10 Best Country and Americana Songs to Hear Now: Kelsey Waldon, Kip Moore
Valerie June reimagines a T. Rex classic, Midland bring back “Cheatin’ Songs,” and the Rails fire up irresistible Americana rock in this week’s list of must-hear songs.
The Bros. Landreth, “Got to Be You”
The kickoff single from the Landreths’ follow-up to their Juno Award-winning debut, Let It Lie, blends blue-eyed soul with heartland blues-rock. Joey Landreth, now an acclaimed solo artist in addition to the Bros. Landreth’s frontman, is on fire here, matching his chops on slide guitar with a voice that’s as big as John Hiatt’s.
Whiskey Myers, “Bury My Bones”
The Texas country-rockers, who dropped a major feather in their cap when they opened for the Rolling Stones last month, get ominous and moody on this marching ballad. “Tell my kin to pick up a shovel/wrestle that sugar sand and bury my bones,” sings Cody Cannon in the haunting chorus, successfully mixing Southern gothic with Southern rock.
The Rails, “Call Me When It All Goes Wrong”
The Rails amplify their folk-rock sound with “Call Me When It All Goes Wrong,” a hand-clapped, hook-laden anthem that has more in common with the Nineties alt-rock scene than the gentle sounds pioneered by singer Kami Thompson’s parents (folk icons Richard and Linda Thompson) during the early 1970s. Cancel the Sun, the Rails’ upcoming album, touches down this Friday.
Diane & the Gentle Men, “Little Things”
The title track from Diane & the Gentle Men’s Little Things EP is a propulsive pop-rocker built for open roads and unbroken horizons. Produced by Jesse Malin, the song shines its spotlight on frontwoman Diane Gentile, whose work as the onetime general manager of New York City’s Bowery Electric nightclub has been instrumental in preserving the city’s rock & roll roots.
Temecula Road, “Never Knew I Needed You”
The Salute sisters, Emma and Maddie, and bandmate Dawson Anderson stretch out the final weeks of summer with this breezy, windows-down jam, which celebrates those rare moments when someone special enters your life at exactly the right moment.
Valerie June, “Cosmic Dancer”
The last time we heard from Valerie June, she was remaking Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing” into a deep-space ballad. Here, she tackles a track from T. Rex’s Electric Warrior with similar celestial charm.
Kelsey Waldon, “Sunday’s Children”
Signed to John Prine’s label after years of independence, Kelsey Waldon shines a light on the dangers of closed-minded religious fanaticism with this groove-driven track. Released on the upcoming White Noise/White Lines, “Sunday’s Children” is dark and foreboding, led by a minor-key bass pattern and psychedelic pedal steel.
Midland, “Cheatin’ Songs”
Midland keeps it retro with this heartbroken ballad, whose thickly-stacked harmonies and glassy guitar tones owe more to the country classics of the late Seventies and early Eighties than today’s hits. “She’s bringing back cheating songs,” goes the chorus, with lyrics that reference the band’s own nostalgic sound with a clever wink.
Kip Moore, “She’s Mine”
The wandering spirit Moore narrates his worldwide search for Mrs. Right, while palm-muted guitars and anthemic power chords create a chugging, cathartic backdrop. Rooted in Moore’s countrified interpretation of heartland rock & roll, “She’s Mine” splits the difference between Bon Jovi and the BoDeans.
Lady Antebellum, “Pictures”
Ten years after releasing the career-defining “Need You Now,” Lady Antebellum’s members get nostalgic with “Pictures,” a melancholy number that measures the gap between reality and fantasy. “The camera doesn’t show the way it hurts,” sings Hillary Scott, reflecting upon a relationship whose love has grown as faded as a vintage Polaroid.
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