Evan Paul hosts Taste of Country Nights, On Demand, a weekly country music interview podcast that focuses on the music. Follow wherever podcasts are found, like Apple Podcasts and Spotify and leave a rating and review. ​​​​​​​​​​​This show is part of the Townsquare Media On Demand network.

Most of the country artists that I get a chance to interview all say the same thing: Nashville is a 10-year town. That means, when you get here, it is going to take 10 years just to be a rookie at a record label, if you even get signed to a deal.

For our latest interviewee on the Taste of Country Nights, On Demand podcast, Nate Smith, that rings true, plus five more years. I'll explain.

About 15 years ago, Nate packed up everything he had and made the move to Nashville. He was telling me how he had gone on Broadway and played all the bars and did everything you need to do to make it, it just wasn't working out for him for whatever reason. After he realized his dream was shattered, he packed his things and moved back home. But he didn't give up — he tells me how he kept playing shows in his hometown and kept hustling trying to keep his dream alive.

One day, he put one of his songs on TikTok and next thing he knew, his page had blown up. He got so much attention from everyone, including record companies back here in Nashville. After about a 15-year hiatus, Nate was headed back to try it again. I would say it's working out just fine for him this time around — he has a hit record all over country radio called "Whiskey on You" and he was just added to Thomas Rhett's huge Home Team 23 Tour.

We talked about his whole journey, and much much more in this latest episode of Taste of Country Nights, On Demand, Ep. 61 with Nate Smith. I had a really good time sitting down and chatting with him, and I hope you get a chance to listen in as well.

50 Classic Country Artists Today’s Fans Should Know

Today's country music stars owe a debt of gratitude to the legends who formed and cultivated the genre, starting in the early 20th century. These 50 classic country artists remain relevant today. Some developed a style that's emulated on today's country radio. Others set a bar for vocal talent or songwriting skill.

This list of 50 influential classic country artists features country music singers who started their careers before 1990. It's ranked by each artist's current influence on the country music format today, not individual, lifelong impact. Tell us where we got it right or wrong on Twitter.

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