MARTY STUART – ‘I’VE BEEN AROUND’
It’s always good to hear new music from Marty Stuart, and we start this week’s highlights list with his contribution to the new Johnny Cash project, ‘Forever Words’, featuring various artists’ interpretations of the songs that Cash penned during his long and illustrious career.
Marty Stuart’s connection with Cash is well documented. He spent five years in his band and was married to his daughter, Cindy.
The album features 18 songs. ‘I’ve Been Around’ was a song penned by Cash in his later years but was never recorded. Stuart’s interpretation is true to the vocal style of the Man In Black.
CAITLYN SMITH FT. OLD DOMINION – ‘I CAN’T’
The original version was included on Caitlyn Smith’s sophomore album Supernova, released in March. She has now released a deluxe version of the album, which includes this collaboration with Old Dominion.
Caitlyn said that she “goes way back” with the Old Dominion guys, and they were top of her list to recreate this song.
AUSTIN WEBB – ‘BRINGS HIM BACK’
A new name on our highlights list, Austin Webb from Williamston, South Carolina is now based in Nashville, and signed with Streamsound Records in 2012. He was close to a breakthrough in 2015 when his single ‘All Country On You’ peaked at #38 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart.
‘Brings Him Back’ is the latest single, and is the recent addition to his ‘Patchwork’ collection of singles that he has been releasing during the pandemic.
ELLE MEARS – ‘WHAT IF I’
Another Nashville-based artist new to our ears is Elle Mears, who grew up in Seattle, recorded her first EP when she was 16, and moved to Nashville to study at Belmont University. She’s been gradually creating a back catalogue of songs and working on Broadway as a bartender, such is the lifestyle of aspiring young musicians.
Her cover of Thomas Rhett’s ‘Marry Me’ garnered 1.5 million YouTube views, and she has described it as a tipping point in her career.
‘What If’ is her latest very impressive release, and we reckon that this is a performance that deserves wide exposure.
BARRY ABERNATHY – ‘BIRMINGHAM JAIL’
We don’t feature traditional Bluegrass very often on our lists, but we couldn’t resist this new song from Barry Abernathy. It features Vince Gill and is included on Abernathy’s album, Barry Abernathy and Friends, which was actually recorded 4 years ago but hasn’t yet had a full release.
The album is due on 26th February on ARS, and blues/folk song ‘Birmingham Jail’ is the first taster from the project.
BRANDON RAY – ‘FRESH’
Brandon’s plan for the new year is to release a brand new song every month for the whole of 2021, and the songs appropriately begin with ‘Fresh’, a mid-tempo radio-friendly chart contender.
He’s from West Texas and was playing 250 shows a year before touring was halted, but has also played guitar in Brett Eldredge’s band, opened for Taylor Swift and landed his own publishing deal in Nashville.
We suspect that we will all be hearing more of Brandon Ray this year.
GENEVIEVE FISHER – ‘PLAYING FAVOURITES’
Canadian Genevieve Fisher has already earned 7 top 50 national country hits on the Canadian Country charts, and her new single ‘Playing Favourites’ caught our attention this week.
She’s from London, Ontario and has been very much on the radar back home with nominations for Female Artist of the Year at the CCMA awards in 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.
She’s expecting a baby in March, so 2021’s shaping up to be a memorable year.
MUSCADINE BLOODLINE – ‘BURN IT AT BOTH ENDS (REIMAGINED)’
Muscadine Bloodline have been releasing reimagined versions of their songs over the last couple of months, and it’s high time that we featured another track from the collection.
‘Burn It At Both Ends’ was the title track of the album that was released last September, and the guys have been releasing a revamped version of each of the albums tracks every week since the beginning of December.
They are starting a mini-tour of the south eastern states, beginning on 25th February, and we sincerely hope that this goes well and paves the way for more safe live shows from other artists.
AMANDA SHIRES – ‘OUR PROBLEM’
Amanda Shires released the original version of this in September with her husband, Jason Isbell. At that time, it was entitled ‘The Problem’, but she has now re-recorded it with a multi-generational female cast.
The song now features Cyndi Lauper, Angie Stone, K Flay, Lilly Hiatt, Linda Perry, Morgane Stapleton, Nona Hendrx, Peaches, Valerie June on vocals and Sheryl Crow on bass.
The song deals with a frank discussion on abortion, and Amanda Shires has stated that it is a subject that “isn’t talked about enough”, hence the need for the highlighting of the sensitive subject.