There is no shortage of 20-something country and roots music hopefuls coming up these days, including some that have successfully rope-a-doped major labels into signing them to lucrative deals on the offhand chance they’ll become the next Zach Bryan. Some have racked up hundreds of thousands of views via Tik-Tok and Instagram clips, yet have never even taken a stage.
Separating the wheat from the chaff, the hype from the substance, the cowboy from the cosplay is the new challenge. Affected voices from singers raised in affluent families, or rough-hewn performers rich in authenticity but light on talent make for tough navigation in the sea of artists riding a high tide in the current roots music resurgence.
Ultimately we’re not looking for the next performer that can draw comparisons to Zach Bryan, Tyler Childers, Colter Wall, or Sierra Ferrell. We’re looking for the next performer who like the aforementioned names is fiercely themselves, blazing a path forward through the thick underbrush of originality as opposed to the well-worn grooves of the familiar and formulaic. Yet we still want our favorite new artists to comes with those deep ties to country music’s roots.
That is how singer and songwriter Noeline Hofmann is separating herself from the herd, even in these moments that are in her formative stages. Specializing in what she characterizes as “Wild Rose Country Music,” she’s taken time from punching cattle on the Canadian prairie in Southern Alberta to perform at key festivals in the area, while also cutting videos that have created an international buzz for her music.
A virtual unknown just a few months ago outside of Alberta, Hofmann has recently appeared on a few key videos channels that have all of a sudden seen her skyrocket on the up-and-coming depth charts. Saving Country Music first stumbled upon her via a video recorded at the Laurel Cove Music Festival released in late December, and recorded last summer at the revered fest in Kentucky.
After falling down a rabbit hole and seeing her covering Luke Bell’s “The Bullfighter,” it spoke to Hofmann’s depth of knowledge about good Western music.
But it was last week when Hofmann appeared on Zach Bryan’s YouTube channel for a “Belting Bronco” session singing the song “Purple Gas” that set the internet ablaze. Purple gas is a dyed fuel with reduced costs for farmers and ranchers in Canada, similar to red diesel in the United States. Hofmann’s song is about much more than petrol of course. But it’s these intimate details of the story that reel you in.
One of the greatest parts about the Noeline Hofmann story is that she currently doesn’t have any recorded music out there to consume. There will be a time and place for that. But for now she’s paying dues, and connecting with fans and music folks around North America grassroots style. When she does hit the studio, her voice and her songs will be nice and seasoned, and lived instead of imagined.
The fact that she recorded scores of videos over the last year or so, but a mess of them are just coming out now has caused the saturation of listener feeds a performer needs to bust through the noise.
We’ll have to wait and see where Noeline Hofmann goes from here. Buts she’s off to a very promising start.