There are no turkeys this week when it comes to new music that's being released ahead of Thanksgiving. Established artists and newcomers alike are loading the playlist table with toe-tapping dishes and giving back in their hearts.
To hear these songs and more, visit CMT's Roundup Playlist at the bottom of the story.
Dierks Bentley with Billy Strings, "High Note": This jaunty, rollicking bluegrass-leaning track lightens heavy ideas with the notion that "a big ole stack of Flatt and Scruggs and bag of Willie's best" can cure most things that ail you. "High Note" even includes a super-jam with bluegrass greats Jerry Douglas on dobro, Sam Bush on mandolin, and guest guitar stars Billy Strings and Bryan Sutton.
"Bryan Sutton first tipped me off to Billy Strings about seven years ago, mentioning that the future of bluegrass was in good hands," Bentley said in a statement. "I was totally blown away the first time I saw him. I've cut songs like these since my first record, and I knew I wanted to have him on this one; I'm such a huge fan. It was a lot of fun to have him, Jerry, Sam and Bryan all passing licks around - having them all on this record means a lot to me personally."
"High Note" is from Bentley's forthcoming 10th album, which will be available early next year.
Brian Kelley, "Florida Strong": Kelley is the Florida in former duo Florida Georgia Line, and now he's giving back to his home state. Proceeds from Kelley's new song "Florida Strong" will benefit the American Red Cross and Florida Disaster Fund through 12/31/22 to support hurricane relief.
"My parents raised me knowing that everyone in my home state of Florida is a neighbor, and we help when and however we can," Kelley said. "I was sitting at my kitchen table a couple days after Hurricane Ian hit, praying for the recovery and wanting to help. Next thing I knew, 'Florida Strong' just poured out of me. Let's help build back Florida to the place we all know and love! I'll be a Florida boy forever, and we are 'Florida Strong.'"
Kelley wrote the song of resilience along and produced it alongside Katlin Owen. There's nothing pop about this country song, with lyrics including: "'Cause we love where we live / And we ain't goin' at it alone / We got each others' backs / We are Florida strong."
Ashley Cooke, "Running Back": Country music breakout star Ashley Cooke is wrapping up her most successful year yet with a bang. Cooke recently released a reflective ballad titled "Running Back," a tribute to her high school sweetheart. The emerging artist ponders what life could have looked like if she had ended up with the football star who once had her heart.
"And I've had a few somebody new's | Thought about forever too | But I run away when it gets close to that," sings Cooke. "'Cause no matter how far down the road | The crazy thing is I know | If you called and said you're missin' what we had | I'd come running back."
Cooke penned the poignant lyrics alongside esteemed songwriters Emily Weisband and Will Weatherly. Cooke's undeniable storytelling displays a Taylor Swift-like approach, as she effortlessly unlocks core memories and encourages listeners to fantasize about love – a challenging task. Cooke's wise words, intertwined with her contagious country-pop sound, set the vocalist up for a promising future in the genre.
Nate Smith," Wreckage": Fast-rising artist Nate Smith has released "Wreckage," a preview to his self-titled debut album. Smith's latest release is destined to send a chill down listeners' spines with the captivating hook and his ear-grabbing sound. His smooth-like butter vocals convey a touching story about a man thanking his significant other for seeing the "good" in him and placing the "baggage" on the back burner.
Smith co-wrote the eye-opening lyrics alongside Mary Kutter, Chris Sligh, and Paul Wrock. The forthcoming collection will not only feature "Wreckage," but his Gold-certified single "Whiskey On You," "I Found You," and "I Don't Wanna Go To Heaven." Smith is expected to drop the full-length project on Feb. 17.
"Releasing an album has always been a goal of mine, but at the end of the day, it's really not about me. It's about being able to reach other people with music that means something," he explained. "I'm not trying to be cool, or reinvent the wheel, or chase musical trends… I'm going after the heart of the matter."