The boozy new sing-along from the King of Country, the sad-eyed reinvention of an East Nashville staple and a lesson in love from a maturing country duo make up the 10 must-hear songs of the week.
Szlachetka, “Until That Echo”
Built around a chromatic guitar riff that spirals downward into darkness, “Until That Echo” is a roots-rocker for late-night drives and haunted hearts. Frontman Matt Szlachetka co-wrote the song with Scott Underwood, Train’s drummer of 20 years, resulting in a track that mixes deep-seated grooves with guitar heroics.
Maddie & Tae, “Die From a Broken Heart
The strong, self-empowered teens who busted bro-country’s balls with 2014’s “Girl From a Country Song” have grown up, only to realize that adulthood can be a vulnerable place. On this light, lovely ballad, Maddie & Tae turn to their own mothers for support.
The Steel Woods, “Southern Accents”
Tom Petty’s hymn-like original gets a heavy-tonk makeover. Searing guitar leads and a Stapleton-worthy vocal add some country crunch to this cover, which doubles as the first release from the Steel Woods’ upcoming Old News.
Cale Tyson, “Not Healthy Anymore”
This bedroom recording trades the old-world twang of Cale Tyson’s past for something more evocative of Elliott Smith’s dark, depressed ballads. Tyson double-tracks his own vocals, as though to keep himself company, yet his song’s most striking selling point is its ability to make loneliness sound lovely.
Train beats, mariachi horns and breakneck blasts of electric guitar punctuate “Troublemaker,” the Vandoliers’ first single for Bloodshot Records. More cowpunk than country, it’s the sound of a band that’s deservedly proud of its rough edges.
Charles Wesley Godwin, “Coal Country”
The son of a West Virginia coal miner, Charles Wesley Godwin sings about the industry that’s both blessed and cursed his home state for centuries. His voice, with its tight, old-world vibrato, is perfect for the song, as are the light layers of violin and pedal steel.
Jake Owen, “Down to the Honkytonk”
“I’m a local legend on a Friday night in the Pabst Blue Ribbon neon light,” Owen sings, finding fame in the ordinary trappings of bar culture. A half-lit tribute to watering holes everywhere, “Down to the Honkytonk” hits its marks without taking itself too seriously — just like a good bar should.
Lacy Cavalier, “Get Away With It”
A showcase for Cavalier’s poppy pipes and elastic melodies, “Get Away With It” finds its creator pressing charges against a man who’s guilty of stealing her heart. For fans of Lucie Silvas, Adele and Maggie Rose.
Drake White, “All Would Be Right With the World”
Recorded live, “All Would Be Right With the World” shines a light not only on the laid-back, beach-friendly bounce that pushes many Drake White tunes forward, but also the homegrown audience that’s kept him afloat.
George Strait, “Código”
One year or so after becoming an investor in the high-dollar tequila brand, George Strait literally sings Código’s praises with this Tex-Mex twanger. “A little rip and you’re ready to roll,” he sings, while fiddle and accordion drunkenly dance in the background.