7 Must-Hear New Country Songs: Jake Worthington, Bailey Zimmerman, Erin Kinsey & More
Barroom heartbreak country from Jake Worthington, jam band energy from Boy Named Banjo, a hard-charging confessional from Bailey Zimmerman and sophisticated balladry from Erin Kinsey are among the best country songs debuting this week. Check out these and more of our new favorites below.
Jake Worthington, “State You Left Me In”
Former The Voice contestant Worthington has earned praise (and a publishing deal) from Brooks & Dunn’s Ronnie Dunn — which is aptly placed, given Worthington’s pure Texas drawl. Worthington’s latest song, which he wrote with Roger Springer and Timothy Baker, is hearty heartbreak country. She’s left for Cabo, while he still resides in the (emotionally shattered) state she left him in. While the influence of staunch country traditionalists such as George Jones and Tracy Lawrence are apparent, he manages to bring his own nuances to wringing the anguish out of every note.
Erin Kinsey, “Always Never”
With a strikingly pure tone — lyrically and vocally — Kinsey conveys the story of a couple struggling to sustain a relationship that’s not meant to be. “You blame it on feelings changing, I blame the dreams I’m chasing/ Neither one of us wanted to say it, but boy it’s never not been fading,” she sings over this dream-pop haze of a track, which she wrote with Sarah Buxton and Josh Kerr.
Bailey Zimmerman, “Religiously”
Zimmerman follows a string of solid singles like “Rock and a Hard Place” with this tear-jerker of a track that finds him taking solace in an old church pew, in a last-ditch effort to soothe the hurt of losing “the only woman who was there for me, religiously.” Despite this artist’s relatively tender age, he brings emotional heft and authority to the throes of heartbreak here, especially on self-recriminating lines like, “You were all about us, I was all about myself/ What kind of man would lose a woman like that?”
Haley Mae Campbell and Julia Cole, “20 Something”
South Carolina-raised Campbell and Texas native Cole forged a friendship in Nashville’s writing rooms, and now team up for this festive tribute to youthful years of fun-fueled late nights, gallivanting and making new friends — because, as they put it, “memories ain’t going to make themselves.” The duo brings a spry verve and synergy that belies the wisened perspective of lines such as “Raise one up to all the mistakes made in the name of being young/ ‘Cause growing up’s good for nothing.”
Boy Named Banjo, “Whiskey Dreams”
Amid the breakneck, banjo/mandolin/harmonica-fueled and seriously wrought instrumentation that has become their calling card, this collective of musicians — Barton Davies, William Reames, Willard Logan, Sam McCullough, and Ford Garrard — depicts a scene of whiskey-drowned worries. “One shot will just stop the hurtin’/ Two will put a smile on your face,” they sing, crafting an enticing invitation to take the moments of nadir and drink them blurry.
Warren Zeiders, “Pretty Little Poison”
Zeiders’ raw, papery vocal rips into this grizzled track he wrote with Ryan Beaver and Jared Keim. For others, alcohol, pills or some alternate vice might fill a need, but he takes a clear-eyed stance that he’s easily swayed by a momentary lover and old memories. “She’ll probably be the death of me/ But damn if it ain’t sweet,” he sings. Zeiders came to the country music forefront on the strength of songs like “Ride the Lightning,” and his latest offers an early look into his upcoming summer album.
Madison Hughes, “You or the Whiskey”
This ambient track, which Florida native Hughes wrote with Rich Deans (with production from Justin Weaver), finds Hughes pondering if an encounter with a charismatic, attentive guy at a bar will amount to more than a whiskey-fueled heartbreak in the making. Florida native Hughes’ delightfully husky voice is underpinned by an understated, yet hook-driven melody, offering high hit potential.