Jennifer Nettles’ vocals have never sounded more authentic.
I’ve been focusing so much on pop/rock that I completely forgot there is new music in country and R&B, as well. I rectify part of that by focusing on new country music I think you should be checking out. Country music is close to my heart; I can appreciate the attention to lyric writing that pop/rock sometimes forgoes in favor of image. So this week, FFF goes country!
Meghan Patrick: “I Won’t Drink” | From her album Grace & Grit, Meghan Patrick delivers what I consider the perfect country song. It’s a ballad that focuses on lost love and drinking: two tenements of any good country song. Every aspect, from the lyrics to the vocal arrangements, is magnificent.
Chad Brownlee: “Somethin’ We Shouldn’t Do” | Hockey player turned country singer Chad Brownlee has a voice that gets all my three stars. Its tone is disarming, inviting, and full of charisma. The overall vibe of this track is super sexy. This song should be mandatory listening during all makeout sessions.
Jennifer Nettles: “Starting Over” | While listening to Nettles’ new album Playing with Fire, I was sure I would recommend “Sugar”—which is an amazing song—but then I came upon this masterpiece. Nettles’ vocals have never sounded more authentic than on this track. She just has it, and slays it on this song. This ballad ripped out my heart, stomped on it, made me cry about it, and made me want to be a better person. I would pay big bucks—I am talking a fiver—to see a drag queen do this one justice.
Cyndi Lauper: “Walkin’ After Midnight” | Cyndi Lauper in a column about country music? She’s so unusual. That’s right, folks: The pop chanteuse takes a detour with her new album Detour, paying homage to some of the biggest names in the business. Lauper does Patsy Cline proud by not going too over the top, while still adding in her pop sensibility on this classic country track. Anytime you want to go walking, Cyndi, I will be right here waiting—apparently with Richard Marx.
Cole Swindell: “Stay Downtown” | This is another example of how country songwriting eclipses other genres. The lyrics in the chorus of this mid-tempo ballad paint the perfect picture of a man who’s had it with his drunk girlfriend. Swindell’s voice is tremendous as he gives the gorgeous lyrics every ounce of hurt and frustration they deserve. Wow: A song that showcases the sensitive side of a man. Put this one in the record books.
If you want to hear these songs—and others by these bands, as well as from previous columns—check out my Five for Friday playlist on Spotify. It will become your new radio station! Enjoy!
And check this out, kids! I will be hosting my own monthy radio show on RiotRadioRocks.com on the first Monday of every month from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Central. You can hear all the songs I find, as well as interesting talk about current issues. Be sure to tune in every month! | Jim Ryan