If you're talking about those who haven't had the wide acclaim that they should, then one that comes to mind is Will Hoge who has been on the country scene for quite a while. He's from Franklin, Tennessee, which is just right outside of Nashville, and is very well regarded in music circles, but somehow the mainstream hasn't cottoned on yet.
He has his followers, but he hasn't broken through and I think it's a real shame because his songwriting is amazing, and he looks exactly like how you'd want a country guy to look like. He's lived the life, and tells the tale and I think he deserves much wider acclaim. His songs speak to me, particularly being an American from that area – and maybe its because I'm an expat in the UK, but he makes me really homesick.
He talks about small town life in a way that not a lot of artists can do – and certainly can't do authentically if they've not lived that life. And while Franklin is a suburb of Nashville, when he was growing up it was quite a small suburb, now it's like a lot of places around the world and been enveloped by gentrification and expansion and urban crawl, but there's something that's really small town storyteller about him on a big sonic scale, and I absolutely love him. He has all the country music boxes ticked.
If we come a little bit closer to home, Yola Carter is getting ready to blow everybody's minds. Her approach to country is more on the rootsy and Americana side. She comes at it from a really interesting place. She's a session singer who has sung with Massive Attack for a while, and written songs for loads of artists. She's from Bristol – not my one in Tennessee, here in the UK– and decided that she had something else she wanted to share and has decided to actually do it, to become a country and Americana artist and is absolutely going from strength to strength. Her album is called 'Orphan Offering' and it will blow you away.