The Rising Stars of Country

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This summer, KCRW is presenting a series of free (with RSVP) concerts called Country in the City.

Century City, in fact!

This space, called Century Park, is best known as the grassy knoll underneath the “Death Star” — the playful name for CAA’s power hub that looks, well, like its straight out of Star Wars.

But the green grass is inviting and the two shimmering Century Plaza towers designed by Minoru Yamasaki on the other side of the street are gorgeous at night, making it an incredible place to watch live music outdoors.

Alongside heavy hitters like Gregg Allman, Shelby Lynne and Wynonna and the Big Noise, we’re thrilled to present three of the hottest up and comers in the genre.

If you miss these shows, you’ll regret it for years to come as you watch their stars rise!

The shows —  July 19, July 26 and August 2 — were created in partnership with the Annenberg Foundation and are inspired by the exhibit Country: Portraits of an American Sound at the Annenberg Space for Photography. The exhibit stays open late on the night of the shows and you call find all the details and RSVP here.

(Yes, there is a beer garden)

sturgill hunting by Reto Sterchi
Sturgill Simpson by Reto Sterchi (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

Sturgill Simpson

Sturgill Simpson specializes in traditional outlaw country music. Often compared to Waylon Jennings for his conversational singing style and genuine approach, and counting his son Shooter among his fans, Sturgill is a critic’s favorite.

The Washington Post says he’s released the best album of 2014 (Metamodern Sounds in Country Music”) so far and he’s on Rolling Stone’s list of 25 Must-See Acts in 2014. He will be making his network television debut on The Late Show With David Letterman just days before joins Gregg Allman to kick off the Country in the City series on July 19.

(He also covers When in Rome’s 80’s hit “The Promise”. Well worth a listen!)

Jamestown Revival by Josh Franer
Jamestown Revival by Josh Franer (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

Jamestown Revival

LA’s Jamestown Revival made their U.S. radio debut on KCRW this year and have been a consistent favorite on our airwaves ever since. On their debut full length, Texas natives Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance caught our ear with impeccable harmonies. They merge the sounds of the South with classic American, and Western rock, and draw inspiration from artists like Neil Young. With a couple major festivals under their belt (Bonnaroo, Hangout Fest), the band will return to LA triumphant after a national headlining tour.

While “California (Cast Iron Soul)” is a clear favorite, “Golden Age” is the album track off “Utah” I find myself craving the most.

Their live sets are exuberant high energy fun, but this shows you their real chops as storytellers.

Nikki Lane by Chuck Grant
Nikki Lane by Chuck Grant (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

Nikki Lane

Nashville’s Nikki Lane has a fiery spirit, and an unmistakeable sense of style. She’s feisty and unafraid to assert herself in music or life, fitting in well with the strong women in the country canon who have come before her, from rockabilly queen Wanda Jackson to Loretta Lynn.  Earlier this year, we named Nikki as an artist to watch, before we knew that she was recording her sophomore album with Black Key’s Dan Auerbach on board as producer. It’s a rousing collection of songs, presented with a fearless attitude and Southern swagger.