Music

5 Must-Hear New Country Songs: Morgan Wallen, Thomas Rhett, Avery Anna & More

This week’s crop of new music includes the latest from country music powerhouse Morgan Wallen, while Thomas Rhett delves into ’90s country influences on his contribution to the Twisters movie soundtrack. This week’s new country releases also include music from Avery Anna, Chase Matthew and Vincent Mason.

Morgan Wallen, “Lies Lies Lies”

The Sneedville, Tennessee native has swiftly become one of country music’s dominant forces — and with his recent Hyde Park show in London and an upcoming slate of U.K. shows, Wallen is displaying his prominence as a key figure in heightening country music’s global reach. He’s been a consistent hitmaker, lobbing one popular track after another at Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, and earning two pinnacle-reaching Hot 100 hits (including the 16-week No. 1 “Last Night”). While many of those hits have been sleek, uptempo productions, Wallen takes a slight respite with this moody, heartbreak-riddled ballad, having previously recorded a live version of the song for his Abbey Road Sessions project. “Lies Lies Lies” finds Wallen in the throes of an unsuccessful attempt to convince himself that he is now fully removed from an ex-lover, only to collide with deep-seated, undeniable reality on the key line, “I’m still a fool for you.” Written by Jessie Jo Dillon, Josh Miller, Daniel Ross and Chris Tompkins, this angst-fueled ballad offers a vessel for the soulful nuances in Wallen’s Tennessee twang.

Thomas Rhett, “Feelin’ Country”

This rollicking track — which marks Thomas Rhett’s contribution to the soundtrack Twisters: The Album — details the early hours of an evening that seems guaranteed to bring both partying and romance, with a few essential elements including a local beer joint, some classic ‘90s George Strait filling the air and a lover with, as Rhett sings, “a neon green dance-with-me look in her eyes.” While much of this singer-songwriter’s catalog of 20 No. 1 Billboard Country Airplay hits has been woven upon a bedrock of glaze-smooth, pop-leaning constructions, here he reminds listeners that he can handle a hefty slice of ‘90s country with aplomb.

Avery Anna, “Girl Next Door”

Singer-songwriter Anna turns in one of her strongest tracks yet with this intricate sketch of a young girl who offers friendship to another 13-year-old who moves into the neighborhood, while also providing refuge as her friend navigates a strenuous family situation. She recalls the contrasting lives the two girls, with keen observations such as, “I was playing in the sun/ While you were taking care of everyone.” The fact that the composition was written by Anna alone makes the song, and her honeyed-yet-disquieted vocal rendering, all the more potent. Anna’s debut album, Breakup Over Breakfast, will be released July 19 on Warner Music Nashville, and seems aimed to heightening Anna’s promise as a towering, soul-baring tunesmith.

Vincent Mason, “Heart Like This”

Interscope/UMG Nashville/Music Soup artist Mason earned a viral hit earlier this year with the tune “Hell is a Dance Floor” and subsequently released his EP Can’t Just Be Me. On his latest, he lends his gritty, flame-warm voice to a song detailing the emergence from heartbreak’s emotional wreckage and the subsequent ache-numbing attempts, only to ponder the way forward for someone whose heart has been battered. Mason wrote this stripped-back track with Cary Barlowe and Jaxson Free, and lyrically, “Heart Like This” is at once poetic and direct in its assertion. Yet Mason and co. infuse it with a melody that hews slightly closer along the lines of modern country than some of his previous efforts, making for release both heartfelt and contemporary.

Chase Matthew, Always Be Mine (EP)

Across the span of five tracks on his newly released EP, the “Love You Again” singer makes a succinct yet vigorous bid to further build upon his hitmaking status. The EP offers up the heartbreak and hip-hop fusion of “Always Be Mine,” as well as the rock-dripped reminiscing of “First.”  But chief among them is the closer “How You Been (Letter to the County Line Girl),” a soulful track that dials up the angst with a story arc of a chance encounter with a former flame. Overall, the set highlights his unique sifting of country, rock and soul elements and his ability to fuse them with his muscular vocal.

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