From a heartfelt song for Music City dreamers to a breathtaking ballad about broken dreams, here's Wide Open Country's roundup of the best recently released country and Americana songs.
"Ten Year Town," Hailey Whitters
Hailey Whitters' gripping "Ten Year Town" feels like a career-making song. Ironically, the tune explores the pain of trying to make it in Nashville, a city famously described as a town where it takes a decade to achieve success. Written by Whitters and Brandy Clark, "Ten Year Town" features snapshots of an all too common struggle for Nashville's best singer-songwriters. "Waitin' tables another month/ Waitin' on that break to come," Whitters sings. "All it's ever done is break my heart." But Whitters, who also co-wrote Alan Jackson's "The Older I Get" and Little Big Town's "Happy People," is in it for the long haul. And we should be damn grateful because we need her. "This next song could turn it all around," she sings with defiance. "I'm 12 years in to a 10 year town." Whitters will release her forthcoming album The Dream this year.
"My Only Good Shirt," Adam Carroll
Adam Carroll is one of the best songwriters in the already rich music scene of the Lone Star State. From Carroll's newly released I Walked In Them Shoes, "My Only Good Shirt" takes a steady, workman-like approach to life as a Texas troubadour, which sometimes means being able to go from the Ryman stage to the Motel 6 without missing a beat.
"The Daughters," Little Big Town
We already raved about Little Big Town's "The Daughters" following their debut live performance of the tune on the 2019 ACM awards, but it bears repeating: the song is an absolute stunner. Written by Karen Fairchild, Sean McConnell and Ashley Ray, the song centers on the long list of expectations and limitations placed on women and girls. The song's message is universal, but given country radio's glaring gender gap and the sexism and harassment female artists experience every day, it's an especially important song for the genre.
"The Bar's Getting Lower," Reba McEntire
One of many standout moments from Reba McEntire's newly released album Stronger Than the Truth, "The Bar's Getting Lower" is one of those hurt-so-good country songs sorely missed on mainstream country radio these days. Written by Kellys Collins, Erin Enderlin, Liz Hengber and Alex Kline, the song is a barroom tale about an aging woman who finds her dreams of pink champagne and a dream wedding slowly being replaced by nights with drunk cowboys and well whiskey. "The closer it gets to closing line, a lonely heart will take a pickup line," McEntire sings. "Anything to get her through the night." It's a pure country gem and the perfect opportunity for a living legend like McEntire to shine like the diamond she is.