Billy Currington, “Bring It On Over”
Currington goes full-on pop with his newest single, which repositions the singer as a bedroom-bound beau who can’t wait to “dive on in it” with his lover. An insistent, dance-club beat runs beneath the whole song, pushing Currington into some of his most modern territory to date. Written by Dallas Davidson, Rhett Akins, Ben Hayslip and Jesse Frasure, “Bring It On Over” is the singer’s first release in a year.
Will Courtney, “Loaded”
Had “Loaded” made its debut decades earlier, it might’ve become a country-rock anthem for the counterculture, offering up a mix of hedonism, honky-tonk and ramshackle, roadhouse-worthy romp. “It’s country, but I think it also has this ‘Velvet Underground meets Jim Ford and the Flying Burrito Brothers’ thing going on,” Courtney tells Rolling Stone Country, nodding to the song’s retro vibe and rootsy anchor. Crazy Love, the single’s accompanying album, hits stores Friday.
Kimberly Kelly, “Some Things Have a Name”
The unlucky owner of a wandering beau and a broken heart, Kimberly Kelly calls a spade a spade with her newest single. “When you fall into her arms, darling, that’s called ‘cheating’ — and when I start walking out that door, baby, that’s called ‘leaving,'” she sings, sweetening the frank melody with swooning strings and plenty of Texas twang. A modern tune rooted in old-school sounds, “Some Things Have a Name” nods to the Countrypolitan hits of the late Sixties, back when crooners like Glen Campbell dressed up their music with lush orchestral arrangements.
Freddy & Francine, “Half a Mind”
It’s been years since we’ve heard from Lee Ferris and Bianca Caruso, the two songwriters behind Freddy & Francine’s sunny folk-pop. During that time, Ferris toured the world as Carl Perkins in the musical Million Dollar Quartet, while Caruso developed a new TV series for ABC. Back together as bandmates, they present a stripped-down, soulful sound with “Half a Mind,” a song about waging war with one’s vices and personal shortcomings. The song’s “less is more” arrangement does wonders for Freddy & Francine’s voices, placing their harmonies center stage while a single Fender guitar handles most of the instrumental heavy lifting.
Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles, “House on a Hill”
Backed by the bar-band bombast of her rock & roll group, the Shingles, Borges shreds her way through the kickoff single from next month’s Love’s Middle Name. “House on a Hill” finds her missing the home she once shared with an ex. She channels that frustration into a raspy, rootsy rocker that’s driven forward by electric guitar, a fuss-free melody and the straightforward production of Bottle Rockets producer Eric “Roscoe” Ambel, who launched his career backing another firepower-packing frontwoman — Joan Jett — as a member of the Blackhearts.
Jamie Kent, “Ain’t No Jesus”
With its unhurried pace and twin acoustic guitars, “Ain’t No Jesus” could’ve found a home on Tom Petty’s Wildflowers, sandwiched somewhere between the title track and warm ballads like “Time to Move On.” This is Kent at his charming (and occasionally cheeky) best, balancing humor and heartwarming lyrics in equal measure. “I ain’t no carpenter, can barely build a shelf / Couldn’t build a religion, can hardly follow myself,” he sings, paying tribute to the woman who loves him in spite of his earthly shortcomings.
Brett Eldredge, “Love Someone”
Brett Eldredge finished his newest single with help from Ross Copperman and Heather Morgan, the same collaborative team behind songs like “Beat of the Music” and “Lose My Mind.” Maybe that’s why he sounds so comfortable on “Love Someone,” a summery, feel-good ode to the butterflies spawned by a healthy relationship. Strengthening the song’s easygoing appeal is its quirky music video, which costars Eldredge’s two year-old dog, Edgar.
Rosanne Cash, “She Remembers Everything”
The title track from Cash’s first album in five years is a warm, woozy waltz, with contributions from Sam Phillips — another Eighties hitmaker turned 21st century legacy artist — and plenty of minor-key melancholia. Orchestral strings, background harmonies and chiming electric guitar also work their way into the mix, but it’s Cash’s voice that steals the show, carrying on the Cash legacy with a croon that’s aged as well as her family’s hits.
Loretta Lynn, “Ruby’s Stool”
At 86 years old, the Queen of Country Music is still capable of taking her enemies to fist city. This time, she’s focusing her crosshairs upon Ruby, a barfly who’s been dancing with Lynn’s man all night long. As last call approaches, Lynn dumps her ashtray into Ruby’s drink and prepares for the inevitable showdown, while a juke-joint piano whips up plenty of excitement in the background. Equally as strong as her fighting spirit is the country icon’s voice, which is as full of piss, poise and vinegar as it was on 1966’s “You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man).”
Dan Whitener, “We Are Gonna Be Okay”
The banjo player for Gangstagrass went solo with last year’s Crossover, an EP that traded his bluegrass roots for a mix of country-blues and Southern gospel. One of that record’s highlights, “We Are Gonna Be OK,” has since resurfaced on the soundtrack for the Spike Lee film BlacKkKlansman, where it serves as equal parts protest song and peaceful, self-assuring hymn.