Bridgette Aikens

5 New Songs You Need to Hear: Sadler Vaden, Sammy Kershaw + 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:

"My Friend Fred," Sammy Kershaw

One of the best tradition-grounded artists of the past 30 years stares down addiction in musical morality tale "My Friend Fred." Sammy Kershaw can still draw in listeners better than pretty much any storyteller aside from his hero George Jones, as proven by this song about a man who'd lost a struggle with the "monster inside." Count yourself fortunate if you haven't witnessed a "Fred" in your life lose it all.

—Bobby Moore

"Giant," Lil' Smokies

Progressive bluegrass band Lil' Smokies' fantastic new album Tornillo features this lushly arranged tune inspired by the unreal story of professional wrestling legend Andre the Giant. The song considers whether Andre's well-chronicled tolerance for alcohol got tested as an escape from being a living, breathing fable. Who knew members of Lil' Smokies love wrestlers almost as much as wrestlers love Cody Jinks?

—Bobby Moore

"Can't Do the Time," Trippp

Teenage triplets Treyson, JD and Chaz Stafford's original song "Can't Do the Time" recasts Southern rock rebellion and bluegrass precision in their own image while paying tribute to another trio of kinfolks: Alabama's Teddy Gentry, Jeff Cook and Randy Owen. As for its lyrics, the brothers turned to the traditional folk and country themes of infidelity, revenge and incarceration.

—Bobby Moore

"The Moon is an Ashtray," Miss Tess

Genre-blending singer-songwriter Miss Tess reexamines the familiar on "The Moon is an Ashtray," a dreamy meditation on perception. "The moon is an ashtray, catching dreams that have burned away," Miss Tess sings. "They couldn't stand up to the flame, so they flickered and died." Known for her unique blend of jazz, country, blues and old school rock and roll, Miss Tess will release her forthcoming album The Moon is an Ashtray on Feb. 7.

Bobbie Jean Sawyer

"Golden Child," Sadler Vaden

Singer-songwriter, guitar slinger and longtime member of Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Sadler Vaden is set to release his sophomore album Anybody Out There? on March 6. "Golden Child," the album's latest release, is a slice of irresistible retro rock 'n' roll that will appeal to anyone who has a stack of California country, '90s alt-rock and Americana classics in their record collection. Anybody Out There? was produced by Vaden and features co-writes with Aaron Lee Tasjan and Audley Freed.

— Bobbie Sawyer

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