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First Country: New Music From Luke Bryan, Lanco, Priscilla Block and More

Luke Bryan
Jim Wright

Luke Bryan

First Country is a compilation of the best new country songs, videos and albums that dropped this week.

Luke Bryan, Born Here Live Here Die Here (Deluxe Edition)

Bryan’s Born Here Live Here Die Here has already spawned several hits, including “Knockin’ Boots,” “What She Wants Tonight,” “One Margarita” and “Down to One.” Now the deluxe version arrives with six new tracks, tops of which are already released “Drink A Little Whiskey Down,” a tale of drinking to get her off his mind; the romantic new single “Waves”; and “Floatin’ This Creek,” a quintessential Bryan track that equates fishing with the simple life.

Lanco, “First Beer”

Lanco lead singer Brandon Lancaster looks back fondly on his first beer, and the memories it evokes, as he recalls the buzz the situation brought on as much as the intoxication of the company he was keeping as he sat on a blanket with a crush. The mid-tempo, wistful track is sure to get the cell phone flashlights waving in concert.

Priscilla Block, “Wish You Were The Whiskey”

TikTok sensation Block continues to show her vocal and songwriting strength on this smoky tale about being drunk “right where you left me at the bottom of a bottle,” as she hopes the liquor will put her out of her misery in this mid-tempo track, but it only increases her misery.

Kat & Alex, “Heartbreak Tour” and “You and the Radio”

The 2020 American Idol alums, who competed individually on the show before forming a duo, have now signed with Sony Music Nashville and show off their lush harmonies on “Heartbreak Tour,” a mid-tempo track that combines country, pop and a touch of rock bombast. “You and The Radio” sounds like something off a Keith Urban album with its uptempo ode to a good song, a fast car and an open road and becomes possibly the 1,000th country song to reference NGDB’s “Fishing In The Dark.” Last fall, they released “How Many Times” in English and Spanish, and hopefully will continue in that direction as well.

Morgan Wade, “Wilder Days”

A few weeks after releasing her acclaimed debut, Reckless, Wade shows up in the video for this track, which is a  look at wishing she’d known her man before he settled down quite so much. It’s a flip from the usual take on the subject matter that Wade delivers beautifully with raw conviction. Sober for four years, Wade may also be addressing the song not only to her beau, but to her former self.

Lauren Jenkins, “Like You Found Me”

After parting ways with Big Machine Records, Jenkins returns with this strummy pop-country track where she warns a man she’s just fine on her own, but if she does give him a chance, “don’t make a mess of this heart of mine” and have the decency to leave her in as good shape as she was before he walked in. Instantly catchy.

Tim Montana, Long Shots

Country rocker Montana releases a thoroughly winning debut on producer Michael Knox’s Music Knox Records imprint, distributed via BBR Music Group. Montana easily straddles the line between country and rock here, though tips the scales to the rock side. The songs, all co-written by Montana, are driving, muscular and well-suited by Montana’s rough and tumble vocals. Highlights include the stomping “Get ‘Em Up,” genial “Bar Band,” nostalgic “River Kids,” unapologetic “Doing Everything Right,” and the haunting ballad “To An End.”

Sean McConnell feat. The Wood Brothers, “The 13th Apostle”

McConnell -- who has had his songs cut by Brett Young, Tim McGraw and Brothers Osborne -- strikes out on his own here. He gets a fine assist from The Wood Brothers on a tune that recalls The Band with its earthy, rollicking piano center. They perfectly balance country and gospel as he declares himself the apostle that no one has ever heard of, though he is no less devout. From McConnell’s Aug. 6 album that also features Fancy Hagood, Natalie Hemby, Audra Mae and Dan Tyminski.

Dallas Moore, The Rain

As we hopefully head out of the pandemic, is there a more appropriate line than “We don’t know what lies ahead, just what we’ve left behind,” as journeyman Moore sings on “Ride Down By the River”? The rest of the southern rock/country set has a similar moving-ahead mindset, whether it’s the chugging, fiddle-driven “Every Night I Burn Another Honky Tonk Down,” or the optimistic “On Through The Night.” Moore is best experienced in concert, but he captures the live spirit well on this set.

Nefesh Mountain feat. Jerry Douglas and Bryan Sutter, “Wanderlust”

The bluegrass outfit, which includes husband and wife team Eric Lindberg and Doni Zasloff, salutes taking to the road with the one you love, who provides solace when the wayward winds are howling. Superbly aided by bluegrass superstars dobro master Jerry Douglas and guitarist Bryan Sutton, the song is the opening salvo from the band’s June 11 set, Songs for the Sparrows.

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