First Country: New Music From Jason Aldean, Billy Ray Cyrus, Barry Gibb and Jason Isbell

Jason Aldean, “Blame It on You”

As Aldean’s current album, 2019 chart topper 9, nears its first anniversary, he releases his third single from the project and follow up to No. 1 Country Airplay hit, “Got What I Got.” The mid-tempo track finds Aldean convincingly wallowing in his own misery over his woman leaving him and knowing, despite trying to blame it on everyone else, it’s his own damn fault. (Hopefully, the powers that be release “Champagne Town,” the album’s strongest song, as the single after this.)

Barry Gibb and Jason Isbell, “Words of a Fool”

The first release from Greenfields: The Gibb Brothers Songbook Vol 1, is also the only previously unreleased track on this collection — which pairs The Bee Gees’ Barry Gibb with some of country’s biggest names on recordings of the sibling trio’s greatest hits. This poignant, organ-drenched waltz sounds like it’s existed forever. Isbell and Gibb, of course, acquit themselves well here — but if a song ever cried out for George Jones to come back and sing, this is it.

Billy Ray Cyrus, The Singin’ Hills Sessions – Mojave

Understandably emboldened by the tremendous success of his appearance on the remix of Lil Nas X’s Grammy-wining “Old Town Road,” Cyrus opens this EP, the second in his The Singin’ Hills Session series, with a twangy country version of LL Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out” that totally upends the rap classic. On the haunting “Ghost Dance,” a song inspired by his respect for the Native American culture, Cyrus sings in a voice that carries the weight of a thousand years — but he takes a lighter touch later on, especially on the jaunty EP closer, “Good at Goodbyes.”

CreatiVets, Veterans Day Special

The latest installment in this collaboration between CreatiVets (a non-profit that encourages healing for wounded veterans through songwriting sessions) and Big Machine Label Group features two new songs and a live version of Brantley Gilbert’s “Hell of an Amen,” all of which address the heavy price waged by our men and women in combat. Both “Helpless” (featuring Love and Theft) and “Picture in the Frame” (featuring Kalsey Kulyk) are poignant, emotional reminders of the very real faces behind the uniform. With BMLG continuing to contribute to CreatiVets’ operational initiatives, supporting this project is not only a great way to hear some impactful music but the right thing to do as Veterans’ Day approaches.

Seaforth, “Close Enough”

Duo Jordan Schmidt and Andy Albert are engaging on their latest, a poppy, R&B-influenced ditty about the early stages of a relationship when everything is still fresh and intoxicating. Clever wordplay rules the day on the sexy track, as the pair declare they can’t get close enough to their new love, while deciding if it’s not love (yet), it’s close enough.

MacKenzie Porter, “The One”

The standout track from Porter’s seven-track EP, Drinkin’ Songs: The Collection, also out today, is a shimmery, bittersweet song about being the one right before the right one comes along. Porter, who recalls Taylor Swift here, laments being “the coal before the diamond,” as she attends the wedding of the couple as she pretends to cry happy tears, but she’s not fooling anyone, especially herself.

Troy Cartwright, “Hammer”

Singer/songwriter Cartwright’s track, “Hung Up on You” finally officially goes for radio adds months after Warner Music Nashville released it — but attention should also be paid to “Hammer,” a grinding track that will appeal to fans of Eric Church and Chris Stapleton that finds Cartwright vowing vengeance.

Stephan Hogan, “So Long California”

New singer/songwriter Stephan Hogan previews his album, coming Nov. 20, with this gently chugging title track. The autobiographical tale chronicles Hogan’s move to Tennessee to chase his dreams. Hogan wrote, played guitar on and produced the song as well, with his descriptive songwriting shining as the top of his talents here.