Kimberly Kelly press photo
David McClister

6 New Country Songs You Need to Hear This Week: Kimberly Kelly, Keith Urban + More


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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 features a nostalgia-filled summer anthem from Kimberly Kelly, a stirring ballad from Amanda Shires and Maren Morris and a mid-tempo love song from Keith Urban.

Here are 6 new songs you need to know.

"7 Up & Saltines," Scott Ballew

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If you lived through at least part of the 1980s, you surely knew someone comparable to the lead character in Scott Ballew's "7 Up & Saltines." Within the first two lines ("your mustache smelled like smoke, and the length of your shorts was the butt of our jokes"), you'll picture the father, uncle, shop teacher or scoutmaster who, despite being a product of the times and a creature of habit, played a pivotal role in that stretch of your life.

It's very much a lo-fi recording, which is fine because no amount of studio polish would've made for better tongue-in-cheek storytelling or tighter backup harmonies.

-- Bobby Moore

"Summers Like That," Kimberly Kelly

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Kimberly Kelly name-drops several hits instantly associated with the '90s country boom in "Summers Like That": Deana Carter's "Strawberry Wine," Pam Tillis' "Maybe It Was Memphis," Tracy Byrd's "The Keeper of the Stars," Trisha Yearwood's "Walkaway Joe," David Lee Murphy's "Dust on the Bottle" and Brooks & Dunn's "Neon Moon."

Instead of casually mentioning other songs for the sake of a rhyme or to follow a popular trope, co-writers Bobby Tomberlin and Karyn Rochelle use country music's past to paint a fuller picture of the lead character's most memorable summers. It's a relatable storytelling device because many of us positively attach certain songs to past experiences.

-- Bobby Moore

"Boys Like Trucks, Troy Cartwright

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If there is one thing I can say about Troy Cartwright is that he was born to be a country singer. His bold vocals shine on "Boys Love Trucks" and I couldn't be more excited to hear more from him in the future. The song has a remarkable hook paired with catchy lyrics that scream country and summertime.

"Boys like trucks like trucks like dirt/Like dirt likes boots like boots like work/ Like a 5 o'clock Friday likes a two week payday," Cartwright sings. "Like the windows rolled down like a little gas money/ Like Alpine Speakers like to play a little country/ And girls like to turn it up/ And that's why boys like trucks."

The Texas native first teased the song on TikTok and he's been sharing several other songs with his fans. I truly can't wait for him to announce a full new album.

--Silke Jasso

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"Empty Cups," Amanda Shires (Feat. Maren Morris)

Amanda Shires' staggering "Empty Cups," featuring Highwomen bandmate Maren Morris, chronicles the flurry of thoughts and emotions following a couple's devastating argument.

"I recorded 'Empty Cups' after everyone left because I didn't want to accidentally cry or get a shaky voice in front of my friends," Shires said in a statement. "I asked Maren to sing on this one because our voices blend like sisters and because I knew that wherever my voice wavered, she'd be steady."

"Empty Cups" is the third song Shires has shared from her forthcoming album Take It Like a Man (out July 29), following the title track and "Hawk Like a Dove."

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-- Bobbie Jean Sawyer

"Brown Eyes Baby," Keith Urban

It generally doesn't matter what the song is -- as soon as Keith Urban releases new music, I'm all in. Ballad, upbeat rock, love song -- you name it; I love anything he puts out. I was excited to discover that Urban's first new song of 2022 is no exception. Co-written by Will Bundy, Rodney Clawson, Josh Thompson and country artist Morgan Wallen, the song is all about helping a heartbroken woman move past the grief and pain of her lost relationship.

"I can put the smile right back where your smile goes/ Dreams back in what you see when your eyes close/ I'll be the buzz that you feel when you sip slow/ Slow dance right back in your dirt road/ I can put the sun right back in your sunshine/ Bring a little love back into your late night/ Ain't gotta be nothin' more than one more drink and maybe/ I can take the blue out of your brown eyes, baby," Urban sings in the song's chorus.

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The beloved star first debuted "Brown Eyes Baby" on The Today Show and is now performing his new song on his The Speed Of Now World Tour.

-- Courtney Fox

"Buy a Girl a Drink," Travis Denning

Travis Denning's debut EP was so successful, he went on to tour with the likes of Alan Jackson and Cole Swindell. Now he's on the road with Dierks Bentley with his follow-up EP Might As Well Be Me gearing up for release on Aug. 5. His latest new song, "Buy a Girl a Drink," has such a simple premise and it really hits home. It's all about the concept that true love or something special can all start with something as easy as just buying a girl a drink. As much as I love songs about the grandeur of romance, it's always refreshing to hear a more realistic take like Denning offers here. It's a friendly reminder that it doesn't have to be dramatic from the very first second. Everything has to start somewhere and can turn into something better than you ever imagined.

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"Buy a girl a drink, talk to her all night,"Denning sings. "Call her three days later, kiss her in the porch light / Meet her mom and dad Labor day weekend / Catch hell from your buddies 'cause you're in the deep end."

-- Courtney Fox

 

READ MORE: LeAnn Rimes Has Always Followed Her Heart. It Made Her a Hero For a New Generation of Female Artists

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