Whether it’s coming out of Nashville, New York, L.A., or points in between, there’s no shortage of fresh tunes, especially from artists who have yet to become household names. Rolling Stone Country selects some of the best new music releases from country and Americana artists.
Dillon Carmichael, “Hot Beer”
Add Dillon Carmichael to the list of guys like Luke Combs and Jon Pardi who are successfully carrying the Nineties country torch. Pardi actually produced this undeniable winner of a barroom anthem, which finds the Kentucky-born Carmichael listing off all the things he’d rather do than take back his ex. Naturally, it culminates with drinking that titular skunked brew. With a persuasive country voice like Carmichael’s, he could make even warm suds sound tasty.
Hannah Dasher, “Girls Call the Shots”
Georgia badass Hannah Dasher lets her guard down just a hair in this sweet ballad about the magical power women can wield over men. Haunting steel and twangy electric guitar frame Dasher’s delivery as she lists all the things girls can change in male behavior. And the payoff line is classic country wordplay: “Guys buy the drinks,” Dasher knowingly croons, “girls call the shots.”
Tim Higgins, “Take Me Away”
Alabama singer-songwriter Tim Higgins released his latest album Blight in late February, and that project’s haunting song “Take Me Away” now has a new video to accompany it. Produced by Parker McAnnally and built around a sparse arrangement of acoustic guitar, drums, and slide leads, “Take Me Away” also features some Rhodes organ from Little Bandit’s Alex Caress. Higgins sings his parts in a gravelly tone, dreaming about grisly ways to escape the feeling of being stuck. “I’m gonna open this hotel window and plummet to the street/Nosedive into traffic, crack my ribcage, crack my teeth,” he sings. The video, directed by Reagan Wells, adds to the haunting feeling with visuals of vacant lots where buildings once stood and forlorn small-town sidewalks.
Ashland Craft, “Two Wildflowers and a Box of Wine”
Ashland Craft cooks up a thumping anthem about two people getting the hell away from it all with her new single “Two Wildflowers and a Box of Wine,” which she penned with Rob Snyder and Jonathan Singleton. “Need a little slowin’ down to get this uptight unwound,” Craft sings in the swampy opening verse, before the band kicks into a bottom-heavy “Fishin’ in the Dark”-style groove and lets her show off a raspy higher range that’s a delicious mixture of Bonnies Raitt and Tyler. Crank it up and cut loose.
Tim Montana, “Do It Fast”
Nashville country-rocker Tim Montana polishes up his typically rough and rowdy sound for this carpe diem anthem off his new EP Cars on Blocks. But the wild-eyed Montana’s hard-living message is no less outrageous: “You gotta ride that thing till the wheels fall off,” he sings over snappy production by Jason Aldean producer Michael Knox. Bonus points for an accompanying music video that puts the “extreme” in extreme sports.
RVSHVD, “My Side of Town”
South Georgia singer RVSHVD made his name by putting country spins on Roddy Ricch hits. This new country-rap crossover is his most convincing burst of country gold yet, full of small-town Deep South imagery (lurking gators, open road joyriding) and cross-cultural interplay (“where the countryside and the projects meet”). It’s a mere glimpse of what’s to come from one of the most intriguing new singers in the genre.
Izaak Opatz, “Drunk on a Plane”
Dierks Bentley’s 2014 ode to mile-high intoxication is one of the most despondent country chart-toppers of the past decade. This sparse version from Montana singer-songwriter Izaak Opatz, off his upcoming country covers album, understands the song’s pitiful core even better than the original. When Opatz sings, “I’m up so high, I may never come down,” it sounds as hard-to-believe as ever.
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