2023 Country Artists to Watch

Introducing our 2023 Country Artists to Watch!

Over the past 7+ years of Country Swag, we have always loved to support rising artists and introduce our followers to the best new music in the genre. Since our first Artists to Watch list back in 2017, we have pinned rising stars like Luke Combs, Brett Young, Russell Dickerson, Jordan Davis, Walker Hayes, HARDY, Gabby Barrett, Ernest, and more. Each year we choose ten new artists that we believe are destined for killer careers, our only rule when choosing is the artist can NOT already have a number one song.

Check out our picks in 20172018, 2019, 2o2o, 2021, and 2022 before checking out the 10 artists we picked to have a huge 2023 below.



Listen: “Tennessee Orange”
Stay Connected: @megmoroney

It is hard to talk about 2022 without Megan Moroney popping into the conversation! The singer-songwriter steadily gained popularity on social media throughout the year. With half a million followers on TikTok alone, Moroney is clearly one to look out for. Her break-out single, “Tennessee Orange” was one of the biggest songs of the year. Fans can anticipate her umping debut album that is slated to come sometime this year. What a way to start 2023!




Listen: “Tears the Size Of Texas”
Stay Connected: @thebennyburgess

Known as a killer songwriter in Nashville, Ben Burgess made his artist debut in the last quarter of 2022 with his incredible album, Tears the Size of Texas. The ten-song project blew us away, and we knew then and there that he was destined to make this list. Burgess knows who he is as an artist, and he creates music for the everyday country music fan. Each and every one of his songs are sprinkled with a charm that only he could create. Learn more about his story here.



Listen: “Why’d We Break Up Again”
Stay Connected: @dylanmarlowemusic

Dylan Marlowe is a young, standout artist who is wise beyond his years. Back in September we spotlighted his story and shared that he is about to blow up – we stand by that sentiment! This year, Marlowe garnered new fans everywhere he went while touring with Cole Swindell and Ashley Cooke. If 2022 was the year to set the stage for Marlowe, 2023 is the year that is going to continue his momentum to stardom. Check out his newest collaboration with Kasey Tyndall here.



Listen: “Jesus, I’m Jealous”
Stay Connected:@mackcarpmusic

It is hard not to fall in love with Mackenzie Carpenter. A co-writer behind Lily Rose’s smash hit, “Villain,” Carpenter is the real deal as a songwriter alone; however, her striking vocals add to her undeniable talent. Her current single, “Jesus, I’m Jealous” is one of our favorite new songs, and we anticipate that 2023 is going to be an incredible year for the new recording artist.



Listen: “Try Losing One”
Stay Connected: @tylerbradenmusic

Tyler Braden is the type of artist who knows exactly who is. The country-rock artist has the unique ability to create songs that are upbeat, yet sentimental or heartbreaking like his single, “Ways to Miss You.” This year, Braden is heading out on tour with Mitchell Tenpenny on the ‘This Is The Heavy’ tour and we look forward to seeing him win fans over show after show.




Listen: “Better Off Fishin'”
Stay Connected: @theshaneprofitt

We love a God moment, and Shane Profitt’s story is exactly that. Profitt is an artist that is hard not to love. His humble confidence is admirable, and his songs depict the exact experiences we all go through, while still conveying his own personal story. The Tennessee native lives and breathes country music, and it is evident both in his music and on stage.




Listen: “Narcissist”
Stay Connected:

Perhaps one of the biggest viral TikTok sensations on this list, Avery Anna rose to notoriety with her raw and incredible song “Narcissist.” She drew fans in by the thousands with each and every video she shared. Anna’s EP, Mood Swings solidified her staying power, showcasing her as a true star. The Warner Music Nashville signee continues to make waves in country music with each and every single note she sings and lyric she writes. Learn more about her story here.



Listen: “Your Momma Still Does”
Stay Connected: @ashlandcraft

The last two years the landscape of country music has been all about Ashland Craft. Her debut album, TRAVELIN’ KIND is still making waves and garnering new fans for the songstress; despite, its 2021 release. The singer-songwriter is one of the most talented acts in country music. Her unique sound, vocal range and clever lyrics make her one of our easiest picks for this year’s list, hands down.




Listen: “Baby I Am”
Stay Connected: @daltondover_music

Dalton Dover first made a splash appearing on The Voice Season 16, where he got a chair turn from none other than Blake Shelton. Now, the talented singer-songwriter has won over fans everywhere amassing a huge fanbase on TikTok and putting out his own music, including one of our favorites – “Baby I Am”. Upon first listen, it’s easy to see Dover’s undeniable talent through his strong vocals and impressive delivery. We’re eager to follow along on Dover’s country music journey as he continues to build up his name.




Listen: “Trouble”
Stay Connected: @joshrossmusic

One of our favorite rising artists out there right now, Josh Ross has talent that everyone should know about. His song, “First Taste of Gone” was one of our favorite songs of 2022. With just a few songs out, Ross has already shown fans and industry alike that he is the real deal. Ross is cultivating his own sound, clearly influenced by his love of pop-punk music, current industry hitmakers, (HARDY, Morgan Wallen, Thomas Rhett), and rock elements. He is a must-listen to!

Like what you hear? Give a follow to our 2023 Artists to Watch Playlist here.

Fans can join our Weekly Round-Up e-newsletter here, for the latest in country music and more news about upcoming announcements and releases.

Check out the latest tunes in country music on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.



Who Is Ben Burgess? The Story Behind His Journey to Country Music

Who is Ben Burgess? The singer-songwriter joined us to chat about his journey to country music. Get to know the rising star here…


Photo by Chris Hornbuckle

Quick Facts:

Full Name – Benjamin Beauregard Burgess
Birthdate – 11/6/1984
Hometown – East Dallas, Texas
Current City – Nashville, Tennesee
Musical Influences – Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, John Prine, Ray Charles, Freddy Fender
Label – Big Loud Records
Current Single – “Tears the Size of Texas” (*as of date of article: 10/24/22)

The Beginning:

As always, we love to share rising stars in the industry with our followers; however, today you may recognize this gifted individual already. Ben Burgess started his career as a songwriter, but now he is ready to step into the spotlight as an artist and we have a feeling it’s another move in the right direction for the talented entertainer.

An East Dallas native, music was always Burgess’ path. “My dad was a guitar-playing, songwriting, fireman. I was raised in a firehouse around titans, heroes, and characters larger than life and that shaped the man I am and the kind of songs I write, and how serious I am about writing songs,” began the singer. “My mother was a hippie, still is, and a DJ, when she went to school in Oklahoma, so I grew up around a lot of different music, and I feel like you can hear it in a lot of these songs.”

Burgess credits his family and his Dallas upbringing for his love for music. “The fact that I grew up in the city has really influenced my songwriting and given it to some depth to where I’m not really singing about lifestyle songs, but more about life songs,” shared the singer. Burgess mentions a love for Frank Zappa, Frank Sinatra and James Taylor; however, it was Willie Nelson who helped him find a love for country music.

“It was Willie Nelson and it was the Stardust album, [my parents] had the record and they played it all the time, and the cool thing about that album was that he covered other songs, so he was doing like Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, all different kinds of music,” shared Burgess. “It really comes down to the guitar and the man or woman and the songs and I feel like country is the perfect genre to do that. And I’m really honored to be in it.”

The Turning Point:

Burgess continued his path toward country music, after a stint in Los Angeles, writing pop music. “I feel like country is kind of a grown-folk thing. We’re talking about heartbreak and there are all kinds of sad stories, and there’s a lot of honesty. […] It’s important for people to connect with each other and realize we ain’t that different at all,” shared the singer.

In 2014, Burgess made the move to Nashville, landing himself a publishing deal shortly after that. “It was blood, sweat, and tears the size of Texas on this journey […] I like to tell people when one door closes, a window opens, you just have to figure out which one it is, even if it ain’t open, find a rock and get in. […] For some reason, I never gave up.” Adding later, “I’m hoping I can inspire the next generation of songwriters, country superstars like Morgan and Ernest, Tyler Rich to keep going.”

As a songwriter, Burgess has written songs for artists like Morgan Wallen, Florida Georgia Line, and The Cadillac Three. After finding success as a songwriter with a lot of Big Loud Records’ artists, it was no surprise that the singer would make his artist debut as a Big Loud recording artist.


Burgess made his artist debut with his brand new record Tears the Size of Texas. “We tried to get as many honest songs as we could for this album,” began the rising artist. “The process with me and Joey Moi, the producer, was really us going back and forth for months listening to the songs and going, ‘What’s the message? What’s the honesty here?’ And also trying to find a common theme that we can balance from.”

Burgess’ ten-song project has everything any country music lover could want. “I think we really found a good balance of some grit, some truth, and some badassness, and some sensitiveness. There’s some introspective on there and I think there’s a strength in being able to take a loss, and strength in talking about it and singing about it.” Some standouts on the record include the introspective solo write about grief, “Ain’t Got No Phone,” “Jackson,” and “Kill A Man.”

Thankfully this is just the beginning for Burgess. He plans to continue to release more and more music, as long as Big Loud will let him. As a songwriter, he has music for days, so it’s only a matter of time until he expands his already impressive artist catalog.

If you are dying to catch Burgess live, he is heading back out with Koe Wetzel (and Jelly Roll) next month. New York fans can catch him later this week, October 27th with Warren Zeiders. We anticipate hearing him jump on a major tour next year too! For tickets and more tour information, check-out his website here.


Fans can join our Weekly Round-Up e-newsletter here, for the latest in country music and more news and announcements about future Ben Burgess releases.

To keep up with Ben Burgess, visit his official website or follow him on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or Twitter.

Ben Burgess’ music is available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released tunes on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.


Ben Burgess: ‘Tears the Size of Texas’ – Debut Album Review

Ben Burgess’ debut album, Tears the Size of Texas is out now, September 30th on all streaming platforms. Take a listen and read our full review below.

While you may not know the name Ben Burgess just yet, chances are incredibly high that you know a song he’s written. With a career honed on Austin’s famed 6th Street, the Dallas native co-wrote Morgan Wallen’s #1 hit, “Whiskey Glasses,” as well as Tyler Rich’s “The Difference,” Pat Green’s “Drinkin’ Days,” HARDY’s “SIGNED, SOBER YOU,” and many more.

After a stint in Los Angeles spent writing pop songs, where he had a song cut by The Jonas Brothers, the Dallas native headed to Nashville where he signed with Big Loud Records in 2020, releasing his first single, “Tears the Size of Texas,” earlier this year. Today, September 30, the rising star releases his debut album of the same name, featuring ten new tracks co-written by Burgess, alongside the likes of Josh Kerr, Brandy Clark, Ashley Gorley, Jacob Davis, and more.

Despite all his successes as a writer, his debut album almost didn’t happen. “I’d given up on the dream of being an artist,” Burgess admits. “I always wanted to do it and felt like I could, but the pieces never aligned.” However, once he realized that there were few who could sing his songs as well as he could, Burgess decided to continue his musical journey.

As an artist, Burgess is pursuing a sound that is uniquely his own, mixing hints of Texas country with nostalgic tales that he hopes will provide listeners with “three or four-minute movies.” This is especially evident on songs like “Kill a Man,” “Jackson,” and the album’s title track, “Tears the Size of Texas.”

“Jackson,” co-written by Burgess, Clark, Jessie Jo Dillon, and Jesse Frasure, is an immediate standout, offering a male version of the Dolly Parton classic “Jolene.” It may be the only song where Burgess is less than confident, begging “Jackson” not to take his girl. 

“Oh Jackson // Keep your money // Keep your mansion // Keep your tall blonde and handsome // Away from Her // Oh Jackson // Take my daddy’s old guitar // My Best bird dog and my favorite bar and my whole world // Just don’t take my girl”

Meanwhile, he sets the stage as a cowboy full of bravado, warning a girl not to get too close on “Tears the Size of Texas.” “Baby, I’ve always been a cowboy // Just my guitar, my horses and gun,” He admits. “Like the movies I leave with the settin’ sun // And If I was you, baby, I’d run.”

On “High Road,” he shows a lighter side, suggesting partaking in Willie Nelson’s favorite pastime as opposed to drinking, while “Kill a Man” shows his clever lyrics at his finest. His ex has moved on and he wishes her well, but he muses, “I don’t want to know his name // ‘Cause I don’t wanna kill a man.”

And while “Started a Band” and “When We Die” offer booming and anthemic moments, heartache runs rampant on Tears, weaving its way through songs like “White Picket Fence,” “When We Die,” and “Heartbreak.” The latter is one of the album’s most radio-ready singles, a two-stepping ode to the fact that “heartbreak makes the world go ‘round. Likewise, “White Picket Fence” is another lyrical gem, as Burgess warns that perfection can’t be built on a shaky foundation.

“No never build a white picket fence // Around a house of cards // ‘Cause, the first time that the wind blows babe // The whole thing’s gonna fall apart // So, let’s get out while we both still got a chance // Before our first kiss and our first dance // And a white picket fence.”

A different kind of heartbreak befalls the album’s final track, “Ain’t Got No Phone,” which finds Burgess and his family mourning the death of his father in their own ways. On the sparse and haunting track, he mourns the sad fact that “Heaven ain’t got no phone.”

For Ben Burgess, Tears the Size of Texas is an introduction to an artist who is unapologetically himself. “We can tell these stories and bring people into these worlds and give it more of a world and sound,” he says of the album, which he can’t wait to take on the road. “I want the live show to stay true to the recording because we got the best of the best in the studio,” He says. “I’m so excited to see where the music goes and what happens from here. Because right now, it’s as good as it gets.”

Ben Burgess – Tears the Size of Texas Track List:

  1. Tears the Size of Texas (writers: Ben Burgess, Josh Kerr)
  2. White Picket Fence (writers: Ben Burgess, Kevin Kadish) 
  3. When We Die (writers: Ben Burgess, Josh Kerr) 
  4. Jackson (writers: Ben Burgess, Brandy Clark, Jessie Jo Dillon, Jesse Frasure)
  5. High Road (writers: Ben Burgess, Ryan Beaver, Kevin Kadish, Randy Montana) 
  6. Heartbreak (writers: Ben Burgess, Jacob Durrett, Ashley Gorley)
  7. Kill A Man (writers: Ben Burgess, Kevin Kadish)
  8. Sick and Tired (writers: Ben Burgess, Jacob Davis, Josh Kerr)
  9. Started A Band (writers: Ben Burgess, Chris LaCorte, Hunter Phelps)
  10. Ain’t Got No Phone (written by Ben Burgess)

Country Swag Picks:

  1. Heartbreak
  2. Jackson
  3. Started a Band

Ben Burgess’ debut album, ‘Tears the Size of Texas’ is out now.

Fans can join our Weekly Round-Up e-newsletter here, for the latest in country music and more news about future Ben Burgess releases.

Ben Burgess is currently touring with Warren Zeiders, and will make a stop at NYC’s Irving Plaza on October 27.

To keep up with the rising star, visit his official website or follow him on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or Twitter

Ben Burgess’ new album, Tears the Size of Texas, is available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.