The Wild Feathers, “Jacksonville to Jackson Hole”
For years, the Wild Feathers have planted their feet on both sides of the country-rock divide. They fully step into twangier territory with this Eric Church and Casey Beathard co-write, which finds the group singing the praises of cross-country road trips, truck stops, and heat-lamp chicken tenders. The song’s secret weapon isn’t its high-profile writing team, though; it’s the funky bass of Joel King, whose playing can also be heard on Miranda Lambert’s Wildcard.
Lainey Wilson, “Dirty Looks”
“I just wanna get all over you like the dirt on your shirt,” Lainey Wilson croons to her blue-collar beau, unafraid to shower him with PDA after a long day’s work. A clever, mid-tempo ballad that mixes double entendres with Wilson’s hazy vocals, “Dirty Looks” doubles as the singer’s debut single.
Teddy Robb and Meghan Patrick, “Really Shouldn’t Drink Around You”
“There ain’t really no such thing as gin and platonic,” Teddy Robb sings, fully aware that grabbing a nightcap with a certain flirtatious friend is liable to last all the way until morning. Underscored by a laid-back Southern bounce and John Mayer-worthy guitar moves, “Really Shouldn’t Drink Around You” is the soundtrack to the good feelings that come from bad decisions.
Della Mae, “Headlight”
“Be a headlight in this dark night,” Della Mae frontwoman Celia Woodsmith sings, standing in solidarity with all the strong, courageous women around her. Written after watching Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony to the Senate during Justice Kavanaugh’s contentious confirmation hearing, “Headlight” is fueled by equal parts resilience and rage.
Ferris & Sylvester, “I Dare You”
This white-striped, blues-rock anthem sounds as furious as bandmate Archie Sylvester’s overdriven guitar. Sinister and sexualized, “I Dare You” unfolds like a stalker’s love song, full of prosecutable come-ons and dangerous desire.
John Moreland, “Harder Dreams“
Moreland asks the hard questions on “Harder Dreams,” an Arena-cana power ballad that kicks off with stark, Springsteen-sized observations and goes full Technicolor during the second half.
Brian Fallon, “You Have Stolen My Heart”
A cyclical love song from a punk-rock torchbearer, “You Have Stolen My Heart” is sweet and stripped-down, with soft moments of falsetto and some heavy declarations of adoration. “I feel you in me: inside of my years, inside of my bones,” Fallon sings over acoustic guitar and piano during the first verse.
The Minks, “I’m Okay” (Live)
The Minks recorded this blistering performance inside Nashville’s Trace Horse Studios, but don’t let the setting fool you — the band isn’t ready to leave the garage quite yet. This is loose, scuzzy blues, aimed at the mods and rockers among us.
Brad Paisley feat. Addie Pratt, “Alive Right Now”
Paisley takes a sunny look at the human condition. “I’m so glad to be alive right now,” he sings during this feel-good, mostly-serious anthem, which praises the modern age’s technological advances — from Siri to Waze — over an arena-ready progression that demands you fire up your lighter. . .or at least turn on your flashlight app.
Caroline Watkins, “Nothing to See Here”
Caroline Watkins packs up and leaves town, only to truly realize the nostalgic pull and small-town beauty of her old stomping grounds during a return trip. It’s a song about perspective and new horizons, set to a modern country-pop soundtrack of crashing power chords and arpeggiated banjo.