From a New York spirit to a Nashville state of mind: that’s the transition Michaela Anne seems to have made with her new single ‘Won’t Go Down’, an upbeat song that introduces us to the extrovert side of her sound and personality.
The cover art gives the tone – an electric blue bedazzled jumpsuit that plunges us into a vintage honky-tonk mood. With its electric guitars and retro melody, ‘Won’t Go Down’ delves into Anne’s balance between being freewheeling and having moral values, in an up-tempo yet introspective way.
Co-written with producer Dave Brainard (Brandy Clark, Jerrod Nieman), the song explores their relationship with trouble, as the two were raised in military families and ended up in the world of music. “I ain’t no angel but I stand my ground” she sings, claiming there are sins she’ll give in to and sins she won’t.
Michaela Anne has definitely widened her range in terms of topics and musical color, adding an element of spontaneity and liveliness to her music after the very autobiographical Ease My Mind.
Joining Kelsey Waldon and Margo Price on the East Nashville scene, Michaela Anne announces with ‘Won’t Go Down’ a playful new album that mixes heartfelt lyrics and catchy hooks. Bright Lights and the Fame is set to be released in May and is already available for pre-order.
Shelly Colvin has just released ‘I Want To’, the first single from her upcoming sophomore album Longshot. Blending Americana with east-Nashville’s alt-country, California’s folk and Alabama’s gritty bluegrass, ‘I Want To’ tackles the topics of regrets and lost love with a unique voice and sound.
Shelly Colvin is Nikki Lane’s partner in crime. The two share a love of Americana and often duet on each other’s records – this single included. But don’t misinterpret shared tastes for similar sounds. While Nikki Lane has been described as the misbehaving rebel child of Americana, Shelly Colvin’s sonic identity finds its root in more of a folksy aura.
‘I Want To’ reflects Colvin’s ability to create a unique old-fashion yet modern sound. Shelly’s haunting vocals and unpretentious style takes you to another era where 70s folk meets southern rock. The song depicts the aftermath of a breakup in an elegantly down-to-earth way, Colvin singing her regrets and struggle to move on: “And I wonder who is loving you / driving you down Pacific Avenue / like I want to”.
With her gender-bending sound and authentic songwriting style, Shelly Colvin is establishing herself as one of the best up-and-coming Americana artists, and ‘I Want To’ announces a promising LP – set to be released April 1st.
The Hawaii-based Willie Nelson’s protégée has just released her first album They Say, a collection of original songs and classics’ covers filled with country-folk and blues inspirations.
You might have discovered Lily Meola during her multiple Farm Aid performances. In 2013 she joined Willie Nelson to perform ‘Will You Remember Mine’, a duet present on the To All The Girls… album. In 2014 she shared the stage with Jamey Johnson to sing their version of ‘Dream A Little Dream of Me’, and the next year they performed her self-penned song ‘Bad Weather’.
You can now find these three tracks on her debut album They Say, along with nine other country-meets-jazz gems. On this record the Maui-native delivers heartfelt lyrics filled with quirky imagery, with powerful bluesy vocals and a style that mixes Lindi Ortega’s classic country and Lucie Silvas’ pop-folk.
Between the modern Americana sound of ‘Bad Weather’ and ‘Sinkin’ Soon’, the romantic elegance of ‘Don’t Change’, and the badass swagger of ‘Bad Boy’, They Say’s original songs demonstrate that Lily Meola could very well be the next phenomenon of both alt- and mainstream country. A prediction backed by country legends Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson who showed their support to Meola by appearing on this must-have album.
Powerful vocals, fearless lyrics and a sound that blends country and alt-pop/rock: that’s what makes Morgan Myles’ music so unique and captivating. In her new EP Miss Morgan Myles, the Pennsylvania native explores all the phases of love – from its danger to its beauty – while creating a modern sound that sticks to its country roots.
Morgan Myles has been riding the music train for a while now, opening for Reba McEntire and Hank Williams Jr, and even producing her own EP in 2013. This long ride helped her find her voice and shaped her unique sound, a blend of traditional country and alt-pop with a touch of RnB.
Myles’ songwriting style makes her stand out and away from the current wave of pop-country singers. “Love is a bullet in a loaded gun / It shoots to kill when your heart is on the line / Love is a dangerous game and we’re all just fools that play” she sings on the blues-inspired ‘Queen of Hearts’. The lyrics are as country as can be – gritty, sassy and heartfelt – and Myles’ soulful voice beautifully conveys their southern roots. Add to this the multi-genre-influenced arrangements of Rio Ville, a Nashville producer who usually travels the hip-pop circles, and you get a refreshing new country sound!
Between ‘Whiskey Dreaming’ that describes the aftermath of a heartbreak, and the playful night-on-the-town anthem ‘We Won’t Go Home’, the EP is a collection of catchy “country songs with a twist”. Just listen to ‘Adeline’, which could have been the typical pop-country cheating hit but instead blends alt-pop/rock with Miranda Lambert-esque lyrics to create a totally addictive song!
The EP closes with ‘What You Do To Me’ and ‘Nobody Better Than You’, two RnB inspired love declarations that will remind you of Tori Kelly and demonstrate that country music can be elegantly modernized.
Morgan Myles isn’t afraid to explore every corner of the country specter and to venture beyond its frontiers. With the refreshing Miss Morgan Myles EP, we get a glimpse of how great modern country can sound!
Canada has proven many times to be the home of amazing country music (Whitney Rose, Lindi Ortega), and once again the Great White North hasn’t disappointed! Belle Starr is a three-fiddle band that revives country-folk with grace and sass, and their first album shows how great traditional-meets-modern country can sound.
Named after a southern outlaw, Belle Starr is the union of Miranda Mulholland, Stephanie Cadman, and Kendel Carson, three fiddlers rebelling from the diktat of pop-country as sole form of modernization. On their album of the same name, the trio delivers a unique blend of old time fiddling, step-danced rhythm sections, stunning harmonies, and fresh catchiness.
Between the liveliness of ‘New Girl Now’ and ‘Cry Now’, the ethereal vocals of ‘Same Old Scene’ and the beautiful storytelling of ‘Freedom To Stay’, the album manages to fit in the modern era without denaturing the sonic twanginess of country!
The record adds a layer of uniqueness with its mix of Celtic and Americana influences on ‘Art O’Leary’, its captivating instrumental tracks like the melancholic ‘Arthur’s Air’ and the uplifting ‘Charity Kiss’, and its countrified covers of Springsteen’s ‘Tougher Than The Rest’, Neil Young’s ‘Love Is A Rose’, and Justin Rutledge’s ‘Be A Man’.
The 2013 released album is an impressive collection of alt-country songs about love and identity search, and the lucky ones can discover the Belle Starr sound live next February – in the meantime check out the video above of the awesome performance from their CMT special.
Kailey Swanson may be Vegas-born and California-raised, but she chose to dig deep in her southern roots to build her country-rock sound. With an outlaw style à la Tommy Ash, and classic country-inspired storytelling, Swanson’s first EP Nashville Stickup sounds just like its title: a phenomenal overthrow of the pop-country wave that has flooded Music City!
After starting a career in acting, Kailey Swanson found a new voice with music and her sound at the bottom of her family tree. Inspired by her Kentucky heritage, Swanson penned five haunting tracks where her ethereal vocals add an eerie color to her heartfelt lyrics.
From the gospel-inspired Americana ballad ‘Corner in Heaven’ to the honky-tonk title song, Nashville Stickup encompasses somber moods, up-tempo catchy tunes, deep lyrics, and rock attitude. Special mention for ‘Ghost’ and ‘Backseat’ that confirm her rock inclination and will stay stuck in your head for days.
Joining Elle King on the new country-rock scene, Swanson imposes her vintage outlaw style and successfully eschews the pop trap most newcomers fall into. With the country UFO that is Nashville Stickup, Kailey Swanson is undoubtedly entering Music City with a bang!
Dana Hassall introduces her alt-country sound with self-penned ‘Spinning Wheels’, the title song from her upcoming album, and its gripping music video.
The Australian songstress lived the true country life growing up on an alpaca farm in Queensland, a lifestyle that gave her the space and time to creatively reflect on her everyday experiences and led to her discovery of songwriting when she was eight. Fifteen years later, Hassall is pursuing on this introspective path as she put to music the joys and struggles of growing up in her first LP Spinning Wheels.
With the first single, Dana contemplates the uncertainty of achieving what she aims for, while presenting the sound she has molded over the years – a mix of Americana, roots and country that reminds of an acoustic Lera Lynn.
“The single, ‘Spinning Wheels’, comes from that twenty-something feeling of wondering whether all your effort is going to amount to anything, but soldiering on when it feels like you’re getting nowhere”, Dana explains. And the song’s video perfectly reflects this aura of unpredictability, as a woman finds herself spending her life driving seemingly nowhere, carrying around her (emotional?) baggage.
As Dana Hassall works her way towards the ranks of Kasey Chambers and newcomer Fanny Lumsden on the Australian country scene, ‘Spinning Wheels’ announces a deeply wise and personal album, due to be released on January 15.