Maren Morris’ ‘To Hell and Back’ + 15 More New Country Songs You’ve Got to Hear [LISTEN]
While news of the coronavirus pandemic had country stars canceling tour dates and festival appearances left and right this week, there is good news: They've still got a whole lot of new music to share! Read on to get to know the latest new tunes from your favorite artists.
Maren Morris, "To Hell and Back":
Maren Morris’ new single, “To Hell and Back,” is an acceptance song about loving a person for their entire journey -- not just what they appear to be in the here and now.
“You didn't save me / You didn't think I needed saving / You didn't change me / You didn't think I needed changing," Morris sings in the song's chorus. "My wings are frayed and what's left of my halo's black / Lucky for me, your kind of heaven's been to Hell and back / To Hell and back.” “To Hell and Back” appears on Morris’ 2019 album release, Girl. The song was written by Morris alongside Jessie Jo Dillion and Laura Jeanna Veltz. -- CC
Pam Tillis, "Looking for a Feeling":
In “Looking for a Feeling,” Pam Tillis explores all of the ways people navigate life just trying to feel something -- anything. From sleeping around to impulse-buying a sports car, Tillis sings about the rash decisions people make to feel alive.
“You can dye your brown hair red / You can mess up someone's bed / You can borrow, you can steal / You can draw, you can deal...” she rattles off.
“Stylistically, there’s so much here that’s always been a part of me,” Tillis says in a press release about “Looking for a Feeling” and the rest of her upcoming album. “It’s a story I haven’t told on any of my records so far. I wanted work that’s as close to true and unselfconscious as possible, to provide access to my heart.” As a whole, Looking for a Feeling will be released on April 24. --CC
Joshua Ray Walker, "Voices":
Joshua Ray Walker puts the spotlight on his mournful falsetto and haunting storytelling power in "Voices," a song that, Walker tells Rolling Stone, came to him amid substantial pressure to live up to the success of his 2019 release, "Canyon," off of his debut album, Wish You Were Here.
"After the positive reception of ‘Canyon,’ I’ve been asked frequently if I had more songs like that in me. To be honest, I wasn’t sure, so ‘Voices’ came with great relief and gratitude,” he admits. “I’m very proud of this song, the way it was captured, and the video we made to accompany it.” -- CL
American Aquarium, "The Long Haul":
Country and Americana music is full of drinking songs: Songs about forgetting what happened the night before, songs about raising a tall beer and so many more. However, American Aquarium's latest release, “Long Haul,” takes the opposite stance. The reassuring song is about the group’s BJ Barham’s determination to stay sober.
Barham weathers rough patches without caving in, singing “They say, ‘You ain't been the same / Since you laid that bottle down / The songs ain't got no soul / The band's done lost its sound / Get your head out of the clouds, boy / Pretty soon you'll realize / That sometimes the kindest thing you can do / For a dream, is let it die...’”
"Long Haul" will appear on American Aquarium's upcoming release, Lamentations, due out on May 1. -- CC
Craig Campbell, "It's About Time":
Craig Campbell's new single, "It's About Time," is a heady, atmospheric trip down a back road. The singer croons his way through each verse, enticing his partner to join him down a romantic nighttime drive for two.
The song almost feels like part two of 2018's "See You Try," a fun and flirty song about all the moves his lover makes to convince him to leave the bar and take her home. This time around, the roles are flipped: And the pair have left the bar, heading out into the moonlight for a little bit of backroads romance. -- CL
High Valley, "Grew Up on That":
Sibling duo High Valley may not have grown up with access to big-city amenities, but their new single, "Grew Up on That," is about all the things that colored their childhood in rural La Crete, Alberta, in Canada. Bandmate Brad Rempel co-wrote the new tune with Ben Stennis and Jason Boyer.
“We have spent a lot of time in the past couple of years explaining what we grew up without, having spent our childhoods living in a pretty remote area,” Rempel explains. “This time around we wanted to let people know more of our story and exactly what we did have – what made us who we are – and what we grew up on.” -- CL
Courtney Marie Andrews, "If I Told":
The third track off of Courtney Marie Andrews' upcoming release, Old Flowers, "If I Told," is an acoustic-driven hushed meditation on the magic of connection. The song paints falling in love as a leap of faith for two self-sufficient people afraid of being vulnerable and getting hurt.
Per a press release, Old Flowers documents a journey through, and ultimately out of, heartbreak. The project is set for release on June 5. -- CL
Jenee Fleenor, "Good Ol' Girls":
Reigning CMA Musician of the Year Jenee Fleenor returns with a rollicking new track, "Good Ol' Girls." The new tune puts both her renowned fiddle skills and vocal prowess on full display, offering up a danceable, fun-loving country tune.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Fleenor says she started writing the track while backstage before a show with Blake Shelton. "I started playing this little melody on my bouzouki and [the phrase] 'Good Ol' Girls' came to mind," she recalls. "With the award really fresh in my mind, I'm like, 'Heck, I'm just a good ol' girl. I'm just a country girl.' I don't think I've ever heard that written." -- CL
Bobby Bare, "The Day All the Yes Men Said No":
Bobby Bare reflects on the importance of thinking for yourself in his comedy-inflected new story song, "The Day All the Year Men Said No." Written by the late, great Shel Silverstein, the tune comes off of Bare's just-announced new album, Great American Saturday Night. Bare's new collection is due out on April 17. -- CL
Gone West, "Slow Down":
True love has a way of making you want to take things slow. This is the idea behind Gone West’s “Slow Down.” In the feel good song, the group sings, “You make want to slow down / Baby, make it easy / I'll take the long way around / Just as long as you're with me / In a city full of neon burnin' too bright / Baby you're my yellow light / You make me want to slow down / You make me want to slow down / You make me want to slow down...”
Gone West is made up of Colbie Caillat, Justin Young, Jason Reeves, and Nelly Joy. "Slow Down" will appear on Gone West's upcoming album, Canyons, which will be released on June 12. -- CC
Rachel Reinert, "Secret":
Rachel Reinert's newest release is the flirty and feel-good "Secret," a breezy ode to the early stages in a relationship, where both parties want to keep their new love to themselves.
Reinert's new track comes off of her brand-new album, Into the Blue, which dropped on Friday (March 13.) It's the next installment in the singer's trademark brand of west-coast country. -- CL
Watkins Family Hour, "Fake Badge, Real Gun":
Watkins Family Hour have revealed the next piece of their forthcoming album, Brother Sister, which is due out on April 10. Fans of the group have come to love Watkins Family Hour for their expertly-done close harmony and acoustic emphasis, and "Fake Badge, Real Gun" is no exception.
Like some of the other tracks on the album, this new song has political overtones, and was inspired by a comment bandmate Sean Watkins heard on the news, the group tells Billboard. "That struck Sean, the idea of there being a lot of different fake badges that people in society have, with very, very real power attached to them and a very real influence," the group explains. -- CL
Christian Lopez, "Who You Really Are":
Christian Lopez cuts through all the noise and bustle of everyday life in "Who You Really Are," a quiet meditation on the importance of finding meaning in the people and relationships in his life. Lopez wrote his new track at a wolf sanctuary outside Nashville, alongside close friend and collaborator Jordan Lawhead.
"Fear can fog your true potential and happiness, but with unconditional love and compassion, you can surely unleash it," Lopez reflects of the song in a press release. -- CL
Jackson Michelson, "One Day":
Jackson Michelson is all about living in the moment in his newest release, “One Day.” Throughout the course of the song, Michelson sings about not taking life’s moments for granted, even if it means grinning through some of the more trying times -- like crying babies or late night homework projects.
“‘One Day’ is the most personal song I’ve ever written and recorded -- a glimpse into my life and the reality that time doesn’t stop for anything or anyone,” explains Michelson in a press release. “Even as a young parent, it’s a reminder to soak in every moment with the ones you love, because someday we’ll be wishing for one day when they were young.” “One Day” was penned by Michelson, Justin Ebach and Matt Alderman. -- CC
Holloway Road, "Even If":
U.K duo Holloway Road put a breezy, pop-inflected spin on their new tune, "Even If," a love anthem about staying true to those that matter most -- no matter what. In light of the deadly tornadoes that ripped through Nashville and Middle Tennessee in early March of 2020, the band plans to donate 25% of the proceeds from the song to the Middle Tennessee Emergency Response Fund.
"We love Nashville - it's been a huge part of our story as a band to date and it's been terrible to see the devastation," they explain in a press release. "We're thinking of our friends and fellow artists over there, as well as the people who have lost homes, businesses and loved ones." -- CL
Sean Stemaly, "Come Back to Bed":
Things are getting hot and heavy in Sean Stemaly's new release, "Come Back To Bed." Stemaly isn't afraid of letting the world know about his burning desire to spend some intense quality time with his leading lady. Steamly lays it on thick, singing “So come back to bed / Baby don’t leave / If I said I need your body would you hold it against me / Don’t open the blinds / Lets hit rewind / Take our time / Re-living every single minute of last night / These two hands, left a lot unsaid / If you ain’t out the door then it ain’t over yet / So baby come back to bed....”
“Come Back To Bed '' was written by Stemaly with Andy Albert, Jared Mullins and Alysa Vanderheym. -- CC