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: “Diamonds or Twine,” Ryan Hurd
Bobbie Jean’s Pick: “Red Side of the Moon,” Trixie Mattel
Trixie Mattel rose to fame on the VH1 series RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars. She won the show, winning over judges and viewers with her lovable Malibu Barbie-meets-Dolly Parton persona. Mattel (known out of drag as Brian Firkus) showed her Dolly side on the show when she busted out an autoharp to perform an original country song. But the performer, who counts Jason Isbell, Townes Van Zandt, John Prine, Kacey Musgraves and Parton among her greatest inspirations, has been writing and singing country music long before her star-making turn on Drag Race. In March, she released her sophomore album One Stone, a stellar collection of soul-baring songs. The gorgeous, lovelorn “Red Side of the Moon” is a classic country story song that places Mattel alongside her country-folk heroes.
Bobby’s Pick: “Our Babies Will Never Grow Up To Be Astronauts,” Abe Partridge
Partner the drunken musings of Tom Waits with John Prine’s dark humor and a South Alabamian‘s world view and you’ve got the music of Mobile-based country singer Abe Partridge. At first, “Our Babies Will Never Grow Up To Be Astronauts” just checks off the first two boxes, with Partridge sounding like a haggard barfly with an affinity for Prine’s “Space Monkey.” Yet as the narrator places astronauts at the peak of career success and parental distress, a possible and logical meaning for this song becomes clear. Since opening its doors in 1960, the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville has been a dream job for Alabama residents hoping their smart and successful kids wouldn’t move too far away from home. In short, Junior may be Southern by the grace of God, but he’ll never make that NASA money.
Jeremy’s Pick: “Pushing Up Daisies (Love Alive),” Brothers Osborne
A brand new track from the Brothers Osborne’s upcoming album Port Saint Joe, “Pushing Up Daisies (Love Alive)” is a case study in subtlety. It’s beautifully understated, in production, melody and lyrical structure. Even John Osborne’s musical moment to shine is a gorgeous, laid back guitar solo, compared to his rip roaring moments on tracks like “Shoot Me Straight.” There’s a lot of pressure on a band to deliver when your debut album notches multiple CMA wins and Grammy nominations. But luckily for Brothers Osborne, they’ve been in the trenches for more than a decade before their breakout single “Stay A Little Longer.” It’s the kind of experience that helps inform a highly anticipated sophomore follow-up like Port Saint Joe, and releasing “Pushing Up Daisies (Love Alive)” as the next listen off the record shows this band is nowhere near a one-trick pony.