Every week, the Wide Open Country team rounds up our favorite newly released country, folk, bluegrass and Americana songs for the Wide Open Country Six Pack.
This week's roundup features a tongue-in-cheek duet about a common law marriage, a rowdy Saturday night anthem from Jon Pardi, a look at what's truly valuable in life from Little Big Town and more.
Here are 6 new songs you need to know this week.
"Common Law," Zoe Cummins and Gabe Lee
Zoe Cummins and Gabe Lee's "Common Law," a tune about a couple in no hurry to tie the knot, is a witty duet that would surely make Conway and Loretta proud. As the two trade barbs, they tell a tale of a millenial pair who might not be able to afford the house with a white picket fence, but they're making the best of their dual income and splitting the responsibilies -- rolling joints and cooking the food -- right down the middle.
"But hey in our defense, we can afford a ring or a picket fence," Cummins and Lee sing. "To some it might not be common sense, but the judge calls it common law."
-- Bobbie Jean Sawyer
"Mr. Saturday Night," Jon Pardi
The title track of Jon Pardi's forthcoming album (out Sept. 2 via Capitol Records Nashville) describes the type of bar-hopping hell-raiser worthy of the nickname "Mr. Saturday Night" without glamorizing bad behavior. Instead of simply exploring how someone earned such a reputation, songwriters Benjy Davis, Reid Isbell and Joe Ragosta consider why their subject self medicates and avoids alone time at home.
In addition to serving up lyrical themes that would've suited Hank Thompson or Merle Haggard, "Mr. Saturday Night" leans as heavily into fiddle (performed by Jenee Fleenor) and pedal steel as past selections that exalted Pardi as one of mainstream country music's staunchest neo-traditionalists.
-- Bobby Moore
"Mama He's Crazy," Andrea and Mud
Atlanta-based band Andrea & Mud describes its concoction of guitar fuzz and countrified lyrics as surf western. Basically, it creates songs that'd sound no less at home on a Quentin Tarantino film soundtrack than in a honky-tonk jukebox.
To hear this approach in action, check out the group's recent cover of "Mama He's Crazy." The Judds' first No. 1 and one of the signature songs written by Kenny O'Dell translates well to a five-minute surf rock odyssey that's as refreshing as it is retro.
-- Bobby Moore
"Rich Man," Little Big Town
Little Big Town's 10th album Mr. Sun is coming in September, and all of the new songs they've released so far have been on point. "Rich Man" is a touching ballad with Jimi Westbrook leading vocals, taking an honest look at what being a "rich man" really means. Westbrook, who wrote the emotional song, sings about how true riches are found in happiness and a loving family life versus material possessions. It's a simple and effective message that made me take a step back and appreciate things differently in my own life.
"Yeah, I'm a rich man / Without a lick of money / A better-than-blessed man / Had all I ever wanted I got everything I need / Got love and a family"
-- Courtney Fox
"I Hope She's Drinkin' Tonight," Riley Green
Riley Green dropped his debut album back in 2019, so it's been fun to see the Alabama native releasing new music. He hasn't formally announced a new project yet, but I love "I Hope She's Drinkin' Tonight," which gives us a slightly different sound than we typically get from the singer. In his upbeat new song, Green wonders if his ex is out drinking now that they have called it quits. It's catchy and entertaining, and I honestly can't stop listening to it.
-- Courtney Fox
"More Like Home," Garrett Hedlund
Garret Hedlund is back and better than ever, showcasing his powerful and deep vocals on "More Like Home," a song about loss, love, family and longing,
"But you feel more like freedom/ Than barefeet in my backyard/ You feel more like heaven/ Than my bedroom window stars," Hedlund sings. "And I guess it doesn't matter/ If you can't go back again/ 'Cause you feel more like home/ Than the house I grew up in."
About the song, Hedlund told Just Jared, "You don't get to choose the home that raises you but as you grow, hopefully you're lucky enough to get to choose what feels like one!"
The song was written by Jossie Jo Dillon, Shane McNally and Josh Osbourne and was produced by Luke Wooten. "More Like Home" follows Hedlund's previous singles "Tulsa Nights" and "The Road." It's still not known whether the singer is set to release a full-length album any time soon, but we certainly wouldn't be opposed to it.
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