Features

Wide Open Country's Six Pack: Wanda Jackson, Brandi Carlile + More

Emma Lee Photography

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.

"That's What Love Is," Wanda Jackson feat. Joan Jett

She may be known for rockabilly anthems like "Let's Have a Party," but Wanda Jackson can deliver a chill-inducing ballad with the best of 'em. "That's What Love Is," the latest release from Jackson's forthcoming album Encore (produced by rock legend Joan Jett, who joins Jackson on vocals), is a tender ode to the everyday gifts of a relationship. Jackson wrote the song with Luke Laird, Lori McKenna and Jordan Breanne Simpson.

Encore (out Aug. 20) is Jackson's first album since announcing her retirement in 2019.

-- Bobbie Jean Sawyer

"Pride (In the Name of Love)," Dierks Bentley and The War and Treaty

Dierks Bentley's cover of this U2 standard for the 2021 ACM Awards back in April went too well to not revisit in front of a live crowd. Bentley and the two family duos from the ACM performance, sisters Larkin Poe and married couple War and Treaty, joined bluegrass giant Sam Bush for a well-earned curtain call in June at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in Colorado.

Those of us not in attendance that weekend were in luck on July 13 when Bentley shared a surprise EP, Live From Telluride.

Bentley's second shot at being Bono closes out the five-song collection.

"This really was a once-in-a-lifetime show for me," Bentley said in a press release. "Getting to play at my favorite festival ... with some of my favorite musicians and performers ... in one of my favorite places in the world ... felt like a dream. Luckily, this dream was captured on tape, and I can go back and relive the way it felt that night whenever I want."

-- Bobby Moore

"Somebody's Shot of Whiskey," Erin Enderlin

"I'd rather be somebody's shot of whiskey than everybody's cup of tea," goes the chorus of Nashville-based singer-songwriter Erin Enderlin's new song. It's about sidestepping soulless glad handing and trusting that those worth having as friends or partners will appreciate you for you: a personal credo thats time has come again with the return of social gatherings.

The song's press release describes it as "[echoing] the laid-back cool of '70s Emmylou Harris with lines that evoke the unapologetic irreverence of Loretta Lynn."

It points back to the music of all-time greats while spotlighting the talents of some of today's top musicians, namely award-winning fiddler and Blake Shelton bandmate Jenee Fleenor.

-- Bobby Moore

"Not Every Cowboy," Dustin Lynch

Dustin Lynch has just released two new songs, his first new music since his fourth album, Tullahoma, was released in 2020. Following the release of "Pasadena," the singer debuted "Not Every Cowboy," written by Casey Brown, Parker Welling, Conner Smith and Heather Morgan. The song is all about how a cowboy is trying to prove that he isn't going to ride off into the sunset alone and can actually be there for the woman he loves. The lyrics are honestly stellar -- "Cause I ain't a silhouette Stetson/Heading out West/in a red sunset/Taking your heart with me." One of the best parts about the song is it just feels like a classic country song with the fiddle added in the background...it's definitely going to be playing on repeat for the foreseeable future.

-- Courtney Fox

"Small Town State of Mind," Niko Moon

Niko Moon made a splash with his debut single "Good Time" which will also serve as the title for his upcoming debut album, set for release on August 27. But as much as we loved "Good Time," we can't stop listening to his latest new song, "Small Town State of Mind." The country singer croons about his personal experiences with small-town life with upbeat and feel-good music backing him up throughout the entire song. Moon wrote the song with his wife, Anna Moon, who is also a singer-songwriter, as well as collaborator Josh Murty. I personally can't get enough of Niko Moon's easy-going vibe showcased in all his music and the twanging banjo in this song in particular.

"I've poured my heart and soul into making this record and I can't wait for y'all to hear it!" Moon told Taste of Country. "The album is Good Time vibes front to back so put it on, grab a cold one and turn it up to 10!"

-- Courtney Fox

"Right on Time," Brandi Carlile

Today, singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile unveiled the highly anticipated music video for "Right on Time": a new single off her forthcoming album In These Silent Days. To the surprise -- and delight -- of many fans, this video was directed by a another fave celeb: Friends star Courteney Cox. As it turns out, Cox and Carlile are indeed good friends. ("Soulmate type pals," Carlile told Entertainment Weekly.) And that closeness is apparent in this intimate, artistic collaboration. The shimmering work balances glam with Carlile's characteristic brand of soul. Cox's windswept direction highlights the vulnerable angst of Carlile's lyrics.

If "Right on Time" is any indication, In These Silent Days will mark yet another triumph for the unique country superstar. That album debuts on October 1. Learn more about the release, and the story behind Carlile's new video here.

-- Emily Mack

 

Now Watch: Visit the Real Whistle Stop Cafe From 'Fried Green Tomatoes'

recommended for you

Wide Open Country's Six Pack: Wanda Jackson, Brandi Carlile + More