First Country is a compilation of the best new country songs, videos and albums released this week.
Luke Bryan, “Country On”
Just in time for the 4th of July weekend, Bryan releases this musical tribute to farmers, big truckers, cowboys, firefighters and soldiers (“hats off to keeping us free,” sings Bryan), but also gives back tribute to Nashville songwriters. The sunny production here is the classic Bryan, while the lyrics mix patriotism, blue-collar courage and gratitude. A perfect addition to the playlist for the summer.
Little big city, “all summer”
A chance encounter on a lazy day by the pool leads to flirtation and the possibility of a summer fling. The song’s sultry ’80s-style groove, accented by handclaps and enhanced by the band’s ever-stellar harmonies, makes it the perfect low-key summer anthem. Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild wrote this track along with Sarah Buxton, Madi Diaz, Ashley Ray, Savana Santos and Alyssa Vanderheym.
Keith Urban, “Brown Eyed Baby”
Urban previewed the track during a performance on TODAY’s Citi Concert Series. The heartwarming slow jam lyrics sound like an encore (and maybe a response) to Crystal Gayle’s classic “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue,” as well as Urban’s previous hit “Blue Ain’t Your Color,” especially with the key lyric, “I can take the blue out of your brown eyes baby.” Urban cuts here a soft groove, reinforced by a powerful work of solo guitar.
Brian Kelley, “The American Spirit”
This ultra-patriotic track pays homage to Kelley’s “Poppy,” John Edward Kelley, who served in the military during World War II, became a prisoner of war, and won two Purple Hearts. The track extends the pop-country amalgam found in Kelley’s work with the Florida Georgia Line, while his solo efforts allow him to slightly expand his lyrical palette. Here, he pays tribute to workers in big cities and small towns in a tune that radio programmers should find perfectly suited to the July 4 holiday.
Kylie Morgan, “If he wanted to, he would”
It’s the musical equivalent of a best friend/older sister type helping a friend figure out an ex-lover’s fuzzy messages. She details all the ways a friend over-analyzed and placed too much hope in non-engaging gestures, whether he’s still talking to his brother, liking an old social media photo or texting. drunk at 2 a.m. Morgan’s passionate songwriting, upbeat melody and intriguing vocals make this an ace effort. Morgan wrote the song with Zandi Holup and Ben Johnson, while the track is from EMI artist Nashville Morgan’s EP, PSout today (July 1).
Charlie Daniels, “Long Haired Country Boy” (Live)
This month of August, Charlie Daniels & Friends: Volunteer Jam 1- 1974-The Legend Begins will feature live recordings of the late legend’s first Volunteer Jam in 1974 at the War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville. That includes this rendition of the band’s classic “Long Haired Country Boy,” included in their signature fire on the mountain album released the same year. Although the album features musicians such as Allman Brothers founder Dickey Betts, late Marshall Tucker Band guitarist Toy Caldwell, and former drummer Paul Riddle, it’s the overall sizzling and freewheeling, led by Daniels’ most attention-grabbing violin work, illuminating the band’s powerful passion for performance.