Keith Urban offers a joyous, retro feel with his new release, while Lee Brice and CCM duo for King + Country team up for an introspective ballad. Relative newcomers Karley Scott Collins and Tyler Braden offer stellar releases, while Stephanie Lambring delves into the complex nuances of motherhood in her latest release.
Keith Urban, “Straight Line”
His first release since 2022’s “Brown Eyes Baby,” Urban’s newest feels like a glorious throwback to some of this Aussie singer/guitar slinger’s classic hook-filled hits. Lively lead guitar, propulsive rhythms, an instantly singable melody and layers of harmonies lead this energetic track. Urban’s vocal, crackling like a warm fire, is at the fore in the mix, as he sings of wanting to shake off monotony and rekindle a zest for life. The song, an early glimpse into his upcoming album, was written by Urban, Chase McGill, Jerry Flowers and Greg Wells, with Urban and Wells producing.
Karley Scott Collins, “Marlboro Reds”
Sony Music Nashville artist Collins, who was recently named to CMT’s Next Women of Country Class of 2024, wrote this soulful groove with Alex Kline and Scott Stepakoff. Operating over soulful, bluesy twang and swamp-rock, Collins pays homage to her cigarette-smoking, coffee-drinking, thrice-married, wisdom-imparting grandmother. Collins’s voice is equal parts cool gravel and mysterious haze, perfectly suited to this moody groove.
Tyler Braden, “Devil You Know”
Warner Music Nashville artist Braden officially released “Devil You Know” after teasing the song with a TikTok video that went viral a few weeks ago. On the full track, the Alabama native is all burly-voiced bravado, noting that he’s put his demons in the rear view but warning, “Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness/ ‘Cause I can flip that switch.” Crunchy guitars, galloping rhythm and a ferocious production meld on this confessional grit-country track written by Sam Martinez, Graham Barham, Zack Dyer and Jon Robert Hall.
Stephanie Lambring, “Good Mother”
With a song both lyrically and melodically haunting, Lambring excavates the complex range of emotions that accompany motherhood, detailing both the mundane (laundry) and fun (pink fingerpaint), as she wrestles with both a child’s overwhelming dependency and the ever-present notion that every meal, every day, every nap means one less day her child will be this little. Along the way, she finds a way to conceal her darker emotions from her child in the name of being a good mother. “Good Mother” is the debut single from Lambring’s upcoming album, Hypocrite, out in April via Thirty Tigers.
Lee Brice and for King + Country, “Checking In”
Adding to the recent canon of country-Christian collaborations, eight-time Country Airplay chart-leader Lee Brice teams with CCM sibling duo and Curb Records labelmates for King + Country on this tender, well-crafted composition that delves into the regret of an adult too busy to spend time with a parent who calls just to “check in,” and longing to reconnect with them when it’s too late and they’ve passed on. Brice’s voice is warm and conversational as always, and pairs well with the duo’s polished tones. Michael Farren, Kenneth Cooper Hart and Garrett Jacobs wrote “Checkin’ In,” with production from Ben Glover. The song is included on the soundtrack to for King & Country’s film Unsung Hero.