Randy Rogers Band chronicle a vacation breakup in “We Never Made It to Mexico,” Rhiannon Giddens reaches across generations and cultures in the gripping “Ten Thousand Voices” and Pink gets an assist from Chris Stapleton in “Love Me Anyway” in this week’s batch of must-hear songs.
Davisson Brothers Band, “Unbreak You”
The chorus may nod to Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy,” but “Unbreak You” takes the bulk of its cues from modern country radio, mixing the Davisson Brothers Band’s West Virginia twang with rocked-up grit and thickly stacked harmonies. Already stars in Australia, where the previous single “Po’ Boyz” became a Number Two hit in 2018, the Davisson Brothers Band make a good case for adoration on their home turf, too.
Pink With Chris Stapleton, “Love Me Anyway”
Three years after teaming with Kenny Chesney on the Number One hit “Setting the World on Fire,” Pink reaches across the pop/country aisle once again with this Chris Stapleton duet. Co-written by Pink and the team behind Miranda Lambert’s “The House That Built Me,” “Love Me Anyway” is a cinematic slow-burner, stripped free of percussion and, instead, focused on the vocal fireworks provided by the song’s two singers.
Randy Rogers Band, “We Never Made It to Mexico”
Randy Rogers fills this south-of-the-border country waltz with a mix of Tejano twang, dancehall-friendly heartache and bilingual lyrics. “I’m in a bad way; como se dice ‘heartache’ en Espanol?” he sings, playing the part of a gringo whose lover has left him at the airport hotel, hours before they were scheduled to kickstart a Mexican vacation. Lo siento, Rogers.
Logan Brill, “Roll”
Brent Cobb helped write this greasy slab of funky-tonk, which finds Logan Brill in perpetual motion, searching for the kind of forever home that’ll finally convince the singer to cool her jets. The follow-up single to this year’s “Walk of Shame,” “Roll” nods to bluesy forebears like Bonnie Raitt and Susan Tedeschi.
Carl Anderson, “She Took Everything”
Backed by members of War on Drugs, Hiss Golden Messenger and Natalie Prass’ touring band, Carl Anderson funnels the desperation of his divorce into a lovely, lonely ballad. The highlight is his voice — a rich, nuanced baritone that wrings every last drop from the tear-stained lyrics. If the Heartbreak Hotel were a real place, this would play over the lobby’s loudspeakers.
Maddie & Tae “One Heart to Another”
The title track of Maddie & Tae’s newest EP finds the duo in power-ballad mode, singing words of warning to the girlfriend of a former flame. “You can’t fix him, you’re gonna see it — he’s addicted to the leaving,” they caution, both sympathizing with the woman’s head-over-wheels infatuation while also warning her of his inability to remain tied down. The track is lovely, too, full of gently rolling cymbal crashes, pedal steel and the pair’s ever-present harmonies.
Calexico with Iron & Wine, “Midnight Sun”
Sam Beam links up with Calexico once again for this psychedelic swirl of cosmic indie-folk. Quietly burbling one minute and bombastic the next, “Midnight Sun” is the second single from this year’s Years to Burn, a collaborative album that finds the two acts teaming up for the first time their shared 2005 EP, In the Reins.
Rhiannon Giddens “Ten Thousand Voices”
Rhiannon Giddens widens her exploration of international roots music by linking up with Francesco Turrisi, an Italian multi-instrumentalist specializing in improvisational jazz and European medieval music. Together, they turn “Ten Thousand Voices” into a mixing pot of Middle Eastern drones and Appalachian textures, creating a mystical bridge between cultures, traditions and tones.
Stevie Redstone, “Shots Fired”
The latest release from Stevie’s Redstone’s new, retro-minded album fuses Motown’s funky stomp with the Rolling Stone’s greasy, horn-laden rock. Recorded straight to tape during a live session in Los Angeles, “Shots Fired” is as explosive as its title suggests, with lush, Phil Spector-worthy production and an improvisatory outro that shines its light not upon studio gloss, but upon the top-tier musicianship that fill’s the song’s core.
Erika Wennerstrom “Be Here to Love Me”
The Heartless Bastards’ leader will tour Europe this year alongside Patty Griffin, but she looks to a different roots-music icon with “Be Here to Love Me,” one of two newly released Townes Van Zandt covers. Here, she adds syncopated grooves, vocal harmonies and amplified slide guitar to Zandt’s original, building a reverent bridge between past and present.