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EF Country’s Song of the Week: Lainey Wilson – Things A Man Oughta Know

This week we’re looking at a song from the rising country star’s new EP.

Lainey Wilson
Credit: Broken Bow Records

Once again it’s been another fantastic week for new country music releases. With tracks from artists including Luke Combs and Brooks & Dunn, Old Dominion, Jason Aldean, John Prine and Margo Price, Rachel Wammack, Caitlin Smith, Rob Mayes and Wildwood Kin out amongst others, it was a difficult decision deciding which one to feature as EF Country’s Song of the Week.

However, in the end we had to go for one of our favourite up-and-coming artists, Lainey Wilson, and her song Things A Man Oughta Know, from her new EP Redneck Hollywood.

Take a listen to the song here:

It’s no secret we’re big fans of Wilson’s here at EF Country and she loves the UK too, having been here three times in the last 12 months. She performed her new radio single, the sultry Dirty Looks – which also features on the EP – when she appeared at London’s Union Chapel earlier this month, and it gave us an idea of the direction her music is taking.

Whilst there’s plenty to like on the new EP, including Dirty Looks and LA with its driving, rocky rhythm, I chose Things A Man Oughta Know because it shows a side to Wilson’s music we haven’t heard much of before. The song’s acoustic intro puts me in mind of something like Ashley McBryde’s Bible and a .44, with an electronic-sounding effect that adds a different element to the song. It’s a measured, gentle approach that puts the emphasis firmly on the lyrics and on Wilson’s vocals, before picking up into a big powerful chorus.

And those vocals are fantastic. Wilson is known for her distinctive voice, reminiscent of a young Dolly Parton with her drawl, depth and slightly husky tones, but on this track she sounds absolutely incredible. Her delivery in the verses is very subdued, reflecting the downbeat nature of the song, then on the chorus she really goes for it, singing with passion and conviction as well as a bit of edge on the bridge. She really knows how to use her voice as an instrument, with some beautiful vocal runs towards the end in particular, and it adds an extra layer of heartfelt nuance to the song.

I also really love the lyrics and the way that they switch in the verses from the list practical things Wilson – and every independent woman – can do on their own to the more emotional chorus. Wilson and her co-writers Jason Nix and Jonathon Singleton have really captured the bittersweet feeling of losing someone you love even though they messed up and it’s impossible not to find the song tugging at your heartstrings. There’s some fantastic imagery in there too – ‘how to chase forever down a driveway’ is a particular standout.

Overall Things A Man Oughta Know is a great song and one that deserves to become a huge hit and a staple in Wilson’s live shows. It would be easy to describe it as a countrified take on Beyonce’s If I Were A Boy, but it’s so much more than that – a powerful, moving song which deals brilliantly with messy emotions, and a real step forward for Wilson as a songwriter and vocalist. If this is where her music is going, then I’m really excited to hear more in the future.

Honorable Mention

Anticipation is building for Miranda Lambert’s new record, Wildcard, as she continues to put out new music ahead of its release on 1st November. This week she released a cover of Elvin Bishop’s 1975 track Fooled Around And Fell In Love, featuring her Roadside Bars & Pink Guitars tour support acts Maren Morris, Ashley McBryde, Elle King, Tenille Townes and Caylee Hammack.

The song is an absolutely fantastic showcase for the array of great female vocalists in country right now. It’s a soulful, laid-back ballad with a great retro feel which sees each singer taking a couple of lines, getting their individual chance to shine. Particular standouts are Ashley McBryde with her vocal runs early on, Elle King’s belt on the bridge, and Maren Morris showing her soulful side. I was seriously impressed by the power in Caylee Hammack’s voice on her section too! The harmonies on the chorus are fantastic as well. It’s a great update to the classic song and one I can see going down a storm in the live shows too.

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