10 Best Country and Americana Songs of the Week: Corey Smith, Lilly Hiatt and More

Smith's defiant "Empty Rooms," Hiatt's homage to vinyl, Paul Cauthen's Cash-like exhortation and other songs to hear now

Paul Cauthen, "Everybody Walkin' This Land"

With a new EP, Have Mercy, on the way in June, baritone-voiced Texan Paul Cauthen digs deep into his gravelly growl for the first song off the project, "Everybody Walkin' This Land." A martial, apocalyptic creed about the state of the nation and universally just-getting-by state of humankind, Cauthen rattles off the shared plights of "believers, pretenders, and bona-fide sinners" in a gruff sing-speak that channels the world-wearied solemnity of American-era Man in Black recordings. It's a dark, spooky track, but the warbling coda lets a little light seep in right at the end. J.G.