10 Best Country, Americana Songs to Hear Now: Eric Church, Joy Williams
The Chief dishes out some fatherly advice to his sons, Joy Williams puts a new spin on a Depeche Mode classic and Kacey Musgraves teams up with Ronnie Milsap in this list of songs to stream this week.
Eric Church, “Some of It”
The follow-up single to “Desperate Man” finds Church in a fatherly mood, singing to his two sons about love, faith and the shelf life of good beer. More mainstream than most of his recent boundary-pushing hits, “Some of It” sounds destined for a lifetime of wedding slow dances and graduation-day playbacks. Long live the Chief.
Adia Victoria, “Different Kind of Love”
Produced by the National’s Aaron Dessner, this “song about broken hearts” swings and sashays with all the grace of a mid-Sixties pop single. Appropriately, the black-and-white video is treated as though it appeared on French TV program during the same area, with an introduction from “host” Madeleine Besson preceding Victoria’s “live” performance.
Rod Melancon, “Goin Out West”
Landing somewhere between the throat-shredding punch of bluesy roots-rock and the hammed-up Hollywood pomp of a spaghetti-western soundtrack, “Going Out West” tells the story of one man’s Californian gold rush. “I ain’t no extra, baby; I’m a leading man,” Melancon growls, playing the part of a starry-eyed, wannabe actor who probably has more confidence than chops.
Carsie Blanton, “Buck Up”
Blanton rallies spirits in “Buck Up,” a bright, John Prine-worthy folk song about maintaining a bright disposition in dark times. With acoustic guitar chords and background harmonies from Oliver Wood, this is a singalong for the dispirited and downcast, urging everyone within earshot to persevere.
Ariel Posen, “Get you Back”
Backed by the Brothers Landreth’s rhythm section, Ariel Posen cranks up the fuzz and tremolo on his electric guitar, using the instrument to steer his band through a loose, live version of this bluesy solo track. His fretwork is first-rate, but it’s his unhurried, unforced vocals that steal the spotlight.
Todd Snider, “Just Like Overnight”
The last time we heard from Todd Snider, he was following a pair of albums with his jam-friendly supergroup, Hard Working Americans, with the release of Eastside Bulldog, a wild record rooted in hedonism, humor and half-baked swagger. He scales things back considerably for Cash Cabin Sessions, Vol. 3, a sparsely-produced album featuring little more than his voice, harmonica and acoustic guitar. “Just Like Overnight” introduces that sound with help from Jason Isbell, who sings harmonies during the song’s nostalgic chorus.
Kacey Musgraves with Ronnie Milsap, “No Getting Over Me”
Now in his mid-70s, Milsap resurrects his 1981 hit with a voice that’s shockingly spry and spirited. Musgraves’ cameo adds fuel to the fire, and the two singers erase a 50-year generation gap with entwined melodies, stacked harmonies and cool, retro-country charm.
Chris Young, “Raised on Country”
Young nods to his influences, saluting Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson and Joe Diffie over a thumping backbeat that’s more modern than classic. “My upbringing sounds like George Strait singing,” he sings, dishing out props to the country icons — and the radio stations that played them — on this Cary Barlowe and Cory Crowder co-write.
Joy Williams, “Enjoy the Silence”
Back when the Civil Wars still kept things civil, Joy Williams and former bandmate John Paul White often filled their setlist with unexpected covers, turning Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” and the Smashing Pumpkins’ “Disarm” into scaled-down acoustic numbers. Here, she does the same thing as a solo artist. Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence” is the source material, and Williams tackles it with a combination of pristine vocals and bluegrass-worthy instrumentation. Recorded live, the song helps set the stage for this year’s Front Porch, her upcoming solo release.
Quaker City Night Hawks, “Hunter’s Moon”
The Quaker City Night Hawks fly high once again. On this galloping track from the upcoming QCNH album, the band pairs a ZZ Top-sized guitar-heavy attack with doses of chugging Texas boogie and stoner-worthy Seventies rock. The result is an ominous song about the moment when a group of pursuers becomes the pursued.
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