Every week, we share new and old songs we have on heavy rotation. Here are five new tracks from country and Americana you should add to your playlists.
“Why I Left Atlanta,” Jason Eady
When non-Texans ask me for Texas country singer-songwriter recommendations, Jason Eady is one of the first names to come up. If you love traditional country that has lots of substance and soul and pays no tithe to the commercial trends, Eady is right up your alley. The Texas country stalwart returns to his early sound with “Why I Left Atlanta,” the single from his new self-titled album, out April 21.
“River in The Rain,” Alison Krauss
At the end of his career, Roger Miller penned and recorded “River in The Rain” for Big River, his musical based on Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Now considered a chestnut, it was one of the last great songs Miller ever wrote. Alison Krauss recently revived the classic for her upcoming album, Windy City, out Friday (Feb. 10). Her rendition is markedly different than Miller’s but in a good way. The slower tempo and minimal instrumentation allow Krauss’s gorgeous vocals to give this song new emotional depth. When you finish this version, go look up Miller’s cut if you haven’t heard it already.
“Best of All Possible Worlds,” Kris Kristofferson
In 1997, Kris Kristofferson went to Austin’s Arlyn Studios (just a short walk from WOC HQ) to record the Austin Sessions. Kristofferson recut his big hits, like “Me and Bobby McGee” and “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” with intimate, stripped-down arrangements. Producer Fred Mollin wanted it to sound deliberately under-produced, which is arguably the best way to showcase Kristofferson’s material. Later this spring, Rhino Records will release an expanded version of the album that features previously unreleased cuts. The humorous track “Best Of All Possible Worlds” has all the storytelling charm you love about Kristofferson’s songs.
“My Old Man,” Zac Brown Band
When Zac Brown Band released Jekyll + Hyde in 2015, many die-hard fans felt somewhat betrayed. In an effort to expand their creativity, and perhaps their market reach, ZBB bounced from EDM to Top 40 pop country to neo-grunge all on one sprawling record. Now, the band is returning to their homegrown sound that made them superstars in country music. “My Old Man,” the first single from their upcoming album, Welcome Home, sounds like familiar Zac Brown Band. You won’t hear any glossy production, electronic drum tracks or bombastic rock guitars — just the jaw-dropping vocal and musical talent that makes ZBB one of the best bands in the business.
“Middle of Nowhere,” Delbert McClinton
Texas music icon Delbert McClinton returns this month with his new album, Prick of the Litter. A master of country, soul, blues and R&B, McClinton is still as potent and soulful as he was 30 years ago at the peak of his career. While the album leans more towards blues, traditional country and American fans will find a lot to love in these songs. “Middle of Nowhere” is a laid back, breezy blues tune about old memories of love. If you love Merle Haggard’s songs, you’ll find some similarities in McClinton’s style of reminiscing.