Tenille Townes looks for a clean start in “I Kept the Roses,” Chance McCoy takes a spacey turn in “No One Loves You (The Way That I Do),” Honey County pay tribute to victims of the Route 91 Festival massacre in “Country Strong” and more must-hear songs this week.
Honey County, “Country Strong”
An anthemic tribute to those affected by the mass shooting at 2017’s Route 91 Harvest Festival and last year’s deadly attack at the Borderline bar in Southern California, “Country Strong” made its live premiere this past weekend when Honey County performed the song with help from dozens of choreographed line dancers at the Stagecoach Festival. “Get back up!” goes the first line of the chorus, which preaches the values of resilience and country pride.
Willie Jones, “Down for It”
Willie Jones’ deep-seated baritone nods to old-school country icons like Johnny Cash, while his new video for “Down for It” nods to the old-school TV program Reading Rainbow. Don’t mistake this song for a nostalgia fest, though. “Down for It” is a modern-sounding single that’s in the running for “song of the summer” status, with a sing-along chorus rooted in banjo arpeggios and percussive bounce.
Casey Kristofferson, “Blessed and Cursed”
The daughter of Rita Coolidge and Kris Kristofferson tackles her own version of “Blessed and Cursed,” a clever sendup of love’s two-faced nature. Previously recorded by Kristofferson’s co-writer (and fellow daughter of famous parents), Amy Nelson, “Blessed and Cursed” takes its cues from country music’s senior class, mixing rustic twang with tongue-in-cheek lyrics.
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LoCash, “One Big Country Song”
LoCash’s Chris Lucas and Preston Brust celebrate the universal moments that bind us all together, from the thrill of turning 16 years old to the widespread relief that comes with the end of another work day. “We’ve all had a broken heart, we’ve all closed down a few good bars,” goes the radio-ready chorus, which pulls those commonalities together beneath country music’s wide umbrella. “Take a look around, y’all, tell me I’m wrong — ain’t the whole wide world just one big country song?”
Tenille Townes, “I Kept the Roses”
Tenille Townes cleans house after a breakup, ridding her life of the reminders of her crumbled relationship. She can’t bring herself to throw out a bouquet of flowers, though. “They should make me lonely, but I’m smiling instead ’cause you weren’t the one, babe,” she sings during this classic-minded country ballad, turning the roses into a sign of brighter things to come.
Willie Nelson, “Ride Me Back Home”
The title track from Willie Nelson’s new album is a gently-rolling ballad about older horses whose better days are behind them. For Nelson, who turns 86 years old today, the song also feels like a metaphor, delivered in a voice that’s pockmarked with age yet still elegant and sweetly familiar. The song also features one of his best guitar solos in years, proof that there’s still plenty of gallop left in this cowboy’s step.
Rachel Reinert, “All We Have”
Rachel Reinert gives away her material possessions and takes stock of the things that really matter. Inspired by her departure from the country band Gloriana and the eye-opening journey of re-launching her career as a solo artist, “All We Have” soars high, buoyed by clouds of reverb and the uplift of Reinert’s unforced voice.
Chance McCoy, “No One Loves You (The Way That I Do)”
Old Crow Medicine Show’s Chance McCoy introduces an upcoming solo album with this spacey, banjo-fueled stomp into Americana’s outer orbit. Self-produced by the multi-instrumentalist himself and inspired by his time as whitewater river guide, “No One Loves You (The Way That I Do)” arrives as McCoy takes a break from Old Crow to focus on his own material.
Doug Seegers, “Demon Seed“
Doug Seegers’ voice is built for the best kind of classic-country melodrama, and he lets those pipes ring with this supersized Western epic. Produced by Joe Henry, “Demon Seed” packs an album’s worth of highlights into four minutes, hitting a high-water mark during a broken-down verse that’s played at half-speed for cinematic effect.
Erin Enderlin, “Tonight I Don’t Give a Damn”
The title track of Erin Enderlin’s new EP is a nocturnal, slow-moving salute to the time-honored practice of drowning one’s heartache with whiskey. “I guess I’m just another heart you broke,” she sings, while a pedal steel weeps in the background. This is the stuff of country classics — concise, tear-stained and all-too-relatable.