Every week the wide open country The team brings together their new favorite country, folk, bluegrass and Americana songs for the Six Pack.
This week’s playlist includes Michelle Rivers’ love letter to the American West, Luc Combes‘ contribution to a John Anderson tribute album and the latest teaser for Kelsea Ballerini’s upcoming album, Subject to change.
Here are six crucial listens.
“Going West”, Michelle Rivers
Montana artist Michelle Rivers makes the tried-and-true argument that there’s plenty of fresh, rooty country music to be found with Hunt somewhere: an album that, as one press release put it, is “as wide, wild and beautiful as the American West it celebrates”.
On standout track “Going West,” a stacked roster of session musicians – highlighted by Union Station bassist Barry Bales, Dobro and slide guitar innovator Al Perkins and award-winning violinist Jenée Fleenor– further elevates Rivers’ vocal delivery and gripping way with words.
“Pretty Drunk”, Christopher Seymore
Texas singer-songwriter Christoper Seymore’s “Drunk Enough” would ring home during Honky Tonk Tuesday nights at the American Legion in East Nashville — not that any city or scene has the market cornered with weekly events which amplify current acts informed by country’s varied past of music.
The fiddle and steel guitar accompaniment is guided by an infectious bass groove, setting the mood for a whiskey-soaked drink story to forget about lost love.
“Aesop’s Mountain”, Andy Thorn
In November 2021, Andy Thorn of Leftover Salmon caught attention with a video of a wild fox stopping in his tracks to hear a clawhammer banjo tune. A studio recording of this song, “Aesop Mountain”, provides insight Dawn Fox Songsa forthcoming album with a painting of Thorn and his canine companion as cover art.
“What Makes a Man”, Ben Rector & Thomas Rhett
Ben Rector is perhaps best known for his indie-pop music, so this new collaboration with Thomas Rhett is a nice surprise for country fans. The song is a surprisingly personal statement of parenthood, looking back at Rector’s father before him and speculating how his children will remember him down the line. It’s something that also resonates with Rhett as a father of four who strives to be the best father he can be. This new song definitely struck a chord with me as I listened to the two amazing performers talk about such an emotional journey.
Rhett said in a statement: “I’ve always been a fan of Ben so when he wanted to collaborate I jumped at the chance to work with him. He’s an amazing artist, writer and performer and this song struck me as something I could immediately connect to.”
“THE LITTLE THINGS”, Kelsea Ballerini
Every new song Kelsea Ballerini releases makes me more and more excited about her upcoming new album, Subject to change. It’s 90s-inspired country bop that’s sure to be one of the big songs of what’s left of the summer. It’s airy, fun, upbeat, and the perfect reminder to feel enthused about the little things in life. Ballerini shares how she thought she knew what love was, but it’s actually the little things, not romantic notions like kissing in the rain, that make life so beautiful.
“But that’s when we’re in a crowded room, put your hand on my back/ And waiting for me in the morning with my black coffee/ Back to basics ’cause they’re bigger than they look, yeah/ Give me that typical simple love, it’s the little things”
“Seminole Wind”, Luke Combs
Saying there is a wide variety of artists included on Something Borrowed, Something New: A Tribute to John Anderson is an understatement. Eric Church, John Prine, Brothers Osborne, Ashley McBryde… this tribute album is stacked.
Luke Combs’ cover of “Seminole Wind” in particular stopped me in my tracks. As far as I’m concerned, Combs really can’t do anything wrong, and he’s proven to be the perfect voice to breathe new life into this standout ’90s country song from Anderson’s 1992 album of the same name. Sadly, the violin accompaniment that was such a fun addition to the original has been omitted, but Combs’ vocals are so good you easily overlook it.