Bold statement, given the number and quality of non-pop-country artists * these days Sturgill Simpson Effusively praised by critics and other artists. "Hard" country base but he builds so well on it...and sometimes throws any formula right out the window (Buddhist gospel influence, anyone?). He has 2 self-released albums, both top-tier (his newest has 7/10 of AMG's Picks to Click), and every serious artist in Country wants him to write some songs for them--both marks of deep respect. His Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sturgill_Simpson His Site:http://www.sturgillsimpson.com/ << currently on tour 'til 1 March--Midwest/Upper South/ NorthEast. The Discog (both with reviews--highly unusual for a new artist).: http://www.allmusic.com/artist/sturg...21/discography
Hell, yes, some tunes: From that marvy NPR series, here's a 4 song snippet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5cMqD0WqYE << The uploader comment adds value...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNV16tz1NK0 << a 2-fer at a brewery, the natural home for a Country singer...except he went cold-sober 8 years ago.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpgvolhccNQ << a classic, done nicely--he doesn't need a pedal steel with that killer slide player...and then it gets better
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlCGiZ9nGNk << interview segment w/ music
* I hate the term "outlaw country", and "alternate country" almost as much. They do not celebrate outlawry and they aren't the alternates--they are country and the others are pop with a twang.