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.
Sammy Kay, “Better/Worse”
Jersey-born, Bakersfield-based Sammy Kay empathizes with those who’ve “lost out on faith” in this gripping ballad about our endless search for better days to come. Kay’s sandpaper voice is the sound of a guy who has seen some shit and come out the other side, maybe a little less intact than he was before. “Better/Worse” is vulnerable, disarming, and just the slightest bit optimistic. RIYL Brian Fallon, Chuck Ragan, and the punk troubadour class.
Chapel Hart, “Jesus & Alcohol”
Sisters Danica and Devynn Hart and their cousin Trea Swindle are the trio Chapel Hart, who just released their new single “Jesus & Alcohol.” A rip-roaring ode to the restorative powers of booze and the Bible, “Jesus & Alcohol” has the feel of a big Nineties-country single, packed full of sizzling guitar licks and the singers’ glorious harmonies. “Folks always said booze was no good for me/Jesus always said to love thine enemy/So I hug this bottle, I’m two shots down,” Danica sings. Bonus: ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons shows up in the video as a reverend.
Kyle Daniel, “This American Dream”
Kentucky guitarslinger Kyle Daniel returns with his latest heartland jam, written with Will Hoge and Dylan Altman. “This American Dream” is a call to unity in trying times, a song reminding us that we’re all in this together. Like the best of Daniel’s blue-collar anthems, it doesn’t try to split the atom; instead, it ably fills the void for honest-to-goodness country-rock. It’s a song to raise your beer to — someday.
Malin Pettersen, “Wildhorse Dream”
Norwegian songwriter Malin Pettersen sings of following her craziest ambitions in “Wildhorse Dream,” the latest release from her upcoming album Wildhorse (out October 16th). “Don’t know how long it takes to get there, how long I want to stay or if I’m ever even going back,” Pettersen sings, supported by cascading backing vocals and a spacious arrangement that recalls indie-rock tinkerers the Walkmen.
Thoma Csorba, “Crooked Kind of Free”
Singer-songwriter Thomas Csorba meditates on the meaning of freedom in his latest release, “Crooked Kind of Free,” touching on family separation at the U.S.-Mexico border and abuses of governmental power. “I’ve seen desperate faces of children in fear/When will someone tell me how we wound up here?” he asks, his voice tinged with pain and accompanied by a restless full-band arrangement. Csorba’s self-titled new album comes out September 25th.