Country music can be difficult to define, and the pack of new artists serving up debuts over the next six months won’t make it any easier.
At least a dozen artists have their inaugural albums or EPs on the way during the last half of 2023, and each of them has a distinct look, sound, and backstory. The crowd includes two women (Ashley Cooke and Harper O’Neill) with distinctly different sounds; party-leaning, biracial duo Neon Union; Latin American ex-cop Frank Ray; and rough-edged Warren Zeiders.
Harper O’Neill (Harper O’Neill Music) — Affiliated with QPrime South management, plus publishers Jody Williams Songs and Warner Chappell Nashville, O’Neill approaches a song with the timeless simplicity and directness of Patsy Cline, but with a ragged, world-weary tone. She self-releases her inaugural EP this summer in between tour dates with Ashley McBryde and Morgan Wade.