Music City, USA may be the center for country music, but Nashville has a lot more to offer than honkey-tonks and western ballads. From global icons to aspiring acoustic songwriters, Nashville brings a rich and varied musical heritage to this playlist.

1. Turtles All The Way Down – Sturgill Simpson – 2014

There are few musicians more bold and daring than Outlaw Country’s newest star Sturgill Simpson. Whether it’s picketing outside the Country Music Awards, criticizing the Nashville establishment or continually releasing albums that defy genre or stereotype, Simpson proves to be a major force in the country music world. Along the way he’s picked up a dozen Grammy Award nominations and four studio albums.

2. All I Found – The Cordovas – 2012

A classically styled rock band hailing from Nashville, The Cordovas are one of the most exciting bands to come from Tennessee in years. A true Nashville band that’s beloved by locals, The Cordovas got their big break performing in East Nashville bars and honkey-tonks.

3. Poison & Wine – The Civil Wars – 2011

Formed in 2008, The Civil Wars won four Grammy Awards in their short six years together. Formed by Joy Williams and John Paul White, The Civil Wars melded a classic country sound with modern songwriting and lyricism.

4. Need You Now – Lady Antebellum – 2010

One of the most popular country-pop acts of the 2010’s, Lady Antebellum has won five Grammy Awards and sold more than ten million albums in the United States alone.

5. Cathedrals – Ruby Amanfu – 2015

Ghana-born and Nashville-raised, Ruby Amanfu brings a unique take to American R&B with soulful vocals, insightful songwriting and a polished Nashville composition.

6. Red – Taylor Swift – 2012

What more is there to say about Taylor Swift that hasn’t already been said? A global icon in music and entertainment, Swift is arguably the most influential artist of her generation and crafted a career that transcends genre and categorization. Her 2012 album Red was her last country music album and is often cited by critics as her most complete.

7. Dirty Rain – Andrew Combs – 2017

A Nashville staple, Andrew Combs came to Tennessee from Texas with hopes of achieving success in country and Americana music. He would release five albums before going on tour with stars such as Kacey Musgraves and Eric Church.

8. High in Heels – Kelsey Waldon – 2014

Newly signed Kelsey Waldon is one of country’s rising stars. The self-proclaimed “bluegrass country soul” singer has already released two albums and was just signed to the prestigious Oh Boy Records Label for her third. Her piercing lyrics and willingness to tackle social themes has already earned her accolades in the industry.

9. Flavorz – AWAS – 2016

Electronic pop duo AWAS is a good example of the diversity that Nashville holds in their music scene. AWAS specializes in a contemporary electronic sound with carefully crafted lyrics.

10. Different Kind Of Love – Adia Victoria – 2019

One of Nashville’s newest breakouts, Adia Victoria released Silences in 2019 and has been a consistent performer on the Nashville country/western circuit.

11. Break – Rebecca Roubion – 2014

Indie pop artist Rebecca Roubion combines intellect, emotion and passion to create stripped down and soulful songs that draw upon her considerable talents. Roubion has already released two albums, including her 2016 Sleepless Nights.

12. I’m On Fire – Soccer Mommy – 2018

Soccer Mommy has transformed from DIY bedroom pop artist to a national musical star. Her two albums Clean and For Young Hearts were one of the most critically acclaimed albums of the decade. And she has seen her profile grow with national tours and appearances at some of the biggest music festivals in the country.

13. Make You Miss Me – Sam Hunt – 2014

Country pop musician Sam Hunt is a perfect example of the polished Nashville sound that has become ubiquitous in country music. And while it may be accused of artificiality, it’s proven to be popular throughout every corner of the country.

14. I Don’t Mind – Keeps – 2016

Another example of the indie scene that’s been growing out of Nashville, Keeps combines 80’s retro vibes with contemporary instrumentation and songwriting.

15. Trying – Bully – 2015

A throwback to the past, Bully brings a hard rock vibe to Nashville’s music scene. With elements from grunge, 90’s alternative and 80’s punk, Bully is one of the most unique bands in Nashville’s performance tour.

16. Praying – Kesha – 2017

When all is said and done, the career of Kesha will go down as one of the most interesting in Nashville’s history. From her debut as the debaucherous teenage idol Ke$ha, to a long-drawn-out trial with her former label, to her rebirth and renaissance as soulful pop singer, Kesha has continued to show the talent and perseverance that has endeared her to fans and critics.

17. Tennessee Whiskey – Chris Stapleton – 2015

For pure outlaw country, it doesn’t get anymore authentic and genuine than Chris Stapleton. The Kentucky native moved to Nashville to break out his first record and quickly has embarked on a successful debut into Nashville’s country scene. His albums have been nominated for and won Grammy Awards for Best Country Album and his star doesn’t look to be dimming anytime soon.

18. Sue in Blue – Austin Manuel – 2016

One of Nashville’s most acclaimed storytellers, Austin Manuel uses a unique emotive poetry to bring a unique narrative to his music. His album Up The Ridge established him as a rising young talent in Nashville’s music scene.

19. Hands of Time – Margo Price – 2016

Midwestern-born Margo Price moved to Nashville to launch her debut album Midwestern Farmer’s Daughter. The album won her accolades as well a spot on Jack White’s record label. Her sophomore album All American Made cemented her status as one of country’s great storytellers.

20. Suitcase – Steve Moakler – 2017

Another country pop sensation, Steve Moakler epitomizes the optimism, polish and melodic earworms that are emblematic of Nashville’s radio friendly country sound.

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