Joseph Ross Smith

Wide Open Country's Six Pack: Yola, Marty Stuart + More

Every other week, the Wide Open Country team rounds up our favorite newly released country and Americana songs. Here are 6 songs we currently have on repeat.

"Where the Soul Never Dies," Leslie Jordan feat. Dolly Parton

If you weren't already familiar with legendary character actor Leslie Jordan for his roles in Will & Grace, The Cool Kids and morethere's a good chance you fell in love with him in 2020. Jordan became the saving grace of quarantine with his lovable Instagram videos, which earned him 5.7 million followers and counting.

Now Jordan is here to save the soul of 2021 with new gospel album Company's Comin', which pairs him with Brandi Carlile, Chris Stapleton, Brothers Osborne, Tanya Tucker and more.

But it doesn't get sweeter than "Where the Soul Never Dies," Jordan's collaboration with fellow Tennessean (and patron saint of the Smoky Mountains), Dolly Parton. Jordan and Parton's buoyant performance and shared love of old hymns is enough to make even the most cynical sinners say "Hallelujah."

— Bobbie Jean Sawyer

"Diamond Studded Shoes," Yola

British-born singer-songwriter Yola follows up her breakout 2019 album Walk Through Fire with "Diamond Studded Shoes," which she co-wrote with Natalie Hemby and Aaron Lee Tasjan.

"I wanted it to feel like a bunch of people who were just marching down the street very victoriously," Yola told Rolling Stone. "And when I heard that riff, I was like, 'That's what it feels like to me.' So it's that whole idea of how we can not succumb to the things that divide us or the things seen to divide us."

"Diamond Studded Shoes" is the latest release from Yola's forthcoming Dan Auerbach-produced album Stand For Myself (out July 30).

— Bobbie Jean Sawyer

"Do They Owe Us a Living," Croy and The Boys

Quite a few of your alt-country faves came of age listening to punk rock, so it shouldn't seem too out of the ordinary that Texas-based band Croy and The Boys covers Negative Approach ("Ready to Fight"), Fugazi ("Cashout"), Billy Bragg ("Between the Wars"), The Dicks ("Hate the Police") and Crass ("Do They Owe Us a Living") on April 20 release Of Course They Do.

The song by Crass, an anarchist collective from England that made a lasting impact on numerous youth subcultures, works especially well as a Texas-flavored, blue-collar anthem. (But don't let that fool you into thinking that "Sheep Farming in the Falklands" might suit your country listening needs.)

The group also covers Blaze Foley ("Officer Manley"), an Austin music legend whose songs inform most punk rock retirement plans.

— Bobby Moore

"One in a Row," Marty Stuart

Marty Stuart, one of the great stewards of country music history, flipped through the genre's back pages once again while stuck at home because of the pandemic.

The end result, 20-track collection Songs I Sing In The Dark, continues with a gentle, jazzy cover of "One in a Row," a song from Willie Nelson's time as a Nashville songwriter.

"Nelson wrote this in the mid-1960s," Stuart said in a press release. "The song originally appeared on an RCA Victor album entitled Make Way for Willie Nelson. The recording is seemingly a portrait of a man in motion, headed toward barely explored worlds of wonder that lie waiting deep within his soul. The musical treatment given to Willie's 'One in a Row' by Nashville's legendary 'A' team of musicians is no less than exquisite musical architecture, pure perfection. But it's the idea, the words, and the soul of the poet that's truly the thing to behold here. Willie and his words have always mattered. His songs take up very little space on a piece of paper. However, his words have a way of making their way into your heart and then sticking around for a lifetime. That's the story with 'One in a Row'."

— Bobby Moore

"Good Life," Kip Moore

Kip Moore is officially getting us in the mood for summer with his new single for his upcoming fifth album, Good Life. Written by Moore, Dan Couch and Jay Joyce, the song is easy-breezy fun and encourages listeners to enjoy every moment and be present. A message we could all take seriously — especially after the past year.

"I haven't been this fired up about new music in a good while," Moore said in a statement. "I'm always trying to push myself out of any comfort zones that I may have settled into during the previous project, and I think working with Jay definitely helped me with that. I wrote this song and many more while surfing this past winter and I can't wait for the fans to hear what's coming."

— Courtney Fox

"Shine On Me," Troy Cartwright

Troy Cartwright's new ballad is definitely a song for the dreamers. "Shine on Me" honors Cartwright's teenage self, getting swept away by the music and daring to be as good as some of the greats, like Willie and Waylon, someday. Also calling out one of the greatest love stories in country music — Johnny Cash and June Carter, this song has a little bit of everything and will definitely resonate with all generations of country fans.

— Courtney Fox


Listen to all of Wide Open Country's favorite songs of 2021 (so far) below. 



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