“Break Up With Him” Old Dominion Written by Matthew Ramsey, Trevor Rosen, Whit Sellers, Geoff Sprung and Brad Tursi Any song that starts with, “Hey, girl! What’s up?” gets off to a bad start right away. What follows is three minutes of a guy pressuring a girl to dump her boyfriend because he knows that she’d rather be with him, instead.
“35 MPH Town” Toby Keith Written by Toby Keith and Bobby Pinson Toby Keith revisits one of his most successful ongoing themes – life in a dying small town. In this case, he lays the blames the pending death on a lack of religion and strict discipline in the lives of today’s youth. It’s a different approach for him, as usually he talks about the collapse of economic opportunity leading to the downfall of small town America. That’s lingering under the surface, of course, but not his primary focus here.
“Trans Am” Thompson Square Written by Nathan Chapman, Blair Daly, Kiefer Thompson, and Shawna Thompson Dude really loves his car. Like, the way Sam Winchester loves his car. “Trans Am” has a lot of energy and it’s a credit to Thompson Square that they don’t get lost in the shuffle of a very busy production.
“My Bed” Sunny Sweeney with Will Hoge Written By Ashley Monroe, Angaleena Presley, and Sunny Sweeney Both Sunny Sweeney and Will Hoge have flirted briefly with mainstream success: Sweeney cracked the top 10 at radio with “From a Table Away,” while Eli Young Band scored a major hit with their cover of Hoge’s “Even If It Breaks Your Heart.” A slow-burning ballad that chronicles the dissolution of a relationship between actual adults, “My Bed” is, unfortunately, too far out-of-step with the culture at country radio for the pair of singer-songwriters to make any new inroads there. But it’s a measured, mature single that deserves a wider audience.
“Hot Corn, Cold Corn” Robert Earl Keen Written By Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs Robert Earl Keen has spent the past three decades as one of the most venerated singer-songwriters in country music, particularly within the Texas Country community. His latest album, Happy Prisoner, is a departure from Keen not because of his decision to dabble in Bluegrass music— his material has always skewed in a folk-leaning, acoustic direction— but because it’s an entire album of cover songs, and he’s known for his sharply-observed originals. Fortunately, there’s no faulting Keen’s taste in material, and the album’s first single is a cover of “Hot Corn, Cold Corn,” a Flatt & Scruggs tune that has become a Bluegrass standard.