First Country is a compilation of the best new country songs, videos and albums that dropped this week.
New music from The Chicks, Keith Urban, Jake Owen, Cam and Lanco arrives today (July 17). Below, check out our picks for the best country releases this week.
The Chicks, Gaslighter
It’s been 14 years since the Chicks, then known as the Dixie Chicks, released Taking the Long Way, which snagged five Grammys. Hard to know if Gaslighter will take home the same accolades, but what’s clear is that the trio’s penchant for holding nothing back remains.
Mining their divorces, Natalie Maines, Martie Maguire and Emily Strayer some up with some of the most biting and humorous attacks ever on their exes. And every word rings true, from accusations of infidelity (“Sleep At Night,” “Tights On My Boat”) to love letters to their children (“Julianna Calm Down”) to a call to arms to the next generation (“March March”).
Keith Urban, “Superman”
Urban continues giving peeks into his forthcoming album, The Speed of Now Part 1, with “Superman,” a driving track about how his ex used to make him feel and how he’d give anything to experience that passion again of “one more sleepless night tangled up between the sheets.” The video, creatively done in the age of social distancing, features Urban as a character in a flip book and then performing in front of colorful graphics.
This guitar-strumming, finger-popping, impossibly catchy track finds Cam running down a list of things and places that are long gone, like “a big yellow taxi,” “your best friend’s mixtape” and “drive-ins,” but she and her pal are “classic.” Co-written and produced by Jack Antonoff, “Classic” practically leaps out of the speaker it sounds so inviting. It’ll appear on Cam’s sophomore album, The Otherside, due Oct. 30.
Lanco, “Save Me”
Isn’t everyone looking for a little salvation, even if it’s just for one night? The members of Lanco find it in the love of a good woman in this new song, which benefits from the quintet’s strong harmonies and an easy-going vibe that wears well with repeated listening.
The tune is a tribute to the band members’ wives, says drummer Tripp Howell. “Brandon [Lancaster], Chandler [Baldwin] and I were sitting on an L.A. patio one day reminiscing about how trouble can sometimes follow us but we’re lucky to have our spouses to keep us in check,” he says. “We took the song back to Nashville and focused on how that right person can be the ying to your yang. We’re super proud of this one.”
Jake Owen, “I Was Made For You”
Owen drops the video to his current single and it’s just as sweet as the song. Featuring home video of Owen and his two daughters and girlfriend as well as fan-submitted videos, many of fathers with their young children, the clip is the perfect accompaniment to the song about celebrating love in all its forms. Eagle eyed duffers will spy PGA professional golfer Jordan Spieth among the folks in the video.
A Thousand Horses, “A Song to Remember”
Three years since their last single, A Thousand Horses make a welcome return with this mid-tempo pleaser about a protagonist who needs “a song to remember and a drink to forget” at the local watering hole as he tries to get over a heartache. Co-written by lead singer Michael Hobby, Brad Warren, Brett Warren and Christopher Stevens and produced by Dave Cobb, the infectious tune is the lead single off forthcoming album Let The Band Play On.
Teddy Swims, “You’re Still The One”
New Warner talent Jaten Dimsdale, aka Teddy Swims, displays a crystalline voice that rivals Sam Smith on this organ-tinged faithful cover of Shania Twain’s classic. Produced by Dave Cobb, it’s a refreshing take on a song that has worn beautifully. With his ever-present pitcher of iced tea in the video, we’re not so sure that it’s not the object of the YouTube sensation’s desire, but no judgment — especially with a version this special.
Brett Cobb, “Keep ‘Em On They Toes”
Title track from Georgia troubadour’s upcoming album recalls a gentler, genial time ruled by country singer songwriters like Roger Miller. The ode to living life on your own terms and keeping those that judge you at a distance while you “listen to your heart, listen to the rain, listen to whatever it is that keeps you sane.”
The War and Treaty, “Five More Minutes”
Not to be confused with Scotty McCreery’s No. 1 Country Airplay hit of the same name, married Nashville couple Michael Trotter and Tanya Blount-Trotter deliver a fresh splash of Americana that sounds like it could have been recorded in Muscle Shoals in the ‘60s. The joyous track is actually based on a desperate time in Trotter’s life when his depression had brought him to his knees and his wife asked him to hold on for five more minutes. Out of his pain came a track that can uplift all.