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.)
Kenton Bryant, “Covered in Dirt”
Kenton Bryant moved to Nashville from Glasgow, Kentucky, just shy of a decade ago — and if Music City’s reputation as a 10-year-town is true, the songwriter is poised for his breakout. It may come with this moody anthem about the soil that shapes us. Bryant, in an emotive tenor that calls to mind Eric Church, sings about living one’s whole life “covered in dirt.” Until, you know, you’re once again covered in dirt. It’s the circle of life, as seen from a small-town kid.
Buick Audra, “All My Failures”
Buick Audra chronicles her struggle with panic attacks in the new solo release “All My Failures,” from an upcoming album. Audra, who also sings and plays guitar in the heavy band Friendship Commanders, is joined by a group of A-list Nashville players as she uses the more delicate side of her voice to address the doubts and anxieties that continue to assail her in the middle of the night. “They gather ’round me/They know to get me all alone/They say I should have known,” she sings, taking some of the power back from those fears as she sings them out loud. “Admitting that I’ve had those attacks in ‘All My Failures’ is liberating for me — and also a bit frightening. It’s the truest of the true,” Audra says of writing the song. “In that way, it feels like the perfect song to return with.”
The Reverend Shawn Amos, “I’m Ready”
Covering classic blues songs is hot right now (see the Black Keys’ upcoming album), and the Reverend Shawn Amos dives in headlong on The Cause of It All, out May 21st . He starts with a doozy: Willie Dixon’s 1954 declaration “I’m Ready.” Amos and his guitar foil Chris “Doctor” Roberts deliver it as an easygoing shuffle, but the approach doesn’t diminish the swagger of Dixon’s wordplay: “I’m drinkin’ TNT, smokin’ dynamite/I hope some screwball starts a fight.” Amos may be a man of peace, but here he’s itching for a tussle.
Cale Tyson, “Alone”
There are sad, tortured troubadours and then there’s Cale Tyson. The Texas native, ex-Nashville hipster, and current L.A. artisan (check out his paintings) exists solely to be lonely. In his first new song since 2019, Tyson chronicles that journey into isolation with staggering results. It’s a gorgeous recording — all woozy production and droning harmonies — and it arrives with an equally compelling video that finds the songwriter crying painted tears while on a solo expedition across the desert. What’s he searching for? Something to fill the void.
Kaitlin Butts, “How Lucky Am I”
Oklahoma artist Kaitlin Butts perfectly captures the sound of bliss in “How Lucky Am I,” an easygoing slice of cosmic country. “Since when am I the one to make all the moves/With you I feel like I can break all the rules, how lucky am I to be sitting with you?” she sings, practically grinning away at her good fortune. With its shuffling groove and spaced-out twang, “How Lucky Am I” will do the same for anyone who plays it.