First Country is a compilation of the best new country songs, videos and albums released this week.
Chris Young, Famous Friends (Deluxe Edition)
Young expands his famous friends 20-track album with the addition of six new songs on the deluxe version, out Friday (June 3). In addition to the hit title track, this album includes collaborations with Old Dominion (“Everybody Needs a Song”) and the excellent ode to musical heroes and the pursuit of dreams in “Music Note” with Jimmie Allen. “Like a Slow Song” recalls some of Young’s more romantic hits such as “Gettin’ You Home (The Black Dress Song)”, while the soulful “If I Knew What Was Good For Me” makes good use of the enviable from Young. vocal range. The album ends with acoustic renditions of Young’s previous hits “Think of You” and “I’m Comin’ Over”.
Brent Cobb, “Wild and Blue”
Cobb Covers This 1983 John Anderson Hit As Part Of The Multi-Artist Tribute Project Something borrowed, something newwhich will be released on August 5th. The Cobb-worthy rendition deviates slightly from Anderson’s banjo-influenced original, relying more on relaxed acoustic guitars and a fiddle jam band groove, slashed by the warm, unhurried vocals of Cobb.
Brooke Eden, “Left You For Me”
“You get so used to being used that you forget it’s unusual,” Eden sings, delivering a touch of emotional truth in what ultimately becomes a bubbly, romantic tale – about leaving a loser and falling in love with oneself. Her latest follows a similar mesh of bright, poppy earworm hooks with an uplifting and anthemic message found in previous releases “Got No Choice”, “No Shade” and “Sunroof” – songs that found Eden open and celebrating his relationship with partner Hilary Hoover.
Toby Keith, “Oklahoma Breakdown”
Although Keith was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2015 and has penned many of his own hits such as “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” and “American Soldier”, here he turns to his fellow songwriter- singer-songwriter from Oklahoman Hosty for a brilliant rendition of a song that also became a regional hit on the Texas Music Chart for Stoney LaRue in 2007. Keith’s rendition of this Red Dirt hit circumvents LaRue’s provocative sensibilities or even the sparse drumming and meaty guitar lines of Hosty, for a more typical, radio-friendly contemporary sheen.
Easton Corbin, “Hey Merle”
Throughout his career, Corbin has regularly incorporated covers of Merle Haggard and Hank Williams classics into his sets, and here he uses his relaxed, expressive baritone to pay homage to late music legends. Written by Corbin, Rodney Clawson and Wade Kirby, the propelling track is an apt celebration of “country gold” classics as Corbin thinks, “Did you ever think you’d leave such a mark on a guitar town?” as the song incorporates mentions of hits from “Lovesick Blues” to “Swinging Doors”.
MaRynn Taylor, “Sounds Like Something”
Nearly a decade after Maddie & Tae lambasted “bro country,” newcomer Taylor seems more than willing to play along, telling a potential lover, “If you’re expecting a country girl from a country song / Do country stuff ’til dawn…sounds like something I’d do.Taylor’s vocals are adequate on this lighthearted confection she wrote with Jason Earley and Colton Venner.It’s included on her EP Something I would do which drops today via Black River Entertainment.
Gina Venier, “Nora Jane” (acoustic)
Singer-songwriter Venier details a familiar story of bringing a lover home to meet his family for the first time. But for queer alt-country artist Venier, the vulnerability, anxiety and hope are heightened by the fact that the family reunion also marks a story of coming out.
The acoustic version of “Nora Jane” puts the script front and center, with vulnerable lyrics such as “I’m afraid everyone I love won’t love me the same / when I tell them your name” . Thankfully, this coming-out story has an uplifting ending, as Venier sings, “Mom gave me a hug when I told her you were the one I love.” Venier, who is signed to the joint venture Warner Chappell and Red Light Red Door Music Group, wrote the song with former Avenue Beat member Savana Santos and Summer Overstreet.
Steven Denmark, “Only Home I Need”
This singer-songwriter and cattle rancher from Northern California has already released projects, including those for 2021 Babylon. Here, he recounts a romance through the decades, from freewheeling youth, to building a family, and to the final moments as death beckons. “Whether the skies are blue or gray / You got me stuck,” he sings, as this introspective lollipop gradually transitions into a righteous, guitar-fueled rocker, with Denmark’s heartwarming vocals matching the vocals. Honey by Lynn Marie.