It’s time for a fresh edition of The Boot’s Weekly Picks, which highlights great new tracks from the world of country, Americana, folk and everything in between.
This week’s edition features a rock-edged ode to rural living from Jericho Woods, a painfully beautiful tale of unrequited love by The Storm Windows, and a Western swing gem from The Shootouts joined by their very special guests, Asleep at the Wheel.
Keep reading to check out the latest installment of The Boot’s Weekly Picks, and check back every week for more great tracks curated by our contributing team.
“One Step Forward” (ft. Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel)
The Shootouts‘ new album Stampede boasts a collection of well-rounded neo-traditional country songs, including the western swing standout “One Step Forward.”
Featuring Asleep at the Wheel and their lead singer Ray Benson, the jaunty shuffler is layered with rootsy string instruments like the pedal steel, fiddle, and guitar. Fans of “Oklahoma Swing” by Vince Gill and Reba McEntire, “All That’s Left” by Miranda Lambert with the Time Jumpers, and Drake Milligan and Gill’s “Goin’ Down Swingin'” will undoubtedly have this bouncy number on repeat. — Jeremy Chua
“Hills of Tuscany”
Janis Ian‘s cover of Eric Anderson’s “Hills of Tuscany” is packed with star power. The legendary songwriter recently capped her career by earning the Elaine Weissman Lifetime Achievement Award at the International Folk Music Awards. Ian, best known for the song “Seventeen,” unravels Anderson’s tale of lust and greed with a sense of growing doom.
The cover comes from A Tribute To a Songpoet: Songs of Eric Andersen, which features Bob Dylan, Scarlet Rivera, Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams, Amy Helm, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Wesley Stace, Linda Ronstadt, Lenny Kaye, Dom Flemons, and Rick Danko. Anderson was a fixture of the East Village singer-songwriter scene in the ’60s whose work was recently celebrated in the PBS documentary The Songpoet. — Rachel Cholst
Izzy Heltai has charmed the folk world with his introspective sunny indie pop. “Running Around” is one more in the collection, but finds Heltai at his most confident. The song explores his crippling lack of self-worth growing up as a trans teenager and how time, patience, and vulnerability of opened possibilities he never dreamed of.
Heltai will be hitting SXSW this year while we wait hopefully for more new music to come — Rachel Cholst
“Stop Signs & Fence Lines”
Western Kentucky-based country rockers Jericho Woods are back with their first single since before the pandemic with “Stop Signs & Fence Lines.”
On the track, frontman Josh Mitcham teams up with fellow Kentuckian Tiffany Williams to sing about the picturesque drives to and from his family farm in his pickup, where he can “feel all the feels” and relax with nothing but stop signs and fence lines to measure the passing distance by.
The heartfelt tune acts as a love letter to rural America and is a stern reminder to appreciate the beauty and simple pleasures around you daily. — Matt Wickstrom
Tina & Her Pony
Asheville queer folk institution Tina & Her Pony are back in the saddle with the release of Marigolds. The project began as a duo that has since separated (and divorced), which serves as the album’s central theme as illustrated by “Beautiful Mess.”
The song features Tina & Her Pony’s trademark blending of folk and cello, adding depth to Tina’s departure from a situation that no longer works. The emotion is deeply felt by all the players on the song, creating an impactful performance that mourns what was promised along with what was lost. — Rachel Cholst
Matt Schuster assembles the shattered fragments of his heart in his poignant new song, “Wasted Prayers.” Composed by Schuster, Adam Yuron, and Jonny Price, the searing mid-tempo tune finds Schuster imploring God for grace and healing while also masking his pain with alcohol.
“The inspiration for the song came to me at a writer’s round when I was feeling a little bit discouraged,” Schuster says. “This career is a race against yourself mentally, so I found myself drinking about it.”
“I remember having a little bit of a spiritual moment right there in the chaos of the bar and immediately seeing the double meaning behind ‘wasted prayers,'” he adds, alluding to how “wasted prayers” refers to both a state of being drunk while praying and realizing he’s prayers were all for naught. — Jeremy Chua
The Storm Windows
New York City-based brothers Rob and Don Mathews (known as The Storm Windows) milk the gentle groove of the folk-rock of their youth on “Sweet Amelia.” The song, which invokes classic jangle rock sounds, is an irresistible foot-tapper, even as the pair sing about an unattainable love.
It’s sweet, nostalgic, sad, and catchy as hell: all the ingredients that make a perfect rock song. Rob and Don’s true blood harmonies give the tune a sense of depth and the feel of lived experience. — Rachel Cholst