Who’s topping the charts, going viral, and ruling our earbuds? Each month, EW’s introducing the freshest music talent you have to hear now. Below, get to know Cappa, XYLØ, Alex da Kid, Jane Zhang, Liana Bank$, Jai Wolf, Jake Miller, Muddy Magnolias, and Midland.
Who: A trio out of Dripping Springs, Texas, Midland — lead singer Mark Wystrach, bassist Cameron Duddy, and guitarist Jess Carson — harmonize like the Eagles and emote like Dwight Yoakam. The group got together while Wystrach and Carson served as groomsmen at Duddy’s wedding three years ago. A few months after the ceremony, as Wystrach remembers, “We booked 10 days at the Sonic Ranch in West Texas. We were in the studio for 12 or 13 hours per day. We went through four or five bottles of tequila; there were a few fights — a few choke outs — but halfway through that week there was a clear chemistry between the three of us and a real joy about what we were doing.”
Claim to Fame: The group just dropped their debut EP in October via the powerhouse Nashville label, Big Machine Records, and shot the video for “Drinkin’ Problem,” their Laurel Canyon-meets-country lead single, co-written by Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne. (Duddy, who has helmed music videos for the likes of Fifth Harmony and Bruno Mars, directed the clip.)
What’s Next: After opening for Willie Nelson — a dream come true for Wystrach, who says, “It was magical. Let’s just say I cried on stage twice” — the group is at work on their first full-length and hope to release it in late spring or early summer 2017.
Key Track: “Drinkin’ Problem” joins a long line of country tales about men going down in a whiskey-induced blaze of glory, but “Burn Out” proves these songwriters can turn Nashville tropes on its head thanks to whip-smart lyricism.