Here at Wide Open Country, we love sharing our favorite music, whether it's a brand new track that you haven't heard or an oldie that deserves some new attention. Each week, our team of music writers spotlight one song that stands out among the pack. Here's what we're listening to this week.
Lorie's Pick: "Over You," Robby Hecht and Caroline Spence
Longtime friends Robby Hecht andCaroline Spencehave been writing and performing together for years. In June, they'll finally release their collaborative record Two People, and the track "Over You" showcases each artist's impeccable vocals and impressive writing abilities. The emotional tune hints at more greatness to come from two of Nashville's strongest talents.
Bobbie Jean's Pick: "Don't Waste Your Tears," Joshua Hedley
Joshua Hedley has spent the last two decades honing his skills in honky tonks, including Nashville's famed Robert's Western World. Earning the title of "Mayor of Lower Broadway," Hedley proved that the Nashville Sound that helped put Music City on the map is timeless. The songs on Hedley's debut album Mr. Jukebox are timeless too. A velvet-voiced crooner and incredible songwriter, Hedley has delivered a stunning classic country record that calls back to the heyday of Jim Reeves and Ray Price while still sounding as fresh as anything coming from Music Row. There's no wrong choice here, but the stunning steel guitar and string-laden "Don't Waste Your Tears" is a standout on an album full of gems.
Bobby's Pick: "Goin' Back to Texas," Charley Crockett
Texas native Charley Crockett is a blues picker at heart, but his regional influences go well beyond Lightnin' Hopkins. "Goin' Back to Texas," off new album Lonesome as a Shadow, finds Crockett at the crossroads of Beale Street and Bakersfield. At once, it sounds like Cajun music, a honky tonk crowd-pleaser and even a nod to Bob Wills' jazz influences. With each reference point, Crockett isn't chasing a retro trend or following a producer's sage advice. Instead, he's sharing the genuine roots sound he's sharpened over the years while playing street corners and subways on both sides of the Atlantic.
Jeremy's Pick: "Take Me As I Am," Chuck Adams
Chuck Adams certainly doesn't have the normal country music background — because he actually got his start writing for artists like Ludacris while signed to Jay-Z's Roc Nation. But on the soulful singer's debut "Take Me As I Am," Adams embraces the things that make him different from the typical country fare. Like his tattoos and the color of his skin. He relocated to Nashville in 2014, and one of the song's most heartfelt lyrics stems from the move. "A stranger in a foreign land — that's how I feel in Tennessee," Adams sings. "The good lord made us equal, but it don't feel that way to me." With hints of country, gospel and R&B, Adams delivers something unique and earnest with "Take Me As I Am."
Thomas's Pick: "Not Everything's A Song," Erick Willis
Texas singer-songwriter Erick Willis released True Colors, a stripped down and bare bones EP, this past week. It finds the soulful Willis at his best. On "Not Everything's a Song," a tune he wrote with fellow Texan Joey Green, he delivers playful, yet ultimately melancholic lyrics. He lays out heartbreak with a laundry list of worn-out cliches and universal tropes — lines and stories every songwriter has been told "sounds like a song" umpteen times. He offers transparent lines such as "They don't always clap their hands or stand up and dance" as a smooth and seasoned performer. As stark and solemn "Not Everything's A Song" is, it's ushered by gentle violin, cello and glowing harmonies that accent Willis' slow waltzing vocals.
Now Watch: Underrated Country Love Songs of the 90s