Here are some of the top new releases from the month of July 2021.
All of the tracks featured here are also on our New Release Roundup 2021 playlist on Spotify, along with every other song we’ll include in this feature during the year. If you’re a Spotify user, give it a follow so you can keep up to date!
Zac Brown Band – Stubborn Pride (ft. Marcus King)
After the critical mauling and fan backlash that greeted The Owl, Zac Brown Band have come back with a series of releases over the last year or so that are much more within their recognised wheelhouse – more to the point, they’re closer to what their fans expect. Stubborn Pride is a soulful number about laying down yourself when you find that real love, and with Marcus King as co-writer and guitar-and-vocal contributor it really brings out the Blues in Brown.
Brooke Lynn – Hellfire, Holy Water
Hellfire, Holy Water is the title track of the debut EP from Minnesota’s Brooke Lynn. It’s a rocking, rhythm heavy number that’ll stir echoes of songs from Miranda, Carrie and others treading a similar theme of a woman with a contradictory nature – both sinner and saint in the same wrapper.
Lauren Alaina – It Was Me
July saw Lauren Alaina announce the release of her new album Sitting Pretty On Top Of The World (September 3rd), the 15 track follow-up to 2017’s Road Less Travelled which will see her working with writers like Lori McKenna, Liz Rose, Emily Weisband and, in the case of It Was Me, Hillary Lindsey. This lead-off track is a break-up confessional ballad, taking responsibilty for the messy end of a relationship.
Logan Mize – George Strait Songs
The word “crossover” barely scratches the surface when you’re talking about Logan Mize’s recording catalog to date. It’s surely one of the most eclectic sets around in country music right now, and he’s never afraid to draw from a deep and wide range of musical influences without ever losing a hold on his roots. George Strait Songs is both lyrically and musically quite firmly in Midwest heartland country rock territory. It’s also the first track coming from Logan’s new album Welcome To Prairieville, due for release on October 1st.
Parker McCollum – Wait Outside
Pretty Heart was a breakout No.1 hit for Parker McCollum last year coming from his major label deal with MCA Nashville, and July saw the release of his debut album for the label – Gold Chain Cowboy. With every track either written or co-written by McCollum, it’s clear he’s retained a good deal of the creative input that can sometimes be lost when moving to the majors. The pacey, driving album opener Wait Outside was co-written with Randy Rogers and the album’s producer Jon Randall, and it perfectly showcases the Texan’s talents.
Elijah Ocean – The Ice Machine
Elijah Ocean is a singer-songwriter from Maine, now based in Nashville following spells in Brooklyn and Los Angeles. The Ice Machine is taken from his forthcoming album Born Blue (August 13th), Ocean’s sixth full-length release to date. If your musical tastes feature touchpoints such as Dwight Yoakam, Don Williams, Alan Jackson and the like, with storytelling songs laden with pedal steel, banjo and fiddle, then you’ll be right at home with Elijah Ocean.
Vinnie Paolizzi – You Gave Me A Reason
Vinnie Paolizzi is a singer-songwriter from Philadelphia now based in Nashville, where he has become a regular feature at the city’s Revival 615 songwriter’s rounds among others. You Gave Me A Reason is the latest track from Vinnie ahead of a prospective debut album release, displaying a poetic lyricism allied to his East Coast, almost Springsteen-like vocal phrasing.
LANCO – Honky-Tonk Hippies
LANCO have opened up their post-pandemic musical chapter with a new EP Honky Tonk Hippies, and an accompanying US tour from September this year (anyone who saw them play at the inaugral Long Road festival will be hoping for dates in the UK before long). The EP’s title track is a joyous celebration of the freedom of playing on the road, and it’s sure to be a singalong highlight on tour.
Erin Enderlin – Somebody’s Shot Of Whiskey
With her first new music release of 2021, Somebody’s Shot Of Whiskey has Erin Enderlin arguing the case for being yourself at the cost of “fitting in”. “I’d rather be somebody’s shot of whiskey | Somebody’s rough around the edge | At least I can sleep well tonight ’cause I stand behind the words I said | You can’t make everybody happy and that’s alright by me | As long as my baby loves me all the way from A to Z | I’d rather be somebody’s shot of whiskey than everybody’s cup of tea.”
Bri Bagwell – Heroes
No, not a cover of the ubiquitous David Bowie anthem, in case you were wondering. Bri Bagwell’s Heroes is both a love song in the regular sense and a homage to music legends (the name checks are too numerous to list), showing how a love for the same music can bring two people together into something deeper. “And you love Waylan and Petty and Willie and Redding | Loretta, Etta, and Johnny and June | Oh, boy, I fell for you | ‘Cause your heroes are my heroes too.”
Jered Ames – Neon Cowboy
Jered Ames was raised on Strait, Jackson and Diffie and now he brings all of that and more into his own work. You’ll clearly hear all those 90’s influences in Neon Cowboy, a song about a heartbroken woman who just wants to be left alone in a bar.
The Hobbs Sisters – Summer On A Slow Burn
Twins Lauren and Hannah Hobbs released their debut album Turn It Up on 23rd July, having grown from what was intended to be an EP release in 2020. Lockdowns gave the Hobbs Sisters time to write more material, resulting in this full-length release packed with tracks that exhibit the sister’s “blood harmony” vocals. Summer On A Slow Burn is a plea for time to stretch out to enjoy a summer romance for as long as possible, set over a suitably relaxed, kicked-back groove.
Drake Milligan – Don’t Look Down
Pulling out of American Idol to concentrate on a music career is an unconventional approach, but it seems to be paying off for Drake Milligan. Newly signed to Broken Bow Records, and with a debut EP released in July, Drake’s matinee idol looks, classic country baritone voice and neo-traditional sound have him tipped to make an impact on the scene. Don’t Look Down is a tender ballad centered around the romance of love on the dance floor.
Dierks Bentley – Travellin’ Light (Live)
Dierk’s set at the annual Telluride festival in June this year became an out-of-the-blue EP release in July. Performing on stage with Larkin Poe, Sam Bush and The War & Treaty, the EP captures Bentley’s Bluegrass heart in five tracks including covers of U2 and Pink Floyd as well as his own material. Travellin’ Light originally featured on his 2018 album The Mountain, with Larkin Poe’s Rebecca Lovell here filling in on vocals for Brandi Carlile.
Joe Stamm Band – Midwest Town
The follow-up to 2020’s arrestingly titled album The Good & The Crooked (& The High & The Horny), Midwest Town is the lead-off track from the upcoming album of the same name (September 10th). Drawing from both the myths and the realities of life in the so-called “flyover states”, Midwest Town has a melodic and lyrical sense that will ring true with fans of Southern Rock contemporaries such as The Steel Woods and Whiskey Myers.
Lauren Jenkins – Miles On Me (ft. David Ramirez)
While it doubtless provided her with a big profile push, Lauren Jenkins as a Big Machine Records artist never seemed like the most natural fit to us. As traumatic as the end of that recording deal no doubt was, it’s great to see her flourishing now as an independent artist. Miles On Me Part 1 is the first of three batches of songs from what will eventually form a full-length album. Title track Miles On Me is a curiously up-beat “love and regret” co-lab with fellow Texan David Ramirez.
Randall King – Record High
Now firmly established as one of the leading lights of “modern traditional” country music, Randall King’s latest Record High is a classic foot tapping honky-tonk rebound song in the vein of Brooks & Dunn’s My Next Broken Heart and others of that tradition.
Midland – Sunrise Tells The Story
While some put a pause on their release schedules during the pandemic, Midland have been positively prolific. The Last Resort EP comes on the back of another EP and 2 albums in the last 18 months. This new release delivers a softer, sun-baked, dare we say ever-so-slightly Californian side to their music, and it’s definitely a grower. Hoping that the title of the new EP isn’t some sort cryptic clue about the band’s immediate future, as they’re due over in Europe in September this year.