10 Best Country and Americana Songs of the Week: Jerrod Niemann, Carly PearceNovember 9, 2018 4:51pm

A moody new acoustic release by an East Nashville staple, a smoldering torch song from a rockabilly ingenue and a personal love song from a rising pop-country artist make up the tracks you must hear this week.

 

Bob Lewis, “All My Sins”
With guests ranging from Aaron Lee Tasjan to Jamie Kent, songwriter Bob Lewis’s new album End of an Error feels like a lo-fi love letter postmarked from somewhere deep within the East Nashville Americana underground. He gets pensive with the acoustic “All My Sins,” where he traces his wanderlust back to a Pennsylvania childhood spent “bored to death in a living room.” Woozy, warm and unapologetically weird.

Crowder, “Wildfire”
This ain’t your grandad’s gospel music. Instead, it’s a loud, club-worthy banger doubling as a church anthem — one that worships not only at the foot of the cross, but also at the intersection of funk, dance and R&B.

Jerrod Niemann, “Old Glory”
Inspired by last year’s ambush of American soldiers in Niger, “Old Glory” pays patriotic tribute to the armed services. “I fight for you so that you’re free / We’ve never met, but bet I’ll do it again,” goes the chorus, delivered from the perspective of a deployed peacekeeper. Rooted in a laidback groove that owes more to Jack Johnson than Lee Greenwood, “Old Glory” updates country music’s flag-waving tradition with summery swagger.

Dominique Pruitt, “High in the Valley”
The daughter of the Association’s Larry Brown, Dominique Pruitt keeps things appropriately retro with her new pop-noir single, which combines spaghetti-western spookiness with a hedonist pledge to spark up and drop out. File this song somewhere between Nicole Atkins, Jessie Baylin and the True Blood soundtrack.

Carly Pearce, “Closer to You”
Two weeks after wrapping up a fall tour with Luke Bryan, Carly Pearce is looking ahead, shifting focus from her Everything Little Thing debut to an upcoming album of new material. First up is this Busbee-produced track, which modernizes her sound with R&B-flavored production and polished pop hooks.

Kim Lenz, “Slowly Speeding”
Once hailed as rockabilly’s Gen-X queen, Lenz expands her retro roots with the title track from her Follow Me follow-up. Here, she delivers a smoldering torch song that’s built as much for the lounge as the juke joint, selling each line like the love child of Wanda Jackson and Chris Isaak.

Brett Newski, “Life Upside Down”
A longtime opening act for the Violent Femmes, Brett Newski offers his own version of minimalist, left-field folk-pop — a sound crystallized by his tour mates during their Eighties heyday — on this sunny title track. There’s some serious desperation here (“Somebody talk to me, tonight especially,” Newski pleads in the first verse), but keyboards and campfire-worthy acoustic guitars help balance the mood, turning “Life Upside Down” into a heartwarming ode to heartbreak.

Tim Higgins, “Blight”
Singer-songwriter Tim Higgins is familiar with blight. Raised amidst the urban decay of Detroit, he delivers this slow-burning ballad with a deep, rumbling baritone, evoking his hometown’s dark, doomed beauty along the way.

Craig Brown Band, “Big City, Small Town”
Released by Jack White’s Third Man Records, “Big City, Small Town” barrels forward at slaphappy speed, merging the sounds of classic country — a pedal steel riff there, a wave of harmonized female vocals there — with punky spirit and a reminder to mind your words.

The Revivalists, “All My Friends”
The Revivalists are revived, thanks to an expanded lineup and a newly-released LP. “All my friends take good care of me,” goes the hook to Take Good Care‘s kickoff single, which swings extra hard for the fences in this live performance captured at Colorado’s famous Red Rocks.

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