First Country is a compilation of the best new country songs, videos and albums that dropped this week.
Women dominated country releases this week as the Dixie Chicks marked their long-awaited return with comeback single “Gaslighter” and revered singer-songwriter Brandy Clark dropped her third studio album Your Life Is a Record.
Powerful songs by Mickey Guyton and Ashley McBryde also were unveiled. Guyton’s poignant “What Are You Gonna Tell Her?” offers an honest and unapologetic question to society about the hardships young women face while McBryde longs for home in the stirring “Sparrow,” both from their respective albums out later this year.
In the midst of standout releases by country’s female acts, Dierks Bentley’s ’90s-inspired band Hot Country Knights returned with the feel-good music video for “Moose Knuckle Shuffle” with plenty of innuendo and even a choreographed dance.
Here are the must-listen-to country projects of the week.
Ashley McBryde, “Sparrow”
McBryde shared another track off her upcoming April 3 album Never Will this week with the emotional “Sparrow.” A song about her life on the road while missing home, the descriptive tale has McBryde singing of the loneliness she faces being away from loved ones while chasing her dream. Whether it’s late night phone calls or writing out post cards to her family, the singer is always “waiting on the wind to take you home.”
Brandy Clark, Your Life Is a Record
Clark’s adept songwriting is at the heart of her new album Your Life Is a Record. Songs like the heartbreaking “Pawn Shop” offers vignettes of people selling off their valuables to start over while the old timey “Bigger Boat” featuring Randy Newman has the singer-songwriter using the boat metaphor for America’s divisiveness. Alongside memorable storylines, Clark displays her faults throughout the Jay Joyce-produced project on the confessional “Apologies” and nostalgic “Who You Thought I Was.”
Dixie Chicks, “Gaslighter”
The Dixie Chicks came roaring back this week with “Gaslighter,” the trio’s long awaited new single and title track to their forthcoming eighth album out May 1. A song calling out a villain, the band’s memorable harmonies are at the forefront of the infectious tune while its equally engaging video highlights the ways women have been perceived in the media over the past century.
“You’re such a gaslighter, denier/ Doin’ anything to get your ass farther/ Gaslighter, big timer/ Repeating all of the mistakes of your father/ Gaslighter, you broke me/ You’re sorry but where’s my apology?/ Gaslighter, you liar,” the trio sings on the chorus.
Hot Country Knights, “Moose Knuckle Shuffle”
During a week that included tornado devastation and the ongoing concern with coronavirus, Bentley’s Hot Country Knights lightened the mood with country throwback “Moose Knuckle Shuffle.” A humorous song featured on the band’s upcoming debut album The K Is Silent due out May 1, the video for “Moose Knuckle Shuffle” mesmerizes with a ’90s themed wardrobe and coordinated dance moves.
“Jeans are supposed to be worn high and tight…the way the Knights and guys like Trace and Billy Ray wore them back around the mid 90’s. Tight in all the right places, not down by your calves where these current ‘modern’ guys like Dirk Bradley [Dierks Bentley] and Luke Bryan and that tall guy from that girl group Lady Antebellum wear them,” lead singer Doug Douglason said in a press statement. “The Knights trademarked the Moose Knuckle, just like we did the mullet, and this video is more like a public service announcement for these guys. If you want to get the girl, hike up your jeans and dance. It’s not rocket science.”
Mickey Guyton, “What Are You Gonna Tell Her?”
Guyton tugs on the heartstrings with the poignant “What Are You Gonna Tell Her?” — a song that asks thoughtful and important questions in the #MeToo era. With weighted topics about racial and gender discrimination, Guyton’s new song is an important one that needs to be heard. The track will be featured on her upcoming album expected to be released this summer.
“As an artist, I’m so grateful for music,” Guyton said in a statement. “It allows me to convey important messages that are dear to me. I know this song will touch people because it is so truthful.”