Sounds Like: High-octane coffee-tonk: introspective, heartland country that works in the honky-tonk and the coffeehouse.
For Fans of: Will Hoge, Dierks Bentley, if Kip Moore did MTV’s Unplugged
Why You Should Pay Attention: When native Texan Ryan Beaver released his soft-twanging, soulful second LP Constant in 2011, country music was on the cusp of a tidal shift — a “Cruise,” if you will — toward party-vibed bro-rockers that left little room for his soul-searching songs. Now in the wake of Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell and other voices of the genre who fuse traditionalism with contemporary craft, there’s plenty of space for Beaver. His single”Dark,” from his upcoming LP Rx, stakes his claim with Springsteen grit, an infectious hook and roaring instrumentals that don’t just part the cloud hanging over his head; they explode it.
He Says: “The whole process of making this record was the first thing I’ve done in three or four years,” Beaver says 0f the genesis of Rx‘s thought-provoking album title. “And it was so much fun, and so therapeutic, that I didn’t realize how good it was for me. These songs serve as a prescription for getting excited about music and life. And if they are like medicine for me, maybe they will be for the listeners.”
Hear for Yourself: Written to make amends with a string of deaths and disappointments, “Dark” turns loss into gain — and packs a powerful, anthemic punch. Marissa R. Moss