Wide Open Country's Six Pack: Hailey Whitters, Barry Gibb + More

Harper Smith

Every other week, the Wide Open Country team rounds up our favorite newly released country and Americana songs. Here are 6 songs we currently have on repeat.

"The Ride," Hailey Whitters feat. Jordan Davis

Hailey Whitters and Jordan Davis sing an anthem for the down and out (and anyone exhausted from 2020) on "The Ride." Written by Whitters, Hillary Lindsey, Ben West, "The Ride" is featured on Whitters' forthcoming album Living The Dream (out Feb. 26), the deluxe edition of her album The Dream.

Living the Dream features collaborations with Trisha Yearwood, Little Big Town, Brent Cobb and Lori McKenna and Hillary Lindsey.

-- Bobbie Jean Sawyer

"Wish You the Best," Joy Oladokun feat. Jensen McRae

Singer-songwriters Joy Oladokun and Jensen McRae deliver a stunning ode to forgiveness and grace on "wish you the best."

"Even when your bag is empty/ Even when your ego's bruised/ I will never come down swinging," Oladokun and McRae sing. "I still want the best for you."

Oladokun released in defense of my own happiness (vol. 1) in 2020. The Arizona-native's song "Breathe Again" was recently featured on an episode of This is Us.

-- Bobbie Jean Sawyer

"Too Much Heaven," Barry Gibb and Alison Krauss

It's hard to pick just one standout track from Barry Gibb's Greenfields: The Gibb Brothers' Songbook (Vol. 1). Its track list pairs the surviving Bee Gees member with Dolly Parton (Gibb co-wrote her beloved Kenny Rogers duet "Islands in the Stream") and also teams him with gifted storytellers (David Rawlings and Gillian Welch) and harmony vocalists (Little Big Town).

Yet after multiple listens, it's his revisiting of 1978's "Too Much Heaven" with Alison Krauss that best qualifies as a crucial listen. It's two great singers ignoring genre designations and joining voices to celebrate one of popular music's all-time great trios.

The album title all but promises a Vol. 2, so here's a fun question: what country, folk, bluegrass and Americana acts should collaborate with Gibb next?  Fingers crossed for the ideal guest vocalists for a couple of Nashville-ready Bee Gees deep cuts: "Country Woman" and "The Lord."

-- Bobby Moore

"Everything's Gonna Be Alright," Johnny Lee

Johnny Lee, a still-active touring and recording act whose greatness transcends the Urban Cowboy soundtrack, has a new album out on Feb. 12 that's titled Everything's Gonna Be Alright.

As its name implies, the title track offers hope through life's trials. Lee and Tony Ramey co-wrote it pre-COVID, yet its comforting message connects as if it was written with yet another unorthodox year in mind.

"The last few years have had some major ups and downs in not only my life but in the whole world," says Lee in a press release. "Music brings us together and gives us peace of mind like nothing else. Throughout my entire career, I have worked hard to record the best music possible and while creating this album, that was the entire goal. This is a hard world we are living in, but I want everyone to know that Everything's Gonna' Be Alright. I believe it so much so, it is the title track and first single on my new album. This is my legacy and I can't wait to share it with you."

-- Bobby Moore

"Breakups," Seaforth

Australian duo Seaforth has proven that there will never be too many breakup songs. There are always new ways to tell the story in ways that will resonate with listeners. "Breakups" does exactly that with a poignant and emotional ballad following a narrator who wants to reach out to the one who got away but knows it won't work out.

"Most of our music videos have been really energetic and upbeat, so this was our first time doing something more serious," Seaforth's Mitch Thompson told Yahoo News. "It was really important to us to convey all the emotion in this song since it came from such a raw place."

-- Courtney Campbell

"Undivided," Tim McGraw and Tyler Hubbard

After the year we had in 2020, leave it to Tim McGraw and Tyler Hubbard to show up with 2021's unofficial anthem. The two country stars will be performing their new song at President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration TV special on January 20 and the message will undoubtedly resonate with people all over the country. The concept of coming together is powerful and timely, which is probably why we can't stop listening.

I think it's time to come together, you and I can make a change
Maybe we can make a difference, make the world a better place
Look around and love somebody, we've been hateful long enough
Let the good Lord reunite us 'til this country that we love's undivided

-- Courtney Campbell

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Wide Open Country's Six Pack: Hailey Whitters, Barry Gibb + More