First Country is a compilation of the best new country songs, videos and albums that dropped this week.
Lady Antebellum returns with its seventh studio album and first on Big Machine’s BMLG Records. “It felt like the early days again,” Lady A’s Dave Haywood told Billboard in an interview ahead of the project’s release.
Plus, Florida Georgia Line team up with Tayla Parx for “Fight” and Avenue Beat releases its feel-good “Be a Bro” video.
Meanwhile, newcomer Baylee Littrell unveils his debut country project 770-Country which has the teenage son of Backstreet Boys’ Brian Littrell blending his influences of pop and country for a standout project.
Here are some new country projects to spin this weekend.
Avenue Beat, “Be a Bro”
“If you hold a sister down/ It’ll all come back around/ So, be a bro/ Know the girl code,” the ladies of Avenue Beat sing on the infectious “Be a Bro,” for which the video dropped earlier this week. The trio, who have been friends since childhood, say the song is its rules “on how to keep a friendship alive for that long.”
“You gotta be nice to your friends because life is already freaking hard,” Avenue Beat told Billboard ahead of its performance at CMT’s Next Women of Country event on Tuesday (Nov. 12). “So, you don't need to add any more stress than you need … We’re all about lifting your fellow girl up.”
Baylee Littrell, 770-Country
The younger Littrell branches out from the spotlight of his father for a memorable release that includes plenty of chivalry, infectious choruses and hand-snapped beats. On “Don’t Knock It,” he offers to show a city girl how things are done in the country while the endearing “Boxes” has him telling a woman he’s ready to commit: “Damn proud of my Daddy’s name/ Can’t wait for the day that you take it.” Additional highlights include the upbeat love song “Dirt & Gold” and stirring piano ballad “Come Kiss Me,” featuring his father, Brian.
Cory Marks, “Outlaws & Outsiders” feat. Travis Tritt, Ivan Moody and Mick Mars
Newcomer Cory Marks brings in a wide array of collaborators on his debut track for Better Noise Music. The bombastic country-rock anthem “Outlaws & Outsiders” features Travis Tritt, metal icon Ivan Moody from Five Finger Death Punch and rocker Mick Mars from Motley Crue.
“‘Outlaws & Outsiders’ is a song for anyone who's ever felt different, or like an outsider period,” Marks says in a statement. “You can be an outlaw in many different ways and as an artist, for me it's simply creating something different, something unique and out of the box. It is doing my own thing and telling my own story.”
Tayla Parx, “Fight” feat. Florida Georgia Line
Singer-songwriter Tayla Parx enlisted the help of Florida Georgia Line for the soaring ballad “Fight.” A flawless blend of pop and country elements, the track details a couple fighting to keep their relationship alive. With ear-grabbing beats and stirring harmonies from FGL and Parx, the triumphant track captivates.
Lady Antebellum, Ocean
Lady Antebellum returns with Ocean, a deeply personal 13-track album that recalls the band’s early days. The project’s lead single, “What If I Never Get Over You,” a stirring track that features Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott trading verses, recalls the band’s 2009 crossover hit “Need You Now” while the title track highlights Scott’s emotive vocals. An emotional release, songs like “What I’m Leaving For” and “Be Patient With My Love” tug on the heartstrings but it’s on the busbee co-written “Alright” that leaves the greatest mark. An uplifting tune that reminds the listener to look at life with a glass half full perspective, the late producer leaves his imprint on the hopeful tune following his unexpected death in September.
Shannon LaBrie, Home From Anywhere
Newcomer Shannon LaBrie delights on her holiday EP Home From Anywhere, released independently today. In the midst of covering the classics including “Silver Bells," "Deck The Halls" and "I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” LaBrie sings two originals: the stirring title track and sultry “Something Classic.”