Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

This week’s crop of new music includes established artists and newcomers alike. Carolyn Dawn Johnson returns with a churning, empowering new track, while newcomer sibling trio The Castellows offer a twangy, lighthearted debut single. Hannah Dasher issues a brash redneck anthem, while Cody Jinks celebrates the free spirits and Riley Green brings a tender ode.


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Catie Offerman, “OK Cowboy”

Texan Offerman revels in smooth, classic country sounds on her latest, which she wrote with Joe Clemmons, Matt Dragstrem and Adam James, with production from Dann Huff. Here, Offerman’s voice — honeyed, slightly husky and always commanding — makes it clear that barroom infatuations don’t automatically equate to long-lasting romance: After all, as she sings, she “ain’t a stranger to a dust cloud heartbreak song.” Swirling fiddle and guitars converge to make this fan-favorite track a hit contender.

Hannah Dasher, The Other Damn Half

Singer-songwriter Dasher has gained a solid following on TikTok due to her music/cooking series “Stand by Your Pan,” but her music deserves greater recognition than it’s garnered. While her retro aesthetic and effervescent personality have drawn more than a few Dolly comparisons, the material on her latest project leans more toward Gretchen Wilson’s tell-it-like-it-is compositions. The songs on Dasher’s new project range from brash “Redneck A**” to the witty “Crying all the Way to the Bank” and the tender, faith-filled “Ugly Houses.”

Throughout, the album is soaked in glossy country twang and offers a perfect foil for her rough-hewn, expressive vocal, as she sings of hard-fought faith, hopeful romance and standing your ground all with the same fervor. She also wraps in her own version of “Go to Bed Early,” a song she cowrote that was recorded by Brad Paisley on his Love and War project, another nod to her underrated songwriting talents.

Cody Jinks, “Outlaws and Mustangs”

Since he debut project in the early 2000s, “Must Be the Whiskey” hitmaker Cody Jinks has done things his own way and has found success on his own terms in the process. Following his 2021 album Mercy, Jinks’ new song glories in the enlightenment-seeking rebel journeys of the free spirits. A glimmering gospel choir ushers the song to its closing zenith moments.

“You ain’t leaving me worried … The thing about outlaws and mustangs is they always come home,” he sings on this track he wrote with Thomas James McFarland (Tennessee Jet), offering a vote of confidence to a lover deadset on chasing their own dreams–and letting them know he innately understands that same drive.

Riley Green, “My Last Rodeo”

Green broke through with his wistful 2019 hit “I Wish Grandpas Never Died,” and he returns to similar ground on this tender outing, which also serves as the title track from his newly-released, dozen-song album Ain’t My Last Rodeo. The song is a solo write from Green, one that details an older gentleman’s last moments before dying — though he views it as another step on a long journey. Green’s warm vocal is stately here, bolstered by swirls of delicate instrumentation.

The Castellows, “No. 7 Road”

This sibling trio from Georgia recently signed with Warner Music Nashville, and is also repped by Make Wake Artists and WME. Sisters Ellie (acoustic guitar), Powell (banjo) and Lily (lead vocals) make their debut with “No. 7 Road,” a jangly uptempo number filled with charming twang that offers gratitude for their rural roots. A melodic outing is a promising start from this newcomer group.

Carolyn Dawn Johnson, “Road Blocks”

A singer-songwriter known for not only for her own 2000s hits such as “I Don’t Want You To Go,” as well as a writer on Chely Wright’s 1999 hit “Single White Female,” Johnson returns with her first new music since 2020’s “Light Changes Everything.” With “Road Blocks,” she brings a sultry, hard-charging empowerment anthem that elevates sheer tenacity, maintaining that setbacks don’t have to be permanent. The song is a preview for her new album, There She Is, out in 2024.

Sierra Ferrell, “Fox Hunt”

Ferrell follows her recent string of collaborations with Diplo, Margo Price and Zach Bryan with this cinematic solo outing, a first taste of an upcoming album. Here, Ferrell’s distinct, wisened twang and blistering fiddle work embody the frantic pace and hunger-fueled impulse to steer a fox hunt fast and intensely — capturing a time when a failed hunt meant forfeiting the next meal. The instrumentation and Ferrell’s voice display a masterful musicianship that can veer on the edge of untamed, while maintaining exquisite control.

Charley Crockett, “Killers of the Flower Moon”

Americana Music Awards winner Charley Crockett teamed with T-Bone Burnett to craft this song two years ago, inspired by the 1920s killings of at least 60 members of the wealthy Osage nation in Oklahoma, after oil was discovered on the tribal lands; the land was inherited or deeded to their guardians, local white businessmen, while the Bureau of Investigations found that the murders were led by William Hale in order to steal the Osage nation’s oil riches. The story is also currently covered in the Scorsese film of the same name, as well as the 2017 David Grann book Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI.

It takes a roughened, commanding voice to match the harrowing tale depicted here, and Crockett has that in spades. Cushioned by cinematic, Western sonics, the song succinctly and hauntingly lays forth the story’s hazy details in classic country murder ballad fashion.

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