Wide Open Country's Six Pack: Wade Bowen, Jenny Tolman + More

Katie Kauss

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.

"Horseshoes & Hand Grenades," Dustin Herring

Farmer and Auburn University graduate turned Nashville singer-songwriter Dustin Herring is an open book on one of his strongest co-writes to date, "Horseshoes & Hand Grenades."

"'Horseshoes & Hand Grenades' is about almost having it all and then losing it all," Herring said in a press release. "This song is a chance for me to take a look at my mistakes, my shortcomings."

Herring penned the tradition-grounded new song with one of his Music City mentors, Steve O'Brien.

"We met through the Nashville songwriting scene and he's encouraged me to write about what I know and what I feel," Herring explained. "He helped me make this song really personal and it's one of the songs I'm most proud of writing."

-- Bobby Moore

"When Love Comes Around," Wade Bowen

"If I was a Gibson, you'd be a sweet song/ Always bringing the best out of me," sings Wade Bowen on the first teaser of his forthcoming EP Where Phones Don't Work (out Nov. 19 via Thirty Tigers).

Like a lot of the better music released in 2021, the song and the EP its from offer a shot of positivity at a restless time.

"While slowing down and reflecting over the past year, I felt a calling to create more uplifting music that would be exciting to incorporate into our shows, since we're so grateful to be playing live again," Bowen said in a press release. "There's a new sense of hope and a new sense of urgency with this music. I'm just so inspired again."

-- Bobby Moore

"I Know Some Cowboys," Jenny Tolman

Jenny Tolman tips her (cowgirl) hat to Texas buckaroos on "I Know Some Cowboys," a fiddle-laden barnburner that praises Lone Star state residents from "Amarillo to Odessa."

"Now I'm a Tennessee girl and this'll always be my home/ But if you don't two-step up your game I may just end up in San Antone," Tolman sings. "And if those boots I brought ya back from Luckenbach are too big for you to fill/ I know some cowboys down in Texas that will."

The song, inspired by Tolman's recent tour through Texas, was written by Tolman, Dave Brainard and Billy Whyte.

-- Bobbie Jean Sawyer

"We Shall Rise," Brent Cobb

"We Shall Rise," a supercharged statement of faith that sounds like both a Saturday night roadhouse and Sunday morning church, is the first release from Brent Cobb's forthcoming gospel album And Now, Let's Turn To Page..., a nine-song project produced by Brent's cousin, Grammy-winning producer Dave Cobb. The album is deeply personal for the Georgia native. 

"I've always wanted to make a southern gospel album because it's what I come from, but also it used to seem like a rite of passage for country singers to make a gospel album," Cobb said in a statement. "I'm just trying to carry on that torch."

And Now, Let's Turn To Page... features Brent's wife Layne Cobb, his mother Renee Cobb, his sister Alecia Grant, his father Patrick Cobb and cousin Dave Cobb. The album also features background vocals from Anderson East, Caylee Hammack and members of Antioch, a Georgia-based gospel group led by Brent's father.

-- Bobbie Jean Sawyer

"Devil and an Old Six String," Jacob Bryant

Jacob Bryant has made it clear that music is therapeutic for him, releasing "Devil & An Old Six String" as an example of just that. The single is Bryant's first release from his upcoming album, Bar Stool Preacher, set for release in January 2022. The song showcases strong and emotional lyrics that depict the past struggles that the singer has faced.

"I need these neon lights / Cause that's the only damn thing that gets me high," Bryant sings. "If I barely make it in on a broken wing / Blame it on the devil and an old six string."

"It was like the devil was on one shoulder and an angel was on the other," Bryant said.  "One kept me an addict and one saved my life. It's a daily struggle to be the best you can be. Now it's about my family, moving forward and writing music that makes people happy."

Bryant isn't a stranger to the music business. He collaborated with Luke Combs in 2016 for the song "Out There."

-- Silke Jasso

"Heaven Heard Me," Mackenzie Porter

Written by Porter, David Cohen and Steven Lee, the country singer's new single, "Heaven Heard Me" draws inspiration from Porter's own love life. The song focuses on Porter's husband, Jake Etheridge, who she recently married during the pandemic. The single comes after Porter's "Unlonely Me," which marks two of the three tracks expected to be released this year.

"'Heaven Heard Me' is a song I wrote about my husband, Jake Etheridge. I'm a person who always feels unsettled and anxious, and Jake is the person who quiets that in me," Porter said. "I hope when you hear this song that it makes you think about your 'person.' I love writing sad songs, but sometimes you just have to write what's right in front of you."

Porter is set to take the stage at the 2021 CCMA Awards to perform "Thinking 'Bout You' ' with Dustin Lynch. She was also recently nominated for a 2021 Juno Award for Country Album of the Year.

-- Silke Jasso 

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Wide Open Country's Six Pack: Wade Bowen, Jenny Tolman + More