Music

5 Must-Hear New Country Songs: Miranda Lambert, The Castellows, Johnny Cash & More

In this week’s crop of new country releases, Miranda Lambert displays strength against those who would underestimate her, while a new posthumous album from country music icon Johnny Cash highlights previously unreleased music of his from 1993. Check out all that and more of our latest favorites below.

Miranda Lambert, “Dammit Randy”

ACM Awards Triple Crown winner Miranda Lambert’s songs are known for whiskey-fueled, fiery dismissals of wrecked relationships, whether on early hits such as “Kerosene” or her recent “Wranglers” — but this time around, there’s no need for blazing, burn-it-all-down anthems. Here, in her latest release since inking a deal with Republic Records, she’s confident in her own value and strength (of both song and character) — she simply moves on, knowing the one who underestimated her will come to regret it. That perspective is evident on lines such as “You gave up ’til the very last minute/ Now that I’ve gone, I’ve got your attention.”

The Castellows, “Miss America”

This sibling trio offers up a harmonica-laced, coming-of-age story arc, one embedded with nostalgia and longing for simpler childhood moments of “bare feet in the dirt,” before this small-town girl grew up, moved away from home, and “got a big city chip on her shoulder.” This trio excels at these kinds of sepia-toned, neo-traditional country songs, which operate as a perfect vessel for their idyllic harmonies. The trio’s Powell, Lily and Eleanor wrote the song with Nicolle Galyon and Will Bundy.

Johnny Cash, “Hello Out There”

Cash’s new posthumous, 11-song project Songwriter stems from untouched demos Cash recorded at LSI Studios in Nashville in 1993, in between his 1991 set The Mystery of Life and what would become his career-revitalizing American Recordings series of projects with producer Rick Rubin. This celestial-tinged gospel song marks the project’s opening track, centered by Cash’s haunting calls for redemption and keen observations on humankind, and entrenching Cash’s reputation as not only a commanding vocalist but also a versatile songcrafter. “Hello Out There” is further elevated by a mesh of guitar from Marty Stuart, along with additional steel guitar, percussion, and vocals from Ana Cristina Cash and Harry Stinson.

Mackenzie Carpenter, “Only Girl”

Carpenter offers up her first true love song here, capturing the heady feeling of young love in this lilting, acoustic guitar-driven ballad. She wrote this song with her brother Micah, as well as Mia Mantia and SJ McDonald. With its slow-rolling feel and Carpenter’s honeyed vocal, “Only Girl” feels destined to be a wedding dance staple.

Midland, “Lucky Sometimes”

Trio Midland will issue their new eight-song project Barely Blue on Sept. 20, and are offering an early look at the set with their new single “Lucky Sometimes.” A tumble of pared-back guitars, harmonica and Laurel Canyon-esque harmonies, the group captures the euphoric feeling of being on a high-rolling streak of good luck, and enjoying the ride no matter how long it runs.

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