First Country is a compilation of the best new country songs, videos & albums that dropped this week.
Lainey Wilson, “Hold My Halo”
This Louisiana native’s career is on fire right now. In addition to her new album, Bell Bottom Country, which drops today (Friday, Oct. 28), Wilson is the leading nominee heading into this year’s CMA Awards, earning six nods during her very first year as a nominee. Wilson co-wrote all but one track on this project, including her newest release, the frisky “Hold My Halo,” which raises a drink to the virtues of a hard-working woman who deserves a night to “tell that angel inside of me to hide her wings and lay low.”
Keith Urban, “Street Called Main”
Urban’s new song, written by Chris LaCorte, Josh Miller and Scooter Carusoe, finds Urban returning to his musical homebase — melding drum loops, crisp electric guitar, and universally relatable lyrics. The song marks Urban’s latest release leading into an album he is prepping for next year.
Cheat Codes with Jimmie Allen, “Lose You”
Last year, dance trio Cheat Codes issued the country collaborations “Never Love You Again” with Little Big Town and Bryn Christopher, as well as “How Do You Love” with Lee Brice and Lindsay Ell. Earlier this year, they followed by announcing an upcoming country album and earning another country collab with Russell Dickerson on “I Remember.” Now, they team with genre-blurring country artist Jimmie Allen (himself known for a plethora of collaborations) for this romantic, slow-burn dance track.
Shania Twain, “Last Day of Summer”
The queen of country-pop will release her upcoming album, Queen of Me, in February 2023 and she’s been steadily giving fans an intro to the new project, first with the lead single “Waking Up Dreaming,” followed by this equally sunny, but slightly organic-sounding track. Her husky vocals are slightly muddied in the verses, but the echoy production gives this pondering of and yearning for a long-gone love an intimate, hazy quality.
Reyna Roberts, “Pretty Little Devils”
“This ain’t the same ol’ hoedown throwdown,” Roberts makes clear as she leans hard into her R&B, rock and country trap proclivities on this new track, meshing them with bluesy guitars and lyrics about beer cans, boondocks, Megan Thee Stallion, southern accents — all while still showcasing her versatile vocals. A promising track that builds on her previous works, such as “Stomping Grounds.”
Runaway June, “Broken Hearts (Do Broken Things)”
On their latest, this trio retains their cheery pop-country vibe, but delves deep into the not-so rational decisions one makes when their heart is splintered after a breakup. This feisty track also highlights the trio’s new lineup, which is founding member Jennifer Wayne, in addition to Natalie Stovall and the newest member, Stevie Woodward.
Julie Roberts, Ain’t in No Hurry
Singer-songwriter Julie Roberts first broke through in 2004 with the ballad “Break Down Here.” Now, she returns with her first album in nearly a decade on Ain’t in No Hurry, this time working with Shooter Jennings (son of Waylon Jennings) and Erin Enderlin to craft the album. Known for her bluesy vocals, Julie also teams up with two top male country vocalists — she welcomes Jamey Johnson on the song “Music City is Killing Me,” a slight twist on Ray LaMontagne’s “New York City’s Killing Me,” while Randy Houser makes an appearance on “A Little Crazy’s Kinda Nice.”
Mae Estes, “Die in a Bar”
When it’s Mae Estes’ time to go, she wants to go out on her own terms — and as she sings here, that means flying away on a whiskey river, with a beer in her hand. This coolly country, retro-tinged track, which instantly brings to mind the Joe Diffie classic “Prop Me Up Beside the Jukebox (If I Die),” makes the most of Mae’s twangy voice, alongside twisted guitar lines and grooves ready for a sawdust floor.