Billboard’s weekly must-hear country songs list offers a guide to some essential, recently released country tracks from both signed and independent country and country-adjacent artists.



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This week, Brett Young offers a romantic new tune, newcomer Lauren Watkins delves into jealousy, Kylie Frey returns with her first new music in a few years, and Austin Burke gets a co-sign from music legend Willie Nelson on a new track. Take a listen to this week’s picks below:

Brett Young, “Dance With You”

Young has made a name for himself with his soulful songs such as “In Case You Didn’t Know” and “Catch.” As his current country radio single, the heartbreak anthem “You Didn’t,” rises up Billboard’s Country Airplay chart, Young returns with a slow jam that’s a surefire wedding-season favorite. On this track he wrote with Jimmy Robbins and Jordan Minton, Young reassures his lover of his steadfastness and support, regardless of where life takes them. Perhaps offering a nod to the 1992 John Michael Montgomery hit “Life’s a Dance,” he maintains that his lover will always be the only one on his dance card.

Kylie Frey, “Red Dirt Cinderella”

Louisiana native and third-generation rodeo-er Frey has notched over half a dozen chart-toppers on the Texas regional charts to date, and she returns with “Red Dirt Cinderella,” her first new music in nearly three years. The song depicts someone who refuses to trade her Luccheses for a life of ballgowns and glass slippers. Instead, in her own nonchalant way, she saddles up and heads out, content to take on life on her own terms. This track’s relaxed vibe finds Frey’s earthy voice rippling over accordion, fiddle and guitar.

Lauren Watkins, “Shirley Temple”

Newcomer Watkins recently inked a deal with Nicolle Galyon’s publishing company Songs & Daughters, followed by signing with Big Loud Records. She recently released two new tracks, “Camel Blues” and “Shirley Temple,” the latter of which is a study in contrasts and jealousy. “Shirley Temple” finds Watkins driven by a man who has fallen for an angelic, straight-laced girl, in contrast to her own straight-shooting, challenging ways. There’s an effortlessly smoky quality to Watkins’ voice, with a style of direct-yet-poetic songwriting reminiscent of Kacey Musgraves or Miranda Lambert. Watkins wrote the track with Galyon and Meg McRee.

Austin Burke, “Crazy, Crazy”

Burke’s latest offering incorporates a 62-year-old country music classic, with revamped snippets of the Willie Nelson-penned 1961 hit “Crazy,” made famous by Patsy Cline. Burke’s song begins with a processed version of two verses from Cline’s chorus (laced in reverb and pitched higher than the original), which gives way to Burke’s crafted verses, both brisk and brokenhearted, about a guy who spends his time day-drinking and overthinking. “To tell you the truth/I’m going crazy, crazy over you,” Burke sings, showcasing the enduring relevance of the decades-old song, but fusing it with a hooky, singalong chorus and revisits the Cline vocal throughout the song. Burke wrote “Crazy, Crazy” with Brandon Day, and earned music legend Nelson’s stamp of approval on the track.

RaeLynn with JUDAH, “Somebody Else”

RaeLynn teams with Judah Akers, frontman for the band Judah & The Lion, on this new track, which features a hooky electro-acoustic melody, a singalong-worthy chorus, and a message of empathy. “We’re all talking, but nobody’s listening,” they sing over a pulsating backbeat, as they plead for less self-centered action and more looking out for those around them. Together, there is a surprisingly natural textural blend to their voices, with RaeLynn’s slightly gritty Texas twang layered over JUDAH’s warm, rough-hewn voice. RaeLynn is set to independently release an upcoming album, Funny Girl, via her own Daisy Rae Productions, on Aug. 21.

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