Every week, the Wide Open Country team rounds up our favorite newly released country, folk, bluegrass and Americana songs.
This week's Six Pack roundup features a soaring tune from Amanda Shires, songs from Cody Belew (feat. Dave Aude) and BRELAND that nod to '90s country, a breakup song from Aaron Watson and more.
Here are six new songs you need to know.
"Take It Like a Man," Amanda Shires
Singer-songwriter and violinist Amanda Shires declares her strengh on the soaring, defiant "Take it Like a Man," the latest release and title track from Shires' forthcoming album (out July 29 on ATO Records).
"I was snared by your wrist, I know what the cost is. The octaves of consequence," Shires sings. "I know the cost of flight is landing and I know I could take it like a man."
Shires, who's also a member of the supergroup The Highwomen, previously released "Hawk For the Dove"
-- Bobbie Jean Sawyer
"Neon Moon," Cody Belew (Feat. Dave Aude)
This one's hard to define. Because of Dave Aude's involvement and the maximization of danceability (but not line danceability, despite the source material), it's tempting to label it as a remix. Yet it's a new recording and not an alternate take, unlike Aude's 2020 remix of Reba McEntire's "Fancy." Calling it a Brooks & Dunn cover isn't on the nose, either, as it's more directly inspired by Kacey Musgraves' collaborative version with '90s country's dynamic duo, Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn.
It's better to liken it to Breland's outside-the-box version of "Strawberry Wine" because Cody Belew and Aude inject enough of their broad musical visions to teach us more about them than their shared allegiance to a well-loved decade in country music lore.
-- Bobby Moore
"Back Before I Knew Ya," Jeremy McComb and Caroline Jones
Jeremy McComb describes his music via a Spotify playlist as "frontier rock." That's to say that his sound owes as much to the memorable hooks and widely relatable stories that drove the pop-rock success of Tom Petty as the twang-fueled and often location-specific songs of Chris LeDoux.
It makes sense, then, that he'd mesh well creatively with Caroline Jones, whose own dodging of easy classification makes her an ideal collaborator of genre chameleons the Zac Brown Band.
McComb and country artist Rick Huckaby wrote "Back Before I Knew Ya," a love song for free spirits, while mourning the death of ZZ Top's Dusty Hill. It's the ideal blend of differing yet compatible reference points to match McComb's vocal talent with Jones' soaring harmonies.
-- Bobby Moore
"Summer on Your Lips," Conner Smith
Conner Smith has released a new summer anthem, "Summer On Your Lips" which is already making waves on social media. The fun song features bold acoustic guitars and loud drums, showcasing Smith's deep country vocals. Smith sings, "We were county line crazy and ragtop getaways/ Two lane freedom you can't get in the city way/ I was your rebel, you were all mine/ Talkin' 'bout forever but livin' for tonight."
Talking about the new single, Conner stated, "'Summer On Your Lips' is a continuation of what I did on my first EP, but also a transition into this new music that I can't wait for people to hear."
The country singer will be able to perform the new song live on Thomas Rhett's Bring The Bar To You Tour, which is scheduled to begin this week.
"Dancing Around the Truth," Aaron Watson
It's an exciting time for Aaron Watson fans who just received new album American Soul in 2021. The Texas country singer has already released this year's new album Unwanted Man and it's full of great material, especially "Dancing Around the Truth." I'm always impressed when singers manage to put a new twist on a breakup song and Watson has done just that. He sings about how he and his love just didn't work out, they each gave it their best shot, and suggests they spend one last night together before just moving on with their lives. It's clever and catchy and incredibly memorable.
Let's go for broke and don't water down that ninety proof
We'll say goodbye, come morning light
Tonight we're dancing around the truth
-- Courtney Fox
There's a reason '90s country is still popular decades later. It was catchy, flashy and featured some of the greatest stars country music has ever seen. BRELAND's latest new single gets clear inspiration from Shania Twain and it's just as good as some of Twain's greatest hits. I'm not sure if I've ever heard a male country artist channel one of the greatest female artists of all time, but it's something I really hope we see more of.
"Fusing her empowering 'Man! I Feel Like A Woman!' with my lyrics for 'Natural' resulted in an ode to women in their natural elements and loving what God gave them just as they are," BRELAND said in a statement.
-- Courtney Fox
Check out more of our weekly picks in our Six Pack Roundup Playlist below.
READ MORE: The 20 Best Country Songs About Summer
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