First Country is a compilation of the best new country songs, videos and albums that dropped this week.
There was no shortage of new music this week. From Sam Hunt’s surprise new single “Kinfolks” to Blanco Brown’s genre-bending debut album Honeysuckle & Lightning Bugs, there is something for every country fan.
Revered country songwriter Kendell Marvel teamed up with The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach for his standout traditional-leaning release Solid Gold Sounds, while Kelleigh Bannen joined forces with The Cadillac Three’s Jaren Johnston, who produced her debut album Favorite Colors. LANCO and Lady Antebellum also dropped new songs on Friday (Oct. 11).
Here are some projects to spin this weekend.
A Thousand Horses, “Livin’ My Best Life”
A Thousand Horses is truly living its best life as the band has revealed its first set of music since teaming up with Dave Cobb. The Southern rock outfit recently partnered with Cobb’s Low Country Sound imprint at Elektra Records with an upcoming album expected next year. The first taste of new music is the aptly titled “Livin’ My Best Life,” where A Thousand Horses combines ear-grabbing guitar riffs, a driving drumbeat and its unique blend of gritty country-rock vocals.
Candi Carpenter, “The Astronaut” feat. Brandi Carlile
Candi Carpenter enlisted the help of Brandi Carlile for her thoughtful new song “The Astronaut.” A reflective tune that has Carpenter questioning all of life’s great mysteries, the singer-songwriter penned the tune with Alden Witt and John Caldwell while Carlile served as producer. “What would I do, who would I be/ If I had more faith in me,” she sings upon additional questions on whether she’s serving a greater purpose in life. Despite her confusion, Carpenter’s vocals shine. Segueing effortlessly from a whisper to a belt, Carpenter is at the song’s forefront with delicate string features and a stomping beat.
Kelleigh Bannen, Favorite Colors
Kelleigh Bannen unveiled her debut full-length album today and proved that some things are well worth the wait. A versatile collection of 14 songs, all of which she wrote or co-wrote, Bannen bares all on the project. From the sweet sentiment heard within “Damn, I Still Love You” to the vivid imagery of “Your Favorite Colors” and soulfulness of “Faith In You,” Bannen’s knack for penning vulnerable lyrics coupled by her unparalleled storytelling and distinct vocals adequately introduces her to listeners.
Kendell Marvel, Solid Gold Sounds
While Kendell Marvel is well respected for his songwriting chops, having penned songs for George Strait, Lee Ann Womack and Chris Stapleton, among others, his artistry as a solo artist is apparent throughout his new album Solid Gold Sounds. The traditional country leaning project is anchored by the bombastic “Hard Time with the Truth,” the reflective, Eagles-esque “Let It Go” and rollicking “Blood in the Water.” Additional highlights on the Dan Auerbach and Dave “Fergie” Ferguson co-produced album include the poignant love song “Musta Kept It for Himself” and nostalgic album closer “Roots of My Raisin’.”
Lady Antebellum, “Boots”
Lady Antebellum’s forthcoming album Ocean doesn’t drop until Nov. 15, but the country trio is giving fans another early listen with the upbeat “Boots.” A scorching number with mesmerizing guitar licks and foot-stomping rhythms that recalls early Lady A hits like “Love Don’t Live Here,” the standout number features Charles Kelley on lead vocals as he promises, “these boots are never walking out on you.”
LANCO, “What I See” and “Old Camaro”
LANCO surprised fans by dropping two brand new tracks today that showcase the band’s versatility. Reflective new single “What I See” highlights frontman Brandon Lancaster’s soothing vocals filled with nostalgic and vivid imagery while the feel-good “Old Camaro” kicks things up a notch. Both songs mark the follow-up to the band’s debut album Hallelujah Nights.
"We had the idea for 'What I See' after our bus picked us up in this little random parking lot with just a rundown bar and restaurant," Lancaster said in a statement. "To us, it might have been insignificant as we were just passing through, but to someone, it could be a landmark. This could be the place where someone spent all their Friday nights or had their first fender-bender in high school. We started talking about all our upbringings, and realized that we all have those places in our own towns that meant something to us whether it’s the football field or just an exit sign. Though insignificant to most, they are part of our stories, so this song shines a light on the idea that 'there’s more than meets the eye.’"