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The Travelin’ McCourys, William Alexander & Emily Grace Taylor: Highlights From This Week's Grass Roots

24 April 2024 | 11:31 am | Mary Varvaris
In Partnership With ABC Country

Every week, ABC Country's Grass Roots program spotlights the best independently released Australian country music.

The Travelin’ McCourys, William Alexander, Emily Grace Taylor

The Travelin’ McCourys, William Alexander, Emily Grace Taylor (Source: Supplied)

Every week, ABC Country's Grass Roots program spotlights the best independently released Australian country music. Selected from the hundreds of new tracks submitted, the one-hour program is now available on demand and premieres each Monday at 9 pm on ABC Country, showcasing the health of Aussie country music across all its sub-genres. Here are three of this week's tracks you should have on your radar. 

Head here to have a listen to this week’s full episode of Grass Roots.

The Travelin McCourys – Runaway Train

Runaway Train is the kind of song you think of whenever anyone mentions real, authentic country music. Featuring the banjo and fiddle, it’s an energetic number that shows lead vocalist Ronnie McCoury somehow keeping up with the pace the song title suggests.

Maybe someday when these clouds roll away/ you’ll hear a new whistle blowing/ and we’ll go riding on a runaway train,” McCoury sings in harmony with his bandmates. The song superbly develops into an impressive bluegrass tune.

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The Nashville group finds Ronnie McCoury driving the runaway train on vocals alongside brother Rob on banjo, Jason Carter on fiddle, Alan Bartram on bass, and Cody Kilby on guitar, with all members offering incredible solos throughout.

William Alexander – Barron And Bare

Just as authentic country as Runaway Train, the 27-year-old singer from Queensland’s cattle country, William Alexander, wishes for “better days to come” on Barron And Bare, a standout track from his new album, The Singing Stockman.

The traditional tune stars Alexander’s commanding vocal front and centre, while an acoustic guitar is strummed in company multi-instrumentalist Tommy Brooks on the electric guitar, steel guitar and mandolin. The song was edited and mixed by Patrick Wilson, who also played the bass guitar and drums on the track.

Alexander has been described as a “classic bush balladeer,” and Barron And Bare ticks that description box. Whether he’s crooning about lost love or singing about the farmer’s life, you believe him: he’s just that real.

Emily Grace Taylor – Say What You Need

The Gold Coast’s own alt-country artist, Emily Grace Taylor, proves why she’s an outstanding triple j Unearthed alum with the driving new track, Say What You Need.

With a genuine twang in her voice and American-inspired instrumentals, the song envelops listeners in a warm, swaying, timeless atmosphere. Taylor finds a profound connection between the music and lyrics.

Taking to social media upon its release, Emily Grace Taylor said about Say What You Need, “I know how hard it can be to express what you need in a relationship - and not being able to can break it. We want to seem strong and can be too proud to say what we need. Or saying what we need feels like we’re asking too much.

“But I think the ones who love us actually just want to be there. This song is about being brave enough to say it out loud so the love can grow.”

And you feel the love in every moment of the song.