Three alt country tunes that beg for your attention in this late November

Emory Duncan – “If You Say Goodbye to California”
-I’m not sure there’s really a genre for this new track from Emory Duncan, which is why the “alt” tag works so well here. There’s a banjo, so it’s at least Americana/folk adjacent. What I love most about the song, though, is the way the easy going groove keeps the song moving along. It ends up being a lyrically driven song with an inviting, familiar lead vocal. If you’re looking for an easy going track with shades of Americana, folk, and chill country music, you’ll find a lot to like in this song. “Wash me away into the fault line and carve another name into your guitar.” I mean… that’s songwriting.

Cohle Smith – “Wimberley”
-It’s funny how we use words like “heavy” and “light” to describe music since it doesn’t actually carry any physical weight. Yet, I can’t help but feel a beautiful juxtaposition between the heaviness in the acoustic guitar “bottom” of this track and the lightness in the slide guitar over the top. My favorite thing is, of course, the vocal harmonies. This is a beautiful, arresting song that actually stops me in my tracks. The emotional energy of the track is palpable with each listen. Close your eyes and ease into this one; you’ll feel it, trust me.

Emma Elena Grace – “Dying”
-I feel a little bit strange calling this “alt country” because it feels like the country music that I grew up listening to back in the late 80s and early 90s. Grace has a beautiful voice that carries the narrative like a lot of the artists from that time period. That said, it is alt country in today’s world because so much of pop country is more pop than country. Grace’s songwriting conveys a moving message about being with someone that you want to be with as much as possible. The “dying ever since I met you” lyric feels pessimistic, but it’s ultimately about reality. It’s a grittier tune that you might think at first blush, but it’s worth leaning into the emotions to connect with the song’s message.

Image courtesy: Emma Elena Grace IG

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