Here are this week’s five new songs worth listening too.
Robert Randolph and the Family Band–Simple Man
One of the most well known pedal steel guitar players releases a cover of Pops Staples’ Simple Man, not Skynyrds. Charlie Daniels did a country version of this one a decade or so back. RR&tFB have a new album coming out on Aug. 23, produced by Americana Producer Gawd Dave Cobb. Cobb is known for putting out albums with room to breathe on them (Sturgill, Isbell, Whiskey Myers, Stapleton, the upcoming Highwomen, etc.), and this is no exception. Randolph cuts a couple verses out and replaces them with some funky steel. Lyrically, it harkens back to the days when being a good man was easier.
Going back to the well on this one, featuring a second song from this supergroup in the first three weeks of the column. This one is the anthem, matching the cadence from the original Highwaymen declaration. Jimmy Webb wrote both, re-imagining the song for the female group as revolutionaries instead of outlaws this time. They add a guess spot for Yola Carter and have Sheryl Crow on backup vocals.
We are The Highwomen
Singing stories still untold
We carry the sons you can only hold
We are the daughters of the silent generations
You sent our hearts to die alone in foreign nations
It may return to us as tiny drops of rain
But we will still remain
And we'll come back again and again and again
Sheryl Crow–Tell Me When It’s Over ft. Chris Stapleton
Speaking of Sheryl Crow and throwback sounds. This one sounds straight out of the 90s, with Chris melding perfectly with Sheryl. This one is a straight up refusal to acknowledge the inevitable. Speaking of Chris and guest appearances, he recently appeared live with John Mayer, performing a song they wrote together in a day–I Just Remembered I Don’t Care. It’s actually not a bad companion piece to the Crow song, even if it is simplistic.
And I count the days
But I think our number's up
Is there anyway, oh
To make you feel enough?
I assume the extra A is for google purposed. It has to be hard to find band names easily searchable in today’s music world. This one is a Columbus, Ohio trio with an album that came out in July. It is a summer love tune, with some frivolous instrumentation in the back half of the song, and the lead singer has a voice somewhere between Ray Lamontagne and Faces-era Rod Stewart.
Chris Knight–Mexican Home ft. John Prine
A couple of Americana legends teaming up to sing about the heat of life beating you down. John’s voice continues to get more gravel in it, but that also perfectly fits a song like this.