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First Country: Zach Bryan, Luke Combs, Cole Swindell & More

todayJanuary 27, 2023

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First Country is a compilation of the best new country songs, videos & albums that dropped this week.

Zach Bryan and Maggie Rogers, “Dawns”

This slow-burn, angst-filled song finds Bryan and pop stalwart Rogers fighting through anger, sadness and loss, desperate to turn back time and reclaim happier moments. The ache simmering below the lyrical tension is palpable, particularly on lines recalling the passing of a parent, as their illustrious harmonies intertwine on “I lost her last July in a heart attack/ I need one small victory/ Give me my dawns back.”

Cole Swindell, “Drinkaby”

Swindell follows up his four-week No. 1 Country Airplay hit “She Had Me at Heads Carolina” with his latest, an uptempo, rock-tinged and radio-ready track about drinking away a broken heart. Swindell will release his new project Stereotype Broken on April 28.

Luke Combs, “Growin’ Up and Gettin’ Old”

Reigning CMA entertainer of the Year Combs is gearing up to release the followup to his 2022 album, Growin’ Up, on March 24 when he drops his new album, Gettin’ Old. Bridging the two projects is his new song, “Growing Up and Gettin’ Old,” which acknowledges getting older but still knowing how to let loose.

“I spend most of my happy hours here at home … but I can still raise hell all night with the boys when I want to,” he sings, his electrifying-yet-earthy voice soundtracking this time in his life as a husband, father and entertainer at the top of his game.

Struggle Jennings feat. Jelly Roll, “Hard to Hate”

Country-rap artist Jennings is the grandson of Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter, while Jelly Roll just notched his first No. 1 Country Airplay hit with “Son of a Sinner.” These two have a long history of collaborations, previously releasing four Waylon & Willie projects. Their latest, a slow-burn, bluesy-rock hybrid, revels in leaving things that no longer serve you in the past and making the most of the days that are ahead.

Jordyn Shellhart, “Who Are You Mad At”

Shellhart is already known for her role writing songs like Little Big Town’s “Sugar Coat” and Cody Johnson’s “I Always Wanted To.” Now, in this song she co-penned with Marc Beeson and Allen Shamblin, she continues her evolution as an artist, with this stellar track showcasing Shellhart as an introspective, mature writer and a skilled vocalist.

Her clear-eyed lyricism chronicles stormy arguments with a hot-headed lover, but she fearlessly delves below the surface — refusing to accept the arrows he’s throwing and drawing out pain she knows is actually aimed at his ex-lover.

Jake Owen, “My Boots Miss Yours”

He’s got a toe-tappin’ way of attempting to convince a lover that one night of spinning around a dancefloor under neon lights together was far from enough. “What ya say we get ’em back together?
Make a little trail of clothes and leather,” he sings, his warm, mellow vocal delivery a good foil for the understated flirtatiousness the song demands.

On the Outside, “Go Broke”

With a sunny sound and pop-country hooks aplenty to further elevate R&B-shaded, stacked harmonies, this five-part group seems poised to pick up Rascal Flatts’ mantle. “Go Broke” has the driving rhythm and glistening instrumentation of Keith Urban’s early work, while the explosive chorus feels like a solid throwback to early 2000s country-pop. Currently working with Jimmy Robbins and Mike Shimshack, the group inked a publishing deal last year with Warner Chappell Music and Mailbox Money Music.

Nickel Creek, “Strangers”

Lauded group Nickel Creek will return with their first album in nine years, when Celebrants drops on March 24. More than two decades after Nickel Creek first broke through with their 2000 self-titled album–and garnered two Grammy nominations in the process, followed by a Grammy win later for their album This Side–the group’s latest song highlights their unfettered harmonies and years-forged, tight-knit playing. The trio’s Chris Thile and siblings Sean and Sara Watkins recorded the album at Nashville’s RCA Studio A.

The video for the track is straightforward, putting the emphasis on the trio’s urgent performance — which conveys the simmering anxieties, wonder and hopes for sustained mutual esteem that come with reuniting with an old friend after a prolonged absence.

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Hundreds of UMG Artists Can’t Sue Label as Class Action Over Termination Rights, Judge Says

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todayJanuary 27, 2023

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