ARTISTs TO WATCH
There's no doubt that the past few years have been a challenge for Country Artists.
ACMM's "Artists to Watch" features some overcomers we've noticed are coming up strong.
This issue we feature Chad Bushnell, Vanessa Lynn Bird, and Cody Joe Hodges!!
If there was a true authentic spirit to cross the threshold of Country Music with Christian standards, it would be Chad Bushnell.
His roots date back down his family lineage the past 4 generations made of cowboys and singers, some of which shared the stage with the late Bob Hope. Chad exudes the Americana spirit wrapped up into his lyrics and melodies. Mostly inspired as a child growing up singing in church and constant inspiration from his great grandmother, his Christian Country roots run deep.
Chad continues to contribute to the western ranch world working closely with fellow Ranchers alongside his father, mother and sister Chelsey Bushnell (who is an accomplished roper and rodeo athlete) maintaining livestock while writing country songs. He has opened for Dwight Yoakam, Kris Kristofferson, Neil McCoy, Billy Currington, Mark Wills, Collin Raye, Mark Chesnutt, Jerrod Neimann, Exile and many others over the years. While Chad isn’t touring and opening for current country stars such as Lee Brice, Aaron Watson and Scotty McCreery, he’s tucked away with his wife in the rolling, western hills of Red Bluff, California.
Chad’s latest single “What Would Jesus Do” recently hit #1 on the Christian Music Weekly charts for December right by George Strait and Lauren Alaina. His EP titled “What They Ain’t Tellin’ Us” was produced at Hag Studio by Ace Otten. It features Merle Haggard’s son Ben Haggard on guitar and backing vocals and members of the Strangers. Chad has a new EP out titled “Baby I Love You” that was produced by legendary singer/songwriter Dave Gibson and recorded at Beaird Music Group in Nashville, TN. Chad has been recording and working with friends in Nashville, TN who have co-produced his work, such as Johnathan Frizzell.
Chad has participated in a number of contests such as the American Country Star contest in Nashville where he became a top 3 finalist and won the Horizon award for 2014. He was the 1st place winner of the Inspirational Country Showdown in Yuba City, CA. for 2018 and won New Artist of the Year for 2019 at the Inspirational Country Music Awards. He was Contemporary Country Vocalist of the Year at the
Josie Music Awards for 2020. You may have also caught a glimpse of Chad on TV shows such as The 700 Club and Universal Huntress.
You can follow Chad on:
Vanessa Lynn Bird
Hailing from the hill country of South Texas, Vanessa Lynn Bird has been performing and entertaining audiences from a young age, forming her first band in 2011. She turned her part-time passion into a full-time endeavor and released her first single in 2017, followed by a six-song EP in 2019.
Her debut EP, Burn Brighter, charted at #36 on the iTunes Country charts on its release day. Her recent single, Underestimated, is an empowering ballad dedicated to her journey as an underdog in the songwriting world.
Vanessa put together a touring band in 2017 and performed all over Texas, including the National Anthem at Spurs and Dallas Stars’ games, with the YOSA Philharmonic in San Antonio, headlining the NCAA Final Four pregame event, historic venues like Floore’s Country Store, and numerous festivals. In 2021, Vanessa fulfilled her dream of moving to Nashville, TN and has been sharing her original music and working on a new album.
She has also guested as a background vocalist on numerous records, including Rich O’Toole’s American Kid (#5 on the iTunes Country charts) and his #1 single, God & George Strait. In 2018, she was nominated as a top 5 finalist for TCMA Female Vocalist of the Year.
You can follow Vanessa on:
Cody Joe Hodges
You’ll hear a hint of Brazos-bottom dirt in the voice that sets the tone for Cody Joe Hodges’ sound. He’s an Aggie Veteran, country singer who was raised in the honky-tonks of Central and East-Central Texas. He now resides in Nashville, Tennessee, performing at Losers Downtown when not on the road traveling America.
As an independent artist, Cody Joe is well on his way, honing his craft as a singer, songwriter, guitar picker & entertainer. His latest single release, co-written with his wife Jamie - “Make It Through Monday” is a full band track to the "That Country Sound" album - released in the fall of 2022.
While his sound is more on the traditional side of country with songs like: “Roll That Way" , “Getting Back to Country” & “God, Family & Country” , he also has songs like "Rush", "Hellbent on Loving You", ‘Reasons’, and a cover of ‘House of the Rising Sun’, there's no doubt he has some red dirt influence.
Hodges averages close to 150 shows a year, tens of thousands of miles, honing his craft and serenading country fans willing to give him a chance. Currently traveling across America, he performs solo & full band shows at various venues, festivals & private events.
You can follow Cody on: