Whether it’s coming out of Nashville, New York, L.A., or points in between, there’s no shortage of fresh tunes, especially from artists who have yet to become household names. Rolling Stone Country selects some of the best new music releases from country and Americana artists. (Check out last week’s best songs.)
The Shootouts mix supple Western swing with brash barroom country to A-plus results. On their new song “Rattlesnake Whiskey,” the band broaden their palette, adding spaghetti Western vibes to a Marty Robbins-type story-song about hard-living moonshiners. Chuck Mead, a torchbearer for such vintage sounds, produced the group’s upcoming album Bullseye — it’s a match made in honky-tonk heaven.
Brooke Eden sees sunshine up ahead in her new single “No Shade,” the singer’s first new music in four years. Penned by Eden with Steven Lee Olsen and Brandon Day, the tune chronicles the end of a bad relationship and a crucial rediscovery of self. “Nobody gonna steal my sunshine/Or turn my blue sky gray,” she sings. With its loping banjo figure and some rhythmic swagger that should please fans of Maren Morris, “No Shade” is something to make you count the days until spring arrives.
Ontario native Meghan Patrick reclaims truck appreciation from bro-dom with her latest single “My First Car,” an attitude-heavy bit of country-rock that’s more biography than rote party jam. “Yeah I got it right, right out of the gate/5-inch straight pipe ‘98/Rolling coal Chevrolet, lifted up/’Cause my first car was a pickup truck,” she proclaims, amid thunderous drums that’ll sound great in an amphitheater or, you know, just cruising around in whatever gets you from point A to B.
Jay Gonzalez steps out from his role as Drive-By Truckers guitarist to release the solo album Back to the Hive on March 5th. But don’t think gritty DBT country-rock. On songs like the compact “(I Wanna) Hold You,” Gonzalez embraces sounds both lush and pop-tastic. It’s Big Star beauty with a dash of the Beatles, and Gonzalez is eager to bear his heart. “I want to fold you up like origami and hold you in my palm,” he sings, revealing a gift for vulnerable — and quirky — lyricism.
Brandon Lancaster’s Nashville collective Lanco found its lane with 2017’s “Greatest Love Story,” a roots-rock love song that steered them away from an early Imagine Dragons vibe. The band returns to that rootsy sound on their new single “Near Mrs.” Written by Lancaster with heavyweights Shane McAnally and Jeremy Spillman, the piano jam celebrates the close calls that bring us into contact with the ones who, thankfully, didn’t get away.