Whether it’s coming out of Nashville, New York, L.A., or points in between, there’s no shortage of fresh tunes, especially from artists who have yet to become household names. Rolling Stone Country selects some of the best new music releases from country and Americana artists. (Check out last week’s best songs.)
Brittney Spencer, “Sober & Skinny”
Brittney Spencer’s first release of 2021 shows off the young performer’s mastery of country songwriting with an exquisite tune about the little disappointments that pile up in relationships. “You over-drink and I overeat, we under-think everything,” she sings, fantasizing that they’ll be able to change for the better. “We’ve got faith and got each other/Maybe we’ll grow old together/Making up our happy ending,” she sings. Rather than finger-pointing, Spencer offers enough empathy and optimism for the both of them to face it together.
Rod Gator, “For Louisiana”
Formerly recording under his given name Rod Melancon, Rod Gator looks to his Cajun country roots on the upcoming album For Louisiana, due out September 17th. The title track and first single is sung from the perspective of a homesick person who’s living somewhere far away and longing for “cypress sunsets, and cool, cool breeze.” With its muscular country-rock jangle and walking bassline, it’s got enough verve to make everyone else long for a visit to the Pelican State as well.
Kashena Sampson, “Whole Lot Better”
Nashville singer-songwriter Kashena Sampson mines a little bit of the sizzle from Dusty in Memphis for “Whole Lot Better,” the lead offering from her new album Time Machine (out September 10th). In the midst of tough circumstances, she finds a way to celebrate some new beginnings: “Got a lot better since I moved out from the Eastside,” she sings, the garage-rock rave up arrangement echoing her jubilation.
Jesse Daniel, “Think I’ll Stay”
Jesse Daniel cops a little bit of Dwight Yoakam attitude on “Think I’ll Stay,” a Telecaster-propelled number about hitting the dancefloor to two-step his blues away. “I know it’s late and I should probably go home/But I can’t leave you out here dancing all alone,” he sings to his dancing partner, while the swaying groove and hot licks beckon him to stick around for a bit longer.
Hush Kids, “Weatherman”
Hush Kids are the duo of Jill Andrews and Peter Groenwald, and their new release “Weatherman” is as atmospheric as we’ve come to expect from producer Ian Fitchuk, who worked on Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour. Building from flat, muted drums and acoustic guitar to a lush swirl of keys and synth bass, it showcases the duo’s harmonies and offers some valuable insight for days when the skies look cloudy. “We’ve had the sun inside us all along,” they sing.