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Wide Open Country's Six Pack: Scotty McCreery, Keb' Mo' and More

Scotty McCreery performs on the GMC Sierra Stage during the Citadel Country Spirit USA concert at Ludwig's Corner on August 29, 2021 in Glenmoore, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Lisa Lake/Getty Images)

Every week, the Wide Open Country team rounds up our favorite newly released country, folk, bluegrass and Americana songs. Here are six songs we currently have on repeat.

"Good Strong Woman," Keb' Mo' (Feat. Darius Rucker)

Keb' Mo' has lived in Nashville for 11 years now, positioning him to expand an already broad musical palette on forthcoming album Good to Be (out Jan. 21, 2022 via Rounder Records). Marks left on the album by Music City range from three songs produced by Vince Gill to collaborations with Old Crow Medicine Show and Darius Rucker.

Rucker duet "Good Strong Woman" accompanied the album announcement. The song sweetly praises having a romantic partner who's also your best friend. Its music video romanticizes duet partners worthy of being your second best friend. Heck, the entire presentation should make you stop and appreciate the reliable people in your life.

"This album is where I'm at right now," said Keb' Mo' in a press release. "It might not fit neatly into a certain category (even though the music biz and algorithms like to keep me tightly in the blues genre). Don't get me wrong: the blues is a very important part of my experience, but it's not all of who I am musically. Years ago, I drove around in LA delivering flowers and listening to some of the greatest Nashville artists on the radio, and now that I've lived here a while, it's probably shaped me even more. So the album might be 'all over the place,' but the common denominator is always going to be me."

-- Bobby Moore

"I Quit Drinking," Alana Springsteen

In anticipation of her eight-date run opening for genre line-blurring trio LANY, fast-rising country singer-songwriter Alana Springsteen created her own piano-driven version of LANY and Kelsea Ballerini collaboration "I Quit Drinking."

The less-is-more arrangement keeps Springsteen's mighty vocal delivery and song interpreter gift at the forefront.

"I'm a big fan of LANY and their sound," Springsteen said in a press release. "Their respect for Nashville and country music has always resonated with me. Having the opportunity to now tour with them is a dream come true. This cover of Kelsea and LANY's 'I Quit Drinking' is a celebration of all of that. I love what Kelsea and Paul [Klein] did with this song, and imagined a piano-vocal version in my head when I heard it for the first time. I'm excited to share this as we get ready to head out on the road!"

-- Bobby Moore

"Thrive," Cassadee Pope

Cassadee Pope's "Thrive" showcases the singer's alternative side and country-pop vibe. The single comes from the album of the same name with 13 new songs, which Pope dubbed as "Y'Alternative." According to a press release, "the project is the perfect mixture of pop-punk melodies with country music storytelling - both genres integral to Pope's sound and musical evolution."

Pope noted that she had originally made it a point to blend her two favorite genres into one on the album.

"I'm merging my two favorite things, pop-punk music and country music and I'm merging all the things that make me who I am and make me unique, so I'm super excited," Pope said.

The single was written by Pope, Kevin Bard and Andy Albert and provides a hopeful message to those who have survived trauma and are now stronger and thriving.

-Silke Jasso

"Static," Dylan Scott

Dylan Scott is back and better than ever with his much anticipated new release, "Static." The new song follows his recent summer release "New Trucks," which is quickly climbing the charts.

"We did a lot of writing and recording during quarantine," Scott told Country Swag. "It's most of what I've done in the past, but at a more mature level and I think the lyrics reflect that."

Scott noted that the song relates to those who grew up in a small town and are chasing a fast-paced lifestyle, all while wanting to move to a bigger city.

"Once you get there it's all great," Scott says. "But sometimes you've just got to get back out in the middle of nowhere, back to your roots, where there's nothing but a little static on the radio."

--Silke Jasso

"Sun Ain't Set," Sam Outlaw

Sam Outlaw channels some of his '80s musical heroes, from Tom Petty to Cyndi Lauper, on his forthcoming New Wave-inspired album Popular Mechanics. So it's no surprise that the dreamy "Sun Ain't Set" would sound right at home on a playlist with cuts from Stevie Nicks' Bella Donna and Rosanne Cash's King's Record Shop. But make no mistake -- the song is pure Sam Outlaw.

"This story is all about choice -- specifically, that each one of us can decide to linger in the pain of the past, or process it, learn from it, and step out into the new day," Outlaw said in a press release. "The lyrics took on new meaning during the seemingly endless 'Groundhog Day' effect of the COVID lockdown, and after reworking the track with Cheyenne [Medders], we ended up with a pop song that perfectly fits into the album's ecosystem, while also staying true to my voice."

Popular Mechanics is out on Nov. 12.

-- Bobbie Jean Sawyer

"Damn Strait," Scotty McCreery

Scotty McCreery takes issue with The King of Country on "Damn Strait," which laments the fact that he can no longer listen to George Strait's songs because they cause him to miss his lost love even more. McCreery weaves some of Strait's biggest hits, from "Nobody In His Right Mind Would've Left Her" to "Blue Clear Sky," into clever wordplay.

"Damn, Strait/ I used to love your songs/ But now every time that one comes on/ My heart gets broke in half," McCreery sings. "But do I wish I could get her back?/ Damn Strait."

"Damn Strait" is featured on McCreery's album Same Truck.
-- Bobbie Jean Sawyer

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Wide Open Country's Six Pack: Scotty McCreery, Keb' Mo' and More