We’re almost ready to wrap up the first month of 2023, which has already supplied a treasure trove of great new music. Today we’re back with another installment of The Boot’s Weekly Picks, highlighting the best new tracks from country, Americana, and everything in between.
This week’s list of curated tracks includes a punchy new cut from Lauren Morrow‘s upcoming debut record, an uplifting anthem from rising trio Restless Road, and Bonner Rhae‘s reflection on the challenges that come with chasing your passion.
Keep reading to check out the latest installment of The Boot’s Weekly Picks, and check back every Thursday for more great tracks curated by our contributing team.
“Only Nice When I’m High”
Atlanta-raised, Nashville-based songwriter Lauren Morrow opens about how Mary Jane leaves her on cloud nine on the cheeky and brutally honest “Only Nice When I’m High.”
On the lead single from her upcoming full-length debut People Talk, out March 31 via Big Kitty Records, Morrow sings about how lighting one up helps her “leave the prison of my mind” and keeps her from being a “frozen up, neurotic, ice queen.”
Her urge to take the edge off and the world’s weight off her shoulders is something we can all relate to in one way or another, which makes “Only Nice When I’m High” a song we can all see ourselves in, laugh at and enjoy. — Matt Wickstrom
The Band of Heathens
Edgy Austin-based outfit the Band of Heathens are gearing up to release their new album Simple Things, due out March 17 on BOH Records.
Ed Jurdi and Gordy Quist share the role of lead vocalist on “Heartless Year,” one of two stellar tracks shared ahead of their upcoming LP. Propelled forward by chugging percussion, the track serves as a hopeful plea for brighter days. — Lorie Liebig
Newcomer Mae Estes details her escape plan from a sinking relationship in her latest song, “Run.” Over a haunting production assisted by instruments like the dobro, bass, and acoustic guitar, Estes assumes the persona of someone stuck in a romance that has her “thinking twice” far more than twice.
“You got to make me run out of reasons, ’cause boy I always lean toward the leaving / Give me something to run to instead of from, ’cause I made a run,” she pleads in the searing chorus with both pent-up frustration and weary heart.
Written by Estes, Marti Dodson, and Paul Sikes, “Run” is the latest track released ahead of her forthcoming debut EP, Before the Record, out Feb. 16. — Jeremy Chua
“No Rolling Stone”
Texan Bonner Rhae sings about the struggles of life on the road chasing your dreams as a musician, including the longing for those you love back home, on “No Rolling Stone.”
The first single from her forthcoming album, Forward Address, mentions misspelled names on marquees, the lonely neon glow of old dive bars and musky motels that leave her questioning her path.
In the end, Rhae’s decision to chase her dreams proves to be the right one, with the time away from home only making her appreciate it more as her unrelenting talent wins out. — Matt Wickstrom
“Best Way to Keep Holding On”
Ben Danaher teamed up with hit country songwriter and fellow Huffman, Texas native Allen Shamblin to pen his brand new track, ”Best Way to Keep Holding On.” It’s a moving and raw examination of the hardest battles we face, many of which can’t be seen by the naked eye. — Lorie Liebig
“On My Way”
Country trio Restless Road embrace life’s highs and lows in their inspiring new song, “On My Way.” Penned by the group’s Zach Beeken, Garrett Nichols, and Colton Pack, alongside hit songwriters Lindsay Rimes and Kyle Clark, the motivational tune offers a universally relatable message to all dream-chasers: don’t ever give up on your dreams.
“But I’m on my way, wherever I go / I’ll keep on walking this long winding road / And I ain’t afraid to love or to change / And be someone better than I was yesterday / I ain’t there yet, but I’m on my way,” goes the powerful, perfectly-harmonized chorus.
Pack describes the track as “one of the most vulnerable songs” they have ever written. “It helped us through one of the most uncertain times of our life, so we wanted to release this song, and we hope that it can help other people too,” he says. — Jeremy Chua
“Makes a Man”
Sometimes love drives one to do unimaginable things, but it sometimes has the uncanny ability to do the unimaginable by turning a boy into a man. This is precisely what emerging artist Jonathan Hutcherson reflects on in his thoughtful new song, “Makes a Man.”
On the track, Hutcherson chronicles the things that change in a guy’s life after meeting the girl of his dreams.
“You start talking crazy then you call your mama, say goodbye to all that small town drama / Out of nowhere you got a pocket full of dreams, and it’s more about her and a little less me / ‘Cause you got something you don’t want to lose / Yeah, what a girl makes a man want to do,” sings Hutcherson, who co-wrote the moving track with Claire Douglas and Jamie Moore, and produced it with Moore and Luke Laird.
Sonically, the Kentucky native’s latest offering embraces a stripped-down production, leaving room for his heartfelt emotions to runneth over, inviting listeners into this unfolding American love story. — Jeremy Chua