Country icon Dolly Parton, arena-headliner Kane Brown, Grammy-nominated roots singer-songwriter Amythyst Kiah and country newcomers Priscilla Block, Hailey Whitters and Muscadine Bloodline are among the litany of artists who released new music today.
Dolly Parton – “Big Dreams and Faded Jeans” is the debut single from the companion album to “Run, Rose, Run,” Parton’s novel that she co-wrote with James Patterson. The song is an up-lifting toe-tapper about “finding my destiny” in Nashville. The track has an acoustic rhythm bed with harmonica and fiddle layered in to create a song that walks the line between radio country and a soundtrack that sets the tone for her book.
“Run, Rose, Run,” (the album) will be released March 4, and the novel will come out March 7. Kelsea Ballerini will join Parton to read the audiobook version of the story.
Kane Brown – “Whiskey Sour,” the latest from Kane Brown, finds the cross-over star firmly embedded in his country roots. The newly released track is fiddle-heavy, pairing perfectly with Brown’s emotive vocals documenting heartbreak and lost love. Brown, who commented on an early teaser of the song that he didn’t write this one, also shared with his fans that he “loves getting to sing other people’s stories.”
Whether Brown wrote this song or not, the performance he delivers in both the vocal and in the video show that he’s deeply connected to this one. Fans might even find similarities between the delivery of “Whiskey Sour” and Brown’s 2021 CMT Artists of the Year performance of Randy Travis’ “Three Wooden Crosses.” Either way, the early noise from fans, via social media, is that “Whiskey Sour” is an immediate favorite that’s #onrepeat.
Muscadine Bloodline – “No, Pedal Steel” is a lonesome waltz penned by Gary Stanton, Charles Muncaster, Adam Hood, and Brent Cobb about how its namesake instrument is the harbinger of heartbreak. The song uses the pedal steel and an achingly slow tempo to draw the listener into its anguish.
“Nothing says country music more than the sound of pedal steel so we decided to write a song about a conversation with one,” the duo said.
“No, Pedal Steel” is from Muscadine Bloodline’s “Dispatch to 16th Ave.” album that will be available Feb. 4.
Priscilla Block – “My Bar” is the newest chapter from Priscilla Block, who continues to own her stories. The upper/mid-tempo showcases Block’s unmistakable country voice and her unique ability to use detail in ways that weave some of country music’s most relatable anecdotes. In “My Bar,” Block questions her ex’s motivation for showing up at her favorite watering hole and then as only she can, puts him in his place.
“Don’t come walkin’ in like you own it, you own it|I hate to break it to you, you don’t, yeah, you don’t| You think you’re such a star but here’s the funny part|No one even knows who you are|This is my bar.
Block’s debut album “Welcome to the Block Party” will be available Feb. 11.
Hailey Whitters – “Everything She Aint” is the debut single from Whitters’ third studio album “Raised,” which was announced Friday. Written by Whitters, Bryan Simpson and Ryan Tyndell, “Everything She Ain’t” is a plea to a love interest for a chance at his heart. Steel guitar, piano, fiddle and acoustic guitar round out the light-hearted bop as Whitters sings, “I’m everything she is and everything she ain’t.”
“Raised” will be available March 18.
Amythyst Kiah – In 1980 Joy Division front man Ian Curtis sang of a troubled relationship in the now post-punk classic “Love Will Tear Us Apart.”
The song, which was ultimately released one month after Curtis’ suicide, has become embedded into the fabric of music history. A posthumous legacy spanning decades, the song often finds itself included in best-of lists such as “Rolling Stone” magazine’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” published in 2004.
The indelible sound of Curtis’ vocals have oftentimes been mimicked, but the pain emoted in his delivery is something that rarely comes through in a cover. Enter Grammy-nominated roots singer-songwriter Amythyst Kiah, who fans may know from the critically acclaimed “Black Myself” or her inclusion as one-fourth of Our Native Daughters (with Rhiannon Giddens, Leyla McCalla and Allison Russell).
In her acoustic cover of Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” released today, Kiah provides a fresh spin on the ‘80s track, laden with searing vocals and deep emotion that seemingly cut straight through the listener. Perhaps it’s Kiah’s well-documented struggles with social anxiety, her East Tennessee upbringing where she was one of only a few black people in her community or her love for rock and metal, that find her deeply connected to Curtis’ words but, whatever it is, it’s working beautifully.