The Boot’s Weekly Picks: Leyla McCalla, Shovels & Rope + More

Every week, The Boot highlights recent favorites from country, Americana and everything in between. In every list, you’ll find picks from our contributing team that we think you’ll love. Keep reading to check out the latest installment of The Boot’s Weekly Picks.

  • Leyla McCalla

    “Fort Dimanche”

    Having broke ground with the Carolina Chocolate Drops and released her own masterful The Capitalist Blues, Leyla McCalla is no stranger to tackling controversial, historical topics. While researching Radio Haiti, the nation’s first Kreyol-language news station, McCalla was captivated by reports about Fort Dimanche, which was the political prison under the murderous Duvalier regime. The song intersperses archival clips with phrases that stood out to McCalla from the archives. — Rachel Cholst

  • The Cactus Blossoms ft. Jenny Lewis

    “Everybody”

    Ahead of their Feb. 11 album One Day, talented duo The Cactus Blossoms have released a new single with former tour mate and indie rock icon Jenny Lewis. “Everybody” is a bittersweet anthem for those wading through challenging times, just trying to get by. Their harmonies blend perfectly, creating a soundscape that wraps around you like a warm, comforting blanket. — Lorie Liebig

  • The Band of Heathens

    “Rock and Roll Doctor”

    On Feb. 25, The Band of Heathens celebrate the release of of Remote Transmissions, Vol. 1, a collection of cover songs that will be their first full-length effort since 2020’s Stranger. The first taste fans get of the new record is a faithful, modern take on Little Feat‘s ’74 track, “Rock and Roll Doctor,” and they get a little help from fellow Austin rockers White Denim. As you can tell, when these two bands come together to honor Little Feat, they create rock and roll magic. — Chuck Armstrong

  • Sara Gougeon

    “Frosted Soil Sun”

    Sara Gougeon, organizer of Queerfolk Fest, makes her Nashville debut with this ethereal single. She wrote the song while going through a breakup — one where her partner convinced her to stay. “Frosted Soil Sun” intricately layers those feelings of regret, sadness, resolve, and love into a poignant swirl of textures. — Rachel Cholst

  • Shovels & Rope

    “The Human Race”

    On the latest cut from their Feb. 18 album Manticore, Shovels & Rope take a moment to reflect on the strange, mysterious chaos of everyday life. Through the lyrical use of psychedelic-tinged imagery, the duo try and untangle the complicated and sometimes overwhelming moments of existentialism we all eventually face in life. — Lorie Liebig

  • Curse of Lono

    “Ursula Andress”

    We dare you not to tap your foot along to Curse of Lono‘s sleek “Ursula Andress.” The dreamy beat recounts a bender with ’90s power-pop confidence and the shimmery twang of 2000s folk pop. Lono wrote the song as an act of contrition towards his son, who cannot enjoy such nights out in the midst of the pandemic. — Rachel Cholst

  • Ryan Culwell

    “Wild Sometimes”

    The latest single from his upcoming record Run Like a Bull, Ryan Culwell showcases his impeccable ability to transform small slice of life stories into something that aims right at your emotions. “Wild Sometimes” recalls a sweet coming of age moment that will bring you back to the awkward innocence of youth. — Lorie Liebig

  • Colin Southfield & The Mushroom Country Band

    “The House”

    Colin Southfield & The Mushroom Country Band may have formed in 2020, but they feel like they’ve been playing together forever. The song recalls Colin’s boyhood explorations of an abandoned house, but the band turns this misadventure into a poignant — and super fun — ode to youthful wonder lost. — Rachel Cholst

  • Maren Morris

    “Circles Around This Town”

    Almost three years after the release of her award-winning record GirlMaren Morris returns with her autobiographical single “Circles Around This Town.” The upbeat, insanely infectious track reflects on the winding road that led her to success. With a sound that’s reminiscent of her early singles “80s Mercedes” and “My Church” (“Circles Around This Town” includes a lyrical nod to both of these tracks), the track acts an exciting teaser of more new music expected to come in 2022. — Lorie Liebig

  • Carson McHone

    “Still Life”

    Carson McHone, who was named one of The Boot’s 2019 Artists to Watch, is set to release her new album Still Life on Feb. 25. The record’s title track, which was co-written with Daniel Romano, supplies a groovy mesh of fuzzy indie rock and Americana. The track eventually builds to a defiant, pulsating peak that is sure to up your adrenaline and push you to keep moving forward. — Lorie Liebig

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