Every week, the Wide Open Country team rounds up our favorite newly released country and Americana songs. Here are six songs we currently have on repeat.
"Only in a Small Town," RaeLynn
With "Only in a Small Town," RaeLynn celebrates that homey, rural stretches where "there's no cell phone bars" and "more trucks than cars" lack the less fulfilling glitz of big cities. After all, what's a better setting to develop the playful sass and storytelling chops we've come to expect from one of modern country music's best triple threats (meaning, she's an elite songwriter, singer and live performer)?
It's the latest song shared from RaeLynn's album-length version of Baytown (out Sept. 24 and named after her hometown of Baytown, Texas).
"The back half of Baytown is officially ready!" she shared in a press release. "I believe these next six songs really capture my heart - as a lot has changed in my life over the past year - but I also have some songs to get rowdy to. I'm so excited for y'all to hear what I've been working on."
-- Bobby Moore
"Holding Out For a Cowboy," Clare Dunn
The most simplistic description of "Holding Out For a Cowboy," Clare Dunn's co-write with pop songwriter Whitney Phillips (Kylie Minogue, Ariana Grande), goes like this-- It's about someone who's confident enough to know what they want and patient enough to not settle for less.
It's from five-song EP In This Kind of Light, which Dunn produced at her family's farm in Colorado. Per a press release, each selection's lyrics pair with less-is-more instrumentation to "[convey] both moments of strength and vulnerability in relationships."
"This whole year for me has been about getting back to my core and my roots," Dunn said in a press release. "I grew up on classic music with classic instrumentation. It was their story to tell, with real instruments and not a lot of fluff. That's one thing that -- and I'm not talking about anyone else's records -- but just for me on this one, it's very scaled-down and it's very meat and potatoes and it's just what's necessary."
-- Bobby Moore
"Nothing Else Matters," Chris Stapleton
I genuinely love when country artists cover other genres that are completely unexpected. Chris Stapleton nails his new cover of Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters" with the same gusto as Johnny Cash covering Nine Inch Nails. The new song is included on the heavy metal band's The Metallica Blacklist, a 30th-anniversary celebration of The Black Album. A few other country singers have contributed their own covers on the new album, including Jason Isbell, Mickey Guyton, Darius Rucker and Jon Pardi. But man, does Stapleton just knock his cover out of the park. It's a perfect blend of his old-school country sound and Metallica's classic metal brawn and I just can't stop listening to it...all eight minutes of it.
-- Courtney Fox
"Key To Life," Bexar
Bexar (pronounced Bear) is getting ready for their major-label debut with their upcoming EP, set for release on Sept 3. If "Key To Life," is any indication of what's to come from Chris Ryan and Logan Turner, I genuinely can't wait. If you're confused by the spelling of their band's name, don't be. It's inspired by Ryan's hometown of Bexar County, Texas so you know that there will also be some Texas country reflected in the music. Did I mention these two are going to be joining Keith Urban in Vegas in September? "Key To Life" is upbeat and fun, with a twangy banjo strumming throughout and breezy lyrics you can't help but sing along with.
"This project is the cumulation of years of work and persistence by our whole team," the band said in a press release. "These songs mean the world to us. We feel like they are a true representation of who we are as musicians and more importantly as people."
-- Courtney Fox
"Wishful Drinking," Ingrid Andress Ft. Sam Hunt
Honestly, this is one of my favorite songs at the moment, and I believe it's because Ingrid Andress and Sam Hunt's voices blend perfectly together. Is there anything better than two of your favorite artists coming together to create a beautiful heartbreaking love song? According to Andress, she had been dying to work with Hunt for a very long time after being a huge fan.
She stated, "I admire how he stays so true to himself and am so happy to have him join me for my first collaboration. The song was co-written by my friend JP Saxe, and it became this amazing sad bop, which we all know I love." Along with the song, the powerful duo also released a music video that was filmed in Nashville at the Flamingo Cocktail Club.
-- Silke Jasso
"Coast," Ryan Hurd
Hurd did it again with his latest single "Coast," and boy is it a good one! This song yells SUMMER and makes you want to go to the beach and drink a beer while watching the sunset. The track is his first song since his previous single "Chasing After You" with his wife Maren Morris. He initially teased the new summer-inspired song on TikTok which netted thousands of views. Because well, we all know if you want something to go viral, you post it on TikTok! Honestly, this song just gives very good vibes all around. I'll surely be repeating it over and over again.
Listen to all of Wide Open Country's favorite songs of 2021 (so far) below.