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.
"Nobody's Perfect," Sheryl Crow and Emmylou Harris
When Sheryl Crow slows things down and favors a singer-songwriter performance style, it sounds nearly as angelic as any Emmylou Harris song sung at any pace. For her final studio album Threads, Crow put together a heavenly two-piece choir here on Earth for the Harris duet "Nobody's Perfect." No song is perfect, either, but this one does justice for two of the greatest voices and minds in popular music. The duets album also features guest appearances by Maren Morris, Chris Stapleton, Brandi Carlile, Johnny Cash, Lukas Nelson, Willie Nelson, Jason Isbell, Kris Kristofferson and Vince Gill.
"On the Rebound," JP Harris and Elizabeth Cook
The follow-up to JP Harris' 2017 EP of duets with talented women, Why Don't We Duet in the Road, features this on-point tribute to a Del Reeves and Billie Jo Spears recording from 1976. Both Harris and the Billie Jo to his Del, Elizabeth Cook, capture the spirit of old souls fighting to keep it country deep into the 1970s. Expect more throwback goodness from the rest of Why Don't We Duet in the Road (Again), a Sept. 13 vinyl and digital release featuring special guests Erin Rae, Miss Tess and Malin Pettersen.
"Give Me Back My Heart" SJ McDonald
Song Suffragettes member and John Lennon Scholarship for Songwriters and Composers recipient SJ McDonald adds her own spin to the triumphant hits of Sara Evans and Martina McBride with new song "Give Me Back My Heart." Like a lot of hungry, young talents, the Virginia native is no stranger to playing classic country and soft rock covers with her band Sweet Fire. Yet based on this original composition, McDonald's brightest future hinges on her own material being heard.
"Truer Sound," Laura Mae Socks
Appalachian-born singer-songwriter (and frequent performer at Nashville's Honky Tonk Tuesdays at American Legion Post 82) Laura Mae Socks shares a lot of truth, heartbreak and strength on her debut album Where You Go. The 12-track album traces Socks' life -- from her upbringing in the Blue Ridge Mountains (where she lived in 17 different homes before the age of 17) to starting over on a 5000-acre crawfish and rice farm in Southwest Louisiana. It was in Louisiana that Laura Mae, who grew up in the honky tonks of West Virginia, began writing country heartbreakers of her own. The shuffling "Truer Sound," inspired by the singer's time in the Bayou State, is an anthem for wild hearts and ramblers who still find themselves missing the comforts of home. "Even my phone corrects 'home' to 'gone,'" Socks sings. "It's unsettling to feel so unsettled and alone." The song nods to a longtime favorite of Laura Mae's: Son Volt's 1995 song "Windfall." Fittingly, it sounds a lot like what the legendary alt-country band might've heard while switching it over to AM to that "all-night station somewhere in Louisiana."
-- Bobbie Jean Sawyer
"Bible and a .44," Trisha Yearwood featuring Patty Loveless
Anyone worried about country music's future can rest easy. Two of the the genre's greatest voices of the last 30 years have joined together to perform a song written by one of its best young voices and songwriters. "Bible and a .44" finds Trisha Yearwood and Patty Loveless singing a song about a father's love penned by Ashley McBryde. It's the kind of breathtakingly honest track we might have taken for granted when Yearwood and Loveless first ruled the charts, when detailed songs about loss and family, such as Loveless' devastating "How Can I Help You Say Goodbye," were staples of country radio. Today, it's a reminder that there are still plenty of country storytellers with the ability to completely destroy you in less than a verse.
-- Bobbie Jean Sawyer