Chad Windham

5 New Songs You Need to Hear: Joshua Ray Walker, Lori McKenna + More

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:

"Take the Highway," Blackberry Smoke

Blackberry Smoke owe their existence to more than obvious influence Lynyrd Skynyrd. They're more like an amalgam of Skynyrd and the acts Ronnie Van Zant lists off in the song "When You Got Good Friends": the Charlie Daniels Band, Wet Willie, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard and the Marshall Tucker Band. The latter's influence shines bright throughout Blackberry Smoke's jaw-dropping, heavy-hitting rendition of "Take the Highway," recorded live at Macon, Georgia's historic Capricorn Sound Studios.

—Bobby Moore

"Knowing You," Kenny Chesney

One of the year's better old-school country songs of love and loss comes not from the usual traditionalist suspects but from Kenny Chesney. Here and Now, an album that mostly plays up Chesney's carefree, beach-bumming persona, features this tune about not letting bitterness overshadow the good times spent with someone from your past.

—Bobby Moore

"Recycled," Mae Estes

Nashville singer-songwriter Mae Estes knows that the occasional stroll down memory lane connects with fans of classic country music. That's why she inserted personal memories, from her dad's Folger's coffee can full of nuts and bolts to her mamaw's favorite recipes, into "Recycled." Personal photos from vacations, holidays and other Estes family gatherings will remind many viewers of simpler times with their own kinfolks.

—Bobby Moore

"True Love," Joshua Ray Walker

Since the release of his 2019 debut album Wish You Were Here, Joshua Ray Walker has quickly risen in the ranks to become one of Texas' most revered young singer-songwriters and has drawn comparisons to beloved Lone Star State troubadours, such as Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt. Now Walker is gearing up to release his sophomore album Glad You Made It (out July 10). The album's debut single "True Love" is a toe-tapping barnburner made for twirling around a Hill Country dance hall.

— Bobbie Jean Sawyer

"When You're My Age," Lori McKenna

Just in time for Mother's Day, Lori McKenna delivers yet another stunning, emotional gut-punch with "When You're My Age," a letter to her children promising her unconditional love.

"I'm at the age now where you can see really well where you're going, because you're helping your parents and you've lived through what your kids are doing," McKenna says in a press release. "It's this weird emotional time where you're like a bookkeeper, writing it all down, trying to make sense of it and add it all up somehow."

The song pairs McKenna with her frequent collaborators and fellow Love Junkies, Hillary Lindsey and Liz Rose. "When You're My Age" is the latest release from McKenna's forthcoming album The Balladeer.

— Bobbie Jean Sawyer

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