Adele and Chris Stapleton, “Easy on Me”
This much-anticipated rendition of Adele’s “Easy on Me,” not yet available on streaming but included on the deluxe version of her new album 30, is a pairing of two superb vocalists. Their harmonies are piercing and affecting on this musical plea for acceptance of one’s choices. At times they’re dueling, at times soothing, and always fusing together each time they reach the top of the chorus, before blasting apart — highlighting both the airy-to-shattering range of Adele’s higher register, and Stapleton’s own raw, gritty phrasing. Stapleton has become the go-to artist for duets, with a lengthy list of collaborators in various genres to his credit, and here he again shows why, effortlessly matching Adele’s endlessly soulful voice note for note.
Instead of piling on production to boost this power ballad, this piano-based track leaves room for these two gifted vocalists to give the song all the power it needs. The track premiered on country radio on Friday (Nov. 19), with a boost from iHeart.
Cole Swindell and Lainey Wilson, “Never Say Never”
Vocal collaborations have been all over the Billboard country charts of late, and this power ballad is a worthy addition. Here, Swindell and Wilson portray a couple in an on-again, off-again relationship, who can never quite let each other go. Their harmonies blend easily, and their respective solo lines have a sultry urgency to them, propelled by churning percussion.
Gabby Barrett, “Never Get It Back”
This sweet melody makes the most of Barrett’s soulful melisma, while the lyrics set scenes of a young girl leaving home for the first time and missing her loved ones. Combined, this ups the nostalgia factor on this inspirational reminder to make the most of every second. Barrett wrote this sleek, soulful pop-country track alongside Ross Copperman and Jon Nite, and it’s included on the deluxe version of Barrett’s debut project Goldmine. Like Barrett’s two Billboard Country Airplay chart-topping hits, “I Hope” and “The Good Ones,” this track showcases her growing songwriting prowess.
MacKenzie Porter, “Pickup”
She sees her ex-flame’s old F-150 and notices it’s missing a few things she gave it — namely, the Sunshine State sticker and dent in the door. This sends her spiraling into a barrage of thoughts about who her ex might be with now. This song swirls with sunny production, as sweet mandolin riffs and moody guitar weave around Porter’s winsome vocals. Porter penned this track with Will Bundy and Lydia Vaughan, with production from Joey Moi.
Camille Parker, “The Flame” (Video)
Parker offers elegant, stately vocal runs on this voluminous track, as she laments making the wrong choices in love and instead begins looking inward. Parker penned the track alongside Emma-Lee, known for co-writing Mickey Guyton’s “What Are You Gonna Tell Her?” Parker is also a member of Rissi Palmer’s inaugural “Color Me Country” Class of 2021, and next year, will join Brittney Spencer’s In A Perfect World Tour, opening shows alongside Sam Williams and Abbey Cone.
Walker Hayes, “AA”
Hayes’ hit “Fancy Like” was a multi-genre smash hit, reaching No. 1 on Billboard‘s Country Airplay chart and the top 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. But while “Fancy Like” focused on cheap date nights and bourbon street steaks, his follow up, “AA,” delves deeper into familial anxieties and a battle with the bottle. “Man, I’m just tryna’ keep my daughters off the pole/ and my sons out of jail,” the father of six sings on this still-infectious track, which Hayes wrote with Shane McAnally and Luke Laird. The track also includes shoutouts to Alabama, Nick Saban and country radio.
Nate Smith, “I Don’t Wanna Go to Heaven”
Smith’s raggedly aching vocal contrasts nicely with smooth piano on this earnest ballad, as he sings of someone who’s so content with a relationship that there’s no way even heaven could best it.
Parker McCollum, “Falling Apart” (Video)
McCollum issues a video clip for the latest release from his debut album Gold Chain Cowboy, offering viewers a look at life on the road, both onstage and off. The clip was filmed during McCollum’s July 31 show at Dos Equis Pavilion in Dallas, where he performed before 20,000 attendees.
“It’s no secret, honey, I’m a wreck/ everything I touch becomes a mess,” he sings in this polished country-rock anthem, though it’s clear he’s not willing to change to save the relationship. His voice surges with power here, riding atop crackling guitar lines and driving percussion.
Russell Dickerson feat. Lady A, “Home Sweet”
Dickerson welcomes trio Lady A, mingling harmonies and offering a top-shelf vocal synergy on this sleek pop-country track. Dickerson, Casey Brown and Lady A’s Charles Kelley penned the song, which reminisces about the mountaintop moments and stresses that come with a relationship. This track is featured on Dickerson’s 2020 project Southern Symphony, and follows his No. 1 Country Airplay hit from 2020, “Love You Like I Used To.”
Eli Young Band, “Lucky For Me”