Morgan Wallen, Thomas Rhett, & More – Single Round-Up

David Lehr

Lies Lies Lies – Morgan Wallen Written By Ryan Lippe 

After previewing the song on YouTube as part of the “Abbey Road Sessions,” Morgan Wallen has turned his back on his hip-hop tendencies and more towards the contemporary country sound he was originally known for. Produced by Joey Moi, the track features a rather pop-sensible guitar riff looping throughout but is later joined in by soft percussion and a delicate steel guitar, keeping his country roots in check. Since Wallen is supported by authentic instruments and not artificial trap beats, he can dig deep into his raspy tenor voice that helped catapult him into stardom. The cadence of this single feels much more natural than many of the songs on One Thing At A Time. Wallen and heartbreak songs have grown to be a common pair over time, with this track focusing on the lies the narrator tells himself when trying to move past his last relationship. Although Jessie Jo Dillon, Josh Miller, Daniel Ross, and Chris Tompkins aren’t using the most vivid imagery, they’re able to develop a very memorable chorus that is sure to cement itself as a staple in many fans’ summer playlists. While this single will likely not be a career-defining moment for Wallen, it’s hopefully an indicator of the direction for his next project and a shift away from his hip-hop side quests. 


Feelin’ Country – Thomas Rhett Written By Adam Delahoussaye

As we inch closer to the impending Twisters: The Album, set to release later this month, it’s becoming more apparent how differently each artist approaches the collaborative behemoth that’s seemingly set its own sky-high expectations. Thomas Rhett’s approach almost mimics a nosedive into a tornado. “Feelin’ Country” roars through the radio-fodder sounds that mirror something his father would’ve written and later left on the cutting room floor of an early Jon Pardi record. The melody is infectious, if not a little derivative, though something is missing in the way Rhett merely seems to be reading off a list of honky tonk buzzwords through the track’s verses. His girl has Tecovas on, drinks Miller Lite, and is even down to muddy up the truck! While there’s no doubt that the cowgirl Rhett and his team of writers have dreamt up is a total catch, there’s little behind her or the rest of “Feelin’ Country” that points to Rhett being willing or able to fully channel whatever it is he’s going for here. 


Drowning – The Red Clay Strays Written By Adam Delahoussaye

If there is one attribute that has attached itself to the Red Clay Strays, it would be intentionality. Each single off of their upcoming record Made By These Moments has felt labored over, with “Drowning” only strengthening that sentiment. The track is devilishly alluring, practically beckoning fans to come wade in the blues-fused waters Brandon Coleman and the rest of the gang are now fully submerged in. Drew Nix’s pen is as sharp and smudge-free as ever, allowing Brandon Coleman’s selective bravado to make itself known in the stormy waters producer Dave Cobb is navigating this fivesome through. Many quickly compare Coleman’s annoyingly perfect slicked-back hair and vocal gusto to his rockabilly forefathers; “Drowning” leaves an impression that the group’s southern roots are now a generation farther down the line. There are whispers of a tortured and aging Gregg Allman in Coleman’s delivery and even some hints at the sometimes-grandiose composition of Lynyrd Skynyrd in the way the band wields their own heavy thematics. At their best, The Red Clay Strays feel like posthumous sons of the South’s most storied rock and roll collectives. Or, perhaps they’re the first sign of a revival yet to come. 


4X4XU – Lainey Wilson Written By Will Chapman

As the reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year at both major country music award shows, Lainey Wilson seems unstoppable in 2024. 4x4xU, the third single from her upcoming album Whirlwind, is an infectious jam with an addictive groove, showcasing her signature blend of country flair and modern sensibility. The track opens with a countrypolitan Motown-style mix of strings and keyboard. Wilson croons over the first verse as her smooth, rich delivery draws the listener in. As the song moves into the chorus, the rhythm section lays down an irresistible beat. Lyrically, the tune is a celebration of young love and freedom. It invokes images of hot summer nights with the windows down and warm air blowing in the cab. 4x4xU is perhaps the strongest release from her upcoming LP thus far, stirring up anticipation for August’s release of Whirlwind.


Heart Like This – Vincent Mason Written By Ryan Lippe 

Continuing the momentum of his EP Can’t Just Be Me, Vincent Mason and Brett Truit recapture the same sorrowful youth and carry it into the next series of releases for Mason. Immediately as the song starts, listeners are greeted with an elegant and mournful cry of steel guitar as the heart-wrenching tone of the single sinks in. Written by Mason with Cary Barlowe and Jaxson Free, the track portrays a vulnerable narrator as they try to piece together what seems like a messy breakup. With a voice reminiscent of a young Parker McCollum, Mason expertly captures the smooth and easy-to-listen-to-high tenor range without the nasality that characterized McCollum’s early years. The inflection of Mason’s voice in each line of the chorus will make listeners want to sing along instantly despite the track’s unfortunate themes. As Mason’s career continues to grow, “Heart Like This” is another example of his pure talent. 


Always Be Mine – Chase Matthew Written By Max Buondonno

In typical fashion, Chase Matthew has once again released a borderline hip-hop single with a pop-country twang. His new EP of the same name, “Always Be Mine,”  is incredibly on-brand for the “Darlin’” singer: it has enough trap hits and a strong enough bassline to make you think the song was born in Atlanta but moved to somewhere in Tennessee and picked up a hint of an accent. With over-produced vocals and surface-level lyrics about never forgetting about a past love (including a callback to meeting the girl and asking for her Snapchat), there’s nothing this track does more than add to the inoffensive, ignorant catalog Matthew has amassed over the years. Admittedly, the song seems catchy enough to have some mainstream potential, and it feels like it could be the next entry in the top 20 countdown on SiriusXM’s The Highway. But between this and the rest of Matthew’s discography, it’s clear he knows his audience, and he’s perfectly happy shoveling out more content he thinks they’ll enjoy.


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