Top New Country Music Releases – 01/05/2020

Here are some of the top new releases for the week of 01/05/2020.

All of this week’s new tracks are also on our New Release Round-up 2020 playlist on Spotify, along with every other song we’ve included in this feature during the year so far. If you’re a Spotify user, give it a follow so you can keep up to date!

Hot Country Knights – Then It Rained

HCK’s debut album The K Is Silent is out today. Part parody, part love story, part in-joke, part straight up good writing and performing, and all of that is on show in Then It Rained. Wouldn’t be amiss as a skit on Saturday Night Live, as it’s so obviously ripped from Garth’s The Thunder Rolls. If you want to judge it solely as a comedy track then it’s surely one of the best written examples you’ll come across, but in truth it’s better than that and stands alone as a song in its own right.

Kip Moore – Crazy For You Tonight

The month of May, among other things, means Kip Moore’s new album Wild World, set for release on the 29th of the month. Crazy For You Tonight is the latest track to drop, a sweet love song with a late night feel thanks to Kip’s hushed, whispery vocal and the restrained volume on the arrangement that still rocks. “I don’t care what you call me baby | And I don’t care if I ain’t your kind | And you might think I’m a little crazy | But I’m only crazy for you tonight”.

American Aquarium – Before The Dogwood Blooms

AA’s eagerly awaited eighth studio album Lamentations is out today. We’ll have a review of the album, and an interview with band leader BJ Barham, along soon. For now, here’s a track from the new abum, with BJ as a hand to mouth, cash in hand long haul trucker forced to part from his lover to find work to pay the bills. There’s something more than a little Springsteen about the way BJ paints these types of characters…

Luke Combs – Six Feet Apart

Written with Brent Cobb and Rob Snyder, this is Luke’s reflection on life under lockdown. Missing friends and family, missing his band, missing a beer in a bar, etc, etc but looking forward to a better day when “this” is all over. It’s not the most insightful or profound lyric you’ll hear, and some of the references are so specific that it maybe won’t age well. It does tell a tale and the melody and arrangement are suitably soothing, so it does a job well enough for now.

Sara Evans – Whenever I Call You “Friend” (w/ Phillip Sweet)
Sara Evans’ upcoming album Cover Me surely has one of the most diverse, eclectic set of songs you’re likely to see from a country artist. Where else will you find a country artist performing songs made famous by Hank Williams, Yvonne Elliman, Dexys Midnight Runnners, John Mayer, Chicago, The Pretenders, The Knack…. ? It’s a brave and presumably very personal collection. For this track, a cover of the old Kenny Loggins and Stevie Nicks hit, Sara has enlisted Phillip Sweet from Little Big Town and their voices work together so, so well. Interestingly, this update feels even more 70’s radio friendly than the original. Repalcing the original’s saxophone solo with an analog synth only adds to the retro feels.

Sunny Sweeney – Poet’s Prayer

Written with Erin Enderlin and Buddy Owens, the story in Poets Prayer will be recognisable to touring, performing musicians everywhere. A lyric at times bitter and resentful, at others hopeful and uplifting, delivered with the conviction of someone who knows for themselves over a simple, emotive acoustic backing. “May our beds be soft | Coffee strong and hot | May the angels of the blacktop | Keep our souls from getting lost | If there’s a patron saint of troubadours | On the road from here to there | Watch over us | That’s my three-chord poet’s prayer”.

Corey Smith – The Singer In A Band

Tracing the life of a singer from a band in high school “making a big loud boom, in an empty room” through underground popularity to the relative success of travelling between gigs in a motor coach “livin’ the words of On The Road Again”, looking back and seeing something that was “always just a little out of range”. A wistful, celebratory, contemplative, joyful, thankful journey, just a guy and his guitar musing on what was, what is and what could have been. 

Playing For Change – The Weight

Playing For Change is an organisation that seeks to bring together muscisians from around the world to break down barriers and overcome distances between people, long pre-dating the current global situation. They first released a video of this classic song from The Band last year and it’s so far had almost 9 million YouTube streams. It’s now available as a single across the usual digital platforms. As well as Robbie Robertson (from The Band, of course) and Ringo Starr, there are contributions from Marcus King, Larkin Poe and Lukas Nelson, among other artists the world over.


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