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.
Regan Stewart, “Drop Dead Gorgeous”
Regan Stewart calls to mind “Merry Go ‘Round”-era Kacey Musgraves with her new song “Drop Dead Gorgeous,” marrying a sweetly sad melody to an acidly funny swipe at a “Jolene” type who’s getting a little too close to her boyfriend. Lushly produced with a nod to the fullness of the Nashville Sound, “Drop Dead Gorgeous” doesn’t hold back on the clever, as Stewart sings, “Pushing up daises would really be the best thing for you/Go to hell, you might as well drop dead gorgeous.”
Carolina Story, “Don’t Leave Me in the Morning”
Married duo Carolina Story will release their new album Dandelion on September 4th and one of the standouts is the pleading “Don’t Leave Me in the Morning.” Evoking some of the tension that made the Civil Wars so thrilling, Ben and Emily Roberts intertwine their voices for a lightly psychedelic folk tune about building partnership. “Keep on reaching, pull me through/the earth is shaking, hold me steady,” Emily sings, with Ben joining her in the choruses. By its end, the song has transformed into an epic rock number of soaring strings and George Harrison-style electric guitar leads.
Adam Chaffins, “Further Away (Acoustic)”
Adam Chaffins is joined by Brit Taylor for a lonesome, acoustic version of his song “Further Away,” released in its original form in February 2020. In light of this particularly bleak year, it’s taken on some new meaning. Accompanied by a skeleton crew of musicians, Kentucky native Chaffins pulls “Further Away” down to all acoustic instruments, with banjo and Dobro adding some accents and Taylor providing gentle harmonies. “I wish I was further away,” they sing together. Man, don’t we all?
Garrison Starr, “Dam That’s Breaking”
Revered singer-songwriter Garrison Starr feels like bursting wide open in the cathartic new song “Dam That’s Breaking,” released on Friday via Soundly Music. “I’ve been breathing underwater, I’ve been trying to be brave,” Starr sings, her voice rough in all the right spots as she recounts the years of holding things back. Not anymore, she avows, making big strides toward better living.
Rev. John Wilkins, “Walk With Me”
Memphis gospel-blues preacher Rev. John Wilkins gives us something to believe in with his latest song “Walk With Me.” A track off his upcoming album Trouble, it’s a message of comfort delivered with fingerpicked guitar, and harmonies from his daughter. “Don’t leave me alone, Lord,” the good Rev. pleads, knowing full well he’s got the most reliable of traveling companions at his side.
Mo Pitney, “Ain’t Bad for a Good Ol’ Boy”
The Illinois-raised traditionalist sings of “screen doors” and “cakes on the griddle” in this thanking-God-he’s-a-country-boy jam off his new album Ain’t Lookin’ Back. Pitney’s brand of old-school country is steady as a rock, and while this track may be polished up for radio, it doesn’t hide its homespun charm. Credit that to feel-good lyrics from Pitney, Phil O’Donnell, and Trent Willmon, and some glorious steel guitar.