First Country is a compilation of the best new country songs, videos and albums that dropped this week.
Willie Jones, “American Dream”
Jones makes his most significant statement so far with “American Dream,” a powerful song that declares, “when you’re living in a black man, it’s a different kind of American dream.” Released on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the compelling video references MLK, the Black Lives Matter marches and protests following George Floyd’s murder and Colin Kaepernick, among others. Jones pulls no punches about systemic racial inequality during a spoken segment as a young black boy runs for his life: “Objectified, commodified, and scrutinized by blue eyes/And blue and white lights dancing off his skin.” The thought-provoking song is the centerpiece of Jones’ debut album, Right Now, out Friday (Jan. 22). The rest of the album is a lighter lift, including the toe-tapping “Country Soul,” the hilarious “Bachelorettes on Broadway” (which will have anyone who’s gotten caught behind the endless pedal taverns loaded with drunk bridal parties chuckling) and the swaying title track. Not really sure what kind of statement Jones is trying to make with the album cover, which features him urinating on a campfire (unless it’s a reference to the line “pot to piss in” on “Whole Lotta Love”). Best to focus on the music and Jones’ infectious blend of country, pop and soul.