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.
"I Don't Drink Anymore," Jason Aldean
Most country music fans feel strongly one way or the other about Jason Aldean. For some, the Georgia-born hit-maker represents the last dregs of the "bro-country" menace. Others adore one of the most distinctive singing voices in popular music. If you represent the former yet find more joy from radio hits at a time when Luke Combs and Jon Pardi hat-tip tradition, please give this smart-aleck twist on drinking to forget a fair shot.
"It's Hard to Be a Woman (In This Town)," Jenny Anne Mannan
A childhood spent on the road with family bluegrass band The Bullas and over 20 years as a singer-songwriter in Nashville inform Jenny Anne Mannan's autobiographical new album Carnies & Cowboys. This particular song speaks of the same "good ole boys club" derided by talented women long before Kacey Musgraves broke Music Row's glass ceiling. It's three chords of classic country music plus nothing but the ugly truth.
"Lullaby," Kalie Shorr
It's easy enough to guess some country stars' musical preferences from their formidable listening years. For instance, Travis Tritt loved Southern rock, Florida Georgia Line soaked up what they heard from Atlanta's rap scene and, surely to goodness, Kalie Shorr learned about sharing her deepest feelings from emo bands. Shorr's amalgam of sensitive punk rock and story-driven country music never sounded more confessional or honest than "Lullaby," a preview of upcoming album Open Book, out Sept. 27.
"Loose Change," The Highwomen
There's no shortage of excellent songs on The Highwomen's recently released self-titled debut album, but one that's been in frequent rotation for me is the Maren Morris-penned "Loose Change," an anthem for anyone who's ever been taken for granted by a partner. "Loose change/ I ain't worth a thing to you/ Loose change/ You don't see my value/ I'm gonna be somebody's lucky penny some day, instead of rollin' 'round in your pocket like loose change." Like many great country songs, it features such a perfect turn of phrase it seems immediately familiar and (like the album itself) it's already a modern classic.
-- Bobbie Jean Sawyer
"Red Wine & Blue," Hailey Whitters
There's more than enough country tunes about boozing at the bar, but there are entirely too few songs about finishing off two or five glasses of red wine at home in the middle of the afternoon. Enter "Red Wine & Blue" from Hailey Whitters stellar new EP The Days. Penned by Whitters, Brandy Clark and Jessie Jo Dillon, the song is the kind of achingly sad country music I crave. "And I gave up on you calling me up a drink or three ago," Whitters sings. "Oh, I know you won't but I hope you do/ And that's just me, you know/ I'm all dressed up with nowhere to go/ Getting drunk in the afternoon/ Red wine and blue." Put down the White Claw, pick up a bottle of red wine and raise a glass to this song.
-- Bobbie Jean Sawyer