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.
Story-songs are the backbone of country music. Cam’s latest single “Diane” flips the script on Dolly Parton’s classic hit “Jolene,” showing things from the other woman’s perspective. Thoughtful, honest lyrics and powerhouse vocals make this one an instant hit in my book.
A standout track from their stellar album Steak Night at the Prairie Rose, “Wedding Band” finds Texas honky tonkers Mike and the Moonpies chatting up a bride-to-be at a bar. On first listen you might think it’s another tale of a drunken Casanova trying a pick up line on an uninterested woman. But it’s not love this guy is after — just a chance for his band to play at her wedding. In a run through of the band’s impressive “honk tonk repertoire,” the pedal steel-laden track pays tribute to everyone from Randy Travis to Conway Twitty while still sounding wholly original.
There’s a really good chance you’ve never heard Jeremy Parsons or his song “Burn This House Down,” but that needs to change. A San Antonio native, Parsons relocated to Nashville, Tenn. and released his album Things I Need To Say in 2017. On the lead single from the album, Parsons marries that Texas red dirt grit with the pop sensibilities of Music Row to find the perfect balance between dancy and desolate. It’s a desperate heave at finding a clean slate after a hopeless romance, and it hits all the right notes. “A two-story reminder of a love that didn’t work out,” Parsons sings. “I guess I’m gonna have to burn this house down.”
Nestled in the middle of Bowen’s Solid Ground is “Death, Dyin’ and Deviled Eggs,” a candid funeral song. It’s the linchpin of album. Bowen’s alliteration and detailed account of a funeral are remind you of Guy Clark and John Prine. Instead of lingering on the somber aspects of death, what shines brightest is Bowen’s sense of gratitude. It’s not about how many days you have left, but rather, how you spend them.
Fans of the Atlanta underground rock scene that brought us Blackberry Smoke, Legendary Shack Shakers guitarist Rod Hamdallah and others know the name Anna Kramer. She’s long brought Southern twang to backing band the Lost Cause. Per current projects Shantih Shantih and Nikki and the Phantom Callers, her country influences translate well to modern garage rock. “Living on the Road” finds Kramer further celebrating the Southern roots of both country and rock music. It glamorizes those “sleepovers with strangers” that make D.I.Y. touring possible for everyone from teenage punk rockers to unsigned country singers.