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6 Must-Hear New Country Songs: Carly Pearce, Kaitlin Butts, Vince Gill, Angie K & More

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This week’s crop of new country tunes includes the latest album from Kentucky native Carly Pearce — who stunned with her performance at Sunday’s (June 9) Nissan Stadium show during CMA Fest — as well as new songs from Matt Stell, Andrea Vasquez, Angie K, Muscadine Bloodline and a collaboration from Kaitlin Butts and Country Music Hall of Famer Vince Gill.

Carly Pearce, Hummingbird

On her new album, Pearce and her team of top-flight musicians showcase her further evolution of confessional, old-school (yet immediate) songcraft. The 13-song project is filled with revenge anthems and meticulously constructed kiss-offs (the raging “Truck on Fire,” “Heels Over Head”), as well as songs that depict the stages of a decaying relationship on tracks — including the Chris Stapleton collab “We Don’t Fight Anymore,” “Fault Line” and the cleverly written, fiddle-driven barn burner “Rock Paper Scissors,” which will hopefully be a single at some point. The singer-songwriter also once again lays out her unmistakable musical allegiances with “Country Music Made Me Do It.”

Elsewhere, Pearce reemerges from betrayal with a new, heart-healing relationship on the bluegrass-tinged “Trust Issues.” As with previous albums, Pearce pulls from the pages of her own story, and is a writer on all but one song on the album — offering a continuation from her post-divorce project 29: Written in Stone and a cataloguing of the emotional and relational progress and setbacks she’s navigated along the way. Leading all of these songs is Pearce’s bluegrass-informed, supple soprano, which brings a down-home elegance to even the most heartbroken and seething numbers.

Kaitlin Butts with Vince Gill, “Come Rest Your Head (On My Pillow)”

Americana darling Kaitlin Butts teams with her fellow Oklahoman Vince Gill here, with Gill adding earthy harmonies and background vocals on this gorgeous, fiddle-drenched song. “I know in the morning you gotta go,” she sings, offering her affections and a soft place to land to a hard-working, traveling cowboy. This song — a solo write from Butts — is essential for anyone seeking a love song delivered through old-school country sounds. “Come Rest Your Head (On My Pillow)” is from her upcoming, musical theatre-inspired album Roadrunner!, out June 28 via Soundly Music.

Angie K, “Red Dirt on Mars”

Lilting guitar elevates this brokenhearted ballad, as she searches for a place where she can sever the emotional strings that tie her to the pain of losing a loved one. “Where’s a cowgirl to go to burn a brand off her heart?” Angie K wonders, as her warm vocal crackles with disarming vulnerability. Angie K wrote the song with Hayden Cain, Joey Ebach and Mary Kutter, with production by writer-producer Stephony Smith.

Matt Stell, “Smooth”

Stell turns to tender balladry on his new song, as he offers a forlorn look at the deep-seated, generational impact of a family’s decision to sell off family farmland to a smooth-talking businessman. The song plays as the opposite side of the coin to Cody Johnson’s song “Dirt Cheap.” “They cut the trees down and dug up my roots,” Stell sings, adding that now, “I got an empty soul and a full inbox.” Stell wrote the song with Chris DeStefano, and the track is featured on his new album Born Lonely, from RECORDS Nashville.

Andrea Vasquez, “Moving Target”

“That girl is a cowboy,” Vasquez sings in this ode to a woman who has her defenses up, a strong sense of wanderlust, and a vision for her own life squarely in front of her. Production with a pop sheen elevates Vasquez’s emotionally nuanced, assured voice here. Vasquez, a California native with Latin American roots, wrote “Moving Target” with Bailey Morgan and Eitan Snyder.

Muscadine Bloodline “10-90″

This independent duo, made of Gary Stanton and Charlie Muncaster, has been steadily building its audience for nearly a decade, and continues evolving and accelerating its craft. This soulful ode to committed love is one of Muscadine Bloodline’s best releases yet. “Gimme you on your worst day and I’ll give you my best,” they sing, while the production is polished but not overdone, superbly highlighting the harmonies. “10-90” is from the duo’s album The Coastal Plain, out Aug. 16.

Jessica Nicholson
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