First Country is a compilation of the best new country songs, videos and albums that dropped this week.
There was no shortage of new country songs released this week. Kenny Chesney marked his much-awaited return with “Here and Now,” a feel-good anthem about living in the moment, while Ashley McBryde unveils “First Thing I Reach For,” the latest track to be featured on her forthcoming sophomore album.
Additionally, Jimmie Allen teams up with Noah Cyrus for the infectious “This Is Us,” while Brandon Ratcliff drops his rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon,” the first of his forthcoming covers project Uncovered.
Also, “Family Tree” singer Caylee Hammack releases her second offering, “Small Town Hypocrite” following her performance of the song at Thursday’s Team UMG at the Ryman as part of the Country Radio Seminar 2020 in Nashville.
Here are five new tracks to keep on repeat this weekend.
Ashley McBryde, “First Thing I Reach For”
McBryde continues to share some new music ahead of the release of her anticipated sophomore album due out this spring. The latest song is the confessional “First Thing I Reach For,” which includes a music video that shares behind-the-scenes visuals of what life is like on the road for the Arkansas native. While she performs the song live, the video also includes meet and greets with fans, load-in, and tour bus hangs.
Brandon Ratcliff, “Rhiannon”
Ratcliff is giving country listeners a glimpse into his influences with the release of Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon.” A mesmerizing and soulful rendition of the original, Ratcliff breathes new life into the standard.
“’Rhiannon’ was a song I remember my mom playing early on in my childhood. I specifically gravitated towards Lindsey Buckingham – he changed the way I thought about guitarists and how you can play a guitar,” he said in a statement. “I wanted to put guitar hooks like his into all of my own songs.”
Caylee Hammack, “Small Town Hypocrite”
Hammack bares her soul on the deeply personal “Small Town Hypocrite,” a heartbreaking story song about trusting the wrong person. An autobiographical ballad about giving up her dreams for a man who she came to find out later was only holding her back, the pain is felt within every lyric she sings.
“This song is one of the most personal and difficult songs I’ve ever written,” Hammack said in a statement. “But, I like to think that is why it strikes a chord with people, a lot of us have been in a situation where we’ve taken stock of our lives and thought ‘what in the hell am I doing? This wasn’t what I signed up for and it definitely isn’t what I dreamed about.’ Performing it can be hard sometimes because it takes me back to those feelings and that place, but I know there is strength in being vulnerable too.”
Jimmie Allen, “This Is Us” feat. Noah Cyrus
Allen enlisted the help of Noah Cyrus for the hopeful “This Is Us.” An anthemic and soaring ballad about finding love, the pair’s voices complement each other. Layered guitar parts and a driving beat further the song’s urgency. The track was co-written by Cyrus, Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line, Jordan Schmidt, Ilsey Juber and Dernst “D’Mile” Emile II, and demonstrates Allen’s power as a vocalist.
Kenny Chesney, “Here and Now”
Chesney released the uplifting “Here and Now” today (Feb. 21), marking his first taste of new music since last year’s Ed Sheeran-penned “Tip of My Tongue.” All about living in the moment, on his new song the country superstar admits that he used to be the type that dreamed “‘bout one day, some day” but has since decided to embrace the “here and now.” The hopeful tune was penned by frequent collaborator David Lee Murphy with Craig Wiseman and David Garcia.
“There is so much in the world we can’t change, and you can get so caught up in that, you miss your life,” he said in a statement. “I can’t save the world, but I can make music that makes people happy, play shows that let them forget their problems for an evening – and occasionally cut a song that maybe reminds all of us what we ought to be embracing … The chorus is everything I feel about that time onstage with No Shoes Nation…that rush of it absolutely being the best place, best moment in the entire world. There’s no rush like it.”