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Country Release Round-Up: Joe Nichols, Tyler Rich, Sam Outlaw & More!

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ANNA VAUS – ‘NIGHT CHANGES’

We have never started our weekly list with a One Direction song before, but we just had to make an exception for Anna Vaus who has added a distinctly country favour for her version of the track from the band’s fourth studio album. The subtle banjo inserts add to the rustic feel, and we love Anna’s interpretation.

She’s had a good year. The debut EP ‘Wild Honey’ has been well received and she’s sharing writing credits with Abby Anderson for Abby’s new single ‘Bad Posture’.

JOE NICHOLS – ‘SCREENED IN’

He’s releasing a new album on February 11th. ‘Good Day For Living’ is a 13-song collection that will be his 10th studio album, but the first on his new label Quartz Hill Records.

He’s reunited with producers Mickey Jack Cones and Derek George who were part of the team that was responsible for the 2013 ‘Crickets’ album, which included ‘Sunny and 75’ and ‘Yeah’.

‘Screened in’ is the first taster and will be one of three tracks released before the full album.

DREW BALDRIDGE – ‘WONTCHA COME BACK HOME’

A big country ballad from Drew Baldridge who sings about a break up with a former girlfriend, despite having just married his wife Katherine. Such is the life of a country singer!  

He’s had a good 2021 and has now released 5 songs independently that have totalled 120 million streams. The word is clearly being spread that Drew Baldridge may just be the one to watch in 2022.

The song was written with fellow performer Dylan Marlowe and Juno Bell, and was a fan favourite when he teased it on social media.

CARRIE UNDERWOOD – ‘STRETCHY PANTS’

We are definitely at the height of this year’s festive country releases, and our policy is very much “keep Xmas in December” when highlighting new songs. However, we couldn’t overlook Carrie’s take on the effects of over-indulging, whether it be at Thanksgiving or Christmas.

She wrote the song with Hillary Lindsey and Chris DeStefano, and a proportion of the proceeds will go to ‘The Store’ which is the grocery store that Brad Paisley and his wife Kimberly have founded for families who are struggling to put food on their tables.

Carrie will be starting her Las Vegas residency at Resorts World in December.

ZEPHANIAH OHORA & HAZELDINE – ‘BEST TO BONNIE’

A featured track from the new tribute album ‘Highway Buttefly’ that pays homage to the music of Neal Casal, a songwriter, guitarist. session musician and producer.

His sudden passing in August 2019 led to the creation of the Neal Casal Foundation that supports mental health organizations geared towards musicians. His legacy is kept alive by the many artists and associates who have come together to create a 41-track compilation album.

Casal’s final project was as a producer for Zephaniah O’hora’s ‘Listening To The Music’ album. ‘Best To Bonnie’ was recorded with the guys from Hazeldine who were also involved in Ohora’s album.

TYLER RICH – ‘A LITTLE BIT OF YOU’

Country radio will love the new track from Big Machine artist Tyler Rich. ‘A Little Bit Of You’ has been described by his fans as a ‘life anthem’ for those who are missing that certain person who is no longer in their life.

Produced by Jaren Johnston of The Cadillac Three, it’s his follow-up to ‘Better Than You’re Used To’, which we featured in the summer. He’s just completed his ‘2000 Mile’ tour in the US. A good bet for a spot at next year’s C2C? Let’s hope so.

SAM OUTLAW – ‘POPULAR MECHANICS’ (ALBUM)

It’s been four and a half years since Sam Outlaw released his last full length album ‘Tenderheart’. He’s back with a new album, and a sound that has certainly moved away from the ‘Cali-Country’ that fans have come to expect.

He is embracing his love for 80’s music, and there’s a distinct synth-pop feel throughout that isn’t a world away from the Depeche Mode and Duran Duran tracks of that era.

We have highlighted ‘Half A World Away’ with its complex rhythm arrangements, which is a far stretch from the Sam Outlaw that gave us Angeleno. He accepts that he doesn’t know how people will take to the album, but it’s an album he was always destined to make. Well worth checking out.

COLTON VENNER – ‘GAME BALL’

One of the best EPs we have heard this year is the new one from Colton Venner. The 5 tracks on ‘Game Ball’ are all high quality and well recommended.

He describes the title track as his favourite song that he has written, but we have highlighted ‘Long Shot’ as our pick from the set.

Venner’s no stranger to our weekly lists. He’s from Dallas, Texas and deserves a higher profile – check this guy out. 

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