Every week, The Boot highlights recent favorites from country, Americana, folk and everything in between. In every list, you'll find picks from our contributing team that we think you'll love. Keep reading to check out the latest installment of The Boot's Weekly Picks.
Fern Maddie"Hares on the Mountain"
Vermont's Fern Maddie has a knack for powerful storytelling in her otherworldly takes on traditional music. Her 2020 EP North Branch River is a stunning tour de force of storytelling, making tales of elves and kings blend seamlessly with woodland meditations. With her take on the traditional song "Hares on the Mountain," Fern Maddie gives the love song a haunting, almost menacing air. -- Rachel Cholst
Triston Marez & Jenna Paulette"Once in a Blue Moon"
Texas born and Nashville-based artists Triston Marez and Jenna Paulette — also a newly minted member of CMT’s Next Women of Country Class of 2022 — flip the well-worn cliche “Once in a Blue Moon” on its head in their new joint single of the same name. Written by Trea Landon, Faren Rachels and Nate Kenyon, the song is about two friends who hold back their stronger feelings for one another until “it looks like the moon is blue again.” -- Matt Wickstrom
Stacy Antonel"Planetary Heartache"
Stacy Antonel's effortlessly smooth voice is perfect for the retro jazz country she slings. Antonel's ballad "Planetary Heartache" has all the wistful charms of a 1930s vaudeville act -- with none of the coy shyness around matters of the heart and body. Playfully dancing among sci-fi themes, Antonel knows just what it takes to pin us down right in the tender parts. -- Rachel Cholst
Seattle based songwriter Paula Boggs packs heavenly harmonies, bluegrass and jazz arrangements together on “Ponies” from her new album Janus. The song tells the story of how her mother impulsively bought a pony — which they soon found out was pregnant — without knowing how to care for it after the family moved to a farm in Chesterfield County, Va. The song incorporates the wit of Hayes Carll and traditional sounds akin to Rhiannon Giddens and Dom Flemons, the last of whom joins Boggs on parts of her new collection of music. -- Matt Wickstrom
Brennen Leigh ft. Ray Benson"In Texas with a Band"
North Dakota born, Nashville-based musician Brennen Leigh is joined on vocals by Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel on the swinging “In Texas with a Band,” the latest single from her forthcoming album Obsessed with the West, out May 6. On the rollicking tune she sings about how even though she’s played for smiling faces from “Idaho to old Oslo and a thousand other places,” and how she’d “trade my wage just to be on stage in Texas with a band.” -- Matt Wickstrom
Shane Sweeney"While I Try to Sleep"
One half of Americana OG band Two Cow Garage, Shane Sweeney has spent the COVID era crafting intimate and raw music, grappling with our altered reality. On his newest, "While I Try to Sleep," Sweeney brings in a full band sound to confront us with the question we're too afraid to ask: how, as a society, do we attend to process the mass death all around us? Even if COVID-19 has not impacted us directly, how will we live with the aftermath? Sweeney doesn't offer answers, but his rock'n'roll lullaby can make us feel safe knowing that we are not alone. -- Rachel Cholst
Listen via BandCamp here.
Michael Shaw"Cowboy Boots and a Little Country Dress"
Montana-based artist Michael Shaw holds onto the memory of a cowgirl he met one winter at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada on “Cowboy Boots and a Little Country Dress,” from his album He Rode On, due out June 3. During the rocking ballad he mentions “a bucking horse rider, not afraid to be thrown,” referencing the wild woman he met and went on to party with the rest of the weekend. -- Matt Wickstrom