NYCountry Swag’s “What We’re Listening To” playlist highlights the wide range of our team’s favorite songs and artists when it comes to the country music genre. At the end of the day, we are all fans first with a passion for country music and are eager to share with you all what we’ve got on repeat each month.
Find below each of our team member’s favorite songs and why in our September picks. Then be sure to give our Spotify account a follow and listen to our favorite tracks!
Stephanie Wagner, Founder
Pick: “Drink About Me” – Brett Kissel
Songwriters: Ben Stennis & Matt Rogers
Ever since we hosted Brett Kissel for one of our latest Swag Sessions, I’ve been listening to his song “Drink About Me” on repeat. I love the way the lyrics talk about the memories of a past love and with each and every drink it can take you to a different moment with that person and wonder if they think about the same things too.
Christina Bosch, Managing Editor
Pick: “Getting Good” – Lauren Alaina
Songwriters: Emily Weisband
When I first heard Lauren Alaina’s new single, “Getting Good” I immediately resonated with always looking ahead to the next thing, instead of taking a look around and appreciating where I am at this very present moment. I love this wave of new music from female artists just singing about real life, not relenting about a man, rather focusing on things that men and women can relate to. I especially relate to the lines about worrying about her parents dying and the anxiety that so often overcomes me.
“I’m afraid of both my parents dying / I call my dad, he answers right away / And I didn’t hear a word ’cause I was thinking
/ About what hasn’t happened yet but will someday / And we hang up the phone before I know it / I’m crying over the conversation my fear took / I’m thinking once I learn to soak up every moment / I’ll realize my life’s already good”
In my life, knowing that so much has changed over the past few years, I try to constantly stop and smell the proverbial roses. I have always loved Lauren Alaina, since the moment she stepped in front of the judges on American Idol back in 2011 and with each release, I fall more and more in love with her voice, her personality and specifically her flawless songwriting.
Lucie Bernheim, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Trying To Let Her” – Ruston Kelly
Songwriters: Kyle Jacobs, Ruston Kelly, Joe Leathers
My playlist always changes when the weather does, and now that it’s fall, I’ve been listening to Ruston Kelly’s debut album, Dying Star, on repeat. Kelly leans more on the alternative side of country music, or as he calls it- “dirt emo”, but I love everything about it. The story is thought-provoking, and while autobiographical, it’s universal. I also love the production; it’s simple, yet beautiful, and the three-part harmony gives me chills.
“So, do you really wanna live like this forever / She’s trying to love you, boy / Why don’t you let her?”
Dylan Bestler, Contributing Writer
Pick: “The City” – Chase Rice
Songwriters: Chase Rice and Chris Destefano
Chase Rice put on an incredible show on Friday night at the Playstation Theater where he debuted a new song for us called the “The City” that will be on his next album. I’m not sure if I can pick an unreleased song but it’s been stuck in my head since and I can’t wait for him to release it so I can play it on repeat. It cannot go on our playlist yet but you can check it out an acoustic version on his Instagram page.
We were higher than the moon / hanging over lights on Broadway / as the band played / Baby let’s take/let’s take it to the city
Kristina Callahan, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Heartbeat of a Small Town” – Travis Denning
Songwriters: Chris Stevens, Rhett Akins, Travis Denning
When I listen to this song, I’m immediately thrown back to growing up in my hometown in Upstate New York where every Friday in the fall was all about high school football.
“Friday night, home team, marching band // Whole crowd stomping in the stands // You can hear them pads popping a mile away”
I think any song that can take you back to great memories growing up is something so special. I’ve been a fan of Denning’s other songs he’s released like “After a Few,” “David Ashley Parker from Powder Springs,” and “Tank of Gas with a Radio Song.” While still up-and-coming, I can’t wait to see what this Georgia boy has coming up next.
Julia Grubbs, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Coming Down the Mountain” – Mipso
Songwriters: Libby Rodenbough
With the fall chill in the air, and New Yorkers gearing up for Thanksgiving, Christmas, winter, don’t forget Halloween!, I’m taking full advantage of the sweater weather to listen to chill country music in preparation for the changing of the seasons. I’ll light my Honeycrisp Apple candle from Trader Joe’s and throw on this easy tune by Mipso. I’m totally into the Indie-Country mashups these days, where you can’t place the music in any particular genre, but it just makes you feel good.
Her voice eases any tension you might be holding and encourages a slowing down so appropriate for this time of year. Imagine watching the leaves fall with this in the background, and you’ll get what I mean. The harmonies also sit well, further relaxing you into a casual ‘sit on the porch with your coffee’ mood. I think we all need a bit more slow-moving songs in this fast-paced society, so let Mipso give you all you need to gather round the people you hold dear and just breathe. If you have the chance to listen to this in the mountains, then you’ll really catch the essence of the song.
Autumn Haile, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Newport” – Kylie Rothfield
Songwriters: Kylie Rothfield
Although Kylie Rothfield toes the line between pop and country, her ethereal songwriting is what fits her so effortlessly into the Nashville music scene. It also happens to be what made me fall in love with her song, “Newport.” While “Newport” isn’t one of her newest songs, it’s one that recently caught my attention because of the wistful atmosphere and the emotional reminiscent sprinkled throughout the lyrics. It captures that feeling you get when you look back on a moment you didn’t realize was important until long after it was over. Her talent with words and melodies makes listeners feel every ebb and flow of the melody, which is perfect for a song that reminds me of being close to the water with someone I love. From the very first listen, I was hooked on her voice, her sound, and her talent. I still feel you holding me / I still feel your love / We always have Newport, babe / Our escape from the world that we don’t understand / We always have Newport / and We left something there that we’ll never get back
Molly Holmberg, Contributing Writer
Pick: “A Road and A Radio” – Charles Esten
Songwriters: Charles Esten and J.T. Harding
This month I have been listening to Charles Esten’s “A Road and A Radio.” This song embraces the free spirit that an open road brings and listening to your favorite, nostalgic songs with friends, or just simply driving to clear your mind. The song channels an upbeat rock in roll toon with such ease to sing along. Esten mentioned in a press release, “It would be nice to think that maybe when somebody out there, in an attempt to get away from it all, decides to get ‘a song turned up’ and ‘a ragtop down,’ this just might be one of the songs they turn up.” I can definitely say that I have turned this one up more than once while driving with friends.
Nicole Piering, Contributing Writer
Pick: “The Father, My Son, and the Holy Ghost” – Craig Morgan
Songwriters: Craig Morgan
My pick for the month of October is Craig Morgan’s “The Father, My Son, and the Holy Ghost.” Released in late August, the song was given much-deserved attention thanks to a viral campaign led by Blake Shelton. With the help of Shelton and some other famous friends, including Ellen Degeneres, Carson Daly, Kelly Clarkson, and Hoda Kotb, the song climbed to #1 atop the iTunes’ all-genre chart. Unlike many other viral hits, Morgan’s song is a meaningful and powerful proclamation of faith and love, written in the wake of tragedy. Morgan penned the track after the passing of his son three years ago in a drowning accident, and it’s sure to give you chills. “I know my boy ain’t here, but he ain’t gone,” He sings, and it’s a message that anyone who’s ever lost someone can definitely relate to.
Pick: “Right Where I Left It” – Cole Swindell
Songwriters: Cole Swindell, Cole Taylor, Michael Carter
My pick for October is “Right Where I Left It” by Cole Swindell. The latest song to come from Cole Swindell’s new EP, Down Home Sessions V, might be my favorite from the EP so far. It’s a great reminder that no matter how old you get or how far you move, your home town is always going to be there. Growing up in a small town in South Jersey, I know that’s true.
Shanna Vitaliano, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Let It Roll” – Midland
Songwriters: Jess Carson
I have been listening to “Let It Roll” by Midland since I saw them kick off their tour last month in New York City. Penned by Jess Carson, it is a wordy track that reels you in with the authentic feel of strong country roots. Midland sticks with their undeniably incredible distinguished style as “Let It Roll” tells a story of being in awe over someone. It is a great song to play while on a long drive with an easy-going chorus, “So let it roll/Out of your soul/And we’ll fly down the road/See how high we can go/And let it ride/Like the tumblin’ dice/When you flash me those eyes/Girl, I’m out of my mind.” “Let It Roll” has a twangy, laid back vibe that showcases what Midland is all about.
Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer
Pick: “One Beer” – HARDY feat. Devin Dawson and Lauren Alaina
Songwriters: Hillary Lindsey, Jake Mitchell, HARDY
This month I knew exactly which song I was picking for my song of the month almost as soon as I heard it. My pick is HARDY’s song “One Beer,” featuring Devin Dawson and Lauren Alaina. First off, the entire concept of HARDY’s record “Hixtape Vol. 1” blows my mind and excites me for more music from him, but this song is for sure stand out off the record.
“A Boy and a girl and a three on a tree / K-I-S-S-I-N-G / First comes lust, then a shotgun marriage / Six month’s later come a baby in a carriage / You know what, y’all? You know what, y’all? / The whole thing started with some alcohol / The whole thing started with some alcohol.”
“One Beer” is innovative, oddly relatable, and storytelling at its finest. It paints the picture of a young couple, who find out that they are having a baby, which clearly changes the course of their lives. “One Beer” is the modern day “There Goes My Life” by Kenny Chesney. From the clever wordplay to the killer vocals by the collaborators to using a baby’s heartbeat as an instrumental, HARDY created a masterpiece with this track. I’ll always be a sucker for some creative and heartfelt lyrics, so I cannot wait to see what HARDY brings to the table next with his song-writing craft.
Listen to our picks on our “What We’re Listening To” playlist on Spotify and be sure to give it a follow, so you can catch our monthly updates.
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