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10 Best Country and Americana Songs of the Week: Luke Combs, Kacey Musgraves and More

Combs’ superlative “She Got the Best of Me,” Musgraves’ woozy “Slow Burn” and the bright country-soul of Morgan Myles’ “Acapella”

10 Best Country and Americana Songs of the Week: Luke Combs, Kacey Musgraves and More

Songs by Kacey Musgraves and Luke Combs are among the 10 best tracks of the week.

Ricky Bassman/CSM/REX/Shutterstock, Rick Diamond/REX/Shutterstock

A contender for “Song of the Summer,” a pumped-up power ballad and a welcome new release from a rising songwriter all figure in to this week’s list of the best country and Americana songs you need to hear right now.

5

Jill Sobule, “Island of Lost Things”

On the kickoff single from her upcoming Nostalgia Kills, Jill Sobule takes stock of the things she’s left behind. The track pitches its tent halfway between reflection and resolution, placing Sobule’s quirky voice in the foreground while a stripped-down indie symphony – a Rhodes piano here, an oboe there and plenty of acoustic guitar throughout – swirls up some quiet beauty in the back. A Gen X folkie who kissed a girl long before Katy Perry, Sobule keeps good company on her new release, with members of Jellyfish, X and the MC5 all making cameos. 

6

Kacey Musgraves, “Slow Burn”

Spacey Kacey is ready to turn on, tune in and drop out. A groovy guide to savoring the moment, “Slow Burn” –  contender for “Song of the Summer” – smolders at its own pace, waiting until the 90-second mark to bring in the drums. When the percussion does hit, though, the effect is hypotonic. Acoustic guitar, swelling strings and Musgraves’ unforced voice all spiral together like a 1970s folk-pop soundtrack to a stoned afternoon, calling upon each listener to relax, reflect and pass the joint.

7

Luke Combs, “She Got the Best of Me”

Still reeling from a messy breakup, Combs turns to music for a sort of heart-healthy rebound. “She broke my heart / Now all that’s left of me is beating in this guitar,” he sings during each chorus. A pumped-up power ballad that’s better suited for arenas than honky-tonks, “She Got the Best of Me” swings for the fences without losing its cool, thanks to an anthemic melody that begs you to hoist your lighter. 

8

John Calvin Abney, “Always Enough”

With its double-tracked vocals and kaleidoscopic pop twists, “Always Enough” channels the hushed, lo-fi symphonies of Elliot Smith’s Figure 8. Far from a mere nod to his influences, though, the song finds John Calvin Abney making peace with his biggest champion and simultaneous critic: himself. “Can’t you see that we were always enough?” he asks, turning the song into an ode to self-actualization.

9

Ross Cooper, “I Rode the Wild Horses”

A haunting, slow-burning blast of country-western bravado, “I Rode the Wild Horses” might’ve found its way onto the soundtrack for a Cormac McCarthy film if it weren’t already telling the true story of Ross Cooper’s days as a bareback rodeo king. “I’m a spitfire son of the road,” he says, rattling off the details of his cowboy past with the proud weariness of a bronc rider who broke bones and split skin. The best moment? When Cooper delivers the final line of the chorus in a voice that’s thick with vibrato and swagger, like John Wayne gone country. 

10

St. Paul and the Broken Bones, “Apollo”

Trading their blue-eyed, blustery soul for disco-ball dance beats and Prince-worthy funk, St. Paul and the Broken Bones enter a new orbit with “Apollo.” The song marks the band’s first release from Young Sick Camellia, an upcoming album produced by the same R&B heavyweight, Jack Splash, who helmed songs from CeeLo Green’s The Lady Killer and Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city. The Broken Bones weather their paradigm shift quite well, with frontman Paul Janeway howling toward the cosmos with all the ferocity of a man who’s lost his religion and found the good drugs.