Every week, the Wide Open Country team rounds up our favorite newly released country, folk, bluegrass and Americana songs. Here are six songs we currently have on repeat.
"Kid in Trouble," Cledus T. Judd
Cledus T. Judd isn't kidding around on "Kid in Trouble" and its music video. Instead, the country comedian's most serious song (and crucial listen) to date deals with the harsh reality of how a father's addictions impact his child.
It fulfills a 17-year-old pledge by Judd. The jokester got serious about kicking drug addiction after the birth of his daughter and promised to God that he'd someday use his musical platform to make a difference.
After hearing songwriter Craig J. Martin (Tim McGraw's "Don't Take the Girl") perform an earlier version of "Kid in Trouble" during a livestream, Judd asked permission to rewrite a line or two to reflect his personal journey. Martin died last year before a co-write could take place, with his family later granting Judd permission to make the song his own.
"I wanted to do this video to bring attention to addiction and mental illness," Judd said in a statement on his website. "I was one of the lucky ones. The love of my child was stronger than my love of addiction. But, that's not the case for eight out of 10 addicts."
-- Bobby Moore
"After You're Gone," EmiSunshine
Seasoned singer-songwriter and recent American Idol contestant EmiSunshine paired the announcement of forthcoming album Judgement Day (out Feb. 2022) with brand-new song "After You're Gone" and its music video.
As the video's description on YouTube nails, "It's a falling-out-of-love song, but happy and upbeat, not sappy and sad." Indeed, what has the makings of sad bastard music will make you smile, between Emi's clever way with words and her kilt-wearing bandmates' off-kilter approaches to mini-golf.
-- Bobby Moore
"Love's Not Supposed to Hurt," Leon Timbo
Country-soul singer-songwriter Leon Timbo's acoustic rendition of "Love's Not Supposed to Hurt" is a tender reflection on both the ache and the beauty that may derive from the act of love.
"This is a song that speaks of my existence as a man and a person of color," Timbo says. "It digs into my conversations with my daughter about love, hurting and why people don't try to stay and work things out. The second verse is about my love for my country. The love of a relationship is not supposed to hurt but it does. The love of my country is not supposed to hurt, but it does. Even in the midst of lovelessness and love deprived situations, there is a beauty in discovering the idea of love, or the loss of love. Losing love and gaining love are gifts."
"Love's Not Supposed to Hurt" is featured on the Florida-raised artist's new EP Lovers & Fools.
-- Bobbie Jean Sawyer
"Yes I Guess They Oughta Name a Drink After You," Tyler Childers
Tyler Childers pays tribute to John Prine with his cover of one of the late, great singer-songwriter's best honky-tonkers: "Yes I Guess They Oughta Name a Drink After You." The song, originally recorded by Prine for his 1972 album Diamonds in the Rough, is part of the forthcoming tribute album Broken Hearts and Dirty Windows: Songs of John Prine, Vol. 2 (out Oct. 8).
Proceeds from Childers' cover benefit the Hickman Holler Appalachian Relief Fund.
-- Bobbie Jean Sawyer
"Blessed & Free," Kane Brown feat. H.E.R.
Kane Brown teamed up with Grammy-winning R&B singer and guitarist H.E.R. for "Blessed & Free," a mid-tempo song that perfectly showcases their voices as they harmonize with each other through the song.
"As long as my eyes still see / As long as my heart still beats / As long as I'm alive, I'm free / So I don't count on nothin' / Don't ever stop running' / I ain't hurtin' nobody / So just let me be," the duo sing on the powerful track. "I got good intentions / I don't need your blessings / Yeah I'm already blessed / Yeah I'm already blessed and free."
The song perfectly incorporates both of their respective genres and is paired with a black and white minimalistic music video. This isn't the first time H.E.R. has dived into country music. She previously performed "Hold On" at the CMT Music Awards with Chris Stapleton.
-- Silke Jasso
"Huntin' Land," Dustin Lynch feat. Riley Green
Talk about two powerhouse country voices! Dustin Lynch and Riley Green teamed up for "Huntin' Land," which is paired with a seriously fun music video featuring both country artists spending time outdoors and prepping for the upcoming hunting season and having the time of their lives. The video also features appearances from several popular hunting stars, including Nate Hosie, Michael Waddell and Phillip Culpepper.
"'Huntin' Land' is one of those fun songs that we can listen to and have a laugh at while hanging with our buddies," Lynch said in a press release. "I've been playing this one out at shows recently, and it's been cool watching fans react in real-time to it. So pumped Riley [Green] was able to hop on it too. Now we need to get a hunt on the books!"
The song was produced by Zach Crowell and co-written by Lynch, Andy Albert, Will Weatherly and Hunter Phelps.