The Boot’s Weekly Picks: S.G. Goodman, Kathy Mattea and More
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.
S.G. Goodman"Teeth Marks"
Kentucky roots-rocker S.G. Goodman lets go with grace on this dreamy-yet-dignified sendoff. "I laughed a bit when you pulled that card, telling me you're gonna bless my heart," she confesses in the first lines, sloping her voice down a folksy melody. Firing back without acting ugly, her well-spun lyrics turn the axiom back on its head when she asserts "it already is." -- Annie Parnell
Caitlyn Smith followed her instincts on the title track for her forthcoming album High. The ACM New Female Artist of the Year nominee self-produced the album, which allows for the title track to be as rich as it is vulnerable. Smith's powerhouse vocals call upon Gospel traditions while a backing chorus and majestic string section give Smith's song about vulnerability a beautiful transcendence. -- Rachel Cholst
Kathy Mattea"Turn Off The News (Build a Garden)"
Kathy Mattea is a national treasure. Her cover of Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real's "Turn Off the News (Build a Garden)" — a sequel song of sorts to John Prine's classic "Spanish Pipedream" — recorded with the Mountain Stage Band, is equal parts urgent and moving. In 2019, Mattea took over as host of Mountain Stage, the beloved radio show from West Virginia Public Broadcasting and NPR. -- Will Groff
Loney Hutchins"Mountain Eyes"
This classic-country ode off of Loney Hutchins' recently restored '70s cut Appalachia pays homage to Hutchins' Clinch Mountain roots. With lyrics evoking bluegrass standards, hardworking parents, and homesickness for the mountains and hollers of Tennessee, it's a sweet tribute that'll make you want to call home. -- Annie Parnell
Howard Rose"Old Glass Jar"
Howard Rose's "Old Glass Jar" will get you dancing wherever you are. A groove-heavy song, the British roots rocker examines the rock'n'roll life style with chagrin, defiance, and celebration. -- Rachel Cholst
Dolly Parton & Ben Haggard"Demons"
Dolly Parton's later-career albums have tended to lean heavily into Nashville gloss, both in terms of lyrics and production. Run Rose Run, a companion to the mystery novel Parton co-authored with James Patterson, is no exception, but there are undeniable bright spots. One such standout is "Demons," a pleasantly subdued duet with Ben Haggard (yes, that Haggard) that finds the two singers agreeing to share the blame and move on. -- Will Groff
The latest single off of Lucius's collaboration with Brandi Carlile and Dave Cobb finds them confronting the same emotional complexities of "White Lies" and "Next to Normal."
"Can we open our eyes now?" vocalists Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig repeat, wrestling with vulnerability before ultimately deciding it's better to "give your heart than never give it all." -- Annie Parnell
Carrie Bielle"See Through the Woods"
Queer Pacific Northwest rocker Carrie Bielle's latest album We Get Along is a time capsule of pandemic life, and a reflection on how a queer street punk was raised by her musical community. "See Through the Woods" is a Gillian Welch-esque ballad with inexorable groove and Americana grit. -- Rachel Cholst
Elliah Heifetz"Keep the Grass in the Ground"
New York-based folk singer Elliah Heifetz wears his love for 60s revivalism on his sleeve on this gently loping track, an advice song of sorts featuring harmonies from Americana artist Jane Bruce.
"Keep the Grass in the Ground" is the third single off Heifetz's upcoming album First Generation American, due out April 1, which pulls deeply from classic country and folk tradition for warm ruminations on identity and belonging. -- Will Groff
Wednesday"She's Acting Single (I'm Doing Doubles)"
Asheville noise rock quintet Wednesday bring back the twang from their 2021 release Twin Plagues in this queer reimagining of the Gary Stewart original. Mixing the song's natural melodies with their own penchant for discordancy, it's a perfect cover for fans of punk-tinged Americana like Sarah Shook and the Disarmers or Dash Rip Rock. -- Annie Parnell
The Americans"Stand True"
The song starts with old-time strings, but by the end The Americans have built into a rolling tide of roots rock. The LA band's upcoming album, Stand True, is helmed by T. Bone Burnett, but based off the first single it is not the spare sound famously associated with the producer. Instead, The Americans use a mighty arsenal to bring home their heartland rock epics. -- Rachel Cholst
Ian Noe"Burning Down the Prairie"
Kentucky singer-songwriter Ian Noe has drawn frequent comparisons to the late John Prine, not so much for his lyrical approach as for his choice of milieu and subject matter. But "Burning Down the Prairie," a fiery blues-rock cut from his upcoming River Saints & Mountain Fools, is more Lucinda Williams than Prine, with starkly poetic lyrics that evoke the centuries long struggle of the region's indigenous population. -- Will Groff