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:
"Better Off," Trace Adkins
When Trace Adkins recorded Liz Rose, Hillary Lindsey, Corey Crowder and Mike Stryker's "Better Off," there's no way he knew that its romantic message of staying home with the one you love instead of hitting the town out of habit would take on a new meaning by late March. Surely this was meant to be another fun example of Adkins mixing country music with a little rock and the blues, not a worthy addition to your quarantine playlist.
"Cheated Better," Alexandria Corn
For a blend of whip-smart lyrics and pop accessibility similar to that of Carrie Underwood and RaeLynn, check out Alexandria Corn. New track "Cheated Better" shuts down a dishonest boyfriend who's horrible at sneaking around with another woman. If you've got the receipts from a relationship gone sour, Corn's got the song for you. Per Spotify, she's been adding her own stamp to pop-country since at least the 2017 release of "Beach Town Sunrise."
-- Bobby Moore
"Refuse to Be Blue," Kelley Swindall
Kelley Swindall's "California" and its music video earned her some credibility with punk rockers turned honky-tonk and outlaw country enthusiasts, but its jazzy flipside deserves equal attention in the build the singer-songwriter's debut album, You Can Call Me Darlin' If You Want. A lot of songs get likened nowadays to pop-inspired country and rock music of the '60s, but "Refuse to Be Blue" really does sound like it comes from the era when a couple of jazz aficionados helped shape Nashville: marquee superstar Patsy Cline and starving songwriter Willie Nelson.
"Hole in the Bottle," Kelsea Ballerini
Just in time for another week of social distancing, Kelsea Ballerini has released a full-fledged honky-tonker for everyone stocking up on their local grocery store's assortment of wine. On "Hole in the Bottle," from her recently released album Kelsea, Ballerini continues the long tradition of country drinking songs, trading the hard stuff for ruby red wine. "There's a hole in the bottle/ leakin' all this wine/ It's already empty and it ain't even suppertime/ Honey, no, I don't miss him/ In fact it's slipped my mind/ There's a hole in the bottle of wine." You can't ask for a better song to listen to as you pop the cork on another bottle.
-- Bobbie Jean Sawyer
"Small Town Hypocrite," Caylee Hammack
Small town romance is often glorified in modern country music, but Caylee Hammack captures what happens when that love goes sideways on the devastating"Small Town Hypocrite." The Georgia-native sings of broken dreams and broken hearts and the despair you feel when the person you believed in doesn't return the favor. "We swore we'd be running, running, running this town/ But you're just running, running, running around," Hamack sings. "I'm staring at a picket fence/ Wondering where the hell time went/ I should be running, running, running by now/ But I just hang around."
-- Bobbie Jean Sawyer