Top 20 ‘Under-The-Radar’ Songs Of 2020

LifeInASong_UK

Our weekly ‘New Release Round-Up’ is a indication of the exceptional talent and creativity of the artists that we respect and admire.

The lists include the artists that will feature on the national radio charts and the end of year awards, but we also heavily highlight those who aren’t household names, and welcome the opportunity to have their music heard.

This end-of-year list was intended to be a ‘Top 10’ list, but it proved impossible! We present, therefore, 20 of our favourites from performers we hope will break into the mainstream in 2021. No particular order. They are all gems!

STEVENSON EVERETT – ‘THE LAST TROUBADOURS’

We were introduced to Stevenson Everett’s music in March with the release of his ‘Last Troubadours EP Vol 1’, which contained 3 of the best songs that we heard all year. Heartfelt lyrics and an amazing voice. Part 2 was released in the Autumn, so we now have half an album’s worth to carry us through to the new year.

We would love to see this guy in the UK at some point. Our crowds would adore his delivery and soul that he puts into his music.

EMILY ANN ROBERTS – ‘HOW’S THE CAR RUNNING’

Emily was previously a runner up on ‘The Voice’ and was mentored by Blake Shelton.

We love this song. It has everything, A story, a great singer, superb instrumentation and sublime production.

She has followed this single with two other very good songs, but none better than ‘How’s The Car Running’. Awesome.

JOSH ABBOTT BAND – ‘THE LUCKIEST’

There are bands that we highlighted on numerous occasions this year, and the Josh Abbott Band are a fine example. This was released at the end of May. The pandemic has been a great hinderance to our favourites this year, and non more so than the bands who excel live.

Hopefully JAB can take their music back on the road in 2021.

LAINE HARDY – ‘GROUND I GREW UP ON’

Back in April, we featured American Idol winner Laine Hardy’s single. ‘Ground I Grew Up On’, and it fast became one of our favourite songs of the year.

He’s surely on the cusp of a breakthrough with a huge, loyal and passionate fanbase, and talent to match. We are baffled as to why this song wasn’t a major hit.

TRISTON MAREZ – ‘FORGOT ABOUT YOU’

Texan artists have often made our weekly lists, and in April we highlighted the new song from Houston native Triston Marez, who grew up as a cowboy on a ranch where he was a bull rider and ranch hand.

He followed this with another favourite of ours, ‘One Day’, later in the year that is also worth checking out.

GRAYSON MICHAEL – ‘WHEN IT RAINS’

A country singer who sings very authentic traditional country. Grayson Michael released this gem in June, and we were impressed by his rootsy baritone voice.

There seems to be a shift in the taste of the major labels with Jon Pardi and Randall King’s emergence. Grayson Michael might be next.

RENEE BLAIR – ‘SOON AS I’M HAPPY’

Renee has already attracted the attention of famous friends, with Shane McAnally on her case.

We have included her releases on a couple of occasions this year, but this one, her own composition, is our favourite.

JOHN KING –‘EASY’

You would be hard pushed to beat the cool, mellow, laid back vibes of this song from John King, who released it in May.

A finger-clicker and definitely one of our faves.

STYLES HAURY  – ‘SHE’S THAT KIND OF BEAUTIFUL’

A new name to us back in October. He released a track called ‘Airplane Mode’ which was pretty cool, and was penned by Luke Combs.

Good song, and may have made this end-of-year list in its own right, but it was surpassed by this gem that was self-written, and emphasised why we all love country music so much.

This is seriously good, and we look forward to seeing how this guy develops in 2021.

HAYDEN COFFMAN – ‘TAKE IT SLOW’

This song dropped in August and it immediately grabbed our attention.

He’s a new kid on the block with a few singles to his name – another one that we will need to keep a close check on in 2021.

GWEN LEVEY AND THE BREAKDOWN – ‘ONE LOVE WISER’

Gwen Levey followed a familiar country music theme here – a break up and a relocation to Nashville, and it’s a beauty.

She has been working the music venues in the city and developing her craft. Good song, and a very bright future ahead.

RILEY ROTH – ‘CAME HERE FOR THE BEER’

A pop-country gem from newcomer Riley Roth, who forced herself onto our weekly lists on a few occasions this year.

This has a very cool R&B-Country vibe and would have been an awesome radio single.

JT HODGES – ‘SANDMAN’

In a cold December, it’s tough to imagine a sun-soaked beach with a cool beer and shades, but this tune has the Caribbean country vibes in abundance. 

Featuring Bahamian favourite Stumpy, this came out in September and immediately became a fixture on our summer playlist.

ANDREW HYATT – ‘NEVERLAND’

We love the musical output of Canadian Andrew Hyatt, who has been on our radar since his ‘Kane’ and ‘Abel’ EPs.

‘Neverland’ was released in late September and should have been a breakthrough hit.

THE SWON BROTHERS – ‘DRINK YOU UP’

The Swon Brothers have featured more than most on our weekly lists this year, and every release was of such high quality.

We have chosen ‘Drink You Up’ here. It could have been one of many. Check out their latest album – it’s certainly worth a listen.

DANI TAYLOR – ‘MAN OF FEW WORDS’

In October this gem dropped from Arizona-born Dani Taylor, who is now forging her country career in Nashville.

This was only her second single release. We loved the video as well. Great country music.

ANNA VAUS  – ‘IN BLOOM’

Californian Anna Vaus released this track as a single at the beginning of December. It may still have traction in the new year, and we hope that it will get picked up by U.S. radio.

It’s a cool dance-country song that was part of an EP, ‘The Californian Kid’, which she released in September.

SARAH BUXTON – ‘A LITTLE BIT BETTER’

Sarah wrote ‘Stupid Boy’, which Keith Urban made famous, amongst others. ‘A Little Bit Better’ came out in mid-November and shows her talents as a songwriter and performer.

It’s a song that simply gets better the more that you hear it.

NATE BOTSFORD – ‘CHANGE ME’

A great song which initially has minimalistic backing and production but grows into a masterclass.

He’s based in Portland and released an album ‘Hourglass’ in 2013. One to keep an eye on.

AMERICAN YOUNG – ‘SAY IT TO ME SOBER’

American Young are a major label duo supported by Curb Records.

They are frequent visitors to the UK, and we guess that many would have seen them appearing at various festivals over recent years.

‘Say It To Me Sober’ was released in May, and we reckon it’s one of their best to date.

Graham Wharton

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