Country music was front and center in the eye of the media this week. At the Grammys on Monday, Chris Stapleton, country’s darkhorse star, and Little Big Town took home top honors. In Austin, traditional country music honored its own at the 2016 Ameripolitan Awards.
This week we’re featuring music honored at both shows, as well as new releases we’re enjoying. These 10 country songs come from the mainstream, the Americana world and the ever vibrant Texas scene.
10. “You Are My Sunshine,” Chris and Morgane Stapleton
Morgane Stapleton, wife of Grammy-winning artist Chris Stapleton, has been performing and recording with her husband long before he became country’s new It Man. Their cover of “You Are My Sunshine” has long been a staple of their live shows, and it’s featured on the upcoming Dave Cobb production, Southern Family.
9. “Hurtin’ (On The Bottle),” Margo Price
Nashville’s Margo Price is one of the most intriguing neo-traditional artists of the day. Her music sounds like an update on the classic honky-tonk sound of the late 60s and 70s. Price picked up the Best Honky Tonk Female honor at the Ameripolitan Awards this week.
8. “Me and My Kind,” Cody Johnson
Contemporary cowboy country is alive and well, and Texan Cody Johnson does it with ease. “Me and My Kind” is a blend of the polished production of Nashville and the independence of Texas country.
7. “If I Needed You,” Joey + Rory
Joey + Rory‘s cover of this Townes Van Zandt classic was nominated for a Grammy for Best Country Duo/Group Performance. They lost to Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush”, but they accepted the loss with grace and praised their nomination.
6. “24 Frames,” Jason Isbell
Jason Isbell, the “King of Americana,” took home the Grammy for Best Americana Album for his superb album, Something More Than Free. “24 Frames” sounds more rock than country, but it’s one of the standout tracks on the album, which is full of standout tracks.
5. “Drinkin’ Alone,” The Steeldrivers
The Steeldrivers, the soulful bluegrass outfit that Chris Stapleton used to front, snagged the Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album for The Muscle Shoals Recordings. “Drinkin’ Alone” is a good introduction to their tasty style and musical mastery.
4. “Record Year,” Eric Church
“Record Year” is the new single off of Eric Church‘s surprise album, Mr. Misunderstood. Church dives into his vinyl collection to deal with a devastating heartbreak.
3. “Thunderstorms and Neon Signs,” Wayne Hancock
Wayne “The Train” Hancock has been carrying the torch for old-school, rockabilly-style country for decades. This week, he picked up the Ameripolitan Award for Rockabilly Male. “Thunderstorms and Neon Signs” is one of his older tunes, but arguably his best.
2. “Things That I Lean On,” Wynona Judd, ft. Jason Isbell
Wynonna Judd is back with a new sound that leans more towards Americana and roots music than her soft-rock, pop-country past. “Things That I Lean On” is one of the standout tracks on her new album, Wynonna & The Big Noise, and features vocals by Jason Isbell.
1. “Sad One Comin’ On,” Vince Gill
Vince Gill‘s new album, Down to My Last Bad Habit, dropped last week. It’s classic Gill to the hilt: Tasty guitar playing, soulful vocals and well-written songs. “Sad One Comin’ On” is Gill’s homage to the late George Jones, who was a dear friend of Gill. Listen for the supporting vocals by Little Big Town.