August was a quietly great month for new Country and Americana music! Maybe it was just due to the fact that I didn’t know many of the albums were going to be released, except for the highly anticipated Lindi Ortega and Maddie & Tae albums. Either way, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of music released across the board this month, from Americana, to mainstream country, to Texas country, and even Canada! August also featured two albums that jumped toward the top of my favorite list as soon as I heard them. But without further ado, here are my favorite songs released over the past month:
- “Be My Baby” – Whitney Rose (feat. Raul Malo): This song has it all. A beautiful production and two dynamic voices coming together to give a new twist on a classic song. I was a little hesitant to include a cover as my top song, but Whitney Rose and Raul Malo simply blow this track out of the water. It’s too damn good to ignore on this list.
- “Someday Soon” – Lindi Ortega: This was my number one song until Rose’s album came out. The writing of how Ortega will pick herself up out of a bad relationship is great storytelling, and her vocal delivery is perfect match to it. The way the song builds over the 3 and a half minutes is a testament to Cobb’s production on this blues-inspired track.
- “Day One” – Pat Green: Pat Green’s Home was a rather average album overall, but “Day One” was one of the few songs that stood out as a great country song. (“While I Was Away” had been out as a single prior to the album release, so I’m not counting it here). The vocal delivery and production aren’t much to write home about, but they’re both clean and set a nice tone for the song. However, it’s the writing that helps “Day One” stand out. Green tells a story of how he plans to get over the break-up, but those plans will only work if he can make it through the painful first day without his love.
- “Let It Out” – Jonathan Tyler: This song was the definite standout on Holy Smokes. Tyler’s vocals are excellent on this track and songwriting on the topic is top-notch. As Josh said in his review,“The steel guitars throughout the song really help create a desperado state of mind in the listener, which fits perfectly with the theme of the song. Everything in this song simply works together well to make a great song.“
- “Heartbreaker of the Year” – Whitney Rose: I love the simple production of this song. The guitar and bass line combined with the snaps are enough to catch your ear, but they also allow Rose’s haunting voice to shine and carry this track. “Heartbreaker of the Year” is a captivating song all around, and a highlight from the album of the same name.
- “Ashes” – Lindi Ortega: The opening song on Ortega’s Faded Gloryville is simply a great song. The poignant lyrics of not wanting to be forgotten by a love sting you and Ortega’s voice adds a whole new layer to that poignancy. The song builds and falls to a gentle conclusion perfectly. “Ashes” takes you on a journey and Ortega leads that journey wonderfully.
- “Go Down Slow” – The Statesboro Revue A heavy country song about a blue collar worker who’s long days and weeks leave him feeling burnt out. Singer Stewart Mann sings of his desire to feel anything but numb, and pleads for the booze to go down slow in order to feel the pain. It’s a powerful vocal performance aided by great country instrumentation.
- “Shut Up And Fish” – Maddie & Tae: What’s not to love about this song? Witty lyrics that don’t sound immature, excellent sassy vocals that compliment said lyrics, and a beautifully up tempo country production to boot. Start Here may be the best mainstream country album this year, and “Shut Up And Fish” is a great example of Maddie & Tae bringing fun into mainstream country music without losing any class or originality.
- “Undone” – The Statesboro Revue: The Statesboro Revue’s new album, Jukehouse Revival is an excellent Americana album with great country sounds. This blue-collar song about letting a load off after long work days is a great anthem to those who selflessly work to the bone because it’s necessary. The banjo plucks that lead the production are fantastic.
- “Everything Was Cool in 2002” – Jonathan Tyler: This psychedelic rock track isn’t necessarily country, I know. This closer on Tyler’s excellent Americana album is an awesome song though. Tyler creates a dreamy, airy atmosphere in a song where he reminisces of a past love. But the best part of this song is the awesome musical solos closing out the song and the album. The production quickly builds from the low-tempo to the up-tempo solo, but it fits and sounds excellent.
- “Half Moon” and “I Ain’t The Girl” by Lindi Ortega
- “May the Good Times Never End” by Pat Green (feat. Delbert McClinton and Lee Roy Parnell)
- “Smoke Break” by Carrie Underwood
- “Complicated” by Kip Moore
- “There’s a Tear in My Beer” by Whitney Rose
- “After The Storm Blows Through” by Maddie & Tae