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 our most recent list.)
Ray Scott, “Slow Dance”
Ray Scott earned a reputation as a country-music wiseass with tongue-in-cheek songs like “The Ugly One” and “Drinkin’ Beer,” but there’s no shtick in this yearning love song, a classic country tale of being alone and wanting someone to sway with. Or even just talk to. The North Carolina native’s Cash-like baritone is especially smooth here, as he fantasizes about a future dancefloor that feels a lot less empty. (Scott’s new album Cover the Earth is out now.)
Alexa Rose, “Wild Peppermint”
“We could change direction for the hell of it back then,” Alexa Rose laments in “Wild Peppermint,” from the newly released album Headwaters. With Rose’s gentle country lilt telling the story, the piano-driven song takes a look back at the way relationships sometimes resemble unpredictable weather patterns — frozen and magical, or occasionally dull and disappointing. As a bonus, there’s a nice reference to indie faves Matt Pond PA in the second verse.
Troy Cartwright, “Breaking Every Heart in Texas”
Relative newcomer Troy Cartwright will issue his major-label debut EP Halfway to Houston on October 15th and the first preview is “Breaking Every Heart in Texas,” a midtempo ballad that’s as much an ode to the Lone Star State as the one who got away. “From Amarillo down to Galveston Bay, she’s makin’ all them cowboys jealous,” Cartwright sings, his achingly soulful voice the main attraction in this promising release.
From “Marina Del Rey” to “Blue Clear Sky,” the song allusions are plenty in Scotty McCreery’s wry homage to George Strait. The irony, however, is that McCreery can no longer listen to his hero — since his lover left him with only bad memories of Strait songs. “I know it ain’t your fault that she left me, and you know you’ll be the king,” he sings in the bridge, “but right now ‘I Hate Everything.'” It’s clever songwriting, delivered by one of the genre’s best King George disciples.
The Accidentals, “Count the Rings”
The Accidentals are a trio of Savannah Buist, Katie Larson, and Michael Dause, and they’ll release their new album Vessel on October 1st. The group’s single “Count the Rings” nimbly walks the lines between angular post-punk and jangly Americana. “Truth is like a little pill deep down I know/it’s hard to swallow though, sometimes I’d rather choke,” they sing, imbuing it with the bittersweet spirit of Nineties alt-rock.