Briston Maroney is WNXP’s Nashville Artist of the Month for May. Maroney has come a long way since his years as a clean cut, Knoxville-based, teenage American Idol finalist to become the long-haired rising star that he currently is in Nashville’s indie rock scene. His musical past includes both bluegrass and straightforward singer-songwriter fare, but a deep dive into his dad’s ‘90s-heavy CD collection pushed him in a more alt-rock direction. His recently released debut album Sunflower features a marriage of pop hooks and grunge guitars that would make Weezer proud—an earlier track in that vein blew up on TikTok—but it also shows off his skill at writing confessional ballads more in line with the recent work of Taylor Swift, who handpicked a song of Maroney’s for a widely viewed playlist. Before the pandemic, he sold out the Exit/In, and with live music returning, he’ll no doubt get right back to growing his reputation as a dynamic live performer.