The sound of country music has changed, but every so often you come across artists that create beautiful songs, that have incredible, country lyrics, and a country-sounding production. That's what this new generation of folk and pop rooted country singers are doing: they're going classic with the writing, and experimenting a bit more with the sound.
Examples range from bigger name artists like Cam to newer, less known artists. Before Cam came in and spiced up country music with "Burning House," she was a more folk pop oriented singer and songwriter, as shown on her album, Heartforward, under her full name Camaron Ochs. That folk pop influence continues on her major label country debut, most prominently in tracks like "Hungover on Heartache," "Mayday," and "Village."
On the smaller artist scale, folk pop with a hint of country seems to be a way for female country artists to appeal to both the acoustic pop and country lovers. Recently signed to Interscope, Elizabeth Huett played with folk-pop sounds on her first independent single after leaving Taylor Swift's Speak Now Tour, titled "Never Know." Singer/songwriter Katie Stump features folky sounds on her new EP Feels Like Home. California-born songwriter Triana Presley has folk pop influence on her new song "Dirt Road Waiting." Canadian teen Tessa Mouzourakis's whole sound is based off of a folk pop and country blend.
All of these artists are not very well known, but are growing fast. Songs like "Dirt Road Waiting" are the kind of songs that will help these artists gain fans and popularity. It has an acoustic feel and folky production, but the lyrics are decidedly country. This style has paid off, and "Dirt Road Waiting" has been named a finalist in a national songwriting competition. They commented that the track was "an anthem for road-trippers and wanderlusts," and has an uptempo tune that was easy to sing along too. The benefit of experimenting more with genres is that artists like Presley and Cam can reach outside of country music for inspiration, and usually come up with songs that appeal to broad audiences.
Country music is always evolving. There are a lot of people who don't like it, but this evolution is a positive one. Folk and country mixing has always produced fine results: just look at John Denver. I know I wouldn't complain if some of these folk-pop-country songs began being played on country radio.