First Country is a compilation of the best new country songs, videos & albums that dropped this week. Several artists are gearing up for summer album drops, including Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Midland and Brett Eldredge, with new music to propel the excitement for those releases.
Luke Combs, “Tomorrow Me”
Luke Combs is tempted to keep an on-again, off-again relationship burning for one more night, but, as he puts it, “Maybe we should let yesterday be/ ‘Cause I gotta live with tomorrow me.” Combs’s gruff voice brings gravitas to this introspective ballad, one he wrote with Ray Fulcher and Country Music Hall of Fame member Dean Dillon. The track is from Combs’s upcoming Growin’ Up album, slated for June 24.
Brett Eldredge, “Songs About You”
Eldredge continues with his brand of smooth, easygoing grooves that highlight his endless vocal charisma. On this leisurely, semi-soulful track, he turns to a catalog of classic songs from Bruce Springsteen and Van Morrison to cope with the aftermath of a breakup. “Songs About You,” which Eldredge wrote with Jessie Jo Dillon and Ben West, serves as the title song from Eldredge’s upcoming fifth studio album, out June 17.
Carrie Underwood, “Crazy Angels”
She’s a “sweetheart with a wild side” on this sunny, stomping sing-along anthem. The crunchy ’80s guitars rock and the throwback production pulses, matching Underwood’s spitfire lyrics in the verses, before she turns her powerhouse voice to a hook-filled, arena-worthy chorus. “Crazy Angels” is from Underwood’s upcoming Denim & Rhinestones album, out June 10.
Midland feat. Jon Pardi, “Longneck Way to Go”
Midland’s Mark Wystrach, Cameron Duddy and Jess Carson welcome fellow neo-traditionalist Jon Pardi for this track, which swirls with enough retro vibe and smooth harmonies to make a beer-downing, honkytonk heartache sound like an irresistible, boot-stompin’ good time. This marks the first collaboration included on any of Midland’s full-length projects, and is featured on Midland’s May 6 studio album The Last Resort: Greetings From.
Peytan Porter, “First Stone”
Porter follows her breakthrough track “Therapy” here with breezy instrumentation wrapped around a call for a world that offers more empathy than judgement. She aims her clear-eyed writing style squarely at “Cutthroat cultures/ Internet vultures circling the sky waiting for mistakes,” before musing that it “Might be better if we took a deep breath and a few steps back/ Gave a little less opinion and a lot more grace.” A sunny melody and a timely message make this a winner.
Marcus King, “Hard Working Man”
This hard-charging rocker has all the makings for live show fan favorite — blazing guitars, King’s soul-shouting vocal and a wealth of defiance and praise for those giving all they’ve got to their 9-to-5. “Hard Working Man” is the first release from King’s upcoming album Young Blood, produced by Dan Auerbach and set to release Aug. 26 via American Records/Republic.
Margo Price, That’s How Rumors Get Started (Deluxe)
Price extends her 2020 release That’s How Rumors Get Started with a deluxe version, which drops April 22. The deluxe edition tacks on eight new recordings, including covers of Bobbie Gentry’s “He Made a Woman Out of Me,” Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me” and Linda Ronstadt’s “You’re No Good.” The latter is one of the strongest cuts, with careening guitars, moody bass, and Price’s commanding, velvet-and-stone vocal.
Brett Kissel feat. 98 Degrees, “Ain’t The Same”
Kissel teams with pop group 98 Degrees (“I Do,” “Give Me Just One Night”) on this pop-country foray. Twangy guitar and smooth harmonies lead on this track, which is essentially a list of things that go better together, from guitars and strings, tequila and lime, and his relationship with his lover. Though the group’s harmonies are as mighty as ever and production is sleek and sultry, the vocal pairing between Kissel and this quartet comes off as mumbled and hurried.