First Country is a compilation of the best new country songs, videos and albums released this week.
Zach Bryan, “Summer Blues“
Just months after topping the Billboard Country Albums chart with his massive 34-track album American grief in May, this prolific artist, synthesizer of country and americana, returns with the EP of nine titles summer blues. The slow-burning, demo-like title track makes good use of Bryan’s craggy, weathered vocals and the song finds the singer-songwriter staring at a summer sunset, thinking he’s not has no one to share it with as the summer months stretch long before him. This year, Bryan had successful sets at the Stagecoach Country Music Festival and its new, more American cousin, the Palomino Festival. Meanwhile, his song “Something in the Orange” just entered the Country Airplay chart at No. 59 and hit the top 10 on the Hot Country Songs chart. Bryan is becoming one of the most exciting country music newcomers of the year.
Zac Brown Band featuring Cody Johnson, “Wild Palomino”
“Palomino” seems to be the word of the moment, as the appellation of Miranda Lambert’s latest album, the hallmark of a new country music festival from the creators of the Stagecoach Country Music Festival, and now the title of the Zac Brown Band collaboration. with Cody Johnson. Country music’s preeminent jam band teams up with one of its most brilliant neo-traditionalists, in a sweet ode to tough troubadours who love as fiercely as they run free. Stunning harmonies and heartfelt delivery make this a pair of aces.
Tyler Hubbard, “The Way Back”
This come-to-Jesus hymn follows Hubbard’s first solo offerings, “5 Foot 9” and “35’s.” Written by Hubbard with Corey Crowder and Canaan Smith (with production by Jordan Schmidt), this track centers on a wayward soul returning to spiritual grounding. “More than once I’ve taken the wrong two-way, just let my horses run wild / Yeah, I got lost, until I was found,” Hubbard sings on this heartfelt track. Delivering one of his most serious vocals to date, this is a solid solo effort from Hubbard.
LeAnn Rimes feat. Mickey Guyton and Sheila E., “The Savages”
LeAnn Rimes teams up with “Black Like Me” singer-songwriter Guyton and acclaimed percussionist Sheila E. for one of Rimes’ most important and unvarnished musical releases to date, as the trio of musicians responds to centuries of persecution against women. Written by Rimes and his longtime collaborator Darrell Brown, haunting vocals and high-pitched percussion flow around lyrical firebombs as powerful as their illustrious vocals, on lines such as “The Persecution of Woman, The Fire Has Lasted Too Long long,” and the pointed, “We’ve been told our sex is ungodly, and we’ve been told our rage is too strong / But when rage burns in our heart…it rekindles the fire that changes the world. ” “the wild” marks the fifth release from Rimes’ upcoming album on September 16, the work of god.
Wade Bowen feat. Vince Gill, “A Guitar, a Singer and a Song”
It’s a breathtaking ode to the creative tug at the hearts of singer-songwriters, regardless of fame or fortune. With a track like that, Bowen smartly teamed up with fellow triple-threat singer, writer, and musician Gill, who has won 18 Country Music Association awards to date.
“You think you sing a song, but the song sings you / I don’t know why I do what I do / I just know I’m right or wrong,” Bowen sings, backed by Gill’s airtight harmonies. Gill takes the lead on the second verse, her voice sterling and full of wisdom. Between Bowen and Gill, the two artists effortlessly convey the endless passion to create and perform, alongside the reality that their music will far outlive them.
Kelsea Ballerini, “Love is a Cowboy”
Flashes of plinking violin and guitar intertwine with lyrical imagery of boots, John Wayne, as Ballerini sketches the futility of trying to tame a wanderlust lover. One of Ballerini’s earthiest country releases to date, “Love Is a Cowboy” follows the brilliant “Heartfirst” from the singer-songwriter’s upcoming September album. Subject to change.
Arlo McKinley, This mess we’re in
McKinley wrote songs recorded by Sturgill Simpson and Tyler Childers. The sequel to the 2020s Die Midwest EP, McKinley’s latest EP for Oh Boy Records cements his place as one of the most exciting new voices in Country and Americana. On this 11-song project, which includes songs such as “City Lights” and “Rushintherug,” McKinley goes above and beyond her previous musical endeavors, further proving her ability to forge powerful, impactful songs from moments of pain, loss, of joy and nostalgia.
For King & Country with Hillary Scott, “For God is with us”
Earlier this year, duo CCM for King & Country ranked No. 1 for three weeks on Billboard’s Christian Airplay chart with the song. Now they’re teaming up with country trio Lady A’s Hillary Scott for a revamped version of the hit, which makes good use of Scott’s powerful vocals and tasteful ad libbing throughout.
This pairing seems natural, though a country-CCM crossover isn’t new to the sibling duo or to Scott – as King & Country has previously teamed up with country music legend Dolly Parton for the award-winning duo. a ‘God Only Knows’ Grammy, while Scott chose she won a few Grammys for her album CCM love remains and the song “Your Will”.
Julia Cole, Any ‘Nother Margarita PE
During this five-song EP, Cole takes listeners deeper into his creative soul, building on previous releases such as his viral TikTok hit “Sidepiece.” On “Rather Be Crazy,” she’s lucid and fearless, even when she knows she’s not making the best decisions. “Growing Up (Are You Happy)” meets society’s expectations of 20-year-olds reaching predetermined milestones, while rarely focusing on the pursuit of happiness, regardless of the timeline. Throughout the five-song EP, Cole’s vocals range from light as a feather to suitably acerbic in “Thank God We Broke Up.” A promising release from this newcomer.
Alana Springsteen, History of the breakup (second part)
Last year, Springsteen published Breakup story (part one), and follows it up with this eight-song pop-country collection that mixes muted twangs, breezy beats and Springsteen’s vocals — which, while imposing, draw on intimate singer-songwriter confessionals. rather than vocal acrobatics. Springsteen is a writer on all but one of the project’s songs, save for Shane McAnally, Ashley Gorley and Rhett Akins’ soulful and vulnerable songwriting “New Number.” “Trust Issues” is a self-aware reflection of the emotional wreckage left by a breakup, while the ethereal and pungent “History of Breaking Up” catalogs the hateful words and sharing of possessions that accompany a romantic breakup.