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10 Best Country and Americana Songs of the Week: Sugarland, Dan + Shay

Sugarland’s collaboration with Taylor Swift, Dan + Shay’s wistful “Tequila,” Muscadine Bloodline’s hopeful “Movin’ On” and more songs to hear now

best country songs, sugarland, dan and shay

Sugarland's "Babe" and Dan + Shay's "Tequila" are among the best country songs to hear this week.

Sugarland’s new Taylor-assisted ballad, Dan + Shay’s harmony-rich hit and Jimmy Buffett protégée Caroline Jones’ fittingly summery sing-along are among the 10 country and Americana songs you must hear this week. 

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Rachel Wammack, “My Boyfriend Doesn’t Speak for Me Anymore”

This empowering anthem of independence should come with a side of finger snaps. “I’ve never been much of a shouter / but something inside said get a little louder,” sings newcomer Rachel Wammack, announcing her arrival with a roar on “My Boyfriend Doesn’t Speak for Me Anymore.” Mixing the power-pop pipes of Adele with the women-first attitude of Loretta Lynn, the Muscle Shoals, Alabama, native is a dynamic new country voice for the genre – one not just with flourish, but with a message. J.H.    

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Dan + Shay, “Tequila”

A single that’s every bit as cinematic as its big-budget music video, “Tequila” mixes the sweeping punch of a power ballad with the familiar twang of a country-pop drinking song. “I can still shut down a party / I can hang with anybody / I can drink whiskey and red wine,” the singer begins, painting himself as an extrovert who’s always willing to live in the moment. Whenever he tastes tequila, though, his mood changes, sending his mind back to a highlights reel of memories involving a drinking partner who stole his heart. For Dan + Shay, they stole attention at this month’s ACM Awards, delivering an abbreviated but transfixing version of their potent song, with Shay Mooney hitting a monster of a note. R.C.

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Muscadine Bloodline, “Movin’ On”

Driven forward by vocal harmonies, pedal steel and galloping kickdrum, “Movin’ On” tells the story of a formerly heartbroken female who’s learned to make peace with her past. “The memories all over that town finally ain’t tearing you down,” goes a line in the first verse, sung in tandem by co-frontmen Charlie Muncaster and Gary Stanton. A tribute to healing hearts, “Movin’ On” is every bit as kinetic as its title. R.C. 

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Sugarland, “Babe”

Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush pick the lock on Taylor Swift’s vault of unused songs for the second single of their comeback, “Babe,” which even features a guest vocal from the pop superstar. The track was co-written by Swift with Train’s Pat Monahan back in her Nashville days, intended for Swift’s 2012 album Red. It didn’t make the cut, but her loss is the duo’s gain. The heartbroken track is built on vivid, lived-in lyrics in classic Swiftian fashion, but contrasted by a relaxed, roots-pop feel that is 100 percent Sugarland. The result is one heck of a chorus: a mix of warm, welcoming melodies and a processed beat paired with Swift’s pulsating vocal. C.P.

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Andrew Duhon, “Comin’ Around”

Duhon’s soulful croon takes centerstage on this slow-burning tribute to perseverance and self-reckoning. Backed by a cyclical guitar riff that never overwhelms the melody, Duhon takes a hard look at his own path, knowing he’s too far into the journey – wherever it may be leading him – to turn back. Instead, he continues moving forward with renewed purpose, chasing down a new horizon while soft drums and a cyclical guitar riff echo in the background. R.C. 

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