Each week, we spotlight new and old country songs we have on heavy rotation. This week we look at four brand new songs and one timely classic.
"Windy City," Alison Krauss
The most angelic voice in country music returns this month with Windy City, an album of classic covers. The title track is breezy, pure country about losing love in Chicago. From the Tele twang to the gliding steel to Krauss's gorgeous voice, this one just sounds oh so purdy. Listen closely for Hank Williams Jr. on backup vocals. Originally written by bluegrass pioneer Bobby Osborne and Bob Goble, "Windy City" is one of ten country covers on Krauss's upcoming album.
"Ferris Wheel," Natalie Hemby
We already featured a song from Natalie Hemby's new album Puxico last week, but this track is so good I had to bring it up. On "Ferris Wheel," Hemby uses a small-town carnival ride as a metaphor for the ups-and-downs of life. "While I'm waiting at the bottom dreaming of the top/sometimes I want on it, sometimes I want off." Hemby uses a rise-and-fall vocal trick during the chorus that helps this one go round and round in your head.
"Living in the Promiseland," Willie Nelson
When Willie Nelson received the prestigious Gershwin Prize in Washington, D.C. last year, he sang this song. "I think this is one of the most appropriate songs that we could do for this period in America," Nelson told an audience of politicians from both sides of the aisle. One year later, the message is truer than ever. Originally released in 1988, "Living in the Promiseland" is about America's vow to the world: "Leave us your broken dreams/We'll give them time to mend/There's still a lot of love/Living in the Promised Land."
"Analog," Whitney Rose
Remember the days when every damn thing around you wasn't interconnected by digital technology? Remember when we weren't so disconnected by the interconnectedness? Yeah, the good ol' days. That's the sentiment of this stand-out track from Whitney Rose's new EP, South Texas Suite. Fellow Austin musician Brennen Leigh penned the brilliant song. It'll make you pine for the days when the needle skipped on your favorite vinyl records and you actually heard real country music on the radio. Get off my lawn, ya dern kids!
"Tequila Eyes," Randy Rogers
When I look at the blue neon glow on the cover of The Randy Rogers Band's Nothing Shines Like Neon I conjure an image of a hazy Texas dive where some dude is phasing out his troublesome ex with Lone Star and liquor. "Tequila Eyes," RRB's newest single, feels like the soundtrack to that image. It has all the RRB hallmarks: Brady Black's melodic fiddle lines, Rogers' boozy vocals, and a hook that stays with you long after the song ends.