First Country is a compilation of the best new country songs, videos and albums that dropped this week.
Country music’s past and present has never been showcased more deeply than in today’s releases, which span traditional with projects by The Carter Family, Dillon Carmichael and Chris Janson to the genre-bending of Florida Georgia Line, Caroline Jones and Maddie & Tae.
On Oct. 18, five generations of the genre’s founding members, The Carter Family, have joined together on the appropriately titled Across Generations which includes beloved country standard “Will the Circle Be Unbroken?” among other favorites in the catalog. Additionally, up-and-comers Caroline Jones, Mason Ramsey and Kylie Frey also have new projects out.
Here is some dynamic music that showcases the genre’s versatility.
Caroline Jones, Chasin’ Me EP
Jones enlisted the help of Zac Brown, Jimmy Buffett, Kenny Chesney, Lukas Nelson and Mac McAnally on her new EP, Chasin’ Me. Pop-country songs like the infectious title track and Zac Brown-penned “All of the Boys” highlight Jones’ airy vocals while the standout and anthemic “Tough Guys” captivates with thumping beats, wavering harmonica and a take-no-prisoners attitude. Later, Jones channels a laidback island vibe with “Gulf Coast Girl,” written specifically for her by Buffett and McAnally that includes features from the pair as well as the Pelicanaires, Chesney and Nelson.
The Carter Family, Across Generations
Those unfamiliar with the impact the Carter Family has made on the country genre can get a schooling from Across Generations, which includes previous recordings from original Carter Family members alongside contributions from later generations. Unreleased tracks by June Carter as well as Helen Carter and Anita Carter pepper the album alongside Carter Family standards like “Worried Man Blues” and “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” with an appearance from the youngest member of the family, John Carter Cash’s then three-month old daughter Grace. No doubt a walk down memory lane for the family, Across Generations is also a history lesson for today’s country fans.
Dillon Carmichael, I Do For You EP
For Carmichael, music also runs in the family. The nephew of Montgomery Gentry’s Eddie Montgomery, the country newcomer leaves his mark on the genre with the memorable five-track I Do For You EP. From the emboldened (and cleverly titled) “99 Problems (Fish Ain’t One)” and heart-wrenhing “Hung Up On You” to the vulnerable “It’s Your Fault” and sentimental “I Do For You,” Carmichael’s powerful belt mesmerizes. With standout songs penned by Chris Stapleton, Rhett Akins, Casey Beathard and Carmichael himself, the singer-songwriter impresses.
Florida Georgia Line, The Acoustic Sessions
Florida Georgia Line strip things down for its 17-track project The Acoustic Sessions. A collection of the duo’s genre-defying brand of country music, the album highlights FGL’s infectious hits alongside acoustic instrumentation. The banjo is at the forefront of “Get Your Shine On” instead of electric guitars for a more laidback jam. Meanwhile, the band’s superstar collaborators Luke Bryan, Tim McGraw, Backstreet Boys and Bebe Rexha remain on the duo’s massive hits “This Is How We Roll,” “May We All,” “God, Your Mama, and Me” and “Meant to Be” respectively.
Kylie Frey, “One Night In Tulsa”
Newcomer Kylie Frey stuns on her latest single “One Night In Tulsa.” Penned with Neal Coty and Thom McHugh, the song embraces loneliness and highlights Frey’s powerhouse and smoky vocals alongside her standout songwriting chops. With a song this good, it’s no wonder that Frey first wowed Shania Twain when she appeared on USA Networks’ Real Country talent series last year. While Frey didn’t walk away as the inaugural season’s winner, she did find a fan in Twain as she made it as a finalist as part of the country legend’s team. “One Night In Tulsa” is just a taste of the singer’s undeniable and promising future in country music.
Mason Ramsey, “How Could I Not”
Ramsey returns with the adorable video for “How Could I Not,” one of five songs featured on the 12-year-old singer’s Twang EP released earlier this year. The Justin Clough-directed clip was filmed at the Wilson County Fair in Lebanon, Tenn., and has the young singer being the perfect gentleman while he and his date navigate endless rides and games together.