Ever since Thomas Rhett released Country Again (Side A) in 2021, fans have been wondering when we'll be able to hear the project's long-promised Side B follow-up.
Country Again (Side A) was born out of the pandemic, and found Rhett reexamining his priorities and returning to a more traditional-leaning country sound, compared to the pop and R&B experimentation of albums such as Center Point Road and Life Changes.
This was epitomised on the title-track, which became an instant hit with fans, and largely served as Rhett's ‘down-homecoming’ (“Tucked my boots in the back of the closet / They didn't feel like me no more / But I dug 'em out and slipped 'em on / They've been on my feet since then / Man, it feels good to be country again”).
However, when Rhett was able to tour again following the global lockdown, he decided to switch up his plans and release the comparatively uptempo Where We Started in 2022 instead of Country Again (Side B). Despite saying he'd be releasing Side B later that year, it never materialised.
Since then, he's reiterated that he's still hard at work on the hotly anticipated album, and he's teased a number of unreleased demos in recent months that many suspect will feature on the Side B tracklist.
The most prominent of these is ‘Feelin’ Country’, which would tie in perfectly with the overarching theme of Country Again, and finds Rhett paying tribute to all the little things about his wife that he loves, but in a more playful way than the likes of ‘Die A Happy Man’.
Another previously shared track that is yet to be made available is ‘God Made An Angel’, which once again pivots endearingly around Rhett's appreciation for his wife, Lauren.
He sings, “Like when God made a cowboy, He had Montana in mind / He lit the moon and the stars so a backroad could shine / He snapped His fingers and a country boy's dream came true / When God made an Angel, I think He was thinking of you”.
We can't wait for that one to be given an official release, and the stripped-back, gratitude-filled nature of the track would make it perfect for Country Again (Side B).
‘Country Boy's Prayer’, which was sent to Thomas Rhett by a songwriting friend of his, runs in a similar vein of thankfulness, as he croons warmly about the small, often under-appreciated aspects of life that ultimately have the most value to him, such as his family, a fresh cup of coffee and - of course - a nice cold beer.
Faith has always played a crucial role in Thomas Rhett's music, most noticeably on ‘Death Row’, ‘Ya Heard’, ‘Blessed’ and his numerous Chris Tomlin collaborations, such as ‘God That Listens’. ‘Country Boy's Prayer’ epitomises this, and would certainly be a surprising omission should it fail to make the cut for Country Again (Side B).
Although ‘Always You’ was teased back in February 2022 - before Where We Started was released - Rhett has regularly spoken about the fact that many songs that were intended for Side B had already been written before Where We Started was put out.
We reckon ‘Always You’ is one of those songs, and we're keeping our fingers crossed that the powerful, loved-up ballad finds its way onto the Side B tracklist.
‘Years Are Short’ is the oldest song on this list, with the ‘What's Your Country Song’ hitmaker first sharing this in December 2021, before the first Country Again project dropped.
It explores the stresses and strains of being a parent - something Rhett can certainly empathise with, given the fact that he has four children. However, never one to complain, he reaches the moving resolution that, although the “Days are long”, the “Years are short”, as before you know it, you're waving them off for college with a tear in your eye.
It's a classic example of the evocative, storytelling magic that Rhett so regularly captures, with ‘Years Are Short’ following in the thematic footsteps of Kenny Chesney's ‘There Goes My Life’ and Trace Adkins’ ‘You're Gonna Miss This’.
Two post-Country Again (Side A) singles that didn't feature on Where We Started, ‘Redneck Be Like’ and ‘Things Dads Do’, will also presumably appear on Country Again (Side B).
‘Redneck Be Like’ is a high-octane firecracker of a song, and matches the down-home energy of Thomas Rhett's Country Again (Side A) collaboration with HARDY, ‘Put It On Ice’, whereas ‘Things Dads Do’ is Rhett's emotional Father's Day ode to his pops, Rhett Akins.
Although we're still yearning for an official release date, with Country Again (Side B) already having been delayed from last year, we'll surely - surely - be getting it before 2023 is out.
Or maybe Thomas Rhett's eternal sense of optimism is just catching...
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