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Wide Open Country Weekly Must-Listens: Kassi Ashton, AHI and More

Alysse Gafkjen

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: "Taxidermy," Kassi Ashton

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. With her followup to the breakout single "California, Missouri," Kassi Ashton comes up with a creative way to retaliate against betrayal. With its infectious guitar riffs and fun, funky vocal lines, revenge hasn't sounded this good since Dixie Chicks made us all sing along to "Goodbye Earl."

Bobbie Jean's Pick: "Burning Man," Dierks Bentley ft. Brothers Osborne

Dierks Bentley has the perfect song for your summer road trips. The rocking "Burning Man," from Bentley's upcoming album The Mountain, was made for blazing down a stretch of highway long enough to reflect on the song's message -- you may not have it all together yet, but you're still here. "I'm a little bit steady but still a little bit rolling stone," Bentley sings. "I'm a little bit heaven but still a little bit flesh and bone." Appearing on the fiery track is country duo the Brothers Osborne, who, like Bentley, know a little something about paying tribute to country's roots while still moving the genre in new directions. "Burning Man" does that and more and it burns with enough intensity to motivate you to climb whatever mountain stands in your way.

Rachel's Pick: "Outside Saskatoon," Espanola

Aaron Goldstein, the singer-songwriter behind Espanola, has one of those voices that's tailor-made for a bar band. And "Outside Saskatoon" is tailor-made for your third beer at your favorite bar. It's a distortion-heavy Americana rocker that'll have you tapping your boots -- even if you're not wearing any. Goldstein, who has played alongside City and Colour, Elliott Brood, Donovan Woods, and Cowboy Junkies, is a songwriter who cuts straight to the root, no frills. His anthemic songs uplift the listener while grounding them in everyday experiences.

Bobby's Pick: "Yard Sale," Harper Grace

While runner-up Caleb Lee Hutchinson became the clear-cut young country star to watch from the latest American Idol season, young Texan Harper Grace made her own mark on the show with her original tune "Yard Sale." The tale of a young woman selling all of her cheating boyfriend's stuff balances enough sadness and sass to hook in listeners used to the honesty and defiance of Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert. Its official music video adds more charm to a song that shouldn't be dismissively labeled as good for a teenager or an inexperienced songwriter. It's just plain awesome.  

Jeremy's Pick: "Breakin' Ground," AHI

Ontario's own AHI (pronounced "EYE") is a soulful, folk-rooted artist who has already earned praise for his acoustic performances across more than 100,000 miles. He released his debut record We Made It Through The Wreckage in 2017. Produced by Eric Masse, who also produced Miranda Lambert's The Weight Of These Wings, the record introduced AHI's seasoned lyrical style and gravelly vocal. "Breakin' Ground" is the first single from his follow-up record In Our Time, due July 13.

Thomas' Pick: "Believer/Pretender," Sons of Bill

There's a subtle darkness brooding beneath Sons of Bill's "Believer/Pretender," the first single from Oh God Ma'am, the fourth studio album from the Virginia based outfit. It's not a bleak or wicked darkness -- but rather, one you find on late night drives during the longest days of summer. There's the glow of twilight that shines through the danceworthy rhythms, dreamy hooks, and pensive harmonies. The band of brothers have rarely been content with their brand of alt country and Americana. This time around, they seem to be further pushing their boundaries with expansive and layered ambiance that feels much like the blurred edges of The War on Drugs. Still, much like Don Henley's "Boys of Summer" or Bruce Springsteen's "Downbound Train," Sons of Bill's "Believer/Pretender" is filled with hints of anxiety and frustration. It walks a fine line that feels incredibly wide open and anthemic in nature without losing any intimacy or lonesomeness.

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Wide Open Country Weekly Must-Listens: Kassi Ashton, AHI and More