This month’s selections include Ashley Monroe, Caleb Caudle, Jeff Hyde, Tenille Arts, Kacey Musgraves, and Savannah Conley.
Lydia: “Hands on You” by Ashley Monroe
I literally blushed the first time I heard this sultry, smoky new release from Ashley Monroe. Written with veteran songwriter Jon Randall, “Hands on You” is the lead single off her forthcoming album Sparrow (produced by Dave Cobb) due out April 20th. Women singing about sex is often frowned on, but Monroe puts herself out there in this daydream-y recounting of an experience she wished she had. It’s a sophisticated and empowering song that makes a strong statement – it’s okay for a woman to embrace her sensuality.
Key Lyrics: “I wish I woulda let you lay me down, cause I wouldn’t be here wishing now / I wish I’d-a laid my hands on you … I wish you woulda laid your hands on me / And never let me go, drawing pictures on my skin in places no one’s ever been / I wish I’d-a laid my hands on you.”
Annie: “Henry Ford” by Jeff Hyde
To be frank, I think “Henry Ford” is a damn near perfect song. The concept is one that has rarely, if ever, been touched on lyrically, making it a standout from the start. Hyde’s echoey vocals blend with simple, resonant picked strings (yes, he plays for and writes with Eric Church, and sonically, you can tell the two work well together). Hyde told us recently that he put out Norman Rockwell World because he had some songs he thought it was a shame would never see the light of day, and “Henry Ford” is a shining example.
Colin: “Moment Of Weakness” by Tenille Arts
If you don’t know about Tenille Arts, you really should. She’s a super talented up-and-coming Canadian country music artist. Her new single “Moment Of Weakness” is a love song that showcases her stunning vocals and fantastic songwriting ability. Recently, Arts performed the single on ABC’s hit show “The Bachelor.” Her debut album Rebel Child just came out in October, and I’ve had it on repeat ever since. It’s full of quality tracks from top to bottom – I can’t stop singing along. The future is bright for Saskatchewan’s Tenille Arts.
Zack: “Six Feet From The Flowers” by Caleb Caudle
Caleb Caudle’s Crushed Coins album is one of the best albums of the year thus far. With its attention to detail and enrapturing melodies, this is an easy album to enjoy. The highlight of the album comes toward the end: like a classic country song, “Six Feet From The Flowers” is full of heartache as the narrator deals with the death of a loved one. The song is framed so that anyone can relate to it, and considering Caudle’s strong vocals, this is easily one of 2018’s most heartbreaking songs.
Key Lyrics: “I still have all your trinkets / They’re covered up in dust / I still have my old workbench / But the tools have gone to rust / With no one left to impress / I haven’t built a thing / I reach into my pocket / And hold your wedding ring.”
Markus: “Space Cowboy” by Kacey Musgraves
Kacey Musgraves has crafted an artistic identity based on unique turns-of-phrase and a distinct depth of storytelling. It’s an identity present throughout her first two albums, Same Trailer, Different Park and Pageant Material. It’s also a quality that finds itself front-and-center on the new outstanding pre-release track, “Space Cowboy.” The eccentric title plays off the idea of giving space to a lover who feels trapped, and the track is a stunning vocal performance from Musgraves.
The melancholic atmosphere is evoked through outstanding, minimalistic production, while Musgraves’ passion has enough muscle to invoke a deep emotional connection with the listener. It’s a record that holds up superbly on a backdrop of an outstanding discography, and leaves you clamoring for what Musgraves has to offer on the upcoming Golden Hour.
Natalie: “Waitin’ My Life Away” by Savannah Conley
I was introduced to Savannah Conley at the Low Country Sound showcase in Nashville a few months ago (she’s the newest member of producer Dave Cobb’s stellar roster). She’s a little Ashley Monroe, a little Stapleton, a little Emmylou… but for all the musical influences she seems to draw upon, her sound is fresh and her perspective unique. This track is simultaneously depressing and motivating – her vocals skillfully convey the narrator’s extreme uncertainty and powerful frustration – and its safe to say I’m hooked.
Key Lyrics: “Waitin’ on that sunshine to come out of the clouds / Waitin’ on forever to come out of your mouth.”