First Country is a compilation of the best new country songs, videos & albums that dropped this week.
Blake Shelton feat. Brooks & Dunn, “Throw It On Back”
“Still got a stereo that’s stuck in the ’80s,” Shelton sings in this collaboration with Brooks & Dunn. While they are celebrating all things old-school, from jukeboxes and barstools to jeans that are a little too tight, this trio’s voices blend mightily, with production that might have sounded right at home on ’90s country radio. The track is from Shelton’s Body Language deluxe reissue, which is out today.
Jason Aldean, “Whiskey Me Away”
Like numerous country artists over recent months, Aldean has been steadily releasing new music. He just released Macon, the first half of a double album, with the second half, Georgia, to release in April 2022. That latter half includes this new track, co-written by Morgan Wallen, Rodney Clawson, Jeff Hyde and Driver Williams. Here, Aldean brings his signature country-rock production as he sings of a new romantic interest that comes along when he least expects it.
Rodney Crowell, Songs From Quarantine, Vol. 2
The superb singer-songwriter returns with a second volume of this project, which benefits Music Health Alliance, a healthcare advocacy organization that focuses on the music industry. Here, Crowell welcomes a star-studded list of talented friends for this digital compilation that will only be available for two weeks via Bandcamp. The lineup includes recordings from Sheryl Crow, Vince Gill, Molly Tuttle, Willie Nelson, John Daly and more. A worthy lineup for a worthy cause.
Sarah Darling, “Song Still Gets Me”
This moody piano ballad finds Darling retracing a fractured relationship when the right melody pops up on the radio. Penned by Emily Shackelton, Carly Pearce and Gordie Sampson, this dark-hued song details the power of music to bring up old memories — both those relished and unwanted. “Song Still Gets Me” is the latest release from Darling’s upcoming EP, planned for early next year.
Katie Pruitt, “Merry Christmas Mary Jane” (Video)
The holidays aren’t always so merry, but Pruitt’s got a sure-fire way to numb the pain in “Merry Christmas Mary Jane.” “My Christmas spirit’s running low/ so I might as well get high,” she sings, as delightfully bluesy guitar lines underscore Pruitt’s scathing vocals in this unvarnished take on the low points of the Christmas season. The irreverent video features Santa offering up some mellow gifts, with a dressed-up pickup truck for a sleigh.
Tyler Braden, “Try Losing One” (Video)
Newcomer Braden’s voice is searing with pain on this piano ballad, with one of the most moving vocal deliveries in country music right now. Braden penned the track with Brian Davis and Adam Wood. “Try Losing One” is from his EP WDTK (What Do They Know), which was released Nov. 19. The newly debuted video, directed by Dustin Haney, is a sparse, one-take performance that wisely keeps the focus on Braden’s fervent, country-soul rendering and lush piano playing.
Madeline Edwards, “Best Revenge”
Edwards recently made her CMA Awards debut performance, joining Mickey Guyton and Brittney Spencer for a rendition of Guyton’s “Love My Hair.” Here, she proves she’s got plenty of compelling music of her own, with a track that serves a sultry and contented kiss-off to an ex-lover. “I don’t need to do you no wrong/ Because the best revenge is moving on.” Rarely has a relationship sendoff sounded this smooth, thanks to an intoxicating blend of jazz, soul and country elements.
Ricky Skaggs with Keith and Kristyn Getty, “Brightest and Best”
Bluegrass and country virtuoso Skaggs joins hymn writers Keith and Kristyn Getty on this haunting, reverent track, with Skaggs’s voice starting a cappella and joined by Kristyn’s smooth, winsome tones, along with lilting mandolin and fiddle. Skaggs and the Gettys will also perform the track at the Grand Ole Opry on Friday evening (Dec. 3).