Music

8 Must-Hear New Country Songs: RVSHVD, Leah Turner, Kameron Marlowe & More

This week’s crop of new music features the radio-ready sounds of newcomer RVSHVD, the Latin-threaded collaboration of Leah Turner and Jerrod Niemann, a gorgeously voiced ballad from Lauren Watkins and Carter Faith, a rollicking new song from the dependably excellent Muscadine Bloodline, and the unflinching honesty of singer-songwriter Rett Madison.

RVSHVD, “Small Town Talk”

Jason Aldean earned plenty of criticism for the lyrics and video for his “Try That in a Small Town” this year. With “Small Town Talk,” RVSHVD — another small-town Georgia native who grew up in Willacooche, Georgia (population 1,200), a mere two hours from Aldean’s Macon hometown — offers a more uplifting take on what life is like in small towns. The song and video pay tribute to the values instilled by not only his family, but his tight-knit community — hard work, ethics and love. Sonically, the song’s rock-fused vibe fits squarely into country radio’s pocket, while RVSHVD’s laid-back vocals exude warmth and earnestness.

Kameron Marlowe, “Tennessee Don’t Mind”

Written by Daniel Tashian and Lady A’s Charles Kelley, Marlowe’s latest embodies the yin-and-yang of life on the road and what happens when a run of touring comes to a close. Far from some ballad lament, this track churns with the propulsive rhythm of a runaway horse, features smoking fiddle work and highlights Marlowe’s standout vocals, especially his upper register.

Leah Turner and Jerrod Niemann, “South of the Border”

A latticework of drums, commanding horns and growling electric guitars guide this sultry Latin-country groove. Mexican-American artist Leah Turner teams with “Lover Lover” hitmaker Niemann, and their harmonies meld stunningly, while the energy in their vocals prove a perfect match on this toggling of English and Spanish lyrics. This song turns up the heat, and hopefully is just the first of more collaborations to come from these two.

Muscadine Bloodline, “How Hangin’ Fruit”

Charlie Muncaster and Gary Stanton of Alabama duo Muscadine Bloodline have steadily and independently built up their fanbase through consistent new releases and dogged dedication to touring. Though they just released the project Teenage Dixie earlier this year, they’re already working on a new album, and have issued a pair of songs to preview the new project, including this snarling, heartache-driven song that swiftly works its way to breakneck speed as the lyrical angst winds tighter. The particularly acerbic lyric, “There ain’t a spoonful of sugar to help the taste of your own medicine go down,” is laced with extra bite.

Rett Madison, “Jacqueline”

The opening track on Madison’s recently released sophomore EP One For Jackie, “Jacqueline” is filled with raw grief, offering a stark contemplation of emotional wreckage in the aftermath of her mother Jacqueline’s suicide in 2019. The lyrics are exquisite, and unfiltered: “Searched your note a hundrеd times/ For answers and peacе of mind.”

The rest of One For Jackie details the complicated web of emotions that Madison has navigated in her journey toward understanding and healing, from the moments when unexpected events bring back memories (“Flea Market”), musing how a demise doesn’t absolve a complicated relationship (“Death Don’t Make a B*tch an Angel”), to imagining a post-death connection (“Kiki”). It’s a sterling, unflinchingly honest album, one not afraid to highlight grief’s messy margins.

Lauren Watkins feat. Carter Faith, “Cowboys on Music Row”

In this hazy ballad, these two supremely talented singer-songwriters lament the lack of “real cowboys” in Nashville’s commercially-minded Music Row area. Their voices blend gloriously as they sing of seeking out lone rangers, red-headed strangers and rodeo men who “sang what they knew.” By the time they land on the gut-punch lyric, “This place might as well be a ghost town / The soul of 16th Avenue,” it’s clear they’re making a cooly incisive assessment. The song is included on Watkins’ upcoming album Introducing: The Heartbreak, out Nov. 17 on Big Loud Records/Songs & Daughters.

Scotty Hasting, “How Do You Choose”

Hasting is a former Army Infantryman who survived 10 nearly fatal gunshot wounds while serving in Afghanistan. His debut offering for Black River Entertainment finds Hasting pondering the push-and-pull of emotions as he battles survivor’s guilt after years of military service while some of his comrades didn’t make it home. Starting off driven primarily by acoustic guitar and Hasting’s rough-hewn vocals, “How Do You Choose” is escalated with electric guitar, understated fiddle and full-bodied percussion. A promising, impactful debut.

Matt Schuster, “Last Fall”

Singer-songwriter Schuster already made a splash with “Tell Me Tennessee,” and proved his promise as a songwriter, landing a cut on Bailey Zimmerman’s album with “Chase Her.” On his latest, which he wrote with Abram Dean, Emily Falvey and John Newsome, he takes inspiration from John Mayer’s 2006 song “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room,” offering a moody petition to savor the last moments of a rapidly wilting relationship, if only to ward off the chill of the impending loneliness. His amiable, low-key voice leaves space for slick and slightly soulful instrumentation, giving the song a bittersweet undercurrent.

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