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8 Must-Hear New Country Songs: Lainey Wilson, Dasha, Breland & More

Mr. Nimbus | 02/20/2024

This week’s roundup of the best new country songs stars Lainey Wilson, who over the past year has been crowned the CMAs’ entertainer of the year and picked up her first Grammy, in addition to notching multiple No. 1 Country Airplay hits. With her latest, she offers an assessment of country music’s current boom. Meanwhile, Dasha earns a viral hit with her new song “Austin,” and newcomer Graham Barham brings some Louisiana swamp-rock feel to his new track.

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See all these and more of Billboard‘s selections for the finest new country music of the past week below.

Lainey Wilson, “Country’s Cool Again”

Trending on Billboard

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“Blue collar must’ve caught a new wind,” sings reigning CMA entertainer of the year Wilson on her latest release. In the process, she channels the surge in popularity that has carried country music and Western aesthetics to its current lofty heights. But Louisiana native Wilson also makes it clear that for so many artists like herself, “country” is far from a trend, but rather her birthright — from her unmistakable twang to her working-class roots. Lyrically, the song at times relies too heavily on expected country tropes such as beer and front porches, but sonically, this track is richly layered with sinewy guitar, funky percussion and piled high with soulful backing vocals, all led by Wilson’s charismatic lead vocal. Wilson wrote this track with Aslan Freeman, as well as her frequent co-writers Dallas Wilson and Trannie Anderson, with production from Jay Joyce.

Dasha, “Austin”

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This California native has a huge viral hit on her hands with “Austin,” which is currently in the upper ranks of Spotify’s U.S. Viral 50 chart. Not to be confused with the 2001 Blake Shelton hit, Dasha employs handclaps, folksy fiddle and boot-stomping, made-for-line-dancing rhythms to propel this tale of calling out an ex-lover who ghosted her. “Did your boots stop working? Did your truck break down?” her voice drips with sarcasm, before she delivers a caustic blow, making her way back to Los Angeles and telling him, “In 40 years you’ll still be here drunk/ Washed up in Austin.” Dasha wrote the track with Kenneth Travis Heidelman, Adam Wendler and Cheyenne Rose Arnspiger. “Austin” is included on Dasha’s recent album What Happens Now?

Graham Barham, “Bayou Boy”

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This is a delightfully churning, swamp-rock stomper praises Louisiana life, from catching beads at Mardi Gras to navigating a fan boat through thick swamp waters and turning up to Sunday morning church in your best Mossy Oak. Meanwhile, Barham’s vocal pulses with urgency and exhilaration. Barham wrote the track with Beau Bailey and Will Bundy, with production by Bundy.

Drake Milligan, Jukebox Songs EP

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Across this succinct quartet of songs, Milligan offers a jolt of down-home country flavor, roping listeners in with his honeyed, smooth vocal and an adoration for “that so cool, old-school country sound,” as he puts it on the EP’s “Jukebox Songs and Barstool Beers.” “What I Couldn’t Forget” and “I Got a Problem (Full Length)” sound like classic dancehall staples, while the up-tempo set is tempered by the gently rolling track “Don’t Leave Me Loving You.” Milligan previously proved he’s got plenty of onstage charisma and is adept at a multitude of styles through his time portraying Elvis on the CMT series Sun Records and through his time on American Idol and America’s Got Talent. But here, as with his breakthrough hit “Sounds Like Something I’d Do,” his unabashed love for country and his stone-cold country inspiration is in heavy rotation.

Josh Ross, “Matching Tattoos”

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Ross is known for the perky-tempoed “First Taste of Gone” and the soulful “Trouble,” but on his latest, he muses that the ink on his arm remains a permanent reminder of a short-lived romance. Stately, somber piano underscores his vocal shift from fond reminiscing on starry-eyed, youthful promises to wishful hoping that his ex-lover still somehow holds on to a love that mirrors his own. Ross’ voice has an appealing raspy quality, while the ballad’s melody offers ample space to showcase his upper range in the final chorus.

Breland, “Heartbreak & Alcohol”

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Over the past couple of years, country music has more heavily embraced pop music’s interpolations trend, with the bulk of country music’s interpolations bringing new life to some country classics. With his latest, the always genre-melding writer-singer-producer Breland interpolates the melody and groove of Lil Wayne’s 2013 trap hit “Love Me” (which featured Drake and Future). There’s little twang to be heard here, as he keeps the song’s smooth R&B-pop melody and groove, but trades the original’s braggadocio-fueled lyrics for words of classic country heartbreak, led by Breland’s honeyed vocal. The combination feels even more organic to the production’s moody atmosphere.

The Steel Wheels, “Sideways”

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The title track to the group’s recently-released project, “Sideways” blends superb musicianship, with a latticework of mandolin, guitars, percussion, bass and keyboards. This group has been melding bluegrass, Americana and folk for more than two decades. Here, they offer up shades of soft-focused, jam band rock and polished, ‘70s Laurel Canyon-reminiscent harmonies. Written by The Steel Wheels  vocalist/guitarist/banjo player Trent Wagler, he maintains an urge to seek love and connection without facades and fear, while acknowledging that growth and love rarely evolve in a linear fashion. A superb look into the Virginia-based band’s stellar album.

Tyler Hubbard, “Wish You Would”

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Hubbard previously offered an early look at his upcoming second solo album, Strong (out April 12) with his current top 20 Country Airplay hit, the nostalgia-driven “Back Then Right Now.” With “Wish You Would,” he delves deeper into a mesh of hook-filled rock elements. “We been dancin’ around it/ We been walkin’ that edge,” he sings, crafting a narrative of hoping to take a relationship to the next level. From there he catalogs his wishes that she would “wreck my plans, rock my world, be my brown-eyed, blue-jean girl.” While the lyrics feel slightly paint-by-numbers at moments, Hubbard’s warm, laid-back vocals and the hopeful fervor in his delivery make this track feel fresh and conversational. Hubbard wrote the track with frequent collaborators Corey Crowder and Chris LaCorte.

This post was originally published on this site

Written by Mr. Nimbus




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