Alan Jackson: ‘Where Have You Gone’ – Album Review

After nearly six years, Alan Jackson is back with a full-length collection of new music through his 14th studio album, Where Have You Gone, available now, May 14th on all streaming platforms. Take a look as we discuss maintaining country roots, the beauty of less being more & the grace portrayed by this esteemed country music veteran.

With ample subheaders emerging from the development of country music, it is indeed a breath of fresh air to be shipped back to the roots. The worn-down cowboy boot, wide-legged jean, and slow-dancin’ in your living room to the record type of country. It’s like a long-overdue return back home. Alan Jackon’s 14th studio album, Where Have You Gone is a time capsule that has been unchained at a seemingly stand-still yet fruitful moment in time.

In fact, the title track, which simultaneously acts as the album intro song, lays an intensely beautiful violin arrangement over a pining, wistful-eyed vocal component that speaks truth to the re-emergence of traditional country.

“It’s been way too long since you slipped away // I just can’t forget, I can’t pretend it’s okay // No other one could ever replace you // So I’ll keep on believing and dreaming of you…”

“Merle and George and Hank, A lot of young people liked that music when I was growing up, but it felt like nobody was making it. Somebody had to go to Nashville to make that kind of country,” Jackson explains in a recent press release. “Randy (Travis) did and was great. But real country music is gone. It feels like 1985 again, and somebody has to bring it back.”

Though, Jackson does not solely want to wear dusted off yet incredibly well-suited boots. “I Can Be That Something” suggests, rather subtly hints at, the versatility within this GRAMMY-winning, Entertainer of the Year that holds an outstanding record of thirty-five #1 hits as well as well-maintained classics such as “Remember When”, “Chattahoochee” and “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” with Jimmy Buffet.

“But I can be that whiskey in your bottle // I can be that smile that takes away your tears // I can be the place you just want to run to // I can be that something to get you through…”

While Where Have You Gone politely yet sternly requests a return to country music origins while widening the scope to incorporate a desirable taste for any occasion, Jackson has stayed true to himself. “I never felt the need to chase anything different than I did,” Jackson confesses. “I just did what I liked and was lucky enough to connect with people who love the same kind of country music I do. My heart was in the real country music, that was what I wanted to do.”

The new album showcases a broad range of “Things That Matter”, a song that teeters on a similar wavelength as his 2003 single “Remember When”, which climbed to the top of the charts and remains a timeless, responsive piece. From the raw sentiment of writing a song for his daughter’s wedding, flirting with an excess of bourbon, a manual on making love last in “The Boot” and a farewell to his mother who passed in 2017, this only scratches the surface of the complete collection of music released by this astounding and unwavering entertainer.

“I know I’ve changed, but I’m still pretty much the same person who came to Nashville all those years ago,” Jackson simplifies. “I still eat beans and cornbread.”

Jackson has indeed brought country “Back” where it belongs with his hat and boots in tow.

Alan Jackson's 'Where Have You Gone' is available now, May 14th

Alan Jackson’s ‘Where Have You Gone’ is available now, May 14th

Fans can join our Weekly Round-Up e-newsletter here, for the latest in country music and more news about future Alan Jackson releases.

To keep up with Alan Jackson, follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Where Have You Gone 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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Kenny Chesney: ‘Here And Now Deluxe’ – Album Review

Kenny Chesney’s Here And Now Deluxe Album is available now, May 7th, everywhere you buy or stream music. Read our full album review and check out the new music below.

Kenny Chesney's 'Here And Now Deluxe Album', is out now May 7th

Kenny Chesney’s ‘Here And Now Deluxe Album’, is out now May 7th

Last May, eight-time Entertainer of the Year, Kenny Chesney released his 18th studio album Here and Now, which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and produced singles “Tip of My Tongue,” the title track, “Happy Does,” and its current single, “Knowing You.” On March 25th, Chesney announced some disappointing, but understandable news to his No Shoes Nation when he postponed the much anticipated Chillaxification Tour for the second straight year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, three days later he boosted our spirits with the announcement of a deluxe version of the album. On Friday, May 7th, fans got to listen to those four brand new songs, which include “Wind On,” “Fields of Glory,” “My Anthem,” and “Streets.”

“With ‘Knowing You’ finding its way up the charts, and so much music on Here And Now for people to still explore, there was all this music we’ve made,” he said in a recent press release. “I decided I didn’t want to wait for the next album. I wanted these four songs to be part of what Here And Now is – making Here And Now Deluxe maybe shows a little bit of a now we never saw coming.”

Even when Chesney explores more sensitive topics on this album, like on “Everyone She Knows” and “Someone to Fix,” they still promote an easy-listening vibe; these new tracks are no different. “Wind On” is an upbeat song about taking a ride and leaving all your worries behind. He reminds the listeners of the importance of living care-free on occasion. Penned by Rodney Clawson and Chesney’s good friend, David Lee Murphy, its simple lyrics and long, rocking instrumental at the end make this a fun, party song.

In the more mellow track, “Fields of Glory,” Chesney pays homage to literal fields–football and corn. He recollects on the sport, specifically going to the state championship, as well as summer nights with his friends–staying up late, sitting in truck beds, looking at the stars, and talking about the rest of their lives. Chesney has sung about his football career before, most notably on “Boys of Fall.”

“My Anthem,” written by Jason Gantt, Josh Osborne, and Shane McAnally, is a percussion-driven, pop-country love story about two teenagers trying to outrun their youth. The girl’s parents in the story were always fighting and the boys were making life decisions for him—they used each other as an escape from all of that. Sonically and lyrically, it’s reminiscent of “Setting the World on Fire,” his collaboration with P!nk from the Cosmic Hallelujah album.

In the final track, “Streets,” which Chesney wrote alongside Tom Douglas, he sings about life in the post-pandemic world. Throughout this powerful, uplifting, piano ballad, he highlights an average night in three cities, New York, Los Angeles, and Nashville. In New York, two people find love in Time Square, the Yankees are at bat, Billy Joel is headlining the Garden, and all is well. In L.A., tourists are back taking pictures at the Hollywood sign, locals are surfing, people are in line at Disneyland, and all is well. In Nashville, lower Broadway bars are open, young artists are beginning their musical journey, and all is well.

“Faith believes when it can’t see // In who we are and who we’re gonna be // Our lady in the harbor shinin’ like a citadel // And on the streets of America // All is well”

Like so many artists over the past fourteen months, Chesney has used this time off to reflect on the people he loves and the things in life that bring him joy, which translated into new music that came straight from the heart of this Eastern Tennessee native.

“It’s funny what you learn when you’re forced to stop,” Chesney began. “I have always loved songs and songwriters, being in the studio with the most creative people. But over the last year, as much as I’ve loved making music – I always have, I’ve realized how much I truly live and breathe songs.”

Kenny Chesney – Here and Now Deluxe tracklist:

1. “We Do”
2. “Here and Now”
3. “Everyone She Knows”
4. “Wasted”
5. “Knowing You”
6. “Heartbreakers”
7. “Someone to Fix”
8. “Happy Does”
9. “Tip of My Tongue”
10. “You Don’t Get To”
11. “Beautiful World”
12. “Guys Named Captain”
13. “Wind On”
14. “Fields of Glory”
15. “My Anthem”
16. “Streets”

Although there will be no tour this summer, we can almost guarantee he will be back on the road next year. Fans are encouraged to hold onto their tickets for the Chillaxification Tour, as they will be valid for the 2022 date.

Fans can join our Weekly Round-Up e-newsletter here, for the latest in country music and more news about future Kenny Chesney releases.

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

Here And Now Deluxe 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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Travis Tritt: ‘Set in Stone’ – Album Review

Travis Tritt’s new album, Set in Stone, is available now, May 7th, everywhere you buy or stream music. Read our full album review and check out the new music below.

Travis Tritt's new album, 'Set In Stone', is out now May 7th

Travis Tritt’s new album, ‘Set In Stone’, is out now May 7th

For country legend Travis Tritt, Set in Stone marks his first studio album in thirteen years. Produced by acclaimed producer Dave Cobb (Chris Stapleton, The Highwomen), the album is Tritt through and through, featuring eleven new songs, eight of which were co-written by the Opry member. 

The album opens with “Stand Your Ground,” a rocking uptempo inspired by a conversation between Tritt and Waylon Jennings. “There ain’t no substitution for the truth,” Tritt wails, clearly inspired by the likes of Jennings and Hank Williams Jr, “Don’t ever let them turn your head around // Just stand your ground.” Tritt recalls Jennings giving him the following advice that led to the song, “Don’t pay any attention to what those people say. They’re not the ones that buy your tickets to your shows. They don’t know your audience the way that you do, so you just stick with your program.”

This is a theme that follows through much of the album, as Tritt remains true to the sound and style that has endeared him to fans for decades. On the album’s title track “Set in Stone,” Tritt sounds remarkably similar to Chris Stapleton, which is never a bad thing. On the twangy mid-tempo track, Tritt celebrates his legacy, “I don’t worry about when I’m gone // My legacy is set in stone.”

On “They Don’t Make ‘Em Like That No More” and “Smoke in a Bar,” Tritt is longing for the olden days. While the former is a twangy up-tempo about cars and women, the latter is a sentimental ode to simpler times. “They say we’ve come a long way,” Tritt argues. “But I’d say it’s a little too far // From when the world turned slower // And you could smoke in a bar.”

“Smoke in a Bar” is one of the album’s finest moments, hearkening back to the storytelling days of 90s country music, which Tritt says was the intention. “For so many years country music told the greatest stories of any kind of music genre out there and we’ve gotten away from that. People are nostalgic not only for that kind of music but also for that way of life…It’s all nostalgia,” He says. “This is a song that is talking about longing for a time gone by when you could sit on your front porch and talk, go to bed without locking the front door, and just simple things like that. Those days seem to be gone forever.  Songs like this are songs that people can relate to that yearn for those simpler times and good ole days.”

“Leave This World,” which Tritt co-wrote with Ashley Monroe, is another slow-burn waltz of a track, his vocals shimmying carefully over the sounds of a steel guitar. It’s the ultimate love song as Tritt begs to leave this world hand-in-hand with the love of his life. “I’d do anything I have to do // But I don’t want to leave this world without you.”

The album’s driving first single, “Ghost Town Nation” invites the listener to make the best of a bad situation, inspired in many ways by the pandemic. It ain’t no big deal,” He muses. “It’s just armageddon.” On the uptempo track, he escapes to the wilderness to escape real life, “making the best of a bad situation, getting by fine in a ghost town nation.”

The album ends with the bonus track, “Way Down in Georgia,” a stomping bluesy ode to his home state that reminds us of Marc Broussard’s “Home.” It’s the perfect conclusion to an album that shows Tritt evolving musically while still staying true to his roots.

On Set in Stone, Tritt stays true to his soulful grit and country sound, while also managing to sound much like a modern-day outlaw. With driving guitar licks, twangy piano, soulful background vocals, and Tritt’s tried and true country voice on full display, Set in Stone is a must-listen for all country fans.

TRACKLIST:

  1.     “Stand Your Ground” (Travis Tritt, Wayne B. Durrett III, Channing Wilson)
  2.     “Set In Stone” (Travis Tritt, Brent Cobb, Adam Hood)
  3.     “Ghost Town Nation”(Aaron Raitiere, JB Strauss)
  4.     “Smoke In A Bar” (Jeremy Bussey, Derek George, Tim Montana)
  5.     “Leave This World” (Travis Tritt, Ashley Monroe)
  6.     “They Don’t Make Em’ Like That No More (Travis Tritt, Matthew Dillon Carmichael)
  7.     “Better Off Dead” (Travis Tritt, Adam Hood)
  8.     “Southern Man” (Travis Tritt, Channing Wilson)
  9.     “Open Line” (Travis Tritt, Brent Cobb)
  10. “Ain’t Who I Was” (Brent Cobb, Adam Hood)
  11. “Way Down In Georgia” (Travis Tritt, Dennis Anthony Robbins, Troy Seals)

NYCS Picks:

  1. Smoke in a Bar
  2. Stand Your Ground
  3. Way Down In Georgia

Fans can join our Weekly Round-Up e-newsletter here, for the latest in country music and more news about future Travis Tritt releases.

To keep up with Travis Tritt, follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Set In Stone 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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and all things country music in the New York metro area and beyond!

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Jackson Dean Releases Debut Self-Titled EP – Full Review

Jackson Dean makes his official debut to the country music world with the release of his self-titled EP available now, April 30th, everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a look below as we dig a little deeper into the new music.

Jackson Dean's self-titled debut EP is available now, April 30th

Jackson Dean’s self-titled debut EP is available now, April 30th

It is quite rare to come about such a true musician in a world where music is so readily accessible through both absorption and creation. It is, even more, few and far in between for an artist to inspire, to demand attention with their tone, and keep the listener engaged through lyrics. Though, it may be above any social or intellectual strata to say that music is seldom what it was created to be: beauty in a melody, Big Machine Records has signed the vessel for it. Jackson Dean’s talent is undeniable. In the recently released debut single “Wings”, it could not have been more clear that this Maryland newcomer is no amateur at all.

While the music released thus far from Dean is polished, gritty and all things mature, it is even more compelling to learn that he is at the young age of 20 years old. Let that sink in. Though, this older-than-I-am confidence may have come more as obligation or responsibility than choice. With a seemingly distinct experience of living in a one-room cinderblock of concrete floors in the backyard of his grandfather’s house without any heat or plumbing, and living in an otherworldly universe of flying to Nashville every week to write songs, the grit and grind were embedded in Dean from the start.

“Living in that shack was hard, but I was living on my own, going to work when everyone else was going to school,” Dean shared in a press release. “It felt like another big step, a really big step to grow up a little bit more… and there are experiences I took from there most people who come after me will never know or understand.”

This self-titled EP is a first-look into the artistry and heart-on-your-sleeve type of character encompassed by this musician. “Fearless” may be considered the summarization of everything Dean has laid on the public line thus far, perhaps an entire known identity wrapped up in a song. With a hook at the end of the chorus that is shockingly attractive, emphasized by a toned back instrumental accompaniment that allows listeners to take in the construed glory, this production has something for everyone to hold on to. “Don’t Come Lookin’” walks the same line with a stronger presence of country-rooted influences that teeters on a Brothers Osborne sound. A story that aims to be off-the-grid, and intentionally goes off course because if you ain’t getting lost, you ain’t getting nowhere, this track is a rough-edged narration of spending time outdoors.

“It’s just so badass,” Dean laughs in a press release. “It’s something I used to say to my Mother, when I’d head out into the woods – very Daniel Day-Lewis in ‘Last of the Mohicans.’ Me and Luke were looking for something, and we hadn’t really written a ‘hit.’ We were sitting there with our guitars, we had the vibe and I said that. As soon as I did, he said, ‘Yeah, let’s write that.’”

Through this 5-track collection of music and versatile themes including gratitude for the smaller things, a love that won’t release its grasp and a desire to fly without hesitation, this singer-songwriter with a heart unmatched and a seemingly complex yet very real, baptized soul has made an impression in country music. And, he continues to push.

“I really wanna see how far I can push myself, how much I can endure,” Dean explores in a press release. “I wanna know how much I can do before I die, because a fear of not living a full life haunts me most of all.”

Fans can join our Weekly Round-Up e-newsletter here, for the latest in country music and more news about future Jackson Dean releases.

To keep up with Jackson Dean, follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Jackson Dean 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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Subscribe to our Weekly Round-Up here 
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Priscilla Block Releases Debut Self-Titled EP – Full Review

Priscilla Block makes her official debut to the country music world with the release of her self-titled EP available now, April 30th, everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a look below as we dig a little deeper into the new music.

Priscilla Block's self-titled debut EP is available now, April 30th

Priscilla Block’s self-titled debut EP is available now, April 30th

We love a good success story! Swag Spotlight alum Priscilla Block went from TikTok sensation to a major-label artist, and now is celebrating the release of her self-titled debut EP, out today. In just six tracks, Block introduces fans to every side of her dynamic personality and undeniable talent.

The record kicks off with the singer’s most recent release “Wish You Were The Whiskey.” Backed by a pop-rock production, Block sings about comparing her ex to the whiskey she’s drinking. Her twangy vocals mixed with the story-telling aspect of the lyrics bring the country element to this heart-aching jam.

“Now I’m drunk, like fireball lighting me up // Put it to my lips and I feel that rush // Letting 80-proof do what it does // and I’m high, it’s rocking me through the night // Keeping me warm, holding me so tight // Finally feeling fine and then it hits me // I wish you were the whiskey”

The song that put Block on the map, “Just About Over You” is the next track. One of the best on the project, the song shows the songstress’ vulnerable side, as she laments about how it feels to run into an ex before being completely over them. It was written a week after she ran into her ex out at a bar. Its about a relationship that I was in. Just trying to get over somebody and sometimes it feels like forever to finally be down with someone,” she shared with us during our exclusive interview back in September. “Bad Part Of Good” is another song on the record that embodies these sentiments perfectly.

“Heels In Hand” is one of those songs that has female empowerment written all about it, without being too preachy; despite the sad concept. The song acknowledges the mistakes we sometimes make as women while normalizing the idea that we can go from happy to sad all in one night, especially when dealing with a toxic relationship. Her relatability is at an all-time high on this track.

One of our favorite songs off the project, “Sad Girls Do Sad Things” shows off Block’s vocal range and her songwriting capacity. The ballad is an introspective breakup song about all the waves of emotion we go through at the end of the relationship. Her heartbreak is palpable in this song, but it’s one of the things we appreciate the most. Block’s willingness to “go there” in her music is refreshing and will take her far.

“I light one up just because I’m chasing any kind of buzz // When you hurt, this bad // You’ll do anything to get back to that high you had // Even though you knows it’s over // And what’s passed is passed // Am I low or am I lonely // All I know is this ain’t who I want to be // I guess sad girls do sad things”

The record ends with “I Bet You Wanna Know,” an all too relatable song for anyone who has experienced a relationship before. The singer brings out her sassy side, sharing about that guy that always knows when you are moving on and then tries to slide right back in. The catchy hook will be in your head in no time too.

This record cements our decision to include Block on our NYCountry Swag 2021 Artists to Watch list. Her self-titled EP did exactly what an EP is meant to do! It excites us and fans of country music everywhere for what her full-length project will look like. Congrats to Block on a killer debut and make sure you buy your tickets to her debut show at the Grand Ole Opry tomorrow, May 1st! Can’t make the show? Stream it live below.

Fans can join our Weekly Round-Up e-newsletter here, for the latest in country music and more news about future Priscilla Block releases.

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

Priscilla Block 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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Thomas Rhett, ‘Country Again: Side A’ – Album Review

Thomas Rhett released Side A of his double album project, Country Again, today April 30th. With 11 new tracks, take a look below as we dig a little deeper into the new music.

Thomas Rhett has not just kept busy in the last year, but he has received continued success and has even more on the horizon. Most recently, he received his 17th #1 song with “What’s Your Country Song?”, announced his upcoming Center Point Road Tour, and received the ACM Award for Male Artist of the Year. Now he has released the first part of a two-part album release, Country Again: Side A, an 11-track album with some of the most personal and down-to-earth music that Rhett has released to date. We can’t help but say that for each new album he releases, as we felt that same way when we first heard Center Point Road and Life Changes, but it’s the truth, the singer-songwriter continuously releases music that is true to himself and relatable to others. Side A is entirely co-written by Thomas Rhett and six of the songs are also co-written with his dad, Rhett Akins. 

In the Country Again: Side A trailer, Rhett gives some insight on what this collection of new songs means to him, and what they reflect about his life. He shares: “I think in a nutshell, Country Again: Side A is a little bit of just a growing up path. Every single song on this record is what I wish I could have spit out of my brain when I was nineteen years old. You know, these are the things I was trying to say.” He goes on to say, “these past twelve years, I’ve been on this incredible journey but I think deep down I’m still that kid that just wanted to write songs and play them for people. You know, I think I’m just getting back to the root of why I ever wanted to sing music in the first place and it was to tell a story and invoke emotion. I just feel like for the first time at thirty years old, I’m right where I’m supposed to be, and I’m happy to be there.”

The decision to release Country Again as a two-part double album was largely a result of the abundance of songs that Rhett found himself writing over the last two years, the most he ever has. While this project was already in the works, the pandemic alone resulted in so much more new music from the artist. Rhett was perhaps one of the most transparent and present artists on social media throughout the pandemic. He was constantly teasing acoustic versions of new songs he had written on Instagram. Admitting that anything more than a 10-track album overwhelms him and would normally cause him to check out, Rhett said he had never even considered a double album before. However, the response he received from fans for the songs he was playing on Instagram was so strong, that he felt they all deserved to see the light of day. Since he wrote so many songs that he loved, Rhett decided that he wanted them all to be put into the world, but in two parts so that fans would have the chance to digest both parts, giving a greater chance for people to connect with each individual song. Now, all the songs about this time of his life and during this writing journey could exist together on the same project, but in a way that they would be fully appreciated and reflective of a time where we were all forced to look inward and ponder our past and future.

At the start of 2020, Rhett was already exploring the idea of stripping down his music, drifting away from the “Make Me Wanna” and “Crash and Burn” type of songs and the kind of sound that defined him, especially at the start of his career, and gravitating towards writing more about his life, family, and “what country music is in the first place – the emotion and the soul and being able to tell a story in three and a half minutes.” Speaking on the kinds of songs that got him here in the first place, Rhett says that those define a particular aspect of his personality. He’s grateful for those songs because when he wanted to carve his own path, he believes they separated him from the pack. Rhett doesn’t drift entirely away from the sound of his that we know and love on this project. “Put It On Ice” and “Blame it on a Backroad” are the pair of upbeat carefree songs on Country Again: Side A and they remind us of his classic sound. But right now, he’s in a different phase of his life and there’s a lot more that he wants to say. Most of that stems from his life with his wife, Lauren Akins, and their three daughters, Willa Gray, Ada James, and Lennon Love.

Rhett says, “When you have kids, it’s kind of impossible not to write about them. Your marriage shifts and your life shifts, and your free time is not free time anymore. So when I do have the chance to write, I want to write about something that’s really happening and says something.”

While he was already headed in the direction of making the kind of music found on Country Again, the pandemic in general and more time at home really brought the project out of him. As we can all understand, he was suddenly forced to face the issues and the questions that were pressing on his mind. When he had to slow down, he took a look at himself and asked for the first time, “Who am I? Who is Thomas Rhett without a microphone or a guitar or a stage?” In figuring that out and feeling as though he was neglecting being a husband, a dad, and a friend, in ways, 2020 acted as a reality check and a complete reset. When he settled into himself and his family, and started working again, that shift completely influenced his songwriting. 

Country Again: Side A includes a handful of pre-released singles like “Country Again”, which sets the mood as the title track, highlighting Rhett’s return to his roots and acting as the inspiration for this project. Rhett says that the story behind the title track started out as a joke. He walked into a meet-and-greet wearing cowboy boots for the first time since about 2012, which made everybody on his team look at him like ‘where are your sneakers?’. But he said it felt good to slip them back on – it felt right. And out of that story, they wrote “Country Again”. When they finished that song, Rhett felt they found what the theme of the record was going to be – “It’s not about wearing boots or getting in the woods, it’s a way of life”. The song felt so pure to Rhett that he wanted to lean on more traditional sounds and the instruments that made him fall in love with 90’s country, like fiddle and pedal steel. In just the first weekend of wanting to experiment with getting back to his roots, another five or six songs came out. 

“I traded in my Silverado // I didn’t need no 4×4 // 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”

“Growing Up” and “What’s Your Country Song”, both of which were pre-released songs, as well as “Where We Grew Up” and “More Time Fishin” each reflect the very theme that Rhett wanted “Country Again” to stand for, in their own way. 

“Growing Up” is a song about taking a look at how you’ve grown as time has passed. Rhett shares that “it’s about my past self and the things that I used to think were cool… and becoming a wiser version of yourself that you never pictured yourself becoming. But then you get there and you’re like, I have learned something worth sharing.”

“What’s Your Country Song” is one of those ‘songs about songs’ and includes so many classic country songs that Rhett not only grew up on, but ones that have defined the genre over the years, and probably include some of your favorites too. As one of the father-son co-writes on the album, it only makes sense that Rhett Akins’ “That Ain’t My Truck” would be in the mix.

Next on the album, “Where We Grew Up” is about being proud of where you came from and for the endless memories and lessons you have from that time of your life. While “More Time Fishin” is about not wanting to wake up one day to look back on your life and regret not doing certain things that you should have. 

“You can spend your whole life // Tryin’ to make a killin’ // But what’s it all worth without a little livin’ // Don’t wanna look back at all the things I’m missin’ // And wake up wishin’ I spent more time fishin’, yeah // More time fishin’, yeah”

Tying in the very values that TR wanted this album to represent, he also included a few songs that are extremely personal and about some of the most important people in his life. One for an old friend, one for his daughters, and one about him and his wife, Lauren’s story. 

“Heaven Right Now” is a tear-jerker and a song that is so personal to not just Rhett but to Lauren as well. It’s a letter to their friend Hunter, one of their best friends and a member of their ‘crew’ back home who lost his life way too young. On writing this song, Rhett shares: “That one still wrecks me…I don’t know why I had never thought to write about him, but maybe it’s because only now do I have the space to do so, the time to reflect and put words to the pain inside of me.” If you have read Lauren’s book, ‘Live in Love’, she talks about her and Thomas Rhett’s friendship with Hunter throughout its entirety and how losing him has affected them and the rest of their friends since. In her book, like in the song, they each talk about the bracelet that Hunter’s mom made for all their friends with his initials and a fishhook on it. They both talk about still wearing that bracelet and how Rhett has never taken it off. You can see it in any picture, and at every concert and award show. 

“Are you fishing, are you flying // How much greener is the grass // Are you older, are you younger // Or did time stop in its tracks // Anyway, thought I’d say hey // I just made my way past your momma’s house // I wonder what you’re doing in heaven right now”

Knowing their story makes it even harder to listen to, but at the same time, where Thomas Rhett is singing from is a place that anyone who has ever lost someone close to them can relate to. It’s not just about missing them, but about wishing you could catch up, wishing you could have experienced more of each other’s lives together, and the questions you would ask them if you could. If you want to know more about Thomas Rhett and Lauren’s story, we highly suggest reading her book. It goes back to them being friends as kids and all of that adds a deeper meaning to almost all of Rhett’s music from his love letters to Lauren, and now to his songs about their family together, and all the life that’s happened between them meeting in the second grade until now.

Like Rhett said, “when you have kids, it’s kind of impossible not to write about them” and speaking on “To The Guys That Date My Girls”, he said “that’s a song to my daughters saying ‘I hope you grow up and date somebody that’s a good kid” He goes on, “I wrote it on the road, and I played it in concert the same night that we wrote it. And I was watching grown, burly men, bawling their eyes out while they were holding their daughters, going ‘Please don’t get older!’ There’s a lot of dads out there that are wondering what that conversation is going to look like.”

Quite literally a letter to the guys that will date his girls, while also sneaking in some love for Lauren, this song was written by not only their Dad but also their grandfather. Giving mostly ‘free advice’, they don’t pass on the opportunity for a little threat either… 

“You know you can’t fool me // I know what’s on your mind // Wasn’t long ago I was your age and the same thing was on mine // And when you pull her close you save some room for Jesus // ‘Cause if you ever cross that line I swear boy you’re going to need him”

With his incredible songwriting talents and the ability to not only pull on heartstrings but also throw some lines for his loved ones, Rhett does the same with “Want It Again”. True to him and Lauren’s story, this song is about young love that didn’t last, but always stayed in the back of your mind with the hope that somewhere down the line that person would come back to you, and sometimes they really do. 

Rhett closes Country Again: Side A with a song that perfectly expresses everything that he wanted for the whole project. When Rhett talks about feeling like he is exactly where he is supposed to be in life, this song says it all. “Ya Heard”, which he played for fans on social media in April of 2020, is a song about everything working out exactly the way it was supposed to. Learning from his own experience, Rhett offers advice about holding on to faith and staying optimistic that life is going to turn out alright. He says, “sometimes I look back and wonder if God was ever listening. Even if I wasn’t on my knees praying about it, I think he was hearing every little thing that I wanted in my life. From my wife to my kids to my music, everything turned out to be exactly what I dreamed of.”

“This old guitar dad played in bars // As soon as it was mine // I started seeing shooting stars // I played at parties out in fields // And I hoped one day by the grace of you // It just might pay the bills”

We couldn’t be happier about this collection of songs, what they mean to Thomas Rhett, and how he has evolved over the years, both personally and in his career, and we can’t wait for what Side B has in store. Until then, we’ll have Side A on repeat.

COUNTRY AGAIN: SIDE A TRACKLIST:
1. “Want It Again” | Thomas Rhett, Matt Dragstrem, Josh Miller, Josh Thompson
2. “Growing Up” | Thomas Rhett, Matt Dragstrem, Josh Miller, Josh Thompson
3. “What’s Your Country Song” | Thomas Rhett, Rhett Akins, Jesse Frasure, Ashley Gorley, Parker Welling
4. “Where We Grew Up”* | Thomas Rhett, Luke Laird, Josh Miller
5. “Heaven Right Now” | Thomas Rhett, Rhett Akins, Matt Dragstrem, Josh Thompson, Laura Veltz
6. “To The Guys That Date My Girls” | Thomas Rhett, Rhett Akins, Will Bundy, Josh Thompson
7. “More Time Fishin’” | Thomas Rhett, Rhett Akins, Will Bundy, Josh Thompson
8. “Country Again” | Thomas Rhett, Zach Crowell, Ashley Gorley
9. “Put It On Ice (featuring Hardy)”+ | Thomas Rhett, Rhett Akins, Matt Dragstrem, Josh Thompson
10. “Blame It On A Backroad” | Thomas Rhett, Zach Crowell, Ashley Gorley 
11. “Ya Heard” | Thomas Rhett, Rhett Akins, Matt Dragstrem, Chase McGill

Produced by Dann Huff and Jesse Frasure
+Produced by Dann Huff and Matt Dragstrem
*Produced by Dann Huff

Although no official tracklist or release date for Side B has been revealed yet, we can assume that fans will see even more songs that the artist has previously shared on social media throughout the past few months. Unreleased songs like “Your Momma’s Front Porch”, “Things Dads Do”, “Bass Pro Hat” and “That’ll Be Us Someday”, kept fans on their toes as Rhett consistently took to Instagram to tease new music. Now, only time will tell which songs will make the official cut on the second album.

Fans can also join our Weekly Round-Up e-newsletter here, for the latest in country music and more news about future Thomas Rhett releases.

To keep up with Thomas Rhett, follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Country Again: Side A 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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Lathan Warlick: My Way – EP Review

Lathan Warlick’s debut EP, My Way is available now, April 23rd, on all streaming platforms. Full of collaborations with artists like Tyler Hubbard, Lauren Alaina, and Russell Dickerson, check out the full project First Impression review here.

My Way, country music newcomer, Lathan Warlick’s major-label debut project was released today, April 23rd. The eight-track collaboration EP features seven different Nashville stars including Matt Stell, Russell Dickerson, Lauren Alaina, RaeLynn, Dustin Lynch, High Valley, and Tyler Hubbard.

Many artists today blend aspects of multiple genres in their music, and country artists are no different. Back in the early 2010s, acts like Jason Aldean and Florida Georgia Line introduced Nashville to ‘country rap’ and paved the way for other artists such as Colt Ford, Upchurch, and many more. After a slight decline a few years later, Lil Nas X brought it back into the mainstream with his mega-hit “Old Town Road,” which inspired acts like Breland, and now Lathan Warlick. Warlick combines elements of country and gospel into his thumping hip-hop beats. His musical mission is to spread messages of faith and positivity under his signature mantra: “do different, be different.”

“Merging Hip Hop, Country, and Gospel all on one project is definitely something given from The Most High,” Warlick admitted in a recent press release. “Time to give the world something different since I get to have it ‘My Way.’

The title track starts off the record. With its ‘bass-meets-banjo’ sound, it could easily fit into any country tailgate playlist. He and Hubbard describe what a perfect day would feel like if they had it “their way.”

“Roots” with RaeLynn and “Over Yonder” featuring Matt Stell were also previously released. The former recognizes all the beautiful and hard-working small-town women who appreciate where they’re from. The latter contains a heavy amount of steel and electric guitar, as Warlick calls for unity between people of all colors and demographics.

In “In His Hands” and “Gotta Be God,” Warlick strays from his fun, feel-good tunes to express the role faith plays in his life. In the former, Warlick and Alaina show their gratitude for God, stating even after making numerous mistakes in life, he never gave up on them and showed them the strength to find their path and succeed. In the latter, Warlick tells the personal story of confronting a shooter and looking death in the face. He credits God for getting him out of the life-threatening situation and giving him a second chance. Russell Dickerson sings the bridge and the choruses…

“Gotta be God, gotta be him // Pulling me out of that mess I was in // Look at me now, look at me then // Good lord knows wasn’t nothing I did // A boy like me to get what I got // yeah can’t nobody tell me it’s not, no it’s gotta be God’

Warlick and Lynch praise the country life in “Way Out Here” a mid-tempo pop-country crossover. The grind that a small-town farmer puts in is all worth it when you’re lying under the stars at night with the one you love. “My Dawgs” is the heaviest rap-leaning song on the EP and is the only one without a feature. Warlick discusses the importance of cutting negative people out of your life and spending more time with the ones who truly care for you and have your back. The final track, “Runaway Train” is another song for the playlist. Warlick and High Valley sing about putting the pedal down, living life to the fullest, and not looking back on past mistakes.

“You got me like girl, tell me baby where you wanna go // Let me take you there where it’s care-free, you and me, rolling like a tumbleweed // Cross two lanes, just like we on a runaway train”

Although the lyrics aren’t ground-breaking, Warlick has created an entirely new sound. Hip-hop and gospel are difficult genres to bind; perhaps country is the element that makes it work. It may be too early to tell, but we could have a potential trailblazer in the making.

Lathan Warlick's debut EP, 'My Way' is available now, April 23rd

Lathan Warlick’s debut EP, ‘My Way’ is available now, April 23rd

TRACKLIST:

  1. “My Way” feat. Tyler Hubbard
  2. “Roots” feat. RaeLynn
  3. “In His Hands” feat. Lauren Alaina
  4. “Over Yonder” feat. Matt Stell
  5. “My Dawgs”
  6. “Gotta Be God” feat. Russell Dickerson
  7. “Way Out Here” feat. Dustin Lynch
  8. “Runaway Train” feat. High Valley

NYCS Top Picks:

  1. In His Hands
  2. Runaway Train

Fans can join our Weekly Round-Up e-newsletter here, for the latest in country music and more news about future Lathan Warlick releases.

To keep up with Lathan Warlick, follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

My Way 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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Jameson Rodgers: In It For The Money – EP Review

Jameson Rodgers’ highly anticipated EP, In It For The Money, is out now, April 23rd, everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a look below as we dig a little deeper into the new music.

Jameson Rodgers is a man with humble beginnings. He did not originally set out in Nashville to “make it big.” He simply wanted to write music that others would love, but as fate would have it, he is a great vocalist too. The time is officially now for Rodgers to showcase his undeniable talent and firmly take his spot in the industry. Rodgers’ newest project In It for the Money is the perfect record to solidify his much-earned place in country music.

“I would do this forever, for a just getting by salary. It’s just something in your heart. It makes you happy,” shared Rodgers in a recent press release, “I literally look forward to waking up every day and getting to write a song or play a show. I just can’t imagine doing anything else in life.”

The seven-track project begins with three songs that will be familiar to fans. The chart-climber “Cold Beer Calling My Name” kicks off the record. Rodgers joins forces with labelmate and superstar Luke Combs on this fun-loving jam. Similarly, “Rolling Rock, Rolling Stones” is a song that needs to blast through your speakers.

Fittingly, the singer’s debut number one single “Some Girls” is also featured on the project. The song still remains one of the best on the project, both lyrically and vocally.

“Some girls drink a bottle of wine // Got an old ex to text, too get them through the getting by // Sometimes it’s a clean break, stay gone // Clean slate, moving on to something new // Sometimes, some girls make it easy on you // But some girls never do”

Of course, the record also boasts the recently released “Good Dogs.” The song is all about reminding us all to not take the people and pets we love and the things we cherish for granted. Written during a writer’s retreat with a few of his buddies and fellow songwriters, Rodgers created a unique, yet powerful tune that fits in nicely with this project.

The title track “In It for the Money” is the heart of the record, properly placed in the center of the tracklist. The song is all about having the drive and the passion to be a musician. It perfectly personifies Rodgers’ journey in the country music industry and his incredible grit, while still feeling relatable for anyone who has a passion for something.

“And the high you get when they’re singing your song // You wrote about how a heartbreak feels // Looking at the world through an old man windshield // That long road to the top ain’t paved with sold-out shows // If I was in it for the money, I’d of quit a long time ago”

“When You Think of Mississippi” is the nostalgic song on the record. The verses give Rodgers a chance to reflect on a broken relationship that reminds him of his roots and upbringing. The song oozes radio appeal, and we’re sure fans are going to fall in love with this tune.

The record ends with another one of our favorite tunes off the project, “Desert.” Rodgers is truly at his best on this heartbreakingly beautiful song. Although the song is clearly from the perspective of having dealt with heartbreak, the singer encourages people to move on and to focus on the stuff we can control in life. Life is full of ups and downs, but it is still beautiful. It’s a song we all need to hear.

“Tell the ones you love that you love em // Tell the ones you miss that you miss em // Cause life’s kinda crazy, you can’t predict the weather // But the cold and the rain, and the pain don’t last forever // You know the lows sure make the highs so much better // Man sunshine all the time just makes a desert”

“My purpose that I know right now is that I want to leave the world a better place than I found it. And the best chance I have of doing that is writing and singing songs,” shared the singer. We could not agree more! Rodgers was made for the life he is living, and In It for the Money EP is an incredible reflection of that.

Jameson Rodgers' EP, 'In It For The Money' is out now, April 23rd

Jameson Rodgers’ EP, ‘In It For The Money’ is out now, April 23rd

Fans can join our Weekly Round-Up e-newsletter here, for the latest in country music and more news about future Jameson Rodgers releases.

To keep up with Jameson Rodgers, you can follow him on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

In It For The Money 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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Elvie Shane: County Roads – EP Review

Elvie Shane’s debut EP County Roads is officially available now, April 23rd on all streaming platforms. Take a look below as we dig a little deeper into the new music.

There is nothing like championing new artists in country music. BBR Music Group signed singer-songwriter Elvie Shane last year, and today, April 23rd, his debut EP, County Roads is out on all streaming platforms. This is just the beginning for Shane, but it’s a mighty good one!

With just six songs, Shane manages to tell fans exactly who he is, what he is about, and the music he wants to create. The record opens up with the title track, “County Roads.” The rocking song is everything you want in an upbeat country jam! The song tells a story about the singer’s upbringing. Fans will want to dance and sing along and even intricately listen to the killer lyrics.

“Here’s to the lessons that don’t come cheap // To the long lost lovers in the shotgun seats // Here’s to the wild and the restless souls // Who got their street smarts runnin’ down them // County roads, county roads”

Guitar-heavy “Keep On Strummin’” is the next song on the EP. Continuing to learn more about Shane, the song makes you appreciate the artist’s talent even more. All about the things that bring him joy and his passion for music, the track is a must-listen-to.

Slowing it down a little, but still with the edge, “Sunday In The South” appeals to all types of country music listeners. The picturesque lyrics make you want to be spending a Sunday in the south with Shane and his family. This makes it evident that the singer knows how to have a good time no matter where he is.

The most familiar song on the record is Elvie Shane’s current radio single “My Boy.” The song has already broken the top thirty on the charts and continues to rise each week. A touching song about his stepson, the singer delves into the depths of his heart to share the experience of being a father to someone who is not his blood. Although other artists have sung songs about this before, Shane finds a way to make you feel like you are listening to an emotive song like this for the first time.

“He ain’t my blood, ain’t got my name // But if he did, I’d feel the same // I wasn’t there for his first steps // But I ain’t missed a ball game yet // And that ain’t ever gonna change // I could never walk away // Yeah, he’s my son and that’s my choice // He ain’t my blood but he’s my, he’s my boy”

Shane continues to tug at our heartstrings with “Sundress.” The heart-achingly beautiful love song is nostalgia at its finest. The sensual lyrics are both vulnerable and touching. Of course, the singer’s vocals also shine on the track. Proving that the artist is just as talented as a songwriter as he is a vocalist.

“We snuck off just around midnight // Threw a little red dust in her taillights // Drove far enough to get real close // Pulled off on a no-name road // I still think about her now and then // How the night looked on her skin // Ain’t never seen a sunset like // her sundress sitting in the moonlight”

Finally, Shane ends the record with another personal song entitled “My Mississippi.” Written by the artist, with Jakob Miller, “My Mississippi” is another inside look into the singer’s story. Once again showing off his intensely powerful vocals, the song showcases another side of Shane’s multi-faceted personality and experiences.

Shane manages to blend his influences and showcase his grit, nostalgia, and his undeniable talent with his first project. As the singer shared on his social media the record is “The story of who I am… all the twists and turns that got me to this very moment.” County Roads EP is a must-listen for all country music fans!

Elvie Shane's 'Country Roads' EP is available now, April 23rd

Elvie Shane’s ‘Country Roads’ EP is available now, April 23rd

NYCS Picks:

  1. “Sundress”
  2. “My Boy”
  3. “Keep on Strummin’”

County Roads EP Tracklist:

  1. County Roads
  2. Keep on Strummin’
  3. Sundays In The South
  4. My Boy
  5. Sundress
  6. My Mississippi

Fans can join our Weekly Round-Up e-newsletter here, for the latest in country music and more news about future Elvie Shane releases.

To keep up with Elvie Shane, follow him on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook.

County Roads 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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Justin Moore: ‘Straight Outta The Country’ – Album Review

Justin Moore’s new album, Straight Outta The Country, is available now, April 23rd, on all streaming platforms. With 8 new tracks, take a look below as we dig a little deeper into the new music in our First Impression review.

Justin Moore has always toed the line between traditional and modern country perfectly. With hits like “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away” and “Small Town USA” under his oft-oversized belt buckle, Moore has managed to always stay true to his sound. Yet, while staying true to himself, he manages to continuously release music that sounds contemporary with a classic twist. This is the case on his new album, Straight Outta the Country, out today, April 23.

The album opens with “Hearing Things,” an ode to living in the city and missing the greener grass of country life. Written by Rhett Akins, Kelly Archer, and Chris Stevens, the song is fitting for a New York-dwelling country music fan, as we can relate to Moore and his remarks that he can “hear honking horns from the 21st floor,” and thinks he’s going crazy hearing the sounds of his country life. “I think I’m going crazy // Hearing things in my head like // Truck tires rolling on a gravel road // AM static on the radio // Pine trees swinging and singing when the wind blows,” Moore drawls. “I swear I’m hearing things like // Muddy water rippling on the riverbank // The lonesome whistle of a midnight train // Sounds crazy I know // But I’m hearing things // And they’re calling me home.”

The album’s lead single “We Didn’t Have Much” appears two times on the album, as both a full band and an acoustic track. While the former is currently climbing the charts at county radio, it’s the latter that allows the stellar lyrical content to shine. Co-written by Paul DiGiovanni, Randy Montana, and Jeremy Stover, “We Didn’t Have Much” also brings about nostalgia for simpler days and a simpler place. “There was dirt on Daddy’s clothes // From putting that bacon on momma’s stove // Dog barking in the yard at a truck we don’t know,” Moore recalls. “All we had was us // That little bitty house and a lotta love // We had it all when we didn’t have much.”

While Moore can hold his own on an up-tempo, he shines on the slower and sentimental tracks, including “You Keep Getting Me Drunk” and “More Than Me.” The latter is a beautiful love letter of a song, co-written by Moore, DiGiovanni, Chase McGill, and Stover, to Moore’s children. On the heartfelt track, he tells of all the things he wishes for his children. “I hope you love // I hope you hit your knees // Hope you get to see the hometown team win // A little more than me,” He sings. “I know the world’s gonna think the world of you // But I swear on the stars above you // No one’s gonna love you // More than me.”

On “You Keep Getting Me Drunk,” Moore shows his heartbroken side, drinking to dull the pain over his lost love. “How can I get over us when I can’t even sober up?” He asks, the song displays a clever twist of a breakup track, highlighted perfectly by Sarah Buxton’s impeccable background vocals.

The album’s title track is a heavier Moore than we’re used to, driving guitars filling the song. This is an anthem to country-living that we can easily see kicking off or closing out a Moore live show, leaving the audience clamoring for more Moore.

Overall, Justin Moore’s Straight Outta Country is a quintessential mix of modern and contemporary country, Moore’s small-town charm shining on tales of simpler times, country living, celebrating life, and lost love.

TRACKLIST:

  1. Hearing Things (Rhett Akins, Kelly Archer, Chris Stevens)
  2. Consecutive Days Alive (Casey Beathard, Monty Criswell, Jeremy Stover)
  3. We Didn’t Have Much (Paul DiGiovanni, Randy Montana, Jeremy Stover)
  4. She Ain’t Mine No More (Justin Moore, Paul DiGiovanni, Jamie Paulin, Jeremy Stover)
  5. More Than Me (Justin Moore, Paul DiGiovanni, Chase McGill, Jeremy Stover)
  6. Straight Outta The Country (Michael Hardy, Cam Montgomery, Josh Thompson)
  7. You Keep Getting Me Drunk (Rhett Akins, Kelly Archer, Paul DiGiovanni)
  8. We Didn’t Have Much – Acoustic (Paul DiGiovanni, Randy Montana, Jeremy Stover)

NYCS Picks:

  1. We Didn’t Have Much
  2. You Keep Getting Me Drunk
  3. Hearing Things

In addition to releasing music and touring, Moore has recently kicked off his own podcast, and upcoming guests include Travis Tritt, Dillon Carmichael, and more. Listen to The Justin Moore Podcast sponsored by Bobcat, here: https://JustinMoore.lnk.to/PodcastPR.

Justin Moore's new album, 'Straight Outta The Country' is available now, April 23rd

Justin Moore’s new album, ‘Straight Outta The Country’ is available now, April 23rd

Fans can join our Weekly Round-Up e-newsletter here, for the latest in country music and more news about future Justin Moore releases.

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

Straight Outta The Country 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!

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