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.
"Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," Yola
Yola, one of 2019's best breakout artists, delivers one more powerhouse vocal performance before the year's end with her stunning rendition of Elton John's 1973 hit "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road." The singer-songwriter covered the John and Bernie Taupin-penned classic on the newly released deluxe edition of her album Walk Through Fire. Even better? The Rocketman himself debuted the cover on Twitter. The rock icon is one of Yola's many new fans and recently praised her on his Rocket Hour radio show. "If you haven't heard of Yola... go and see her... you'll be delighted at what you hear," the music legend says. Wise words, Elton.
-- Bobbie Jean Sawyer
Carly Burruss, "Southern Pace" (feat. Kasey Chambers)
Atlanta-based singer-songwriter Carly Burruss praises the healing power of home on "Southern Pace," which features Australian country star Kasey Chambers. The song celebrates getting back to your roots and finding peace where the freeway ends and the two-lane blacktop begins. "When I get where it unwinds and time slows down so does my mind," Burruss sings. It's a sentiment near to the heart of any small town resident or big city dweller.
-- Bobbie Jean Sawyer
"Our Man Walter Cronkite," Mary Chapin Carpenter
Hot take: multiple Mary Chapin Carpenter songs speak for us common folks as loudly and eloquently as, say, Reba McEntire's timeless "Is There Life Out There." The latest example of this, "Our Man Walter Cronkite," follows about 60 years of American headlines, from the tragic assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to the triumph of American astronauts landing on the moon. Once Carpenter's story reaches our current situation, it becomes clear that an unbiased, trusted voice like Cronkite's could break through the endless barrage of lies and apathy.
"Don't Let Me Die in Waco," Croy and the Boys
According to NPR's Song Confessional podcast, an anonymous 'confession' involving a Greyhound bus, binge drinking, Febreze and death inspired the surreal lyrics of Austin, Texas-based band Croy & The Boys' "Don't Let Me Die in Waco." Musically, the group push classic Texas country music, flavored with the Rolling Stones' own quirky take on twangy rock 'n' roll, further into the 21st century. It's songwriter Bad Boy Croy's latest reminder that his band takes the old "Keep Austin Weird" slogan to heart.
"Break My Heart All Over Again," Robert Ray
One of Texas' finest up-and-coming talents, Robert Ray, shares Midland and Jon Pardi's knack for bowing to King George (Strait, that is) in the studio while cutting songs that shine like signal posts for the next wave of country traditionalists. For example, Ray's pedal steel-driven "Break My Heart All Over Again" points back to the sentimental songs of Keith Whitley, Randy Travis and others without sounding like a hidden gem from another decade.