7 Must-Hear New Country Songs: Keith Urban, Carly Pearce, Tray Wellington & More

First Country is a compilation of the best new country songs, videos and albums that dropped this week.

Keith Urban and Carly Pearce each key up new albums with their latest releases. Meanwhile, newcomer Willow Avalon earns forward-facing career surge with a throwback sound, while bluegrasser Tray Wellington offers up a soulful rendering of a John Hiatt classic. Read on all these and more Billboard country favorites from the week below.

Keith Urban, “Messed Up as Me”


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Urban knows his relationship is toxic but he can’t outrun the late-night longings to return to the same comforting mistake here. As always, his voice exudes charisma and warmth as the tumble of verses mimics the frantic thoughts of the song’s protagonist, while churning guitar accompanies the buildup from the sparse verses to a hooky, pop-oriented chorus. Writers on the song include Shane McAnally and Jessie Jo Dillon (who were both up for the songwriter of the year, non-classical Grammy last month), as well as Rodney Clawson and Michael Lotten.

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Carly Pearce, “Hummingbird”

Heading into her upcoming album Hummingbird, Pearce leans deeper into her Kentucky roots on the title track, to haunting effect. The lush, soft-lit, bluegrass-tinged feel is bolstered by sinewy fiddle and superb dobro, as she sings of finding emotional clarity and far-flung refuge in less-than-ideal circumstances. With Pearce’s sage voice and elegant twang front and center, this track manages to feel simultaneously classic and contemporary. Pearce wrote this track with Jordan Reynolds, Nicolle Galyon and (again) Shane McAnally.

Jon Wolfe, “Start Over Somewhere”

Wolfe is no stranger to the Texas country scene, and his latest puts forth another solid bid for success with his latest, which is among the songs that have followed his 2019 EP Feels Like Country Music. The memories of an ex-love suspend too thick in the air, so he makes a break for unpolluted areas — places her memory won’t follow, whether that be wide-open spaces of Oklahoma or city life in California. Guitar and piano lines elevate both the sense of restlessness and vastness opportunity ahead of him, while his earthy rumble of a voice grounds the song (written by Brett Jones and Tony Lane) in heartbreak.

Kassi Ashton, “Called Crazy”

Ashton flirted with Billboard‘s Country Airplay top 40 last year with “Drive You Out of My Mind.” Here, her simmering, pop-rooted vocals float over a snarling, grungy track, bringing potent swagger to a tale of a woman whose been accused by an ex-lover of some crazy stunts — pouring sugar in a gas tank, painting up his driveway. She’s dismissive of his claims because she knows, “I’ve never been called crazy by a man who didn’t come back for more.”

Willow Avalon, “Gettin’ Rich, Goin’ Broke”

A breakthrough track from newcomer Avalon’s album Stranger, “Gettin’ Rich, Goin’ Broke” succinctly lays out the story of a musician working hard to climb the ranks. As more money flows in for the rising star, it flows out just as swiftly, as she feels obligated to meet the wants and needs of family members — whether an aunt needing a new roof, or a cousin who wants some new party shoes. Avalon’s unique vibrato might be a bit of an acquired taste for some listeners, but the traditional-minded mesh of guitars, fiddle and steel guitar is refreshingly old-school.

Tray Wellington, “Lift Up Every Stone” (bluegrass)

North Carolina banjo player Wellington reimagines this rocking John Hiatt classic with an entwinement of banjo, mandolin and pedal steel with sterling vocal accompaniment from Wendy Hickman. Wellington’s vocal is warmer and leans more hopeful than Hiatt’s defiant original, while the thicket of bluegrass instrumentation lends this version added depth and resonance. The song follows Wellington’s 2022 album Black Banjo.

MacKenzie Porter, “Coming Home to You”

Porter previously picked up a Country Airplay chart-topper with the Dustin Lynch collab “Thinkin’ ‘Bout You.” On her latest solo outing, Written by Tofer Brown, Lauren Hungate, Caroline Watkins and Emily Weisband, Porter revels in gratitude. She might not have the fanciest house or a gleaming vehicle, and it would be easy to play the comparison game and come up empty-handed and jealousy-filled. But instead, on this pop-laced track, she’s grateful more for what her modest fixer-upper home contains — her loved ones. The song is from Porter’s upcoming debut album, Nobody’s Born With a Broken Heart, out April 26 on Big Loud Records.


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