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 includes a country boot-stomper from Beyoncé, a Billy Idol cover from Maren Morris, an anthem about country music's universal appeal from Lainey Wilson and more.
Here are 6 new country songs you need to hear this week.
"Texas Hold 'Em," Beyoncé
Calling everyone who's been clamoring for more Beyoncé country songs since "Daddy Lessons" — it's our time. The Texas queen surprise dropped two new country songs on Super Bowl Sunday, including "Texas Hold 'Em," a joyful, rootsy call to "lay your cards down, down, down, down" for love. The song, which features Rhiannon Giddens on banjo and viola, has already launched a million line dances and furthered an important conversation about how Black country artists have been marginalized by the country music industry, despite being foundational to the genre's creation and a bevy of Black artists in the genre.
Beyoncé's country album Renaissance: Act II, also featuring the new single "16 Carriages," is out on March 29.
— Bobbie Jean Sawyer
Waxahatchee's Katie Crutchfield further previews forthcoming album Tigers Blood with "Bored," an anthem for anyone feeling fed the hell up with being taken for granted or wronged.
"I wrote 'Bored' in the wake of a friendship that ended badly & I was pretty shattered by it. I learned a lot from how the whole thing played out," Crutchfield wrote on Substack. "I certainly could have done things differently and I certainly had a part in why it ended badly, but this is one of those situations where anger was called for and was the only authentic place from which to write about what I was experiencing. I hope you listen to it before you go quit your job, dump some jerk you're dating, feel heinously, egregiously, unbelievably wronged or are genuinely so over a bad situation that you've grown bored of it. Turn it up loud, windows down, I would love to be your friend in that moment."
The song's music video, directed by Nick Simonite and Corbett Jones, was filmed at the Devil's Backbone in Fischer, Texas.
"Country's Cool Again," Lainey Wilson
Over forty years after Barbara Mandrell sang about wearin' straight-leg Levis and puttin' peanuts in her Coke in "I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool," Lainey Wilson expands on that sentiment on "Country's Cool Again."
The song, produced by Jay Joyce, takes stock of Wilson's career rise and country music's worldwide appeal.
"Once you get a taste, you'll lick the spoon/ Learn every word to 'The Dance' and 'Neon Moon,' Wilson sings. "And if you dip your toe, you'll get bit by the bug and wanna wet a line / and that's the kind of trend, oh, that I can get behind."
"I'm so excited for everyone to hear 'Country's Cool Again.' This song is a welcome to everyone who's wanting in on the Western way of life. For a lot of us, Country music isn't just a genre, it's our livelihood," Wilson shared in a press statement. "Thank you to my amazing collaborators and my producer for helping me bring the idea of this song to life. Country's Cool Again y'all!"
"Heartbreak & Alcohol," Breland
As we've come to expect from Breland, his new digital single "Heartbreak & Alcohol" is a genre stew with steamy R&B vibes and stone cold country lyrics as the main ingredients. Thematically, it's a breakup song that's complete with a lyrical nod to Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball."
Per a press release, Breland also hat-tips Lil Wayne, Drake and Future's "Love Me."
"It's been a long journey for me blending country music with other genres, but one thing I always wanted to do is sample something from the hip-hop world," Breland shared in a press release. "Lil Wayne, Drake and Future absolutely nailed it the first time with 'Love Me,' and I'm hoping people appreciate the country spin I've put on it with 'Heartbreak and Alcohol'."
The song arrived shortly before the annual Breland & Friends concert at Nashville's Ryman Auditorum. The star-studded March 26 event will benefit the Oasis Center, which supports the Middle Tennessee region's at-risk youths.
— Addie Moore
"Jukebox Songs and Barstool Beers," Drake Milligan
Drake Milligan's post-"America's Got Talent" chasing of that neon rainbow continued with the Feb. 16 release of his new EP Jukebox Songs. In line with past material, "Jukebox Songs and Barstool Beers" dials in on what still makes Brooks & Dunn and other '90s honky-tonkers matter without Milligan sounding like yet another tribute act. Indeed, he's got a gift for standing on the shoulders of country music's giants —namely Elvis Presley— without getting too stuck in the past or losing his own voice.
"Jukebox Songs is exactly what it sounds like," Milligan explained via a press release. "My goal for this EP was to write and find songs that feel classic and memorable - the kinda tunes would fit right in on some old Rock-Ola in the corner of a smoke-filled bar on the outskirts of nowhere Texas. It's a continuation of the old-meets-new Country sound I've always gone for, and this time with my friend Trent Willmon at the reins as producer, I'm very excited to keep this honky tonk train rollin.'"
"Dancing With Myself," Maren Morris
For her latest career move since reassessing her relationship with the country music establishment, Maren Morris covered an unlikely song from well outside of Nashville's city limits.
Billy Idol co-wrote "Dancing With Myself" and first recorded it in 1980 with the formative UK punk band Generation X. A remix followed after Idol became a solo star.
At first, Morris' interpretation sounds like yet another slowed-down reimagining of a familiar alt-rock tune— sans the boring dude singer that's normally part of this tired TV commercial and film soundtrack trend. Things do get interesting once the weepy accompaniment gives way to an indie-riffic guitar solo that wouldn't sound out of place on an Alvvays album.
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