It’s time for a fresh edition of The Boot’s Weekly Picks, which highlights great new tracks from the world of country, Americana, folk and everything in between.
This week’s edition features a traditionalist barroom tribute from Eliza Thorn, a rollicking ode to ”Baseball Country” from Bryan Ruby, and a defiant country call-out from Jenna Paulette.
Keep reading to check out the latest installment of The Boot’s Weekly Picks, and check back every week for more great tracks curated by our contributing team.
Mya Byrne + Paisley Fields
“Burn This Statehouse Down”
Fresh off her transcendent performance at Bridgestone Arena at Nashville’s Love Rising benefit concert, Mya Byrne and compatriot Paisley Fields present a smoldering outlaw country duet to protest Nashville’s anti-drag bill. Byrne and Paisley are witty songwriters in their own right, but when they combine forces, something truly magical happens. (See “Iowa” on Paisley’s glorious album Limp Wrist.)
Joined by Meltdown Rodeo’s Kym Register and Swan Real (who joined Byrne on stage at Love Rising) on backing vocals and Sandy Loam as the third writer, this trans and non-binary country supergroup tells it exactly how it is with tumbledown pianos and scratchy guitars that celebrate a rambling night on Lower Broadway while protesting genocidal politics. — Rachel Cholst
“The Biggest Life Worth Living is the Small”
“Blue Jean Country Queen” Summer Dean sings about how life’s simple pleasures like a cup of coffee, a biscuit with the perfect rise, the morning light, or a good, good wine are often the ones you take for granted on “The Biggest Life Worth Living is the Small.”
The upbeat number and lead single from the diamond in the rough Texan’s forthcoming album The Biggest Life illustrates the beauty of taking the time to slow down in a world that tries to squeeze as much out of you as possible. — Matt Wickstrom
Bryan Ruby is a man of many skills: he is the first pro baseball player to come out while actively playing. Ruby last played for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, an independent league team in Oregon, and he’s also a crack-shot guitarist and country music singer with a singing voice destined for honky-tonks.
“Baseball Country” is a scorcher that weds country twang to ’80s hair metal — an apt welcome for baseball season. Fans who have been watching the World Baseball Classic know that America’s pastime truly can get the blood pumping like little else, and “Baseball Country” matches that adrenaline rush pound for pound. — Rachel Cholst
Nashville-based artist Eliza Thorn weaves together classic country and sultry blues sounds on “Night Life,” an ode to her home away from home, the Double Crown in Asheville, N.C.
Inspired lyrically by Willie Nelson and Ray Price, the song is Thorn’s way of enshrining not only the bar but other bars like it around the world that have long been instrumental to the growth of independent artists and been host to countless magical moments. — Matt Wickstrom
“You Ain’t No Cowboy”
Jenna Paulette returns to the simplicity of her childhood with her upcoming album, I’m Gettin’ Back to the Girl I Was, out March 31. And that means evoking the easy-to-love hooks and emotional complexity of ’90s country music.
“You Ain’t No Cowboy” is about exactly what you’d expect — a dressing down of someone who played too fast and loose with the narrator’s heart. Paulette delivers her disappointment with cool confidence, secure in her own power, as she reprimands someone for taking her for granted. – Rachel Cholst
New England’s Prateek sings of his journey to sobriety on the sobering and deeply personal “No Fun.” On the rockin’ tune, the Kerrville Folk Finalist and Boston Music Award nominee reflects on the struggles of staying off the wagon as a musician who frequented bars and how it turned him into a recluse for a time, singing “I don’t do parties I don’t do drugs / I don’t go out and I don’t stay up / All night long to the morning sun / I guess I’m just no fun.”
While he admits his story didn’t suffer from as much emotional baggage as others, the reflective nature of the song serves as a beacon of light for anyone fighting similar demons in the hope that they can conquer them too. — Matt Wickstrom
Max Garcia Conovoer
“Yeye Won’t Wait”
When Max Garcia Conover came across the stacks of love letters his grandfather wrote to his grandmother in the 1940s, he knew what he had to do: turn them into song. Conover specializes in hushed bedroom recordings that evoke Elliott Smith as much as the great ’90s hip-hop emcees.
On “Yeye Won’t Wait,” Conover and Paula Prieto let loose with a strident melody and spacious arrangement, illustrating the epic nature of his grandparents’ romance. Conover’s storytelling is as charming and touching as ever, giving us insight into the small pockets of human intimacy we usually keep hidden. — Rachel Cholst