10 Best Country and Americana Songs of the Week: Brent Cobb, Sarah Shook and More
Brent Cobb serves up greasy funk, Sarah Shook delivers a punky kiss-off and up-and-comer Dillon Carmichael arrives with a must-hear voice. Here are the country and Americana tracks you need to listen to this week.
Dillon Carmichael, “It’s Simple”
The nephew of chart-topping crooners John Michael Montgomery and Eddie Montgomery, Dillon Carmichael makes lush, old-school country music, singing songs like “It’s Simple” in a rich, rural baritone. The track pays tribute to the simple pleasures that fuel the cycle of life, from making love to raising children. His vocals are the track’s undeniable highlight, but Robby Turner’s pedal steel isn’t too far behind, gluing the song together with traditional twang and swooning, cinematic sweep. Produced by Dave Cobb, “It’s Simple” is a rare breed: a single from an under-the-radar artist who already sounds fully grown. R.C.
Hudson Taylor, “Old Soul”
Irish duo Hudson Taylor have already gained a following in Europe with their Americana-tinged folk songs about love and longing. Now the two brothers, who perform under their surname, are hoping to stretch that following across the Atlantic to the United States. New song “Old Soul” is dreamy folk-pop that falls somewhere between Passenger and the Lumineers, with a little Conor Oberst thrown in for good measure. The track’s video captures the pair busking in Europe, a practice they adopted in their youth. That tune is off the duo’s forthcoming EP Feel It Again, which is due March 23rd. B.M.
Logan Mize, “Somebody to Thank”
Kansas native Logan Mize had a blink-and-you-missed-it run on a major Nashville label, but the arrangement just didn’t seem to work for the DIY singer-songwriter. His greatest successes have come on his own terms, and with the help of his longtime publishing home Big Yellow Dog Music. His indie full-length Come Back Road, released last summer, includes this grateful mid-tempo, a shout-out to all the folks who made him who he is – from his next-door neighbor to Bo and Luke Duke. He’ll have to add Spotify to that list now too: “Somebody to Thank” has become a staple on many of the streaming giant’s playlists. J.H.
Shotgun Rider, “Steady as She Goes”
If Midland’s “Drinkin’ Problem” helped reintroduce trad-country sounds to country radio, then Shotgun Rider are arriving at just the right time. The new Texas duo of Anthony Enriquez and Logan Samford aren’t afraid of steel and pledge allegiance to George Strait, but they also know their way around a rock riff on songs like “Me and a Memory.” New release “Steady as She Goes,” however, plays up the twang, making for a dreamy sunset of a love song that paints a bright future for the genre. J.H.
Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, “The Ode”
A down-home bluegrass band from up north, the Wisconsin-based Horseshoes & Hand Grenades root “The Ode” — the title track to their new album — in a fury of fiddle, banjo, gang vocals and galloping stomp. The song is a musical call-to-arms: an invitation to tune in, turn up and sing along. Breaking with their genre’s old-school traditions, the group recorded The Ode at Pachyderm Studios in Cannon Falls, Minnesota, where Nirvana tracked In Utero. R.C.
Sarah Shook & the Disarmers, “Good as Gold”
Sarah Shook & the Disarmers’ forthcoming new album Years (out April 6th via Bloodshot Records) is one of 2018’s more intriguing new releases. Following quickly after her 2017 debut Sidelong, Years shows Shook to be an artist who isn’t content to sit still, and who’s more than capable, too, of growing artistically in a short period of time. New tune “Good as Gold” is an expert distillation of Shook’s talents: sly wordplay, gritty arrangements, and vocals that find the sweet spot between country and punk. A cleverly produced accompanying lyric video cobbles together classic film footage, with more than a few scenes echoing the song’s refrain, “You’re as good as gold, and I’m as good as gone.” B.M.
Brent Cobb, “King of Alabama”
A tribute to country singer Wayne Mills, who was shot and killed in 2013, “King of Alabama” dishes up greasy slabs of country-funk and Southern soul. Cobb sings the song as though he’s three beers into a night of heavy drinking, which lends a laidback, loose-lipped strut to the proceedings. Produced by cousin Dave Cobb and recorded between breaks from the road, “King of Alabama” doubles as an appetizer for Providence Canyon, Cobb’s second major-label release. Come for the raw twang and countrified croon; stay for the Thin Lizzy guitarmonies that punctuate the bridge, proving that Cobb still isn’t unafraid to push beyond his genre’s borders. R.C.
J.D. Wilkes, “Down in the Hidey Hole”
The Legendary Shack Shakers’ frontman goes solo, putting a Kentuckian spin on Tom Waits’ gypsy-voodoo roots music. Members of the Squirrel Nut Zippers get a piece of the action too, adding horns to this song’s groove-heavy bounce. Released on Wilkes’ Fire Dream, “Down in the Hidey Hole” tells the story of a survivalist who digs his way to safety, hiding out from some apocalypse on ground level. The only problem? “Our protagonist realizes he brought everything he needed except a girlfriend to share it with!” the singer explains. (Wilkes, a master harmonica player, was recently in the studio adding harp to Sturgill Simpson’s upcoming album.) R.C.
I’m With Her, “Game to Lose”
Acoustic-music supergroup I’m With Her (Sara Watkins, Aoife O’Donovan and Sarah Jarosz) weigh risk and reward in “Game to Lose,” from their newly released debut LP See You Around, advising an evasive lover or a detractor to never rule them out. “I’m on the ropes, but I got something you can’t see,” they sing, between urgent verse sections of mandolin and fiddle that morph into taut, jagged choruses of power chords and the central question: “How much longer is it gonna be before I get where I’m going, get what I need?” There’s no way to know for sure, but it doesn’t sound like they’re tapping out anytime soon. J.F.
Danielle Bradbery, “Worth It”
Danielle Bradbery’s soulful empowerment anthem “Worth It” has been floating around for a few months now, originally released as an instant-download track for fans who pre-ordered her latest album I Don’t Believe We’ve Met. Now, Bradbery is releasing “Worth It” as an official single. The smoldering tune takes stock of a lame lover, with soaring vocals from Bradbery that recall early Martina McBride. “Worth It” follows first album single “Sway,” which peaked at Number 47 on Billboard‘s Country Airplay chart. B.M.