Bandit Highway – Alt-Country Music

As our regular readers will know, we share a lot of country/Americana songs on these pages. However, the alt-country movement has been making waves in recent years, so I felt it was time to finally dedicate a round-up review to music of that genre. Every band/artist here is slightly different, ensuring you should be able to find something to love.

Review by Jane Howkins

Photo by Scott and Sabrina

Scott and Sabrina – Home (Duet Version)

First up is Arizona-based Nashville recording artists Scott and Sabrina, with gorgeous new tune Home (Duet Version). It’s quite a stripped-down song, opening with a simple yet pretty piano melody. Sabrina’s vocals kick things off, before Scott’s raw voice arrives, seeing both artists duet in perfect style here. The music stays fairly minimalist throughout, although some atmospheric slide guitar effects are added every so often. The way Scott and Sabrina’s vocals collide together is simply divine.

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Päter Nicotine Hallelujah

Päter adds an indie vibe to this alt-country song, although it all works surprisingly well! Nicotine Hallelujah simply oozes with swagger, as Päter’s cool vocals drift through the music with a sense of effortless ease. She’s got a fantastic vocal range, really showing off her musical talents here. The guitars are used in an awesome way, as a simple yet effective blues melody introduces each verse. The lyrics are well written too, fitting the themes of the tune well. This is definitely a must listen!

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Matt Deangelis – Speak For A Moment

New Jersey artist Matt Deangelis captures the spirit of the alt-country style well on latest release, Speak For A Moment. It opens in quite an anthemic manner with some cool guitar licks, before the melancholy piano arrives. There’s a palpable sense of tension here, creating something that really bends the genre lines – it’s even rather proggy at times! Matt’s vocals are also very unique, as the track sees him hitting some impressive high notes at times, making Speak For A Moment all the more impressive.

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Whitney Blake Myrick – Redemption in Jackson, Mississippi

Redemption in Jackson, Mississippi is more of a stripped-down track, opening with some lovely bluesy guitar licks, alongside the strummed acoustic guitars. The main thing apparent here is how gorgeous Whitney Blake Myrick’s vocals are – they’ve got a great deal of soul, singing along in a heartfelt manner throughout the tune. Her vocals are really elevated on the chorus, reaching for some fantastic high notes. When listening to Redemption in Jackson, Mississippi, you’ll feel every moment, deep within your heart.

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Mermaid Avenue – Bones

Australian band Mermaid Avenue bring an expansive sound to this list with new release, Bones. As well as the alt-country vibes, it’s also got elements of indie, rock and pop, making for one amazing mix altogether. The guitars are subtle in the background, but they add a lovely tone to the music, melding well against the drums and bass. The vocals are quite high, but they’re simply drenched in emotion here, drawing you into Mermaid Avenue’s world instantly. Fans of the alt-country genre are sure to love this.

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Well Grounded – Mama’s Song

Californian artist Well Grounded adds something a little different to the alt-country genre on Mama’s Song. It’s quite poppy, containing a catchy melody that will seep underneath your skin in an instant. The beat is very reggae-esque, making for something utterly unique within the alt-country genre. The vocals are smooth and soulful, crooning along to the main melody in a pretty way. The track changes slightly, going through several unexpected (yet awesome) movements as it progresses – take a listen and see what you think!

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Angus Woodhead – Freedom

Angus Woodhead is a worship leader who creates spiritual music, although that doesn’t mean that non-believers won’t be able to get a kick out of Freedom. As you might expect from this sort of track, it’s incredibly anthemic, seeing Angus utilise a beautiful choir of backing singers on the chorus, imploring you to sing along. The track uses traditional country instruments like the banjo, alongside a rock and roll band, creating a track that should appeal across the board. Don’t dismiss this track if you’re not of a religious nature, as there’s plenty here for all to love.

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Pam Ross – You Don’t Know My Name

We’ve actually featured Pam Ross before, so it’s great to be able to share more new music from her! You Don’t Know My Name mixes rock, the blues, Americana and country together, making for a proper outlaw country song. Her vocals are strong as ever, simply soaring over the music here. Killer guitar licks play throughout the tune, adding a cool sense of attitude to the piece, underneath the stunning vocal lines that Pam produces. You Don’t Know My Name is a brilliant tune – if you like it, why not check out the rest of Pam’s music?!

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Jeremy Parsons – Life Worth ‘Dyin For

Jeremy Parsons is another artist that we’ve featured before, bring another awesome new tune to our pages. Life Worth ‘Dyin For is quite stripped down, opening with some subtle synth lines, placed amongst unique slide guitar motifs. This factor really allows Jeremy’s vocals to stand out, having a classic country twang that suits the music well. It’s an extremely beautiful song at times, really getting underneath your skin – I’m certain it will resonate with our readers! If you like your country a bit different to the norm, this is for you!

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Glenn Valles – The Ride

Musician and singer-songwriter Glenn Valles is the songwriter for The Ride, although interestingly enough, the vocals are by an unnamed vocalist, adding some mystique to the track! One of the most unique things about this song is that the verse vocals sound almost rapped, moving into a classic country croon on the chorus. The music itself is very well written, utilising a range of different guitar styles, even introducing a guitar solo at one point! It’s anthemic as all hell, making you want to join in the singing on the chorus.

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Katsy Pline – Pining

Katsy Pline brings an old school rock and roll vibe to this list, as Pining is very reminiscent of the music that became so popular in the 1950s. The beat and the guitar pattern have a retro quality, as does the crooning singing style. This is by no means a criticism though, as Katsy Pline has really managed to meld that form of music with a country twist here. It’s pretty catchy, designed to get stuck in your head within an instant. The slow tempo makes it perfect for rounding this list off, ending on a very high note!

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Bandit Highway – playlist by York Calling | Spotify