First Country is a compilation of the best new country songs, videos and albums that dropped this week.
This week’s edition of First Country has lauded veterans, promising newcomers and the welcome return of a pair of siblings who have left us without new music for too long.
The Brothers Osborne, “All Night”
Ready to forget your problems for three minutes? Then the new Brothers Osborne is for you. “All Night,” co-written by TJ and John Osborne, is a feel-good, rocking little ditty that opens with a “Pretty Woman”-like opening guitar lick before exploding into a fun romp. “I’ve got the good if you’re got the time/I’ve got the moon if you’ve got the shine,” sings TJ. If country clubs were open right now, this one would instantly bring crowds to the dance floor and inspire its own line dance. “All Night” is the first single from the Brothers’ next album.
Garth Brooks, “Party Gras,” “That’s What Cowboys Do”
For more than a year, Brooks has been promising a new album, Fun. Fans didn’t get the album yet, but earlier this week he dropped two more tracks from the project via Amazon Music.
Like the title implies, “Party Gras” is a good-timing zydeco stomp that instantly takes the listener to the Mardi Gras. “That’s What Cowboys Do” is a traditional country track that would sound right at home on a record by Brooks’ hero, George Strait.
Chase Rice, The Album Part II
Rice comes one step closer to fulfilling his new album with Part II, which adds four songs to the seven featured on The Album Part 1, which debuted atop the Country Albums chart in January. Part III is forthcoming. With this quartet of songs, Rice shows his deftness at melding a number of styles, while always staying firmly within country confines. “Break. Up. Drunk” is an ode to separating while under the influence, while “Down Home Runs Deep” takes a nostalgic look at returning to the town that raised you. “The crazy thing, even more than differentiating from Part I, is the four songs are really different from each other,” Rice told Billboard. “None of them sound like the other songs, which I think is cool. All of them have their own identity.”
Travis Denning, Beer’s Better Cold
Denning’s debut EP includes his breakthrough hit, “After a Few,” which set a Billboard record for the most weeks taken to reach the Country Airplay top 10— 57 weeks. It eventually peaked at No. 5. The six-song set, give of which were co-written by Denning, also the clever “Where That Beer’s Been,” and the kiss-off song, “ABBY,” which, by the way stands for “anybody but you.” A promising debut.
Sara Evans, Copy That
While many artists focus on a specific artist, time period or genre when concocting an album of cover songs, Evans’ only criteria seems to be that she likes the tunes and that they are at least 20 years old. The set, which has a soft pop-rock sheen, features her takes on everything from “I Can’t Have You” and “My Sharona” to “I’m So Lonely I Could Cry” and “Whenever I Call You Friend” (featuring Little Big Town’s Phillip Sweet). Evans told Billboard she called the album Copy That because she tried to cover the songs as closely to the original as possible. “I love all kinds of music and I grew up in cover bands. I started on stage when I was four-years-old. My entire life I’ve been covering other people’s songs up until I got my record deal, so I love to pay respect and try to imitate them. That’s the best form of flattery, you know? [It’s been] one of the best studio experiences of my life,” she said.