New year, new music! Check out our February favorites, including Brett Young, Jennifer Nettles, and more.
Christina: Whitey Morgan & The 78’s
Attention, lovers of Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson and Cody Jinks: close your eyes and listen to this old-fashioned country grit. Whitey Morgan & The 78’s are a step in the right direction for traditional country music fans, with lyrics and twang dripping with outlaw spirit. The band hails from Flint, Michigan, and performs across the nation, bringing their unapologetic, gravelly sound to small clubs and deserving fans.
Annie: “Like I Loved You” by Brett Young
In honor of Brett Young’s stellar debut out this Friday, my February pick is the heartbreaker “Like I Loved You.” While not exactly a Valentine’s Day go-to, Young’s signature vocals and strong songwriting make an excellent point to an ex-lover who says that they should still be friends, that they can move on: “I gotta be honest, if you really believe that’s the truth, you never loved me like I loved you.”
Markus: “Stupid Girl” by Jennifer Nettles
I rediscovered this song in January, and I’ve been in love with it ever since. It’s a devastatingly honest and open record, tapping into themes of oppression and, to an extent, abusive relationships. It’s refreshingly well-written, and is paired with an evocative performance courtesy of Nettles. The pop-country acoustics and dynamite melody make this one of the absolute best records of the past several years, and it hits every mark on the quality checklist.
Lydia: “Five” by Dierks Bentley
My pick for February is “Five,” from Dierks Bentley’s seventh studio album Riser. The track was written by Bentley, Ross Copperman and Ryan Tyndell. There’s something about the vulnerability of a love you’ve known and had to set free that gets me every time – this is one of those songs. Its honest lyrics are relatable for anyone who’s experienced selfless love. It’s the safety in knowing that someone has your back no matter what, and you can always count on them: “Somethin’ ’bout the taste of a first love, first touch, that don’t ever seem to fade / Now you’re six hundred miles away, and a ten-hour drive, but if you called me tonight, I can make it in five.”
Natalie: “Heart Attack” by Wild Rivers
I just discovered Wild Rivers yesterday, and haven’t stopped listening since. The Canadian folk group from Toronto is comprised of members Devan Glover, Khalid Yassein, Ben Labenski, and Andrew Oliver – together, they’re a gentler version of the Civil Wars, sprinkled with a little Donovan Woods. Their harmonies are stunning, lyricism poignant, and guitar rhythms road trip-worthy. “Heart Attack” is a vulnerable, bluesy standout whose lilting chorus ends with an emphatic, matter-of-fact “Good gracious, you’re a heart attack.” 10/10 would recommend for rainy days.