Every week, the Wide Open Country team rounds up our favorite newly released country, folk, bluegrass and Americana songs. Here are six new songs you need to know.
"Life on the Fence," Willi Carlisle
While Ozarks-based poet and folk singer Willi Carlisle has long been drawn to the poetry of Walt Whitman, Carl Sandburg and e e cummings, on Peculiar, Missouri (out July 15 on Free Dirt Records) he draws on folk singer heroes such as Utah Phillips and Woody Guthrie to explore the human condition.
"Life on the Fence," one of many standouts on the 12-track record, is a gorgeous queer country ballad about bisexuality, inspired by Carlisle's own experience as a queer man.
"He's calling me up 'cause he's sure I might love him/ Why is living a lie more easy than life on the fence?" he sings amid soaring fiddles.
Peculiar, Missouri was produced by Grammy-winning engineer and Cajun musician Joel Savoy.
— Bobbie Jean Sawyer
"Wildfire," American Aquarium
"Then the sky busted open like the book of Revelations/ the smell of Bulleit Rye & brimstone filled the August air" sings American Aquarium's BJ Barham in one notably poetic stretch of "Wildfire."
The lines above help construct a vivid narrative about a romance that catches fire fast and careens out of control before "cooled ash and scourged earth is all that we've left to show."
It's widely relatable subject material, told with lyrics that might very well put your past pain regarding lost love — or briefly requited lust — into words.
"Wildfire" and digital flipside "All I Needed" preview upcoming American Aquarium album Chicamacomico.
— Bobby Moore
"Dead Horses," The Local Honeys
As The Local Honeys, Linda Jean Stokley and Montana Hobbs earned high praise from the late Tom T. Hall, who lauded the duo's songwriting and performing style as "a great credit to a wonderful Kentucky tradition."
The Kentucky natives back up Hall's endorsement with "Dead Horses," the first teaser of a new, self-titled album (out July 15 via La Honda Records). Familiar musical elements associated with Appalachia get woven into a fresh sonic tapestry, which backs lyrics that go well beyond down-home nostalgia by bemoaning the fate of livestock ("Suppose we're all just animals with slightly different hides?").
The song and its music video up anticipation for an album by what's likely to be one of the breakout Americana acts of 2022.
— Bobby Moore
"Worth a Shot" Elle King (feat. Dierks Bentley)
Six years after Elle King and Dierks Bentley teamed up on their CMA-winning hit "Different for Girls," they are back together for "Worth A Shot." King surprised the Ryman Auditorium audience by bringing out Bentley to debut their new song in February on her Drunk and I Don't Wanna Go Home tour. The song, driven by an upbeat tempo and a pulsing electric guitar solo, is all about giving a relationship another chance by starting back at the beginning.
"Dierks took a chance and brought me into the country world. I couldn't make my own country record — which is my favorite album I've ever made — without including the person who gave me a seat at the table," King said in a statement. "To be honest, Dierks and I just have fun no matter what we do, especially singing and performing great songs. This song is all about trying to get back to the beginning of something, and so it's only right that we go back to where it all started for me."
— Courtney Fox
"Fill 'Er Up," Jon Pardi
Jon Pardi summed up his new song perfectly when he described it on social media as a "honky tonk, drinking song." Following his latest new single, "Last Lonely Night," from his upcoming fourth album, "Fill 'Er Up" is the ultimate addition to your party playlist this summer. Lyrics like "I'm talkin' ice cold and a hundred proof, Like an old jukebox needle, I'm gettin' in my groove" are sure to get you in the party mood and make you want to put on your cowboy boots to go dancing at the local honky tonk.
— Courtney Fox
"Seeing Someone Else," Ingrid Andress
Ingrid Andress' "Seeing Someone Else" is packed with acoustic guitars and crisp vocals. The song, which follows previous single "Good Person," is set to be included in her highly anticipated upcoming sophomore album. The ballad tells the story of a couple that is slowly growing apart due to them finding themselves at different places in their own lives.
"We all grow and change, but not everyone wants us to," The three-time Grammy-nominated artist told Music Universe. "Some people want to keep you exactly where you are for as long as possible, even if it's hurting you. Sometimes you don't even realize it's happening. But then one day you wake up and decide the person they want you to be isn't you anymore, so you pack your shit and break free from their grip."
Check out all our favorite new country songs on Wide Open Country's Six Pack Roundup below.
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