The Boot’s Weekly Picks: H.C. McEntire, Rising Appalachia + More
Every week, The Boot highlights recent favorites from country, Americana and everything in between. In each list, music fans will find picks from our contributing team that we think you'll love.
Keep reading to check out the latest installment of The Boot's Weekly Picks.
H.C. McEntire"Soft Crook"
H.C. McEntire turns inward in her new single "Soft Crook," a vulnerable examination of her own struggle with depression. McEntire has made a name for herself, lending a haunting Americana sound to themes of queer desire and loss, first as the frontwoman of Mount Moriah and later as a backup singer for Angel Olsen until her 2018 solo debut.
Here, her poetic lyrics acknowledge the weight of what she nicknames a "mysterious and unpredictable companion" while also making room for the comfort she feels in her girlfriend's arms. "Right now, there are angels," she repeats over a dogged, distorted guitar. "There are angels all around." -- Annie Parnell
Rising Appalachia"Thank You Very Much"
Rising Appalachia is well-known for their unique combination of American folk traditions and those across the globe. The sisters, Leah and Chloe Smith, began their latest song, "Thank You Very Much," as an expression of gratitude for their blue-collar upbringing. But the song quickly expands its scope to the community of radical musicians Rising Appalachia is a part of, with the song bearing musical nods to the Indigo Girls' harmonies and Ani DiFranco's arresting melodies and time signatures. -- Rachel Cholst
Ashley McBryde + Brandy Clark, Caylee Hammack and Pillbox Patti"When Will I Be Loved"
Ashley McBryde has invited fans on a musical voyage on her latest album, Lindeville, which includes a spirited rendition of "When Will I Be Loved." The classic hit was originally released and made famous by the Everly Brothers in 1960 before being recorded by Linda Ronstadt in 1975. For its latest cover, McBryde enlists her 'Lindeville neighbors' and pals Brandy Clark, Caylee Hammack and Pillbox Patti to deliver a one-of-a-kind jubilant group singalong of the crossover classic. Who knew a sad 'woe me' song could sound exuberantly anthemic? -- Jeremy Chua
Eliza Edens"Westlawn Cemetery"
Eliza Edens infuses her music with a tasteful blend of country and indie rock. On "Westlawn Cemetery," the Brooklyn-based artist spins a delicate ode to her mother, who is fading away with a neurodegenerative disease. The song is off her upcoming album, We'll Become the Flowers (out Oct. 14), which grapples with the impermanence of life. Edens' gentle but arresting folk-rock provides comfort and a wake-up call to appreciate what's around us. -- Rachel Cholst
Honey Harper"Hard to Make a Living"
Honey Harper's new single turns a new leaf for the band ahead of their upcoming sophomore album. Co-founder and keyboardist Alana Pagnutti offers her own songwriting chops alongside William Fussell, illustrating a creative crisis while still maintaining a playful edge.
"It's hard to make a living if you're not living at all," quips Fussell over Connor Gallaher's loping pedal steel, surrounded by card-playing members of the group's new backing band, the Infinite Sky. Hard, sure, but with this group's mellow, sure-footed pace, the possibilities are infinite, too. -- Annie Parnell
Edan Archer"The Goddess Wears a Dirty Crown"
Edan Archer is no stranger to foot-stomping rock and roll. Citing Tom Petty as a major influence, Archer's country-rock always packs heat and "The Goddess Wears a Dirty Crown" is no different. Archer invokes ancient mythology and natural imagery to celebrate feminine power. The swampy blues groove and Archer's unearthly yips give the song a sense of power, tapping into something older than old. -- Rachel Cholst
The Young Fables"She Was Mine"
The Young Fables have released their brand new album, Pages, which features the poignant standout track, "She Was Mine." Penned by the pair Laurel Wright and Wes Lunford alongside Dean Fields and Mitch Dane, the plaintive ballad is a heartfelt chronicle of Wright's heartbroken spirit after losing her sister.
"I've been busy comforting everyone but I'm tired of faking smiles / God, I believe / But that don't mean I can't ask why," she renders before pleading for another chance to see her again and heavy-heartedly admitting, "I know she's yours, but it sure felt like she was mine." This melancholy tune is country music at its rawest — and finest. -- Jeremy Chua
Reilly Downes"Wicked Game"
Reilly Downes released a smoldering EP, Spent, earlier this year. So her cover of Chris Isaak's immortal "Wicked Game" is logical. The Chicago-by-way-of-Texas country singer transforms Isaak's sultry composition into one of strident protest and agency. Despite the narrator's assertion, "I don't wanna fall in love," Downes imbues the line with a sense of fight rather than Isaak's weary acceptance. -- Rachel Cholst