Country Music

A Tale Of Two Sara(h)’s: Why SaraBeth And Sarah Dunn Are Two Of Country’s Rising Stars

While they may be from two different regions in the United States, there are two young artists who are shaking country music up and making the millennial generation proud too.

They are Sarah Dunn, from the Sarah Dunn Band and SaraBeth.

They have a lot in common, including the fact that both just released their latest works in the past few weeks.

The Sarah Dunn Band released their album “Wild Wild Heart” and SaraBeth released her EP “Full Speed Ahead”

Sarah Dunn Band and SaraBeth thank social media for giving the greatest push in obtaining their “trending” status in the country music scene.

BUT they come from very different walks of life.

Sarah Dunn is from Monett, Missouri, where she grew up on a small farm along with her father and mother.

Musical talent ran in her family as she saw her father perform musically often while she was a little girl. Her great grandfather also played the fiddle.

WATCH: Sarah Dunn Band’s song “You or the Whiskey” 

And, it was that musical family that taught her all she knows about music.


Because that is all the training that she had.

“There was a time in my life that I was working two regular day jobs, and it seemed like there was never enough to make ends meet,” Sarah Dunn said in an interview with RISE NEWS. “This situation made my path difficult but it also made me stronger.”

READ MORE: Up And Coming Country Star Mitchell Tenpenny Is Proving Nashville’s Relevancy

On the other side of the equation, we have, SaraBeth.

Growing up in the suburbs in Dallas, SaraBeth decided to dip into her toes into the country music scene after being pushed by her brother’s success in baseball.

WATCH: SaraBeth’s “Nowhere With You” 

“My younger brother got drafted to play for the St. Louis Cardinals, and, being able to see my little brother accomplish this dream by battling all the negative thoughts and comments in his path, that inspired me to follow mine too,” SaraBeth said.

Interestingly, SaraBeth went on to study entrepreneurship at Baylor University.

After that, she went to the epicenter of country music, Nashville to start her career.

And then, success came, and their worlds collided.

READ MORE: New Jersey Girl Lacey Caroline Tries To Break Into Country Music Scene

Sarah Dunn Band and SaraBeth have performed in the same concerts before and have mutual respect for each other.

“Sarah Dunn and her band are absolutely amazing. They are very genuine and those are the types of people that you want to be surrounded in this industry,” SaraBeth said. “We both are in an industry that is usually connected to money, success and ambition, and Sarah Dunn and her band feel like home when you are surrounded by them.”

Sarah Dunn had positive things to say about all the artists hustling in the musical world, including SaraBeth.

“In the society that we live now, it is extremely important to be uplifting to others. I don’t really view them as competition because everything is unique and shines on their own light,” Sarah Dunn said. “There is so much opportunity to grow and help grow each other. We have to celebrate each other. That is a wonderful thing.”

For more about each artist, you can visit:

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: SaraBeth/ Facebook

Up And Coming Country Star Mitchell Tenpenny Is Proving Nashville’s Relevancy

In the music industry, Nashville has once again become a fresh hot-bed for rising talent, which makes new music more difficult to stand out. Artists are having to find new and creative ways to promote and brand themselves in the ever changing city.

Born and raised in Nashville, country singer Mitchell Tenpenny is working on becoming a success in this booming industry.

“I think I stand out by trying to have a different sound and approach to how I present my music,” Tenpenny said. “I want every song to feel authentic and real.”

Tenpenny started playing music when he was in the 7th grade. He went to a friend’s house to play a round of golf but found several instruments to play instead. The next day, he picked up a guitar.

Growing up in Nashville influenced Tenpenny to strive for excellence – to make himself stand out.


Country singer Mitchell Tenpenny. Photo Credit: Mitchell Tenpenny/ Facebook

“The music scene has changed a lot. I’ve seen what’s worked and what hasn’t. Everyone is trying new ways and techniques to make a living in this industry with streaming,” Tenpenny said. “It didn’t exist when I grew up watching songwriters have hits.”

He has seen some of his favorite songwriters and artists break through from the beginning and he said that it is one of his favorite feelings.

“I’m not trying to write music for a lunch time,” Tenpenny said. “I’m trying to write music for a life-time.”

One of his favorite aspects of the experiences the city has to offer is how it is ever changing. The moments all lead to other adventures like hearing his songs, or ones he’s written on the radio or being performed by someone, and getting to write with such talented musicians. Nothing can top those moments for him he said.

His best advice to anyone trying to “make it” in Nashville is to “be there.” Be a part of the city and the culture that is there. It is one of the “tried and true” ways to gain acceptance.

Paying your dues is also just as important. With long hours, hard work, and heartbreak, Tenpenny said a big break will come. You just have to earn it.

“I’m not trying to write music for a lunch time,” Tenpenny said. “I’m trying to write music for a life-time.”

New Jersey Girl Lacey Caroline Tries To Break Into Country Music Scene

Lacey Caroline is a Nashville transplant, originally hailing from Sussex County, New Jersey. She says that she lived “a very country lifestyle” growing up, despite being from up North.

Sussex County hosts an annual Farm and Horse Show, and Lacey’s first job at the age of 14 was helping to take care of the horses on a nearby farm.

“I will say the biggest difference from New Jersey to Nashville is that I find Southerners have a greater restraint when it comes to ‘telling what you really feel,’” Caroline said.  “I’m not sure if it’s a flaw or a gift, but Jerseyians are known for not holding back their feelings about situations.  With that aside, I always try my hardest to be extra polite. Oh, and the food! Man, is the food good. The biscuits and gravy, fried chicken. The only one who isn’t a fan of the food down here is my bathroom scale.”

Caroline loves the country lifestyle, which is what brought her to Nashville.

“I knew the only way to get better at the art of songwriting and crafting those lyrics would be to live in the thick of it all. I wanted to be able to go out any night of the week and hear great songs, and have the opportunity to write and learn from the people in this town.”

She found a great support system in Nashville in a 24-hour space on Music Row called The Workshop.

Read More: Aaron Parker Is The Next Big Thing in Country Music

“I have the most amazing group of friends, and every day, they motivate me to not only work harder at music, but work harder at being a better person,” Caroline said. They’re all amazing songwriters, artists, and singers. They’ve taught me so much about music, writing, crafting songs and digging deeper.”

Despite being a country singer, she attributes much of her understanding of music to growing up listening to emo music.

She said that she grew up as a kind of loner in school, “because I was quiet didn’t mean I didn’t have feelings or emotions, and I felt like even though kids in my school picked on me, the emo songs I listened to made me feel like I was accepted, like I wasn’t alone. It gave me hope, and in that, happiness.”

She wants to evoke that same hope and happiness in other people who may be quiet but still feel strong emotions.

Lacey’s EP,“Songbird” was released in October 2013, and it helped her find some great opportunities, such as playing the famous Bluebird Café in Nashville.

“It was a great introduction to the country music community as an arist,” Caroline said. “And it also gave me a great starting point to grow from in terms of songwriting.”

“It’s better than a dream to me; in fact, sometimes I feel like I’m dreaming.”

Caroline said that she pulls inspiration and influences for her songs from musicians like Will Hoge, Brandi Carlisle, Eric Paslay, David Nail, and The Milk Carton Kids. She says that she always looks for “inspirational triggers in words, melodies, and structures,” and she also pulls inspirations from real life events.

Her song “Mason Jar,” which she thinks is one of her best, was written after a conversation at a bar.

“I was eating dinner at a bar by my house, coming up with song titles, when a very old Alabama man leaned over and asked what I was writing. The conversation turned into him telling me stories about his life, including a particular story about his wife and mason jars.“

WATCH: Caroline perform “Mason Jar”

“You have two minutes to tell a story,” says Lacey. “So every word has to count.If I don’t “feel” what I’m singing or writing, then I need to rewrite and rethink it; if the listeners don’t feel anything, then I need to do a better job at relating what I’m personally feeling.”

Her latest single, “Girl Like You” is based off of her personal experiences, and was a very quick write.

Read More: Could Abi Ann Be The Next Breakout Country Music Star?

“This girl was in love with my then boyfriend and doing everything to get him to dump me for her. I went to my mom asking what to do, and her advice to me was not to do anything,” Caroline said. “I was pretty dumbfounded, but she went on to explain that the issue wasn’t between me and her, it was between my boyfriend and her, and she said ‘If he’s not willing to stand up for you, and show respect for you and your relationship with him, then he’s not someone you should waste time on at all.’”

LISTEN: Lacey Caroline’s “Girl Like You”

Caroline said that she loves every part of the songwriting and recording process, but that her favorite part is performing live.

“I still get butterflies sometimes when I sing, but there is no feeling that compares to losing myself in a song, reliving the moment I’m singing about, and creating that moment for the audience,” Caroline said. “It’s better than a dream to me; in fact, sometimes I feel like I’m dreaming.”

You can check out Lacey Caroline’s music on her Youtube channel or on iTunes, or you can keep up with Lacey herself on Facebook and Twitter.

Like this piece? Rise News just launched a few weeks ago and is only getting started. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with global news. Have a news tip? (No matter how big or small!) Send it to us- [email protected]

Could Abi Ann Be The Next Breakout Country Music Star?

Across America, a new song about female empowerment is starting to gain traction in the most peculiar of places- on Radio Disney.

“Slide over, I’m driving, I ain’t just another cliché riding,” Abi Ann’s song “Truck Candy” commands.

A catchy tune poking fun at some of the more ridiculous tropes in country music, “Truck Candy” is enjoying a run on the kids centric radio network and on iTunes Radio where it is featured.

Rise News recently spoke to the 18-year-old rising star via phone from her apartment in Nashville, TN about her upbringing, her music and what she hopes to accomplish in the changing country landscape.

“I think that history repeats itself,” Ann said when asked about changes in the genre. “I see country music becoming more open to seeing more unique changes. A good twenty years ago that may not have happened.”

Abi Ann was born in Texas but raised in Los Angeles.

“I was an extremely ADD kid, my parents threw me into a whole lot of different activities. Music was the only thing that really stuck,” Ann said. “I grew up with very strong country roots.”

She attended Campbell Hall School where she said that she was encouraged to try to strike it big.

“I grew up in LA and my friends called me Hannah Montana growing up,” Ann said. “I went to a very understanding school and they were very helpful with everything.”

One of her first big breaks came when she was able to join Kelly Clarkson on tour, performing before the superstar in 36 cities in the US and Canada. She said that she learned a great deal from the experience.

“It was my first major tour. Kelly really runs a very loose camp and there is like no tension on the tour. It was just really eye-opening and I learned about my craft,” Ann said of Clarkson. “She really plays with her sound. I have so much more respect for her because of how versatile she is.”


Abi Ann, an 18 year old rising star in the country music world.

After graduating from high school, Ann enrolled in Belmont University in Nashville where she is studying entrepreneurship, not exactly a major for those who wish to skirt through school.

She has a strong business sense, learning from her small business owning father the importance of being self-reliant.

“I’ve always been very much a believer in a separation of church and state in my life. I really like school and music,” Ann said. “I’m going to school for business because I want to be self-sufficient. I’ve just always had a knack for business. And I’ve always loved academics as much as music.”

The Clarkson tour wrapped up on September 20, which cut into the start of the fall semester. As a result, Ann is taking classes online but she hopes to take on campus classes in the future.

In terms of her sound, Ann said that she is very willing to mix different influences into her music from current pop and country music to some older legends that helped define the genre.

“My main influences were Johnny Cash and Shania Twain. That’s a weird combination for sure,” Ann said. “Shania, I look up to as a very strong woman figure.”

And that brings us back to her hit “Truck Candy”, a song that could easily be seen as a modern-day feminist ballad.

“It’s not that intense,” Ann said. But I’m very supportive of female empowerment.”

Saying that she views music as a form of therapy, Ann indicated that the song was more a direct response to the default masculinity that exists in much of country today.

“I wrote it with Walker Hayes. This was before Maddie and Tae and we were concerned about the gender imbalance in country music,” Ann said. “I definitely think it is an acquired taste. Country is not something that everybody loves.”

Ann made it clear that she deeply loves country music and sees it as one of the most vibrant music scenes going today.

Having only turned 18 a few months ago, Ann is still very young.

“I’ve had instances where I couldn’t go and do the typical teenage thing but I keep a pretty tight circle,” Ann said of some of the challenging aspects of fame. “But I have the best friends. My roommate is with me now and she’s smiling [listening to the interview].”

Like this piece? Rise News just launched a few weeks ago and is only getting started. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with global news. Have a news tip? (No matter how big or small!) Send it to us- [email protected]

Photo Credits: Submitted

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