I’ve been really looking for my niche here at The Bookie’s Basement, and after much internal discussion I’ve decided to proclaim myself as the resident country music guy.

Now don’t worry, I’ll still be writing my Maryland fan hit pieces and telling the chronicles of a fraternity IM softball player, but this is my time to corner the country music blog market before it even gets started.

Now that a quarantined Memorial Day Weekend has come and gone, it’s officially summer time. Summer time means three things for me- day drinking aggressively, trips to the beach and driving around aimlessly with the windows down and country music blasting. I (unsuccessfully) tried to dub Summer ’19 “Country Boy Summer” but Future upended my plans there with his City Boys, so it’s time to try again this year.

Every country fan out there knows the industry superstars like Luke Combs, Florida Georgia Line and Thomas Rhett, but this blog is for the fans looking to expand their listening palate to some rising stars in Nashville that will make those cold Busch Lights go down a hell of a lot easier.

For myself personally, I love the traditional good ol’ boy country artists rather than the people like Kane Brown and Kelsea Ballerini that have transitioned to full-on pop music, but I’m really not that picky. If the music is good, I’m gonna listen. That’s what the following five artists all have in common.

Sean Stemaly

Definitely the smallest of the five guys on my list, Stemaly didn’t release his first work until 2017. His song “Georgia” was how I discovered him in the depths of Spotify sometime last year and since then I’ve fallen in love with his work. The dude has some textbook country love songs like “Fading Away” and “Last Night All Day” that don’t make you too sad but still hit home while also being super catchy. A full album will do him wonders as all he has out right now are singles turned into a small EP but don’t expect him to go away any time soon.

Mike Ryan 

This guy was discovered late last year by myself and my roommate Mike, and he instantly became one of our favorites. We found his stuff on Spotify when his biggest song “Damn Good Goodbye” was under a million streams whereas now it has surpassed 11 million. He has songs about the fellas, his hometown roots and of course some broken hearts, and his deep Texas drawl is so, so good. You can just tell he has been around the block from his lyrics. He hasn’t released an album since 2017 but recently put out a really good single, “Ghost Town”, that hopefully will lead to an album in the near future.

Logan Mize

Known for his 2015 mega-hit “Can’t Get Away from a Good Time”, this should be a familiar name even if you don’t know any more of his discography. That hit put him on the map and is an ultimate feel-good song, but he also has some other great tunes. “Somebody to Thank” and “Better Off Gone” from his 2017 album Come Back Road are both really good and his brand new single “Grew Apart” has been a new addition to my playlist that is unskippable. With five singles released from 2019 on and not an album since 2017, it seems pretty likely that a new album could be on the horizon.

Jon Langston

I just don’t understand how his songs aren’t way more popular than they are. His biggest songs sit around 30 million streams on Spotify which may sound like a ton, but when you listen to how good they are, they should really be more in the range of like Morgan Wallen’s 85-100 million streams. “Right Girl, Wrong Time” is one of my all-time favorite sad songs and “Forever Girl” will easily be played at my wedding one day. He also fires out day drinking hits like “All Eyes On Us” and “Now You Know”. He released a six-song EP earlier this year, but he’s never released a full album so it’s tough to decipher when we’ll get some new music from him.

Riley Green

This should definitely be the most well-known name on my list as he has gotten huge in the last year with his huge hits “There Was This Girl” and “I Wish Grandpas Never Died” which I got to see live in concert before it was released and knew it was going to be massive. Green is such a breath of fresh air for true country fans as he refuses to go pop and change with the genre. As someone who’s been a huge fan of his for years before anyone knew the name, he burst onto the scene with songs like “Georgia Time” and “Bury Me In Dixie” back in 2018 and has taken off in a very short amount of time. His entire Different ‘Round Here album from 2019 is gold and don’t be surprised to see him headlining tours in the future.

Shameless plug to my Spotify playlist of my life’s work. Feel free to put this baby on shuffle and get to drinkin’. Cheers. https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1h2OqwmhpBqICj9pIOkZZx

P.S. – If you don’t have Spotify, grow up.