Every week, the Wide Open Country team rounds up our favorite newly released country, folk, bluegrass and Americana songs for the Six Pack. This week's roundup includes Darius Rucker's latest take on '90s country, Alison Brown and Steve Martin's tribute to their banjo-picking forebears, upstart Colby Acuff's ode to man's best friend and more.
Here are six new country songs you need to listen to this week.
"Fires Don't Start Themselves," Darius Rucker
The latest single for Darius Rucker's upcoming seventh studio album Carolyn's Boy has all the makings of a hit. "Fires Don't Start Themselves" feels like a classic '90s country song, from Rucker's powerful vocals to the strong guitar and twangy fiddle accompaniment. Apparently, those elements were part of what initially drew the country star to the song written by Dan Isbell, Ben Hayslip and Jacob Rice.
"When I first heard 'Fires Don't Start Themselves,' the hook immediately got me," Rucker reflected. "The beginning of the chorus, 'Let's drink what's left of this...' is classic '90s Country. I love it!"
-- Courtney Fox
"The Girl I Was," Jenna Paulette
Texas native Jenna Paulette has just released her debut album and title track "The Girl I Was" is the perfect embodiment of Paulette authentically bringing herself into her music. She keeps her Southern twang and Texas roots shining in this song, which along with the album as a whole comes after years of making music in Nashville and healing from the pain of a divorce.
"'The girl I was isn't someone in a not-good relationship where the person you're with is testing your relationship with God and trying to change who you are by alienating you from the comfort of your family and hometown," Paulette told the Tennessean.
Listen here. -- CF
"That's Not How This Works," Charlie Puth (feat. Dan + Shay)
Pop star Charlie Puth's latest single is a collab with award-winning duo Dan + Shay. While it definitely leans more pop, Dan + Shay add some country elements throughout the song, which ends up serving the story of love lost. Puth and Dan Smyers co-wrote the emotional ballad, which features Puth coming to terms with the end of a relationship and dealing with a broken heart.
"You can't say you hate me, then call me when you're hurt / Baby, you know that's not how this works, no, that's not how this works / You can't walk away, then come back to what we were / Baby, you know that's not how this works, no," Puth sings in the chorus.
Puth even released a short film to bring the story of the song to life instead of a traditional music video. The film co-stars Sabrina Carpenter and chronicles their relationship, which eventually becomes toxic and comes to an end.
"To date I've made 34 music videos, and they rarely feel like they say the whole truth about a song," Puth wrote on TikTok. "There's always more to say, and it's usually just outside the music. It's more in the moments, and that's how my brain has always processed things -- finally, I was able to make something to recreate truly what this song means to me."
Listen here. -- CF
"Boy and a Bird Dog," Colby Acuff
Traditional yet atypical country troubadour Colby Acuff's latest selection shares perspectives from both sides of a loving relationship. Here's the twist: it's about a dog's until-the-Rainbow-Bridge devotion to its owner. It's equally whimsical and wholesome, told with all the wit and charm of an old Roger Miller or Bobby Bare favorite.
"I got my first dog when I was 14," Acuff shared in a press release. "I spent every single second with that dog growing up. When Molly passed away, I lost my best friend and I've always wanted to write a song about it. I knew if I wrote a sad song, I would never be able to get through it. So, I came up with 'Boy and a Bird Dog,' which dives into the beginning of the relationship between a boy and his best friend. I had been sitting on this title for a while, but I knew Ben Chapman and Meg McRee were the perfect fit to help write this one."
Listen here.-- Addie Moore
"Foggy Morning Breaking," Alison Brown and Steve Martin
Two of the most visible and vocal ambassadors for the banjo team up here, with each representing a different playing style. Comedian, actor, author and musician Steve Martin strums the clawhammer technique alongside Harvard-educated businessperson and Scruggs-style banjo picker Alison Brown. A stacked cast of collaborators --Stuart Duncan, Chris Eldridge, Todd Phillips and Sierra Hull-- make this tribute to bluegrass pillars Earl Scruggs and John Hartford a star-studded affair.
"Is there any sweeter sound than clawhammer and 3-finger banjo in double C tuning?" Brown asked in a press release. "I wrote the A melody for this tune and texted Steve asking if he wanted to add to it. Within a day, he sent back the perfect B section. In the spirit of the times, we hammered out the bridge over Zoom. The title comes from a clever turn of phrase courtesy of John Hartford."
Listen here.-- AM
"Baseball Country," Bryan Ruby
In Sept. 2021, minor leaguer Bryan Ruby became the first active professional baseball player to come out as gay. He's since set his sights on singer-songwriter acclaim in Nashville. Past athletic acclaim and current creative pursuits inform country-rock stomper "Baseball Country," which is ready-made to blare all summer long at beaches and ballparks.
"The past two decades of my life have been on the ballfield," Ruby shared in a press release. "This is the soundtrack to that life-- a gritty, rockin', celebration of our style and spirit at the ballpark. Ever since I started playing guitar for my teammates, they have been asking me to write them a walk-up song they can blast over the stadium loudspeakers during the game. This is it."
Listen here.-- AM
Looking for more new country songs? Check out our new country playlist below.
READ MORE: Rooted in Country: Tigirlily Gold on The Wreckers' 'Leave the Pieces'
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