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Boots & Whiskey

Top 10 Independent Male Artists to Watch in 2023

todayDecember 27, 2022 178 2 1

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Hey everyone!  Welcome back to another Top 10 Blog here from the Boots & Whiskey Podcast!

Now this list is about the Top 10 Independent Men to watch for in 2023.  Let me say this again.  This is who we think you should be looking out for in 2023.  This does not discredit anyone, this doesn’t mean we think these 10 are better than others out there, but these are the 10 we think had a great 2022 and will really flourish in 2023.  We would love to hear what you think!

So here we go!

10 – Rick Lynn

I stumbled across Rick Lynn in late 2021 and got hooked to his sound.  Throughout most of 2022, Rick scared the hell out of me with the heavy Country Rap influences he had going on.  Don’t get me wrong, Country Rap is a thing and it’s flourishing.  I don’t understand it, but hey it’s working.  Rick has really ended 2022 on a pace that’s going to bring him, I think, bigger and better things in 2023.  We are so happy that Rick is killing the scene he’s in, even if it is Country Rap.  I’m teasing Rick here based on previous conversations we have had about it.  Look for big things from Rick Lynn in 2023!

9 – Derek Lersch

Derek’s been hiding on ya’ll in Florida.  He’s done the Ole Red circuit and the Tin Roof circuit all over their locations and in 2023 he’s coming to a city near you.  Check him out.  He was our first interview ever and we have both grown and changed so much that I am super excited to see what 2023 brings for Derek.  Cheers to you and your beautiful family buddy.  We’ll see ya this summer in New England.

8- Dakota Poorman

Dakota Poorman is the next Kid Rock and Brantley Gilbert.  If you like Rock and Gilbert, you’re going to love Poorman.  This guy was recently on the show and his passion and desire for the music is contagious.  I haven’t had many experiences where I talked to someone and wanted to pick up a guitar and tried songwriting and Dakota’s story made me want to do that.  I felt compelled to do that.  I didn’t cause I am a shitty song writer and an even worse guitar player, but the thought was there.  Dakota may not be exactly independent but he still has his finger on the pulse so that’s why he’s on this list.  Best of luck in 2023 buddy!

7- Joe Peters

The boy out of Bakersfield, Joe Peters is killing the Bakersfield Sound.  He would make Merle and Buck very proud coming from the same place.  Joe writes and performs every show like it’s his last song and his last show.  He’s getting great opportunities with Boots in the Park and playing other shows all over the place.  Joe was on the show not too long ago and we’ve become good friends since and I appreciate him immensely.  Thank you Joe!  Here’s to an incredible 2023.

6- Colby Acuff

Who’s Colby Acuff you may say?  Well Colby is a better version of Zach Bryan, Tyler Childers, and the like.  Call me crazy, but Colby is the same quality of artist you aren’t listening too at the rate you are listening to the aforementioned artists.  He is out of Idaho and really gaining speed.  You don’t want to miss Colby, trust me.  Check this dude out.  He sings country music the way we want it, or at least the way it used to be.

5 – Josh Kiser

This is the first artist I have on here that could fit in any of the next few spots.  From the first time I heard Josh with ‘Whiskey Wins,” to the current date, I have absolutely fallen in love with this guys sound and song writing ability.  He knows how to write a sad song and he knows how to write a song that will get your hips moving.  I have to say though, his sad songs, really hit home.  Goddamn Josh.  He’s been on the show and he was one of my favorite episodes I have ever gotten to record.  Great guy, great family guy, great friend and an even greater artists.

4- Ryan Waters

Ryan Waters, man this guy is going to have a killer 2023.  The songs he’s released are catchy as all hell and the song writing is spot on.  He’s got that Red Dirt sound that I really think is starting to take hold across the country.  I think he really is a Top 5 artist for a big break out in 2023.  He has a bit of a more popular “radio friendly” sound but it works because he can balance his sound really well.  This guys going places.  Hope to see him out on the road sooner than later.

3- Anthony Nix

Anthony has figured out Tik Tok in 2022.  Between his lives and his releasing of snippets of songs in videos before they are released so they get stuck in your head and you want to scream, Anthony has it figured out in the ways of the business.  That’s not to say he hasn’t figured it out with the music, because he certainly has.  This is a guy who writes songs that you feel in your bones.  He writes about experiences, he writes about the truth.  They don’t call it three cords and the truth for no reason.  This guy has the reason!  I am hoping his wings spread out further then the middle of the country this year and we get Anthony Nix in different parts of the US!

2- Tanner Usrey

This kid.  My God.  If you don’t know Tanner Usrey, you’re living under a rock or just listen to country radio.  Or both.  Tanner’s songs and sound rivals some of the greatest of all time.  He makes country music the way it’s supposed to sound.  He makes country music the way it’s supposed to feel.  He makes country music for people who have gone through things in their lives.  This isn’t radio country where someone who’s making millions a year is singing about going to work all day and how hard it is to work a 9-5 when you know they’re full of shit.  Usrey sings these songs cause he’s lived it.  He had a really great rise in 2022 and he will be a much bigger name in 2023, check him out.

1 – Shane Smith & The Saints

I mean really what can be said here?  They had a killer 2022 with a direct support gig for the Whiskey Myers tour that brought them to larger audiences all over the country.  They had a song featured in ‘Yellowstone’ at the end of 2021, and got a huge spot in the Season 5 Premiere.  With some new music and an even bigger tour, hopefully, in 2023, these guys are going to be unstoppable.  They are well on their way to having that Whiskey Myers success.  You know the kind of success that everyone who listens to this sort of music puts Shane and the boys in their top artists and they sell out arenas and Red Rocks and so on and the radio says “Shane Smith who?”  To me that is the greatest success of all.  It’s not CMA Awards, it’s not ACM Award’s, it’s not awards in general.  It’s about selling out arenas and large venues and the shows getting bigger and bigger every time they make their way through your city again.  I for one am looking forward to seeing them again at Peacemaker Festival in Arkansas in July and hopefully we can catch up with the guys again then!


I know there a ton of artists I didn’t put in on these lists over the last two weeks, but rest assured, I know about many of the ones you have mentioned in comments and posts about it.  I love seeing where you all agree and disagree it is what will make this genre continue to thrive.


Here’s to a happy and healthy 2023!



Written by: Jim Boots and Whiskey

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As 2023 approaches we are watching 5 country artists that we think will have a great 2023. Corey Kent A big start to his career in 2022 after years of trying to break, patience is key. Releasing "Wild As Her" written by Morgan Wallen charted this year. Bailey Zimmerman Recently, celebrating a #1 at country radio with "Fall In Love" and "Rock And A Hard Place" just coming to radio […]

todayDecember 27, 2022 1214 1

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  1. Mary Ellen Lewis on December 28, 2022

    I am hoping Laine Hardy really hits it big. He is phenomenal and so talented.. my favorite artist

  2. Korah Burgess on December 29, 2022

    Please remember Laine Hardy!!
    He is multi-talented…singing, playing instruments, and writing songs.

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