10 country artists worth listening to in 2014

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Photo courtesy of ATO Records
Caitlin Rose
This blog recently ran down the "10 Biggest Douchebags in Country Music." That's all well and good, but it only tells half the story -- country is far from a moribund, cheesed-out genre. 

In fact, there are countless up-and-coming country craftsmen and women who are worthy of your attention. So if you're wearing out your lone Johnny Cash record, you're doing it wrong. Here are 10 of 2014's top outlaws.
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Photo courtesy of EMI Nashville
Eric Church

10. Eric Church
Country radio isn't totally useless... just mostly useless. The man giving it one toe in the pond of relevancy is Eric Church. If you updated Hank Williams Jr.'s southern rock flirtations for the 21st century (with a detour through latter-day Metallica), you' have Church, who's able to command street-level respect while winning industry awards.

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Photo courtesy of Normaltown Records
Daniel Romano

9. Daniel Romano
The Nudie suit went out sometime around 1975, but no one told Daniel Romano. And hey, we're glad to see it come back, along with Romano's timeless and classic country sound. His lazy, rambling style is reminiscent of George Jones or Conway Twitty. Lots of bawlers in here, kids, so bring a tissue.

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Photo courtesy of ATO Records
Caitlin Rose

8. Caitlin Rose
The comparisons to Loretta Lynn are almost too easy. She also might be Graham Parsons reborn as a woman. Caitlin Rose's songs are the perfect heartache music to give your young cousin currently obsessed with Taylor Swift if you want to turn her on to something, y'know, good.

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Courtesy of Inside Outlaws Records
Don "Doop" Duprie

7. Doop and the Inside Outlaws
Everyone loves a good singer-songwriter, and when he's got a killer band behind him, that's just the icing on the cake. The brainchild of Detroit-based, laid-off firefighter Don Duprie, Doop has all the murder ballads and anthems to self-loathing you've come to expect from the greats.

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"She also might be Graham Parsons reborn as a woman."  hard-hitting music journalism

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