The Boot’s Weekly Picks: Mightmare, Carlton Anderson + More
Every week, The Boot highlights recent favorites from country, Americana and everything in between. In each list, music fans will 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.
Mightmare is the pandemic project of Sarah Shook. They took the project up in 2020, making most of the album by themself just as they were newly sober.
On "Saturn Turns," Shooks' voice sounds taut and strained, fitting for a time of fear and uncertainty. "Saturn Turns" is a compelling, propulsive rock ballad that seems unlike anything Shook has released, though we did see some hits of it on the Disarmers' Nightroamer. -- Rachel Cholst
Carlton Anderson"Burn Me Down"
Texas native Carlton Anderson is keeping it country on his brand-new song, “Burn It Down.” Trafficking heavily in the neotraditional direction, the upbeat number is perfectly layered with fiery guitar lines, anthemic drumbeats, and sizzling fiddle licks.
“Desperately, I’ve been waiting on your body / Next to me, that’s where I want you to be / Baby, light me up and burn me down,” Anderson sings in the spirited chorus. Released on his 30th birthday, the rising singer/songwriter wrote this song with Jimi Bell and fellow country artist and longtime friend, Ian Munsick. "Burn Me Down", as Anderson excitedly teases, is the “first of many songs" from a new collection of music that he hopes will "stand the test of time.” -- Jeremy Chua
Lou Ridley"Bless Your Heart"
Artist and activist Lou Ridley describes her style as "anti-country country," and it's easy to see why. On new single "Bless Your Heart," she takes aim at right-wing hypocrites and does not mince her words: "You're worried about who's kissing who and what's in the bible / But darling, you're pretty far from a disciple." At a time of increasingly terrifying assaults on our basic liberties, it's refreshing to hear someone in the country world tell it like it is. -- Will Groff
Sean Whiting"In My Time"
Country, soul, blues and rock’n roll come together on Paintsville, Ky. native Sean Whiting’s latest single “In My Time,” a blistering anthem about coming to terms with life through a cynical vein of self-reflection augmented by hot and heavy guitar licks, organ and more. The single is the third song from Whiting’s forthcoming album that is sure to put the Paintsville native on the map similar to the likes of Chris Stapleton, Tyler Childers and other local stars that have come before him. -- Matt Wickstrom
Cory Branan (ft. Jason Isbell)"That Look I Lost"
Memphis lifer Cory Branan is famous for dabbling. From hardcore to punk, to folk to alt-country, Branan's questing spirit makes for an artistry that never settles. So it was really a matter of time for Branan to soak up the Southern soul of Memphis and turn it to his tales of living loose and broken hearts. Longtime friend Jason Isbell backs Branan on this groovy spin on a breakup song. -- Rachel Cholst
Colombian country singer Lala Nicole serves a scorching debut with her single "Sanity." While the song is replete with country pop elements -- pounding drums, distorted guitars, mournful fiddling -- Nicole's voice has a smoky punk grit that adds something special to the next.
"Sanity" finds the narrator questioning whether it's time to end a relationship, and Nicole's intensity adds an emotional element that propels the song into the foreground of your attention. -- Rachel Cholst
Wesley and Aaron Smith of Lexington, Ky. collective Brother Smith whimsically whistle and harmonize together about what they envision their first dog being like on the happy-go-lucky tune “Trigger.”
Imagining a pooch with big paws and a heart that is bigger that “won’t need to run and fetch / just sweep my floors and pay half of the rent” and will hold the door for ladies who come over “and run errands to the grocery store,” the duo shines a new, albeit satirical light on the concept of man’s best friend and what it entails while also showcasing the musical chemistry that makes Brother Smith’s songs so intoxicating. -- Matt Wickstrom
Travis Denning"Buy a Girl a Drink"
Emotional sincerity and real-life relatability take center stage on “Buy a Girl a Drink," the latest song from Travis Denning. Co-written by Denning alongside Paul DiGiovanni, Chase McGill and Jeremy Stover, the reflective tune is a sobering reminder to not let anything hold a person back from pursuing the desires of their heart — whether it's buying a boat, purchasing a plot of land or marrying the girl of their dreams.
"Buy a ring, get married, honeymoon on an island / Raise babies, then look back smilin' / From a rockin' chair, man, I swear you'll be there fast as you can blink / Just buy a girl a drink," Denning sings in the thoughtful chorus over a mid-tempo melody. -- Jeremy Chua
Indie folk duo Hearth have hit the road and left it all behind on "Desert Bloom." The pair recount their summer roadtrip adventures in a curiously mournful key, suggesting the fleeting nature of these opportunities for abandon and exploration. The pair harmonize expertly with a sound that suggests Greenwich Village meets spaghetti Westerns. -- Rachel Cholst