Looking for new music? Each week, we share country and Americana songs we have on heavy rotation.
"Wish You Were Here," Cody Jinks
Artists cover Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" to death. Often considered one of the iconic rock band's greatest songs, its lyrical depth matched with unmistakable melody make it the stuff of legend. Simply put, covering the song well ain't easy. And yet, here comes Jinks with his burly country baritone and slide guitar. The combination makes for a winning rendition. He keeps it pretty down the middle, but elects to repeat the song's famous chorus. It is, as they say, a good decision. — Jeremy Burchard [Read more]
"Cairo, IL," Natalie Hemby
Songwriter Natalie Hemby's new album, Puxico, has some of the best-written songs we've heard so far this year. Hemby has a knack for capturing the essence of life in the Heartland's often forgotten corners. Our music writer Bobbie Jean Sawyer writes that "if you don't currently live in a small town, you might want to pick up and move to one after listening to Puxico. Or at least go visit your old one." One of the stand-out tracks is "Cairo, IL," which paints a picture of the now abandoned town that was once a jewel of the Midwest. [Read more]
"Tug River Valley," Kathryn Legendre
That old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words fits the story behind this song. While browsing the blog Bitter Southerner, rising Austin artist Kathryn Legendre discovered some poignant snapshots of Kentucky's Tug Fork tributary taken by photographer Roger May. Legendre was so moved by the images that she crafted a song about the region — despite never having visited. When May heard the recording, he cried. That's high praise for a songwriter. Legendre tells the story on the Wide Open Country Podcast this week.
"Strange Round Here," Saints Eleven
Texas band Saints Eleven recently returned to the Red Dirt scene with their standout album Coming Back Around. Our critic Jeremy Burchard writes that the band "shines brightest when they come a bit unhinged and go a little dangerous." The track "Strange Round Here" is one of the best on the album, as it's "a devious little tune with a killer guitar hook (and a killer conclusion)." [Read more]
"Hanging out on the Line," Paul Cauthen
If you missed Paul Cauthen's 2016 debut album, My Gospel, it's time to listen. Cauthen, formerly one-half of Sons of Fathers, steps into the spotlight with a deeply soulful and powerful voice that instantly commands your attention. "Hanging out on the Line" shows off the power of Cauthen's pipes and Southern gospel sensibilities. If you're a country fan who slants towards contemporary artists like Sturgill Simpson, you'll feel right at home with this one. Keep an eye out for Cauthen in 2017, as he's poised to take center stage in the Americana circle.
"Bar Room," Travis Linville
Travis Linville may not yet be a familiar name to most music fans, but he is revered behind the scenes. His resume includes being a sideman for Hayes Carll, producing John Fullbright's first album, and teaching a young Parker Milsap how to pluck the guitar. Linville's upcoming third record, Up Ahead (Feb. 3), is a masterclass in authentic songwriting and tasteful production. "Bar Room" takes you on a sweet melodic path through the dim lights and smoke of honky-tonk life.