The Boot’s Weekly Picks: Mya Byrne, Avery Anna + 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.
Mya Byrne"Autumn Sun"
Returning to AmericanaFest this week and tearing up stages all over Nashville, this is about to be Mya Byrne's year. Byrne, an out and proud trans woman, is a fierce advocate for trans artists and others marginalized by the mainstream country music industry. That doesn't stop her from writing gorgeous, 60s-inspired music. "Autumn Sun" is hopeful, even as it contemplates the year's waning days.
Byrne's debut single and the first track off of the Kill Rock Stars Nashville imprint, "Autumn Sun" also serves as the first of many songs Byrne recorded with Aaron Lee Tasjan at the producer's helm — a match made in heaven, with Byrne's cosmic guitar ranging in flights of power pop fancy. -- Rachel Cholst
Avery Anna"What Made You Think"
Avery Anna is establishing herself as the rising queen of country-pop ballads with her new song, "What Made You Think." While still nursing a heartbreak, the persona in this song laments the post-breakup woes. She's done trying to get him back and instead, questions the wrongful decisions and actions he made to break a tender, loving heart like hers.
"I played your little game one too many times / Guess I got sick and tired of losing / So, what's it this time? / Did you see my car / See the stars and wonder what I'm doing? / You must think I'm stupid," Anna sings reflectively in the second verse. The song was written by the new Warner Music Nashville signee alongside Seth Ennis ("Call Your Mama") and Andy Sheridan. -- Jeremy Chua
It always comes back to country music. Plains is the project of singer-songwriter Jess Williamson and Katie Crutchfield, both primarily known for their impressive body of work in the indie rock world. Crutchfield in particular has focused on her complicated relationship with her Southern upbringing. With Plains, the pair get down to basics with twanging guitars, straightforward storytelling, and gently discordant.
On "Abilene," Plains turns the country cliche of lionizing small-town life on its head. Instead, the titular town has nothing much worth recalling. -- Rachel Cholst
Hooten Hollers"Back in Business Again"
Road warriors the Hooten Hollers declare their intentions on their new song "Back in Business Again." The trio embody the outsider attitude that Americana used to represent: a little punk, a little honky-tonk, a little rockabilly, all of the attitude. The video references Patrick Swayze's "Roadhouse," but the pleasures of hitting the road and bringing down the house are the domain of the Hooten Hollers. Throw in a saxophone solo and some line dancing, and you've got yourself a heckuva party. -- Rachel Cholst
Cole Adams"Time to Say Goodbye"
Cole Adams sets the stage dramatically on "Time to Say Goodbye." His smoky voice creates drama as he announces to his partner that it's time to call things off. Jim Lucas' fiddle give the song a delicious twang, but Adams is pulling straight from the '90s singer-songwriter songbook, with clear influences from Melissa Etheridge and the Indigo Girls. Adams, who is trans, is based out of Reno but clearly poised for stages large enough to carry his stadium-worthy folk pop. -- Rachel Cholst
Breland & Ingrid Andress"Here For It"
Breland and Ingrid Andress pledge solidarity to each other on their new friendship anthem, "Here For It." Serving as the opening track on Breland's debut album, Cross Country, the vibrant uptempo number details the steadfast commitment two best friends have to each other.
"You know there ain't a mountain high, river wide / Or an airline that I wouldn't fly / 'Cause misery loves company / And if that's what you need / Then you can go and lay it all on me You know I'm here for it," goes the gorgeously harmonized second verse. This song joins Chris Stapleton's "Friendship" and Tracy Lawrence's "Find Out Who Your Friends Are" as enduring country friendship songs. -- Jeremy Chua
Eliza Edens"I Needed You"
Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Eliza Edens snarls guitars into folk-pop perfection in her deceptively acidic "I Needed You." The song centers around the dying weeks of a relationship, that time when you recall those moments when you were acceptable — just as you're getting ready to leave. Edens lets us down easy with her confident performance and the band's suave, gauzy groove. Things could have ended differently, she seems to say, but it's better that they didn't. -- Rachel Cholst
Flamy Grant"What Did You Drag Me Into?"
While certain country music artists and their ilk aired their opinions about trans rights recently, drag queen Flamy Grant's message is clear. Trans people — and all gender-creative people — belong exactly where they are. Moreover, they're a gift. The first single off Flamy's upcoming album Bible Belt Baby, out Sept. 23, is a cheeky country-disco track detailing how Flamy found herself — and liberation in the process. The video depicts a troupe of drag performers crashing an Evangelical service — and inviting the attendees to embrace their true selves. It's guaranteed to smear a smile across your face as vivid as heavy lip. -- Rachel Cholst
Kane Brown"Devil Don't Even Bother"
Kane Brown just released his brand new album Different Man, and one of the record's highlights is "Devil Don't Even Bother." The song deftly combines a bitter country breakup song with the age-old Little Red Riding Hood story. Here, a scorned ex compares his' cruel Tennessee old flame to the malicious innocence-disguised wolf in the fairy tale.
"Yeah, she's the big bad wolf / And your heart's the straw hut / She'll leave you fools in pieces When she huffs and when she puffs / Yeah, she'll eat your heart for breakfast / While she's walking out the door Just another off her checklist Drinkin' poison that she pours," Kane sings in the tongue-in-cheek chorus over fiddle lines, keys, and thumping drumbeats. This infectious number was penned by Brown, Josh Thompson, Jesse Frasure and Cary Barlowe. -- Jeremy Chua
Melissa Carper"Not a Day Goes By"
Pet owners, be wary. Melissa Carper's new single, "Not a Day Goes By," commemorates one of her loyal four-legged friends. Carper is hands-down one of the best in the trad music game. The song feels timeless, heavily layered with gospel melodies and vocals. Carper clearly mourns the loss, but finds a moment to celebrate the love she and her dog, Betty, shared. It's the first single from Carper's upcoming album, Ramblin' Soul, out Nov. 18. -- Rachel Cholst
Devon Beck likes to pose stumpers. Her smoky voice and perceptive lyrics belie Beck's age. On "Homewrecker," Beck sings with the self-assuredness of a veteran, but she's actually a Nashville newcomer. The song isn't about what you think it is — in reality, it's about a small-town couple who can never be together due to various circumstances. The song's pop textures give it a sugary sweetness that makes the lyrics' tragedy go down easy. -- Rachel Cholst