This week, CMT’s Weekly Roundup of new hits features a trio of CMT's Next Women of Country class members -- 2014 honoree Lauren Alaina and 2021 classmates Ashland Craft and trio Chapel Hart -- all offering pop-rocking takes on country's traditional sounds. Furthermore, Lily Rose and Hannah Ellis round out a week highlighted by women continuing to establish themselves as sustainable country stars on the rise.
Click here to take a listen to the following tunes.
Lauren Alaina - Good Ole Boy
Somewhere near or at the "1a" ranking after Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats" could easily eventually fall Lauren Alaina's latest single, "Good Ole Boy." Crying over the fact that a hard-headed mate can't care for her the same way that he cares for cowboy boots that give him a few inches over six feet tall is a knife-twist of young outlaw love that slices at the heartstrings. Yes, Alaina is Sitting Pretty On Top Of The World with her just-released album. But as the vocalist says, the album highlights "being broken and ending up healed. It’s all of me. The early chapters. The new beginnings. The hope for the future and total appreciation for the past."
Ashland Craft feat. Marcus King - Highway Like Me
Residing on the dark side of bittersweetly cheery, yet lamenting romantic ballads like Kelsea Ballerini's "I Hate Love Songs" are tunes like Ashland Craft and Marcus King's new collaboration, "Highway Like Me." Washing a song that knows too well about loves tribulations in the blues turn "cheery, yet lamenting" into "a weary half-smile in the face of decadent gloom." Just like this song, Craft's new album Travelin' Kind is the perfect entry point for folks who love country radio's takes on women writing about heartbreak but stripping away the bright lights and glittery lipgloss from the conversation.
Chapel Hart - Just Say I Love You
If thinking that smack-talking hard rockers like "Jesus and Alcohol" and "You Can Have Him Jolene" was the entirety of the expectation of Poplarville, Mississippi-born family trio Chapel Hart, their latest ballad "Just Say I Love You" proves you incredibly wrong. No greater expert on country music than CMT Hot 20 special correspondent and groundbreaking country vocalist Rissi Palmer says that the 2021 CMT Next Women of Country class members' new album The Girls Are Back In Town is "so good and so country." Devlyn Hart's opening lyrics envelop you in a style that sounds both from 1971 and 2021 simultaneously.
Lily Rose - I Don't Smoke
Soulful, grooving country highlights upstart breakout Lily Rose's latest single, "I Don't Smoke." The singer-songwriter's latest includes the following lyrics: "Tryna tell me you don’t like me / That’s like saying I don’t smoke when I drink / Every Friday night, baby, I won’t lie / That’s like saying I don’t know anything." If you wanted a deft turn of writing room magic that makes your face twist and probably causes a knowing chuckle, too, it's here. Rose’s debut single, “Villain,” entered the iTunes all-genre and country charts at number one. She will also join Chris Lane’s Fill Them Boots tour this fall.
Hannah Ellis - Home And A Hometown
Plaintive banjo-pop underpins Ellis' yearning, honest ballad about appreciating both her roots and her present. The quiet, reflective moments for aspiring Nashville superstars from small-town USA are often the fodder for Music City material, but never quite like this. Campbellsville, Kentucky native Ellis fixes that problem with her latest. "My heart lives in 2 places at once. This song is my story and I hope you find yours in it," the performer tweeted. A familiar trope with a novel twist, this one is well worth your ear and time.