First Country is a compilation of the best new country songs, videos and albums that dropped this week.
Women rule the releases this week with standout albums from Miranda Lambert and Erin Enderlin as well as powerful songs from Karen Waldrup and Tara Thompson. On Wildcard, Lambert’s seventh studio album, the country singer blends her love for country and rock music for a memorable listen while Enderlin’s Faulkner County reminds the listener of the power of story songs.
Waldrup, meanwhile, partners with William Michael Morgan for a stunning ballad that details the power of love with “Me Again” and Tara Thompson showcases her love for Willie Nelson in the holiday-themed “Willie Nelson Tickets.”
Here are some of the most memorable country projects released this week.
Erin Enderlin, Faulkner County
Erin Enderlin captivates throughout the stunning Faulkner County. With 14 confessional story songs that pull on the heartstrings, Enderlin proves that traditional country music is alive and well. The heartbreaking “I Can Be Your Whiskey” kicks off the project as Enderlin yearns for a man to no avail. All the while, soaring strings and her emotive vocals draw the listener in. While Enderlin’s descriptive songwriting shines on the vivid “The Queen of Marina del Rey” it’s on the heartbreaking “Broken” that leaves the greatest mark. A poignant story of a woman from a broken family who gives her son up for adoption, Enderlin’s acute observations of life’s greatest hurts strike a chord. “When broken’s all you know/ It’s all you know how to be,” she croons.
Karen Waldrup, “Me Again” feat. William Michael Morgan
Stream will be available soon.
Waldrup’s whispered vocals pair beautifully with William Michael Morgan’s delicate country belt on the heartfelt “Me Again.” Waldrup penned the song with Danny Wells and Philip White after a difficult year that included personal and professional struggles. Now, the singer-songwriter has come out the other side a stronger person.
“It’s a heartfelt sentiment for all my supporters that stuck with me through some of the hardest times of my life,” Waldrup said in a statement. “Everybody who believed in me continued to believe in me despite circumstances and ‘Me Again’ was born in response to that."
Miranda Lambert, Wildcard
Lambert blends her love of country and rock music throughout Wildcard’s 14 tracks. She’s said her time living in New York City with her husband influenced the grit and rock influences on the album, which can be heard on infectious album opener “White Trash,” the fiery “Mess With My Head” and rock-infused “Locomotive.” She hasn’t left her country roots behind, though. “Tequila Does,” which embraces two time signatures and blends elements of a country waltz and two-step, showcases her Texas roots while “Way Too Pretty For Prison” is a fun collaboration with Maren Morris that recalls the Dixie Chicks’ “Goodbye Earl” where Lambert tells Morris that while she’d be happy to help kill a cheating ex, they’re way too pretty to wind up in prison for that.
Garth Brooks and Blake Shelton, "Dive Bar"
The fun "Dive Bar" visual is Brooks' first music video in 12 years, and sees the duo literally taking a dive underwater. “I keep saying that this is the most fun I’ve ever had on a video shoot,” Brooks said in a statement. “I couldn’t stop laughing, just pure joy. The band, crew, Blake…everyone made this one an unforgettable experience. It’s been a while since we’ve done a music video and I hope everyone agrees this one was worth the wait.”
Tara Thompson, “Willie Nelson Tickets”
Thompson is getting into the holiday spirit early this year with the infectious “Willie Nelson Tickets.” The lead track off her forthcoming Hillbilly Christmas album, Thompson admits that she doesn’t need “a new Mercedes, Gucci bag or Louboutin/ You don’t even have to wrap ‘em/ Gee, I gotta have them/ It’s the one thing I’m counting on,” she croons on the throwback country holiday song.
Teddy Robb, “Really Shouldn’t Drink Around You”
Teddy Robb is introducing himself to the country genre with his feel-good debut single “Really Shouldn’t Drink Around You” released Monument Records. The picturesque video for the love song was filmed in Colorado and shows Robb navigating state lines before playing the tune for his lady. With a rhythmic singing style that recalls Old Dominion, it’s no wonder that the tune was written by the band’s Trevor Rosen with Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne.