NYCS First Impression: Ryan Hurd Panorama EP

Ryan Hurd Panorama

For those who have been fans of Ryan Hurd for years, the Panorama EP is an old-friend they first met years ago. For those of us who are newer fans of Hurd, the EP is a welcomed new release from one of Nashville’s most talented and prominent singer-songwriters.

Originally written and recorded in 2015 when the Michigan native was just starting to make a name for himself, the four-track collection is a celebration of Hurd as both a writer and artist. Each of the EP’s four tracks were co-written by Hurd with a variety of other Nashville heavy-hitters, including Laura Veltz, Jessie Jo Dillon, Maren Morris, and the late Andrew Dorff.

He took to Twitter just prior to the release, writing, “Two more things. Even before we were anything romantic, singing with Maren has felt like magic. This was the first thing we ever together that wasn’t demos, and to still get to do it today makes my heart very happy.” He then continued, “The second thing: I grew up with
@aaroneshuis. We started making music together when we were 14. He’s made every recording you’ve ever heard from me and this one is still our favorite.”

Although the EP was initially released four years ago, today marks it’s first wide release. It’s a four-track collection that shows the different sides of Hurd, from the wistful title track to the brooding “Mississippi to Me” and the hopeful “Good As You Think I am” to the darker “I’ll Be the Moon.”

The EP’s titular track is a simple message that everyone needs to hear once in awhile, as he reflects on a moment of tranquility with the person he loves and enjoying the moment. “Laying back on a blanket/ Looking at a blanket way up high/ Between the darkness in the distance/ And the way the whole thing shines,” Hurd sings. “Makes you feel like you see God/ Makes you feel like you’re alive/ For the first time/ Like you were my first time.”

“Mississippi to Me” is a darker cut about loss and a relationship ending, as the singer-songwriter grapples with a breaker. “You don’t want to hurt me/ But you ain’t in love with me.” He reveals on the heartbreaking track. “You’re talking reasons/ but you lost me back at I’m leaving.”

There’s the introspective “Good As You Think I Am,” which was co-written by Dorff and Morris, and reflects on a man trying to live up to what the woman in his life believes he can be. Speaking to Sounds Like Nashville, Hurd revealed, “I think when you see yourself through the lens of someone else’s love it changes you. This song hits me because the melody lives up to the sentiment in the lyrics. As a love song, it’s such an overwhelming realization, trying to become the person that she sees, wanting to live up to the love you’ve been given.”

The EP concludes with the brooding “I’ll Be the Moon,” a song previously released by Dierks Bentley on his 2016 Black album that featured none other than Morris. Hurd’s version here is less produced and more stripped, fully putting the powerfully painful lyrics on full display. Here, he’s a man so in love that he’s willing to settle for being the other man. He’ll take her where can, however, conceding, “I don’t want to be your secret/ But I will if you want me to/ You can leave me in the dark/ If that’s all I get from you/ He can be the sun/ I’ll be the moon.”

In advance of the release, the Michigan native expressed his gratitude to his fans, writing, “I don’t have a much to say tonight except that sometimes life is all about timing. If you’ve been here since the beginning or if it’s brand new to you, thank you for listening to Panorama tonight.”

Earlier this year, Hurd sold out New York City’s Bowery Ballroom, and he spoke to NYCountry Swag a few weeks ago at the Taste of Country Festival at Hunter Mountain. While no local shows are currently announced, Hurd will be joining Old Dominion’s Make It Sweet Tour for much of the rest of 2019.

To see tour dates and more, visit his official website or follow him on FacebookTwitterand Instagram.

Panorama EP is available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.

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NYCS First Impression: Clare Bowen Self Titled LP

Clare Bowen

Australian born singer-songwriter and actress, Clare Bowen rose to fame on the popular television show Nashville, where she starred as singer-songwriter Scarlett O’Connor. She is now embarking on the role of a lifetime, braving the music industry as herself, emerging as her own artist in her breathtaking debut self-titled record.

Bowen’s latest project features eleven tracks, all produced by Josh Kaufman, with an all-star crew of collaborators contributing to the songwriting process, such as Lori McKenna and Nathan Chapman. Bowen also created many of the tracks alongside her husband, Brandon Robert Young. The record relies on the imaginative lyrics, story-telling aspects, and Bowen’s incredible vocal delivery.

It beings with her debut solo single, “Let It Rain,” a whimsical story about getting through and persevering after experiencing heartbreak. The story of resilience is evident throughout the mid-tempo song and stands out even more in the music video, which premiered months prior. “Tide Rolls In,” although more upbeat and theatrical, is another track off the album that features the same message, confronting adversity with resilience and letting life ebb and flow as it should.

Bowen continues captivating listeners with her enchanting voice throughout all of the songs on her record; however, the slower-tempo, more lyrically-driven songs prove to be her sweet spot. The folk-infused track, “All The Beds I’ve Made” creates empowering imagery, as she sings about wanting to stay in bed forever with her love. Although a seemingly simple concept, it’s relatable, yet intricate. The songstress’ husband lends his voice to the track too, which adds to its unique beauty.

Similarly, “Grace of God & You” showcases Bowen’s vocal ability yet again. The song focuses on the importance of God and love. She sings “all I need is the grace of God and you,” a beautiful sentiment that comes across powerfully. In “Sweet William,” Bowen channels her inner Regina Specktor, once again delivering a mesmerizing track with a simple melody. She sings about lost love in the simplistically striking song.

Adding some depth to her record, Bowen shines on the unexpectedly catchy “Lijah & The Shadow.” The bluegrass-inspired track embodies a sultry flavor, while still painting a picture for the listener. Sonically similar, “Little By Little,” encourages fans to take it one step at a time, reminding people “to take that leap of faith / you’ve got what it takes / we’ve only just begun.”

Finally, Bowen’s self-titled project ends with “Warrior,” which is arguably the most poignant song on her record. It’s both a tearjerker and empowering, packing a quiet punch with every lyric. The song was inspired by Bowen’s experience with childhood cancer but can be uplifting for anyone who is going through something difficult.

The singer exclaims in the impactful chorus, “They’ll call you a hero, guardian angel, one in a million who didn’t stand a chance / call you a survivor / say you’re a fighter / turned this battle into a dance / warrior, warrior.”  Her determination and sheer will to survive through the trials and tribulations life throws at you make this one of the most impressive songs on the entire LP.

Although she may not fit the ever-growing country music ‘mold,” Bowen is a force to be reckoned with. As long as she continues to have something to say, we’ll continue to listen and be inspired, as other fans are sure to do as well.

Bowen will play a string of shows across the United States to celebrate the release of her new LP. She stops at the City Winery in New York City on July 29th. For tickets and more information, head to clarebowenofficial.com.

To keep up with Bowen, follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Clare Bowen is now available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.

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NYCS First Impression: Lacy Cavalier ‘k’ i’m done’

Lacy Cavalier K Im Done

At only 22 years old, Lacy Cavalier is a young country artist who certainly isn’t here to play around. Having known that she was made to perform her entire life, the release of her newest EP k i’m done certainly has the potential to gain her the attention and following that her honest, relatable and badass lyrics deserve.

k i’m done features 6 songs that have a pop-country feel and showcase her heart, independence, God-given talent, while at the same time promoting female empowerment. These songs are the type that you will want to blast in your car after a break-up to remind yourself who you are and give you the strength it takes to move on, while at the same time provide you with Instagram selfie captions and lyrics to post for days.

The lyrics of these songs are not only relatable but are very reflective of our society and common views on dating in 2019, something that many people have found almost impossible. Cavalier’s intentions were definitely not to write your average country love song, but to share her stories and feelings in a raw and realistic way, while at the same time displaying her passion and seriously incredible vocal range.

Through songs like “Distraction”, “Cheating on U” and “Single” she shares her experiences of leaving a toxic relationship only to see that person get into another relationship immediately after and dump their problems on someone else. “I been taking my time but you took no time to get back to your game”, she sings in “Single”.

In the track released last week, “Tea”, Cavalier is giving a subtle heads up to her ex’s new love interest, letting them know how awful the guy really is. “Let me serve you some tea, he ain’t what you think”, she sings. And in “Dumbest Thing”, she gets real about accidentally contacting someone who you know you shouldn’t only to realize how ridiculous your thoughts were the next morning, something many of us have experienced first hand.

Last, but certainly not least, “Blue Suede Couch” will have you wanting to listen to her story about a past relationship on repeat for her exceptional vocals on this track. The songstress reminisces from an old couch that has seen the good times and the hard times throughout the story.

She’s soulful, honest and engaging and this 6 song project certainly tells her story and will have you wanting to be her best friend and make you feel bad for anyone who has wronged her in the past. The combination and blending of R&B, pop and country storytelling will definitely encourage repeat spins of k i’m done.

To keep up with Lacy Cavalier, follow her on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

k i’m done is now available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.

 

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NYCS First Impression: Runaway June ‘Blue Roses’

Blue Roses Runaway June

Just nine months after the premiere of their self-titled debut EP, the talented ladies of Runaway June have finally released their debut album Blue Roses. Complete with ten brilliant tracks, the songstresses channel their heartbreaks, sassiness, vulnerability, and girl-power into an impressive compilation of songs.

The record opens up with “Head Over Heels,” a song that honestly expresses the stigma of women having a one night stand. We caught up with two of the members of the trio, Hannah and Jennifer, during Taste of Country Music Festival, where they shared that they wanted to write and sing about a subject that is not typically discussed in country music, especially from the perspective of an all girl-trio. Check out the interview where they discuss the album and the song below.

Cleverly placed as the next song on the track list, Runaway June’s current infectious single, “Buy My Own Drinks” celebrate women empowerment and independence, post-break-up. The ladies continue their confident and sassy attitudes in “Fast As You,” another track that debuted originally on their EP. Naomi, Hannah, and Jennifer put their own twist on Dwight Yoakam’s song, reminding men that they can “break hearts too.”

On the contrary, the songstresses sing in “I Know the Way” that they “know the way to unbreak your heart.” The flirty song is a unique twist on a classic love story, featuring more uptempo instrumentals and a confident female protagonist, enticing a love interest to come to the bar downtown to dance with her.

Slowing it down a bit, the singer-songwriters harmonize on the nostalgic song “We Were Rich.” The ladies reminisce about simpler times, where finding money in a couch cushion, the old church, family time, and singing hymns meant that they had everything they could have ever wanted. Admitting in the last verse that though they’ve become more successful, they would always view those times as their ‘richest.’ “We didn’t have it all / but we all thought we did / Mama always said that we were blessed and I believed her / Never thought the grass was greener / on the other side of our old chain link fence / Yeah, we were rich.”

The women continue the theme of gratitude in their song “Good Bad & Ugly,” which depicts a healthy relationship. Naomi, Hannah, and Jennifer harmonize beautifully, as they sing the chorus, sharing “I’m a saint, I’m a sinner, I’m a train-wreck / Just about as wild as they get / but you still love me, good, bad, and ugly,” adding that they “must have done something right in another life” to be with the one they’re with.

On the opposite spectrum, Runaway June’s lament about loss and heartbreak on the record in both “I Am Too” and the title track. The former is a self-reflective ballad, picking apart the emotions and situations associated with a recent break-up, and wondering if their ex is feeling the same way. The chorus, though heartbreaking, is as relatable and raw as it gets.

The latter, “Blue Roses” is a deeply personal song that deals with loss in a unique way. Despite how personal it is, the songstresses openly sing about their vices and wanting their loved ones back on the track, which will surely resonate with fans everywhere, and make naysayers stop to listen and appreciate the talented trio that are Runaway June.

Runaway June delivered a well-balanced debut album that will surely garner them praise and many more fans. We cannot wait to see what is next to come for the girl group, and look forward to their future success. New York fans can catch the ladies on Carrie Underwood’s ‘The Cry Pretty Tour 360’ alongside duo, Maddie & Tae on October 2nd at the iconic Madison Square Garden. For a complete list of tour dates and more information, head to runawayjune.com

To keep up with Runaway June, follow them on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Blue Roses is now available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.

 

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NYCS First Impression: Baker Grissom ‘Saturdays & Sunday’

Baker Grissom

By happenstance, our managing editor Christina fell upon a talented singer-songwriter named Baker Grissom via social media. As fate would have it, Grissom released his debut EP Saturdays & Sunday just last week (6/21), and subsequently signed a publishing deal with RED Creative Group, with likes of Adam Hambrick and Travis Denning also on the roster. Grissom is one to watch. His effortless vocals, creative songwriting, and poise for a new artist rivals any successful country musician in the industry.

His new project begins with his single, “Right Bar Wrong Stool.” At first glance at the title, one might assume that the track is a cliche break-up song set in a bar atmosphere, but Grissom’s clever wordplay matched with the authentic nature of the song makes it special. He laments about being in the right spot (right bar), but sitting on the “wrong stool,” watching another guy hit on his love interest. “Bartender give us your best shot / He don’t know half of what he’s got / She’s top shelf, I”m on the bottom well with no one to blame, but myself.”

Grissom continues the clever wordplay in his next track titled “Do I Drink.” Armed with an enticing beat and a catchy melody, the singer tries to figure out what is the impetus for his drinking, post-breakup. He shares in the chorus “Do I drink because I miss you / Do I miss you because I drink.” Despite the melancholy nature of the song, Grissom still comes across cool, relaxed, and confident just like successful recording artist and songwriter Eric Church.

He continues to up the ante with the middle track on the five-song EP. “You Are Who You Listen To” is truly a gem. At first listen, it almost sounds like a song that could have been cut by Keith Urban; however, the song is clearly personal to Grissom. It explores how both family (specifically his father) and music made him who he is today. He sings “I was raised on three chords and the truth / By a simple man who knew that you are who you listen to.” The message of the song seems to have a dual meaning, acting as both a thank you to his father (who he goes to for advice), as well as, showing gratitude to music for being there for him. The track name drops titles of songs that create a nostalgic look back including  Bruce Springsteen’s “Born To Run”,  Eric Church’s “Two Pink Lines”, Tim McGraw’s “Red Rag Top” and Kenny Chesney’s “There Goes My Life” amongst many others.

Next up, “Song for My Ex” is another lyrically driven song. Despite being one of the slower songs on his EP, it still packs a punch. Throughout the track, Grissom copes with a break-up, admitting “I’ve been drinking daily / I’ve been smoking cigarettes / She wouldn’t like that I had one lit / So what / I ain’t waiting on a miss you text / This ain’t a song for my ex.” Grissom’s vocals shine in the last chorus and verse, as he continues to exclaim that this one is definitely not about his ex, adding, “I ain’t waiting for her to come over.” The song is completely relatable, as anyone whose ever dealt with mixed feelings after a break-up can emphasize with the singer-songwriter.

Rounding out the solid debut is the simply titled “Sunday.” Much like “Do I Drink,” the final track feels like it could have been cut by Church, reminiscent of his hits “Talladega” and “Springsteen.” Grissom’s anchor track is his honest and refreshing version of a love song. He compares his love interest to the feeling of Sundays and thanks her for being his rock.

“Save me from the night / Girl you called me just in time / When I’m feeling like Sunday, kneeling on the ground / Praying that Monday don’t come ‘round / I’d give up anything, take it from me now / I’ll never found another love like we’ve found / Singing hallelujah, when you’re next to me / Second that I knew ya, baby I believe / Feeling like Sunday.”

We encourage everyone to give Grissom’s Saturdays & Sunday EP a listen- it definitely doesn’t disappoint! Like he shared via his latest Instagram post “Go give it a spin!”

To keep up with Blake Grissom follow him on Instagram and Facebook.

“Saturdays & Sunday” is now available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more recently released music here on our “New Country Music” playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.

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NYCS First Impression: Aaron Watson ‘Red Bandana’

Aaron Watson Red Bandana

Aaron Watson is celebrating a huge milestone year, being in the music industry for 20 years, with a new album, Red Bandana. In the days leading up to Watson’s latest album, he took to Instagram to describe each track and how it came about. Red Bandana is not the traditional 10-12 track album and Watson doesn’t play by the rules of the industry as an independent artist. One thing to notice about him compared to any other artists is his ability to tell a story. Whether it is his own personal journey, loss, or success, a moment with a fan turned into a song, or a meaningful conversation, Watson is able to pull great songs out of anything.

The album’s cover is a simple red bandana just like the name although it’s meaning is much bigger. Watson shared on Instagram earlier this year, “To me there’s nothing more classic, more country, or more cowboy than an old red bandana. It signifies hard work, grit, and determination… I needed a cover that would reflect the meaning behind the music. I needed something with more substance than just another cover with my picture on it. The title track is a cowboy poem, so I decided, why not just photograph my Dad’s old red bandana. We tilted the square red bandana 45 degrees and there it was, like a diamond in the rough!”

Watson is right. Upon first listen, “Ghost of Guy Clark” has is such a cowboy tone to it, just like a Chris Ledoux classic. A clear ode to staying true to yourself, something the singer-songwriter clearly represents. Fading into “El Comienzo Del Viaje,” you will notice that there are no words in the minute and a half song. The sounds of an abandoned Texas town and fiddles quickly turns into sounds of a victory, like any triumphant story.

The latest single off the record “Kiss That Girl Goodbye” is based on an encounter Watson had with a fan. He shared earlier this year on his Instagram that a girl came up to meet him after a concert and told him that she was supposed to come here with her boyfriend but after she dumped him she still came to celebrate by herself. What better way to celebrate than to have Watson write such an upbeat song! Other hits include “Trying Like the Devil,” “Old Friend,” and “Riding With Red” with new music videos for each.

Out of all the songs on the album, the last one “58” is arguably the most powerful. It’s a tribute to the 58 men and women that lost their lives at the Route 91 tragedy. A few months after the shooting in Vegas, Watson played there for National Finals Rodeo where he met a sweet woman who had lost a close friend during the tragedy. She suggested that someday he should write a song for all the victims and their families. “58” is an ode to those who passed and lost loved ones during the tragedy last year. Watson once again makes a point to pay tribute to his hero, draw awareness to issues, write heart-melting love songs, and more all into one beautiful and cohesive album.

To keep up with Aaron Watson, follow him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Red Bandana is now available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.

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NYCS First Impression: Montgomery Gentry ‘Outskirts’

Montgomery Gentry

Montgomery Gentry’s highly anticipated EP is out today (6/14). Outskirts feature seven songs that were recorded back in September of 2017 and is the perfect way to pay tribute and continue the legacy of Troy Gentry who lost his life just a year later in a helicopter accident.

Montgomery Gentry sing about the way you are raised and your core values when growing up on the outskirts of town. The return of the duo’s signature southern rock sound makes for a collection of tracks that fans of the band will absolutely love. Opening with the title track, “Outskirts,” which portrays the praises of living in a small town living. The lyrics explain the core values and common living patterns of living in the south.

“We stick to God’s plan / Finish what we start, man / Carve out our brand / Our here in the heartland / And on a clear night / I can see them city lights / While I watch the stars burn / Out here on the outskirts.”

Along with their own tracks, the duo also took on Merle Haggard’s “What Am I Going To Do With The Rest Of My Life,” and their take on Darrell Scott’s “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive.”

The second track on the EP “Never Been Nothin’ Else” will take you back to your roots and will remind you to stay true to yourself. Also, the track “Joe Six Pack” written by Jeremy Stover, Jesse Frasure, and Travis Denning, needs to be an addition to your summer playlist. The message is direct on this chorus as Montgomery sings “We’re good with what we got / Fine with what we have.”

At the end of the EP, “King of the World” features the GRAMMY award-winning guitar player, Steve Vai. “The way he wants to live his life when he grows up,” Montgomery says of the track in a press release. This track has a folksy, rock beat that will stand out to the fans. This EP is an unforgettable soundtrack that showcases the new direction and honors the memory of Troy Gentry.

Make sure to check out Montgomery Gentry on tour, for more information visit. www.MontomeryGentry.com.

To keep up with Montgomery Gentry, follow them on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Outskirts is now available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.

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NYCS First Impression Luke Combs ‘The Prequel – EP’

Luke Combs The Prequel

With his unassuming presence and every-man attitude, Luke Combs has captured the hearts of country music fans in a way that’s rarely seen nowadays. Rather than relying on glitz and glam, Combs has earned his legion of tried and true followers by staying true to his country roots and releasing great music. As the follow up to 2017’s This One’s For You, Combs’ released The Prequel – EP today (June 7), featuring 5 new songs, including the project’s first single, the anthemic “Beer Never Broke My Heart.”

Aside from “Beer Never Broke My Heart,” The Prequel’s two other standout tracks are “Refrigerator Door” and “Even Though I’m Leaving.” The former is a celebration of nostalgia and life’s best days while “Even Though I’m Leaving” is a heartstrings-tugging ode to the relationship between a father and a son. On “Refrigerator Door,” Combs executes such a simple concept expertly, celebrating life through the contents of a refrigerator door. “With all those pictures hanging side by side / Forgotten memories from another time/ And all the places that I’ve been before/ A couple magnets, recipes, and Polaroids / Yeah, but that’s my life on the ‘frigerator door.”

“Even Though I’m Leaving” is the chill-inducing moment of the EP, taking listeners on a journey through a father and son’s special relationship. It starts with monsters under the bed then moves to the son leaving for the military, ultimately ending with the father’s passing. The message here is clear on the simple yet intense chorus, as Combs sings, “Even though I’m leaving, I ain’t going nowhere.”

What Combs does best is on full display on this EP, weaving powerful lyrics over anthemic country music. He takes us through a wide range of emotions including nostalgia, love, and loss. Not to be missed are “Moon Over Mexico,” a slow jam that celebrates a magical moment in Mexico, and “Lovin’ On You,” where Combs brings the party to the exciting buzz that comes from new love.

When it comes to modern country, many new acts are more style than substance, but Luke Combs is truly an exception. He shines by simply releasing solid songs with an unmatched voice. The Prequel is a perfect example of that and is truly just another step towards his superstardom.

Combs will hit Long Island’s Mulcahy’s Pub and Concert Hall next week for an acoustic show with Hunter Hayes, Gone West, and Aaron Goodvin.

To keep up with Luke Combs, follow him on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

The Prequel – EP is now available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.

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Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC & Beyond!

Subscribe to our Weekly Round-Up here 
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NYCS First Impression: Austin Jenckes ‘If You Grew Up Like I Did’

Austin Jenckes

Austin Jenckes has had quite a musical journey. From releasing several solo projects over the last decade, to joining a group (called “The First Call), to being a Team Blake contestant on Season 5 of The Voice. While most people are familiar with him from the TV show in 2013, the Duvall, Washington native has taken a step out of that television spotlight and returns with a full album, his first since the competition.

Released via Nashville artist development company and indie label Red Dot, If You Grew Up Like I Did gives listeners a very personal glimpse into Jenckes’ journey as he lets the art take individuals on a ride through love, death, hardship, and celebration. Proving himself as both a vocalist and songwriter, Jenckes had a hand in co-writing eight out of nine tracks on the record.

Album opener “We Made It” celebrates triumphing over all odds to lead a beautiful, satisfying life that is not perfect by worldly standards, but the couple’s own. Penned by Jenckes, Jaren Johnston (of The Cadillac Three) and Jonathan Singleton, the song paints imagery of a life with joys and hardship co-existing together but still living, the couple is grateful enough to say it ain’t got what we want but got what we need, hey, we made it.

A sweet, nostalgic look back on love so sweet is then followed with “Never Forget” (Jenckes, Brinley Addington), and the feel-good “American Nights,” a celebratory anthem about the carefree in-the-moment feelings of fun and earning our stripes underneath the stars.

Lead track “Fat Kid,” which features Grammy-nominated songwriter Lori McKenna (Tim McGraw, Little Big Town), encompasses one word in 4 minutes: nostalgia. We all have felt, at some point in our almost-picturesque life, like outliers. We may be happy with our choices, but something unsettles us about a certain aspect of it. This is when Jenckes’ emotional delivery shines, along with the writing of McKenna, Neil Mason (1/3 of The Cadillac Three) and the late Andrew Dorff. The one lyric that hits? “That summer before your senior year, you lost a damn good friend. / And finally on a Sunday morning, you learned how to say Amen”

Penned with one of Sony Nashville’s newest artist, Jameson Rodgers, “Bet You’d Look Good” pays compliments to his significant other about her unceasing beauty, whether in a Willie Nelson shirt [he] bought from a southern thrift store for a couple hundred pennies or in a world that keeps on spinning. “Never Left Memphis” is a rocking, soulful, feet-thumping song that showcases Jenckes’ evident rhythm and blues influences.

An undeniable highlight on the album is the deeply personal “If You’d Been Around.” Co-written with Lynn Hutton (Eric Church, Florida Georgia Line, Jon Pardi) and Tammi Kidd Hutton (Scotty McCreery, Kellie Pickler, LeAnn Rimes), is delivered as a personal letter to Jenckes’ late father (who passed away when the singer was just 16) about what he would’ve witnessed in his son’s life, if he had still been around. The heart-wrenching tune explores the what-ifs and emotions entailed in a loss too soon. “The road ain’t been busy, but I found my way / Sometimes I think I might’ve turned out more like the man I’ve heard stories about / If you’d been around”

Proving the universal power of music, the same three writers team up again on “There’s A Song,” a track that lists some of the biggest songs across all music genres, in a convincing invitation to listeners to realize how there truly is a song for the roller-coaster journey of life. Jenckes then wraps up the album by taking a step back and promising his wife he knows what matters the most at the end of the day; and he’ll “Ride Away” with her anytime, wherever she wants to go

After listening to this record, we dare say, he’s “made it”– both as a writer and artist. Our guess is, it won’t be long till a major label takes interest in his artistry and the irrefutably perfect storyteller that he is. Not only is the country singer readying to bring his music across the pond to Europe later in the fall, but he is also slated to make his big Grand Ole Opry debut in Nashville on June 15.

To keep up with Austin Jenckes, follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

“If You Grew Up Like I Did” is available now. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.

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NYCS First Impression: Thomas Rhett ‘Center Point Road’

Thomas Rhett Center Point Road

Upon first listen, Thomas Rhett’s Center Point Road may come off as a fairly standard collection of country ballads and modern party tunes. Yet, upon further listening, Center Point Road is a collection of love letters. While some are to the expected recipient, his wife Lauren, there are also declarations of love to his home town (“Center Point Road”), his first car (“That Old Truck”), his younger days (“Remember You Young”), and his favorite beverage (“Beer Can’t Fix.)

“For me, Center Point Road really symbolizes what it was like to grow up in Hendersonville [Tennessee],” said Rhett in a statement. “First dates, first football games, first heartbreak, first kisses, success, and failures. I really feel like that road shaped who I am today, and it felt fitting because the record, for the most part, is pretty nostalgic. Songs like ‘Almost,’ ‘That Old Truck’ and especially ‘Center Point Road,’ really describe who I was as a kid and teenager, and who I’ve become as an adult.”

On the 16-track collection, all co-written by Rhett, he seamlessly soars from slick pop-leaning tracks to more traditional country offerings. The album shows Rhett in two main modes: reflective and ready for a good time. There are songs for both moods, and while Rhett rarely strikes out musically, he also manages to hit quite a few home runs on his latest release.

While Rhett can release a party song with the best of them, and they are aplenty, he shines on the slower, more reflective tracks. He’s at his best when he’s singing about his love for his wife, as evidenced on “Blessed.” Rhett sings, “People say I’m lucky/ but lucky ain’t the word/ Oh I’m blessed.” There’s also “Notice,” which shows that Rhett notices the little things about the woman he loves, revealing, “You think that I don’t notice, but I do.”

In a similar vein are “Dream You Never Had” and “Almost.” On the former, Rhett sings the praises of his wife who’s living his crazy life with him. “You married the music the day that you married me,” Rhett proclaims here. “Baby I’m just the singer / And you are the songs that I sing.” On “Almost,” Rhett reflects on all of the “almosts” in his past, the things he “almost” did or didn’t do that would’ve changed the entire course of his life. This is the Thomas Rhett equivalent of Garth Brooks’ “Unanswered Prayers” and it’s truly a poignant way to end the album.

If you’re here for a good time, this album is full of songs for that as well. In fact, Rhett has single-handedly created our summer playlist with songs like “VHS,” “Sand,” and “Barefoot.” In case you were wondering, “VHS” stands for “Very Hot Summer,” and is most definitely not about those tapes that went in your VCR.

Prior to the release of Center Point Road, Rhett released a handful of tracks including his collaborations with Jon Pardi (“Beer Can’t Fix”), Little Big Town (“Don’t Threaten Me With a Good Time”) and Kelsea Ballerini (“Center Point Road”.) Interestingly, each of these tracks brings out a different side of the singer, as he’s a bit more country on the Pardi collab, a bit more funky with LBT, and a bit more anthemic pop-rock with Ballerini.

On Center Point Road, you can hear the superstar experimenting with different themes and sounds. The album’s opening track “Up” sets the tone as Rhett harmonizes over funky horns and unique grooves, singing along to a choir that reminds us that “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright.”

For Rhett, everything is definitely going to be alright. With Center Point Road, he’s sure to continue his ascent through the ranks of the country music community. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that it’s only a matter of time before that coveted Entertainer of the Year trophy is on his mantle.

In addition to the release of the album, Thomas Rhett took New York City by storm during his album release week. With visits to iHeartRadio, Pandora and the TODAY Show, check out our exclusive coverage here.

To keep up with Rhett, follow him on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

Center Point Road is now available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.

 

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Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC & Beyond!

Subscribe to our Weekly Round-Up here 
for ticket giveaways, meet & greet contests, upcoming events,
and all things country music in the New York metro area and beyond!

+ Follow our country music adventures on InstagramTwitter & Facebook: