After a bear of a year in 2020, there's a glimmer of promise early in 2021. And if you ask us, these up-and-coming artists are shining pretty dang bright.

The Boot's 2021 artists to watch vary in genre, style, influence and background, but these country, Americana, folk and bluegrass newcomers are all poised to have breakout years. Their names are ones to keep your eyes (and ears) on: artists you'll want to hear early, so you can brag that you knew about them first.

You may already know some of these acts: Some have been getting radio airplay in recent months; others have made a splash on social media. Many, though, will become new favorites.

In curating our 2021 class of artists to watch, The Boot's staff took into consideration each artist's sound and potential, along with industry buzz and our own opinions. Now, we're ready to share more about these stars on the rise.

Read on to learn the names of The Boot's 2021 artists to watch, and a little bit more about them -- and get ready to hear plenty from them throughout the year: