First Country is a compilation of the best new country songs, videos and albums that dropped this week.
George Strait, “The Weight of the Badge” (video)
Strait’s law enforcement tribute, which he penned alongside his son Bubba Strait and longtime collaborator Dean Dillon, gets a new video that honors first responders. The clip highlights moments of conversation with law enforcement members, firefighters and other personnel, as well as their families, each detailing the risks that come with their careers.
Singer-songwriter Tiera became the flagship signing for Nicolle Galyon’s Songs & Daughters publishing division in 2020, and earlier this year, inked a label deal with Big Machine’s The Valory Music Co.
She recently wed her longtime love Kamren Kennedy, though she penned this sultry, celebratory ode to their relationship two years ago. Here, Tiera deftly uses her style of country songcraft to detail her lover’s admirable, gentlemanly qualities, while making it clear in the chorus that she’s ready for a romantic evening. Her sweet vocal rendering infuses her knack for a catchy melody with dashes of R&B-tinged melisma.
Maddie & Tae, “Madness”
This duo’s previous single, “Woman You Got,” was a clever depiction of a woman who’s not perfect, but loyal to her relationship and a whole lotta fun. Here, Maddie & Tae’s Maddie Font and Taylor Kerr continue with another ode to love, this time in a lilting, mid-tempo anthem tributing a relationship that will endure through all the ups and downs the future holds.
“If the world goes mad/ I’ll love you through the madness,” they sing, as the melody makes good use of the duo’s tight-knit harmonies. Font and Kerr penned the track with Jessie Jo Dillon and Zach Kale, with production by Jimmy Robbins and Derek Wells. The song will be included on Maddie & Tae’s upcoming studio release, set for 2022.
Shy Carter, “The Rest of Us”
Singer-songwriter Carter, known for crafting irresistible earworms for star country acts like Sugarland and Kane Brown, returns to the artist spotlight with his new eight-track EP, The Rest of Us. The title track serves as another testament to Carter’s top-shelf songwriting and versatile vocals. The song blends gospel fervor, atmospheric pop and heart-on-your-sleeve songwriting, recognizing that some people get love and life right on the first try, but “for the rest of us,” he’s grateful for the loved ones who don’t give up. Carter penned the track along with Bryan Simpson and Josh Kerr.
Ross Copperman feat. Cam, “Everything Changes”
Cam is known for genre-melding songs such as “Burning House,” while Copperman has spent the past several years writing and producing hits for Keith Urban, Dierks Bentley and more — before returning to his artist roots earlier this year with the project Somewhere There’s a Light On. Here, the two join forces on a track penned by Copperman, RØMANS and Steph Jones, which finds two lovers at a crossroads and forced to accept they are growing apart.
“We’re just different people/ We’re not innocent people/ A thousand sorrys from where we started,” they sing. Cam’s smooth, otherworldly voice is a perfect complement for Copperman’s slightly rough-around-the-edges delivery.
Teddy Robb, “Cigarettes’ll Kill Ya”
Coolly-laid guitar work accents this song recorded by Robb and penned by Peter Good, Matt McGinn and Ben Stennis, with Good producing. “I’m sitting right here in a missing-you haze,” Robb sings, displaying a gritty sense of resignation pouring from a shattered heart. His latest is a solid follow up to his previous release, “Whiskey Can’t.”
Cody Weaver, “One About the Devil”
The video for this track is aptly-timed for Halloween, though the song centers more on staring down inner demons and forging a new familial legacy. During a spoken-word bridge, Weaver details his plan to use his music to “beat the devil at his own game.” Ragged, piercing southern rock instrumentation pairs nicely with Weaver’s full-bodied vocals.
Bill Filipiak, “When the Blues Come Calling”
Americana artist and Grand Ole Opry producer Bill Filipiak’s latest track from his third full-length album Medicine I Need offers a harmonica-laced, country-blues musical affair that addresses the persistent nature of depression. Like the album’s other songs, the track is aimed at acknowledging the ups and downs of humanity, and aiding others in managing life’s rougher moments. The video, perfectly timed for Halloween weekend, incorporates public domain footage from the horror film Night of the Living Dead to bring a touch of levity.
Taylon Hope, “Weightless”
Hope trades insecurities and fears for the “weightless” feeling of freedom that comes with accepting yourself and fearlessly chasing your dreams. Hope penned the track alongside Kaleb Thomas Jones and Smith Curry. Her voice is pretty and controlled, while the writing here conveys an auspicious level of depth and maturity.