First Country is a compilation of the best new country songs, videos & albums that dropped this week.
Brett Young, “You Didn’t” (Video)
In his latest track, Young continues in the vein of country-soul grooves such as “Mercy” and “In Case You Didn’t Know,” which brought him a string of chart-topping hits. The video for his latest release, “You Didn’t,” features Young’s wife Taylor portraying the one who got away, while Young’s polished-yet-weathered voice laments, “You didn’t need more/ You just needed different.” In the clip, Young is brokenhearted and alone in his home, reliving memories that were made in every room. Morning coffees for two are replaced by a lone liquor glass — and in the video’s final frame, he falls asleep holding a photograph of his ex-lover. The video was helmed by Seth Kupersmith, who also directed some Young’s previous videos, including “Lady.”
Jon Pardi, “Last Night Lonely”
Where much of Pardi’s 2019 album Heartache Medication centered on the hurt and healing of broken hearts, his latest track is a hopeful pondering that a new love just might last forever. Written by Joe Fox, Jimi Bell and Dylan Marlowe, Pardi’s latest retains the fiddle and twang found in his previous hits such as “Dirt on My Boots,” with an even more straight-down-the-center, ’90s honky-tonk vibe.
Twinnie, “Welcome to the Club”
If you’re feeling left out or ostracized for being different, Twinnie has a perfect dancefloor-ready, uplifting and inclusive pop-country anthem. The U.K.-born singer-songwriter self-directed and choreographed this bold, effervescent video, which highlights the range of emotions that come with learning self-acceptance.
Dylan Scott, “Can’t Have Mine”
Scott offers some advice to other guys out there, urging them to find a lover who loves family, Jesus and babies — but makes it clear he’s already found a lover just like that, and she’s all his. This sweetly earnest track makes the most of Scott’s understated vocals. He co-wrote the song with Dallas Wilson, Josh Melton and Matt Alderman. The song is from his upcoming album, Livin’ My Best Life, out Aug. 5.
Whiskey Myers, “John Wayne”
This track clocks in at nearly five minutes of righteous southern rock, which arrives via a swampy mesh of soul and funk. Lead singer Cody Cannon’s raspy growl leads a flurry of sizzling guitar, thumping bass, swirling harmonica and flashes of horns, as this group continues pushing its boundaries. The new song comes from the Texas band’s upcoming sixth album Tornillo, set to release July 29, and is a worthy addition to the group’s already electrifying, rowdy live shows.
Joshua Ray Walker, “Sexy After Dark”
Joshua Ray Walker released his debut project in 2019, and with his smooth, octave-jumping voice and love for classic country compositions, he quickly became a new favorite among country and Americana adherents. With his latest, Walker adds a jolt of swagger and applies his versatile voice to this sultry number that nods to some of Conway Twitty’s more come-hither moments. The song is the first from Walker’s upcoming album See You Next Time, out Oct. 8 via State Fair Records.
Jake Owen, “Fishin’ On a River”
In 2020, Owen notched a No. 1 hit with the sweetly sentimental “Made For You,” and he’s currently on Billboard‘s Country Airplay chart with “Best Thing Since Backroads.” But here, he offers another early look from his upcoming album with “Fishin’ on a River.” From the first few verses, the track seems to be about enjoying a day by the river. It quickly becomes clear that instead, this guy is saddled up to a bar, wallowing in heartbreak over a love that got away. The song was written by David Fanning, Drew Parker and Cole Taylor, and the lyrics get a lift from the sunny production perfectly suited to country radio.
Hailey Whitters, “The Neon”
Whitters drowns her broken heart and broken plans in a flood of barroom neon in this rootsy, fiddle-drenched track. Known for penning songs recorded by Little Big Town and Martina McBride, Whitters draws on elements of mainstream country and Americana for her own intimate brand of musical storytelling. Her latest release is another effective sampling of this singer-songwriter’s vivid vignettes, propelled by her warm, worldly voice. Whitters wrote “The Neon” with Lori McKenna and Rodney Clawson, and the song is featured on her upcoming album Raised, out March 18 via Pigasus Records/Songs & Daughters/Big Loud Records. The project follows her sterling 2020 album The Dream and its deluxe version.