some image help isn’t to knock him. I just think there’s some irony in writing making songs that make fun of a certain kind of person then dressing like the very person your song makes fun of.

    No, I do not wear Abercrombie – don’t own one bit of it. Do I like Tim McGraw and Jason Aldean? Of course.


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