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Wide Open Country Weekly Must-Listens: Cam, Dillon Carmichael and More

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Here at Wide Open Country, we love sharing our favorite music, whether it’s a brand new track that you haven’t heard or an oldie that deserves some new attention. Each week, our team of music writers spotlight one song that stands out among the pack. Here’s what we’re listening to this week.

Lorie’s Pick: “Mansion Door,” Shakey Graves

Nostalgia for the 1990s is at an all-time high right now, and this new track from Shakey Graves definitely takes a nod to alt-rockers of the decade. Over the years, he’s infused his jangly alt-country sound with sonic elements from a variety of genres. The result is a fuzzy, melodic and unique tune that is guaranteed to find a place in your head for weeks to come.

Bobbie Jean’s Pick: “Wild Reckless and Crazy,” Darci Carlson

If you’re looking for the whiskey-soaked country of Tanya Tucker mixed with hard driving, southern-fried rockyou need to hear Darci Carlson. Carlson released her self-titled sophomore album on April 20 and it’s packed full of hard-won road warrior songs from someone who seems like she would’ve partied with Hank Jr. and all his rowdy friends (before they settled down). “Wild Reckless and Crazy” is an ode to freedom, debauchery and those mid-July nights that seem to stretch on forever. It should be the anthem for your summer even if you don’t live quite as wild and crazy as Carlson.

Rachel’s Pick: “Foothill Freeway,” Pete Mancini

Though he may be from Long Island, Pete Mancini can bring three chords, the truth, and heartbreak as hard as anybody. You may have already heard the journeyman guitarist in his band Butcher’s Blind or holding down the low end for New York blues rock heroes Leland Sundries. When Mancini went out on his own last summer with Foothill Freeway, he did so with a great many blessings — including a nod from NPR. This week, Mancini’s following the album up with some live performances on his Alive in Patchogue EP. “Knowlton Township County” is one of my favorite songs on the record, highlighting Mancini’s skill as a keen observer of character and an entertaining storyteller to boot.

Bobby’s Pick: “Sad Country Song,” Andrea Colburn and Mud Moseley

As the self-professed king and queen of the hillbilly underground, Andrea Colburn and Mud Moseley inject some levity into classic country and Western music. Take for instance “Sad Country Song,” a tragicomedy about a total wreck of a barfly from recent album Easy, Sleazy and Greasy. It’s not too jokey though, because the duo’s “surf Western” sound — a blend of old-school country music, Piedmont blues and rockabilly — makes for seriously good nods to great music rooted in their home state of Georgia.

Jeremy’s Pick: “Palace,” Cam

Cam labels her version of “Palace” as a cover, but it’s hers as much as it is British pop star Sam Smith’s — the pair wrote it together, after all, along with Cam’s frequent collaborator Tyler Johnson. Smith released it on his sophomore album The Thrill Of It All, and Cam actually provided the faintest of guest backing vocals on that version, too. But ever since we heard his version, we were itching to hear how Cam would deliver the song through her own golden pipes. And guess what? It’s absolutely stunning.

Thomas’ Pick: “Hell of an Angel,” Dillon Carmichael

Dillon Carmichael seems poised to be the “next big thing” in country music. For his upcoming album, Hell of an Angel (Aug. 17), the Kentucky native worked with producer guru Dave Cobb (is Cobb creating these folks in a lab somewhere?) Much like modern outlaw movement pioneers Jamey Johnson and Leroy Powell, Carmichael blends classic country soul with sharp guitars that rip right through. On “Hell of an Angel,” he lets those hot guitars set the whole place ablaze as they set the pace. And like Johnson and others, Carmichael’s vocals feel as though they were aged in whiskey barrels and cured with brown sugar. A Lynyrd Skynyrd-esque female harmony full of southern rock vocal wails are the icing on the cake. In all, it’s intoxicating toe-tapper and air guitar inducing.

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Wide Open Country Weekly Must-Listens: Cam, Dillon Carmichael and More