Wide Open Country's Act to Watch for September, Ashland Craft, reshuffled her "5 Best" deck with the Sept. 3 release of her debut album, Travelin' Kind (Big Loud Records). Songs that put her on our radar, such as "Trainwreck" and "Two Wildflowers and a Box of Wine," got cycled out in favor "Make It Past Georgia" and other radio-friendly bangers.
If you're not familiar with Craft's journey from a South Carolina-based performer of cover songs to one of Nashville's best young talents (with a run on NBC's The Voice somewhere in between), read our prior Acts to Watch feature. Then check out the following five selections to better acquaint yourself with a country and rock-devoted singer-songwriter with influences ranging from Chris Stapleton to Def Leppard.
5. "Cowboy's Heart Breaks"
Before delving into the best songs from Travelin' Kind, revisit this brilliant slice of country storytelling from 2019. As the title implies, it's about a tough hombre letting his guard down in the face of heartbreak.
4. "Last $20"
A lot of songs get likened to '90s country nowadays, but few fresh cuts are as ready-made for a line dancing comeback as this honky tonk stomper from Travelin' Kind.
3. "Your Momma Still Does"
Beyond being a natural as a songwriter, Craft excels as a song interpreter with this tale about three broken hearts (his mama included), co-written by her producer, Jonathan Singleton and Jenna LaMaster.
2. "Highway Like Me" (Featuring Marcus King)
Craft and Marcus King attended rival high schools in South Carolina, with King's musical success proving to Craft that there's a creative path from places like her home town of Piedmont. They finally met when it came time to record this bluntly honest (and badass) take on why the call of the road makes it hard to hold down a relationship.
1. "Make It Past Georgia"
The album's streaming hit so far and its music video should be relatable to anyone qualifying as the Travelin' Kind who's ever associated particular places with past romantic experiences.
Honorable mention songs: "Good Ol' Girls," "Letcha Fly," "Your Place or Mine," "Day By Day," "Mimosas in the Morning," "Leavin' You Again," "Come Down" and "That's The Kinda Place"