Aaron Watson previews his new album Red Bandana with the lively “Kiss That Girl Goodbye,” folk supergroup I’m With Her return with “Call My Name” and Kassi Ashton brushes off an ex in this week’s list of must-hear songs.
Haley & Michaels, “Taking Off”
Released four years after Shannon Haley and Ryan Michaels’ wedding, this hot-to-trot single finds the country duo returning to honeymoon levels of passion. Both singers take their own verses before harmonizing together during the chorus, whose rapid-fire rhythm mirrors the rush of a steamy make-out session.
Grand Canyon, “Standing in the Shadows”
Had Stevie Nicks ditched Fleetwood Mac and joined Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers circa Damn the Torpedoes, this heartland-rock anthem might’ve found a home on Side A, sandwiched between “Even the Losers” and “Shadow of a Doubt.” A flashback to the glory days of Seventies pop-rock, “Standing in the Shadows” lights up with coed harmonies, electric-guitar jangle and California cool.
Kassi Ashton, “Violins”
Kassie Ashton dismisses a no-good boyfriend with “Violins,” a slaphappy single that makes room for horns, R&B-worthy percussion and Ashton’s thick, Southern drawl. She sounds coolly bored throughout, as though she’s already forgotten about the guy who’s been asking her to stick around. Better put down that bow, boy.
John King, “Try Saying Goodbye”
“Think you’re tough?” John King sings. “Try standing in the dust while the woman you love puts you in the rear view and drives away.” A pristinely produced country-pop track, “Try Saying Goodbye” reminds the listener about the secret to a happy relationship: the willingness to put down arms, apologize and move forward.
I’m With Her, “Call My Name”
Sara Watkins, Aoife O’Donovan and Sarah Jarosz released their collaborative debut less than a year ago, but that hasn’t stopped the folk trio from working on new music. “Call My Name” is the group’s latest effort — an ethereal, haunting song cut from the same cloth as Emmylou Harris’ The Wrecking Ball, with less reverb and more harmonies.
Aaron Watson, “Kiss That Girl Goodbye”
The first single from Aaron Watson’s upcoming Red Bandana, “Kiss That Girl Goodbye” aligns itself with the country-pop punch of 2017’s “Outta Style,” a song whose mainstream-friendly sound helped Watson crack the Top 10 for the first time. “Kiss That Girl Goodbye” makes a quick salute to Watson’s classic-country roots, too, thanks to a chorus that’s fueled by fiddle and heavy on Texas twang.
Lily & Madeline, “Analog Love”
Co-written with Lucie Silvas and recorded alongside the same production team that helmed Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour, “Analog Love” finds Lily & Madeline longing for the kind of old-school, tangible romance that existed before internet dating and modern communication. The sisterly harmonies are both consistent and compelling, while the arrangement — light and airy, with touches of lap steel and acoustic guitar — suits the song’s nostalgic plea.
Whitehorse, “John the Revelator”
A revised remake of the century-old gospel staple, Whitehorse’s “John the Revelator” pieces together lyrics from multiple different versions. The result is a fiery, fuzzed-out blues song that, according to bandmate Melissa McClelland, touches upon “the end-of-days issues that feel pressing to us: global warming, Trump presidency, consumerism and religion itself.”
Caylee Hammack, “Family Tree”
Lanco’s big-voiced opening act takes a quick break from the road to release her debut single, which pays tribute to her quirky relatives. Co-produced and co-written by the songwriter herself, the anthemic song highlights the bizarre family traits that have shaped Hammack’s own personality, from her mother’s Tupperware obsession to her father’s inability to stay awake during a televised football game.
Danny Schmidt, “Last Man Standing”
A modern spin on an old-time folk tradition, “Last Man Standing” — from Schmidt’s forthcoming album Standard Deviation — tells a tale of struggle, resilience and the devilish pull of the bottle. There’s acoustic guitar, fiddle and plenty of harmonies, and wrapped around lyrics that find the easy humor in the midst of a difficult time.