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10 Best Country, Americana Songs of the Week: Kacey Musgraves, Willie Nelson

Musgraves’ sterling “Space Cowboy,” Cole Swindell’s delicate “Break Up in the End” and more songs to hear now

Kacey Musgraves, Willie Nelson

Songs by Kacey Musgraves and Willie Nelson are among the 10 country and Americana songs you must hear this week.

Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images; Gary Miller/Getty Images

A country legend, some rising radio stars and burgeoning Americana singer-songwriters make up this week’s list of songs you need to hear right now.

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Willie Nelson, “Last Man Standing”

If Willie Nelson’s twilight years are to be spent amidst constant speculation over whether he’s “Still Not Dead,” then he’s sure not going to take it lying down. “Last Man Standing,” the title track from the new record due to be released before the Red Headed Stranger’s 85th birthday in April, is yet another rumination on the country legend’s mortality, as well as the friends – Merle and Waylon, among them – who have passed away before him. Nelson approaches this grim subject with candor and a typically jaunty tone. Then again, as he once sang himself, he just might live forever. J.G.

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Don Gallardo, “A Boat Named Harmony”

Don Gallardo stakes his claim as a roots-rock lifer with his upcoming April release, Still Here. It’s an album rooted in persistence and purpose, with songs like “Kicking Up the Pavement” shining a light on the struggle of the modern-day road warrior. On the acoustic “A Boat Named Harmony,” though, Gallardo trades his band van for a sailboat, painting himself as the unlucky captain of a sinking ship. With open water all around him, he choses love over panic, finding peace in the presence of his duet partner, Erin Rae. Heartwarming and harmony-heavy. R.C.

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