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10 Best Country and Americana Songs of the Week: Jana Kramer, Brandy Zdan and More

Kramer’s moody “Dammit,” Americana rocker Zdan’s “Get to You,” Carrie Underwood’s “Cry Pretty” and more songs to hear right now

Brandy Zdan and Jana Kramer

Brandy Zdan and Jana Kramer

Alysse Gafkjen, Matt Sayles

A barreling slice of alt-rock Americana, a raw but cathartic comeback ballad, and a declaration of everlasting love from country music’s reigning vocal duo make up this week’s country and Americana songs you need to hear right now.

Brandy Zdan, “Get to You”

An alt-rocker with a folkie past – first with the Juno-nominated duo Twilight Hotel, and later as a utility player for Texas-based Americana act the Trishas – Brandy Zdan stretches her legs with her solo career, exploring the middle ground between the Beatles, the Breeders and the Bangles on this hook-heavy garage-rocker. Come for the guitar work, split between Zdan and My Morning Jacket’s Carl Broemel. Stay for the reverb-drenched harmonies, which connect the dots between the poppy and the psychedelic Americana. R.C. 

Jana Kramer, “Dammit”

It was the Nineties sheen of ballads like the hit “I Got the Boy” that helped Jana Kramer make a convincing leap from television actress to bonafide country star, but the road since hasn’t been entirely smooth: songs like “Said No One Ever” failed to resonate, her major-label record deal ended and she suffered some personal unrest, too. That fire and fight thankfully makes its way into her new single, “Dammit,” written by Nicolle Galyon and Elizabeth Huett. Lamenting what could have been in love and life, Kramer lets her voice get raw and tender on the slow-burning track that could finally bring the radio comeback she’s been waiting for. M.M.

Neko Case, “Bad Luck”

Neko Case’s latest song, “Bad Luck,” was born of real-life disaster – the Canadian singer-songwriter finding out her house burned down – but its true inspiration comes from everyday neuroses and psychological hang-ups. And, boy, does it sound fun. A barreling embodiment of Murphy’s Law (“I died and went to work,” goes the cooing refrain), Case bats aside a bad day for the ages with an existential shrug and an infectious power-pop hook that makes its own luck with a carefree, hip-shaking attitude. J.G

Pat Reedy, “Nashville Tennessee at 3 A.M.”

They say nothing good happens after midnight, and Pat Reedy won’t argue against it – but he won’t argue for it, either. His latest song with his band the Longtime Goners, “Nashville Tennessee at 3 A.M.” is exactly what it claims to be, a gritty, matter-of-fact snapshot of looking for someplace to go after the bars close. “The only thing that’s cheap in these bars is talk,” Reedy deadpans in his deep, drowsy drawl, knowing that his reality extends only as far as his boot steps will take him — an idea both freeing and oppressing, and all the more intoxicating because of it. J.G.