Fast-rising country newcomer Breland — who’s best known for collaborating with A-Listers like Dierks Bentley, Thomas Rhett, Keith Urban and Sam Hunt — officially has an album on the way. He announced his full-length debut, Cross Country, during a stop on NBC’s Today With Hoda & Jenna on Tuesday morning (June 13).
The album takes its name from Breland’s song “Cross Country,” which is an autobiographical look back at his journey. Born in New Jersey, the singer traversed the U.S., making stops in Atlanta and Hollywood in search of a musical community that felt like home, and ultimately learned to get comfortable with not sounding like anybody else. After he released the song solo, he remixed it with help from Mickey Guyton and has since embraced its title as an umbrella term for his own particular, innovative brand of country music.
“Cross Country” will be featured on Breland’s album, as will previously-released duets like “Throw it Back” (with Urban) and “Praise the Lord” (with Rhett). He hasn’t announced a full tracklist yet, but when he revealed his album news, he also shared the project’s next single.
Called “Natural,” Breland’s next single is his most straight-ahead country release to date. With guitar work that throws back to ’90s country and a beat worth two-stepping to, “Natural” sings the praises of “an actual, natural, back-it-up country girl” who can “drink like her daddy” and “dance her heels off” whenever she gets the chance to hit the town.
For a performer who’s often eschewed more popular, radio-friendly subject matter in favor of pulling from his own unorthodox journey to where he is today, “Natural” is Breland’s celebration of simple, summertime country fun. Despite its simplicity, Breland’s sharp lyrics are still on full display in this song — “She don’t gotta catfish ’cause she a whole catch,” he playfully sings in the second verse.
The singer offers a tip of the hat to his ’90s influences too: The second verse of “Natural” references Tim McGraw‘s “Where the Green Grass Grows,” and eagle-eared fans can pick a hint of Shania Twain‘s “Man I Feel like a Woman” interpolated into the track.
Cross Country is due out on Sept. 9.
Best Country Albums of 2021 – Critic’s Picks
This list of the best country albums of 2021 was curated by Taste of Country staff, with help from fans and with consideration of industry acclaim and mainstream accessibility.
The top album of the year is a traditional country record that makes subtle efforts to include more progressive-minded fans. Elsewhere, find projects from a dynamic mix of artists and and visionaries.