RS Country Music Picks: Week of August 3rd - Rolling Stone
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RS Country Music Picks: Week of August 3rd

Molly Tuttle’s vibrant Rancid cover, Gary Allan’s return to Nineties country, and more songs to hear this week

Molly Tuttle

Molly Tuttle's cover of Rancid's "Olympia, WA" is among the must-hear country songs this week.

Zach Pigg*

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.

Molly Tuttle, “Olympia, WA”

The bluegrass star reconnects with the Bay Area punk of her youth with this vibrant cover of Rancid’s “Olympia, WA,” from the band’s 1995 LP …And Out Come the Wolves. A track off Tuttle’s upcoming covers album …But I’d Rather Be With You (like Rancid, she’s a fan of ellipses in titles), it features Old Crow’s Ketch Secor on harmonies. But make no mistake: the song is Tuttle’s star turn, with her pristine vocal floating high above the strummed-acoustic fray.

Gary Allan, “Waste of a Whiskey Drink”

“There is a lane right now opening up and I’m going to step right into it,” Gary Allan told Rolling Stone recently, alluding to Nashville’s Nineties-country renaissance and the new songs he had in the chamber. He just released the first, “Waste of a Whiskey Drink,” a welcome return to the crisp, yearning country — like the flawless “Watching Airplanes” — that made Allan such a defining voice of the late Nineties and early Aughts. In “Waste of a Whiskey Drink,” however, Allan isn’t watching his ex fly away — he’s kicking her to the curb and warning all who will listen to steer clear.

Daniel Rodriguez, “Brother John”

Former Elephant Revival member Daniel Rodriguez cements himself as a solo performer with the forthcoming album Sojourn of a Burning Sun, due out August 28th. In “Brother John,” he sings of someone who has “the honor of a warrior, a soldier wounded long ago,” and finds music to be the ultimate balm. It’s fittingly set to a sunny, spacious groove and rounded out with banjo and melodic splashes of clean electric guitar leads.

Fancy Hagood, “Don’t Blink”

Singer-songwriter Fancy Hagood returns with his first single in five years, and it’s a country-soul stunner. Hagood shows himself to be a rangy, expressive vocalist, and the lyrical theme — finding and falling for someone who seemingly makes time stop — gets a little skyward lift from a backing gospel choir.

Joan Osborne, “What’s That You Say”

Joan Osborne built this funky track about the immigrant experience around the spoken words of Ana Maria Rea-Ventre, a Mexican girl who settled in Texas with her family but who forever felt like she didn’t belong. Osborne spent hours talking with Rea-Ventre to weave her personal tale into the song, off the upcoming album Trouble and Strife. “Baby was a refugee,” Osborne sings in the chorus, but it’s the guest narrator who has the final word: “Ya no tengo miedo” — “I am no longer afraid.”

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