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10 Best Country and Americana Songs of the Week: Dierks Bentley, Kassi Ashton and More

Bentley’s collab with Brothers Osborne, Ashton’s sassy “Taxidermy,” Darius Rucker’s new Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ cover and more songs you need to hear now

dierks bentley, kassi ashton

Songs by Dierks Bentley and Kassi Ashton are among the 10 country and Americana tunes you must hear this week.

Mark Humphrey/AP/REX/Shutterstock; Alysse Gafkjen

A Nineties vocal group’s sentimental and welcome return, an all-star collaboration led by Darius Rucker, and the most bitchin’ Beach Boys-esque summer song not recorded by the Wilsons make up this week’s best country and Americana tracks.

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Jerry Castle, “Lil Bit”

Get out while the gettin’s good, preaches Jerry Castle in this lush jam. The Virginia-raised singer-songwriter who found inspiration for his last album by floating in a sensory-deprivation tank emerges refreshed on his new LP Brand New Hello. Or does he? Peer beneath the sunny vibes of “Lil Bit” and you find a narrator who is fed up with the bullshit of Trump’s America and overloaded by the daily propaganda. But Castle’s frustration is our gain, as he delivers one of the most instantly catchy – and danceable – ­songs about being pissed off this year. J.H.

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Kashi Ashton, “Taxidermy”

Kassi Ashton trades a notch on the bedpost for a trophy on her bedroom wall in the funky “Taxidermy,” about giving a hurtful lover his comeuppance. The Nashville-by-way-of-Missouri singer is all sass here, upending the objectification of women by ogling the man she’s stuffed for her enjoyment. “Rug on the floor / couch made of leather / you sure know how to bring a room together,” Ashton sings in the bridge, revealing herself to be a devilish songwriter who isn’t afraid flip convention on its head. J.H.

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Dierks Bentley, “Burning Man”

The lead-off track from Bentley’s upcoming The Mountain may not be a single yet, but it sure needs to be. A hard-charging rocker, “Burning Man” is a high-water mark for Bentley – his most affecting song since 2015’s magnificent “Riser.” “Burning Man” builds on that ballad’s theme of evolution, as Bentley assesses his place in the world as a 40-something troubadour: “I’m a little bit steady / but a little bit rolling stone.” Brothers Osborne also turn up, with singer TJ offering a verse and guitarist John delivering a solo as white-hot as the song’s title suggests. Insert fire emoji here. J.H.

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Lori McKenna, “People Get Old”

In the lead single off her forthcoming album The Tree, Grammy-winning songwriter Lori McKenna wistfully reflects on her youth, facing the reality of a fleeting, ever-changing life. Inspired by McKenna’s father, “People Get Old” is flush with nostalgia, delivered via lyrics that are both simple and incredibly evocative. The story chronicles her journey from childhood to adulthood to parenthood, uniquely capturing the treasured bond between dad and daughter – one that shifts with time but never loses its value. At times a tough listen, “People Get Old” is the latest reminder of McKenna’s status as one of country’s most poignant storytellers. S.S.

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Dwight Yoakam, “Then Here Came Monday”

Any day with a new Dwight Yoakam single is a good one, even if it is a song about Mondays. The iconic artist dropped “Then Here Came Monday” (and b-side “Pretty Horses”) last week, debuting them on his SiriusXM channel Dwight Yoakam and the Bakersfield Beat. Co-written with Chris Stapleton, “Then Here Came Monday” tells of the all-too-real pain that rolls around Monday morning after a long weekend of drinking your troubles away. B.M.

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