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5 New Songs You Need to Hear: Ashley McBryde, Brandy Clark + More

Ashley McBryde performs at the 13th annual ACM Honors at the Ryman Auditorium on Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo by Al Wagner/Invision/AP)

Each week the Wide Open Country staff rounds up our favorite newly released country and Americana songs. Here are five new songs we can't stop listening to this week:

"Who You Thought I Was," Brandy Clark

"I used to want to be a cowboy... there's a lot of things I used to wanna do 'til I met you," Brandy Clark sings on "Who You Thought I Was," a breezy, Don Williams-esque song about wanting to live up to a loved one's expectations. Clark says the song was inspired by legendary singer-songwriter John Prine. "[Prine] walked out onstage at the Ryman and everyone stood up and clapped for what felt like five minutes. When everyone sat down, he said with a little laugh, 'Well, I'm John Prine, but I'd like to go back to being who you thought I was'," Clark says.

"Who You Thought I Was" is the debut single from Clark's forthcoming album Your Life is a Record, which features collaborations with Josh Osborne and Randy Newman.

-- Bobbie Jean Sawyer

"Martha Divine," Ashley McBryde

Ashley McBryde is out for blood in "Martha Divine," a hard-driving story song that involves a daughter's plot against her father's mistress. "Mama's an angel/ My daddy isn't," McBryde sings. "Looks like a little more of him rubbed off on me than didn't." It's the best southern saga revenge fantasy since Mary Ann and Wanda mixed up those black-eyed peas. "Martha Divine" is the latest release from McBryde's yet-to-be-named follow-up to her 2018 breakout album Girl Going Nowhere.

-- Bobbie Jean Sawyer

"Mama Drank," Jessi Alexander

Promising solo artist and Chris and Morgane Stapleton collaborator Jessi Alexander speaks raw, ugly truths about making it through another day of personal and financial struggles with "Mama Drank." It's the first great song of the year for fans wanting equal amounts of steel guitar and regret in their country music.

--Bobby Moore

"A Cowboy Like Me," Matt Mercado

Matt Mercado, the Texas native behind 2019 regional favorite "I Should've Never Left Mexico," cut another Red Dirt gem last year titled "A Cowboy Like Me." It proves that teenage sensation Mercado is both whip-smart (he graduated from high school at age 15, per KAGS) and wise beyond his years when it comes to singing about matters of the heart.

--Bobby Moore

"Bad Timing," Bruce Smelley

Big-voiced singer-songwriter Bruce Smelley's fast-driving "Bad Timing" lands somewhere on the traditionalist spectrum between Sturgill Simpson's more country-sounding material and Jon Pardi's pop-friendly nostalgia. In just three and a half minutes, Smelley got us hoping he'll emerge in the coming months as an artist to watch.

--Bobby Moore

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5 New Songs You Need to Hear: Ashley McBryde, Brandy Clark + More