RS Country Music Picks: Week of July 20th - Rolling Stone
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RS Country Music Picks: Week of July 20th

Must-hear songs from Gangstagrass, Teddy Swims, and a premiere from Canadian bluegrass singer Bella White

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Canadian bluegrass singer Bella White's "The Hand of Your Raising" is among this week's must-hear country songs.

Sheena Zilinski*

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.

Gangstagrass, “Ain’t No Crime”

The bluegrass/hip-hop collective roar back with this fast-paced call for unity, a track off their new album No Time for Enemies. Opening with R-Son the Voice of Reason’s rapped verse that’s “sharper than an X-Acto knife,” the song switches gears with vocalist-guitarist Rench’s sing-along chorus about how he’s “got it bad, got it bad.” Got what exactly? Love for his fellow man. If only all country-rap songs were so well executed.

Bella White, “The Hand of Your Raising”

Canadian-born Bella White is left red-faced and wondering what went wrong in “The Hand of Your Raising,” a blindsiding breakup song off the singer’s debut album, Just Like Leaving, due in September. “Is it your nature to be kind?” she sings, as plucked mandolin and sawing fiddle underscore her confusion about what the heck just happened — and how she should proceed. “I’m not sure how I should write you anymore.” Sublime Appalachian heartbreak.

Teddy Swims, “You’re Still the One”

YouTube star Teddy Swims teams up with über-producer Dave Cobb for his latest release, a remake of Shania Twain’s 1997 crossover hit “You’re Still the One.” Driven by electric piano, Cobb’s organic production makes the most of the Atlanta-based Swims’ lovely voice, gritty and soulful one moment, then effortlessly spiraling up into a silky falsetto the next.

Eliot Bronson, “Let Me Go”

“Don’t give me words/Words can confuse,” sings Eliot Bronson, describing a slow-motion break-up in “Let Me Go,” from the singer-songwriter’s upcoming album Empty Spaces (out July 24th). With its cascading chorus harmonies, swirling mellotron, and distorted guitar solo, it inhabits a similar space to early Low recordings — sad and fragile but impossibly massive all at once.

The Mavericks, “Recuerdos”

The Mavericks’ upcoming En Español album is proof that doing what comes naturally pays the greatest dividends. Singer Raul Malo embraces his Latin roots in the band’s first Spanish-language record to thrilling results. Even when he’s feeling bittersweet, Malo captivates — latest release “Recuerdos” (the title translates to “memories”) is an undeniable mid-tempo groove that finds the band reveling in the ashes left behind after a romance burns out.


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