Best New Country and American Songs: December 2017

Here are Max Sparber's picks for the best new country and Americana songs of December, 2017.

“If You Ain’t Cheatin’”, Yellow Feather

An almost perfect recreation of the classic sound of The Band, with a contemptuous, hilarious shrug as lyrics: “It was a shitty, little shack but it’s where they did their stuff.”

“Drunkard’s Prayer,” Chris Stapelton

An appropriately spare song, consisting entirely of a simple flatpicked guitar and hoarse, unpretty vocal delivery from Stapelton. The song is riddled with regret and shame and a complicated, uncertain, disgraced spirituality.

“Death or Glory,” Shovels and Rope

I love this band’s cover songs — their version of Springsteen’s “Johnny 99” is one of my favorites from this year. Now they tackle The Clash as a sort of glam country barn burner with guest Hayes Carter, and it’s thrilling.

“Chicken Puddin’”, Uncle Si and the Sicotics

Uh, this is Uncle Si from Duck Dynasty, along with daughter-in-law Marsha Robinson and songwriter Bridgette Tatum. This song heavily recalls the funky country novelties of Jerry Reed, with the song’s title as a metaphor for cheating.

“The World is Falling Down,” Jim James

A song I mostly know as an uptempo, cheerfully ironic R&B number by the tremendous Abbey Lincoln here becomes a lo-fi, stripped-down cry of anguish that sounds funneled through a broken speaker and years of heartbreak.

“Seven Bridges Road,” Delta Rae

Cheerful country gospel song featuring absurdly saturated vocal harmonies. Sort of like Crosby, Stills and Nash if they included women’s voices and sounded entertainingly frantic.


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