Eric Church: ‘Soul’ – Album Review

Eric Church’s new album, Soul, is available now, April 23rd, on all streaming platforms. The record marks the last of 3 new albums released by Church this month, including &’ and ‘Heart‘.. Read our first impression review of ‘Soul’ below as we dig a little deeper into the new music.

Eric Church’s last of three new albums, ‘Soul’ available everywhere now, April 23rd

Eric Church’s last of three new albums, ‘Soul’ available everywhere now, April 23rd

For Eric Church fans, the final piece of his incredible Heart & Soul collection is Soul, released today, April 23. Following in the footsteps of Heart and &, Soul shows Church stretching himself musically, sampling different sounds and truly making another standout record. Out of the three new releases, Soul is sonically the most diverse of Church’s offerings, truly living up to its name.

Soul opens with the grooving “Rock & Roll Found Me,” which tells the tale of a “skinny little white kid,” whose life was changed when he discovered music. He compares it to his faith and to a drug, a new addiction for a kid from the wrong side of the tracks. “I turned on my amps and all at once my blind could see,” He proclaims. “Yeah when rock and roll found me.” 

Church continues to explore his soulful side throughout this project with songs like “Where I Wanna Be” and “Look Good And You Know It.” The latter track mixes driving guitars with a breakdown that actually sounds like an old doo-wop song, Church seamlessly trading vocals with the female background singers. Meanwhile, “Where I Wanna Be” also shows Church experimenting musically and vocally, his voice sliding into a falsetto as he croons, “And I’m down, I’m game, I’m in, I’m free // Wherevеr she is that’s where I wanna bе.” 

“Break It Kind of Guy,” is classic Church with a twist, the chorus almost venturing into Bee Gees-esque territory, while “Bad Mother Trucker” continues in that similar vein, as its Church dialed up to eleven. The breakdown midway through is truly something special, and we cannot wait to hear this live.

While Church is experimenting with different sounds and styles here, there’s also some tried and true Chief on Soul. This is exemplified on one of the album’s highlights, “Hell of a View,” Church singing of life with him, “This ain’t for everybody // Toes hanging off the ledge // Like we got nothin’ to lose // Ain’t always heaven, baby // This livin’ on the edge // You holdin’ me holdin’ you // It’s a hell of a view.”

Likewise, “Jenny” is a mid-tempo country song that Church debuted at this year’s Country Radio Seminar, revealing to those in attendance that it was inspired by a broken generator.

Soul ends with “Lynyrd Skynard Jones,” the only track not co-written by Church. Written by his frequent collaborator Casey Beathard, the song reveals the story of an Alabama boy whose mother was a big fan of Lynyrd Skynyrd, “born to carry on who his mother was a fan of.” Church tells the haunting tale over a simple acoustic guitar, a twist coming in the song’s final line. While Eric Church can rock with the best of them, he’s also one of the genre’s finest storytellers, as evidenced on “Lynyrd Skynard Jones.”

Soul is Church’s most eclectic collection yet, beginning with “Rock & Roll Found Me,” and we’re so glad it did, as it’s impossible to imagine a world without Eric Church’s music.

NYCS Picks:

  1. Hell of a View
  2. Break It Kind of Guy
  3. Look Good and You Know It
Eric Church set to release three albums, 'Heart', '&', 'Soul' this April 2021

Eric Church’s three-album project, ‘Heart’, ‘&’, ‘Soul’, April 2021

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

To keep up with Eric Church, follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Soul 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.

—————

SHOP THE STORE

—————————-

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:

Eric Church: ‘&’ – Album Review

Eric Church’s new album, ‘&’ is available now, April 20th, exclusively on vinyl to members of his fan club, The Church Choir. It’s the second of 3 new albums to be released by Church this month, including Heart, released on April 16th, and Soul, due out April 23rd. Read our first impression review of ‘&‘ below as we dig a little deeper into the new music. 

Eric Church's second of three new albums, '&', is available now, April 20th, exclusively on vinyl to members of his fan club, The Church Choir, only.

Eric Church’s ‘&’ is available now, April 20th, exclusively on vinyl to members of his fan club, The Church Choir, only.

If you want to hear the second piece of Eric Church’s Heart & Soul collection, ‘&’, you need to be a member of his Church Choir fan club, and you need to own a record player. Released exclusively on vinyl (at least for now), the six-track collection is the second of three albums released this month by Church. Last Friday, April 16th, he shared his Heart, and he’ll share his Soul this Friday, April 23rd.

Overall,&’ shows Church’s sensitive and introspective side, the majority of the songs lean towards being more low-key and mid-tempo. The exception is “Do Side,” a guitar-driven track that puts Church’s rock influences on full display. On here, he’s the left behind and not the leaver, remarking “Yeah, the player got played.” However, the emotional change of pace is a welcomed one, as he realizes that he might have gotten what he needed, finding himself on the “do side of a give a damn.”

As a release solely for his devoted fans, much of &’ pays homage to those who have been loyal to Church since the beginning. The opening track, “Through My Ray-Bans,” is a heartfelt ode to the Chief’s view every night from the stage. “Everybody’s got their arms around // Everybody else’s shoulders // Guarding against the world outside // Like an army of Friday night soldiers,” He sings. “The battle wages tomorrow // But tonight you don’t give a damn // Wish you could stay the way I see you // Through my Ray-Bans.”

On “Doing Life With Me,” Church continues to show his softer side on this musical thank you to his wife, and all of those special people “doing life with him.” It’s a beautiful track, perfect for first dances and wedding receptions, with Church singing, “Spend my living giving thanks // For the ships I never sank // Every big, every little in the everyday things // The notes and the words and the songs I sing // To the ones doing life with me.”

Church is also heartbroken on &’, as evidenced on “Kiss Her Goodbye” and “Mad Man.” The former tells the clever tale of all of the places he loves to kiss someone, except now he can’t bring himself to “kiss her goodbye.” On “Mad Man,” he sings of a man driven crazy by his lost love. While this track starts off slow, it picks up with a blistering guitar solo in the second half, Church’s vocals shining as he proclaims he’s “like a mad man.”

The album ends with “Lone Wolf,” another epic track that builds and explodes with meaning. “Yeah, this lone wolf is done runnin’ down the moon // In the daylight dark of the night this heart is howlin’ for you,” He sings, “Yeah, this lone wolf ain’t lonely anymore // ‘Cause you weren’t afraid to reach out and save a lone wolf at your door.”

While &’ is shrouded in a bit of mystery due to the exclusivity of its release, it features six solid new tracks that Church devotees are sure to love. However, for those who aren’t yet members of the Church Choir, ‘&’ might just make the membership worth the investment. 

NYCS Picks:

  1. Through My Ray-Bans
  2. Doing Life With Me
  3. Kiss Her Goodbye
Eric Church set to release three albums, 'Heart', '&', 'Soul' this April 2021

Eric Church’s three-album project, ‘Heart’, ‘&’, ‘Soul’, April 2021

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

To keep up with Eric Church, follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Check out 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.

—————

SHOP THE STORE

—————————-

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:

Tim McGraw Releases Ultimate Edition of #1 Album ‘Here on Earth’

Tim McGraw just released two digital deluxe versions of his #1 album Here on Earth (Ultimate Edition) and Here on Earth (Video Edition), both available today, Friday, April 16th. Take a look below as we dig a little deeper into the new music.

Tim McGraw's Here On Earth (Ultimate Edition) is out now, April 16th

Tim McGraw’s Here On Earth (Ultimate Edition) is out now, April 16th

McGraw surprised fans with the announcement of these two deluxe albums and the release of his new single, “God Moves the Pen”, only days before the albums dropped, hardly making country music lovers wait until they had new music and videos from the three-time GRAMMY winner.  

The extended album, out today, includes 30 tracks total, 16 of which are the original tracklist off the #1 album, which includes songs like “I Called Mama” and the title track. The next 8 songs are a mix of previously released songs from McGraw including, “Undivided” with Tyler Hubbard, “Neon Church”, “Thought About You”, and his latest single “God Moves the Pen”. As well as new songs like fan favorite, “Cuttin’ Onions”, “Truth Is”, and two bonus movie tracks: “Keep Your Eyes on Me” with Faith Hill from the 2017 film The Shack and “Gravity” from the 2018 documentary Free Solo. The final six tracks are video versions of “Here on Earth”, “I Called Mama”, “Gravy”, “Undivided”, “Thought About You”, and “Neon Church”. McGraw had already released a lyric video for each of the 16 songs on the original version of the album. 

This massive collection of songs marks its own era of music from McGraw which is what made him want them all to be included together in its own project. He shared that “Neon Church” started a new chapter, and he wanted to make sure it was included in the full story of Here on Earth

Earlier this week, McGraw spoke on his connection to one of the new songs off the record “Cuttin’ Onions”, a song written by brothers Brad Warren and Brett Warren with Monty Criswell. McGraw shared: “Cuttin’ Onions…hit me pretty close to home, growing up. It reminded me a lot of my childhood and the way I grew up in some certain circumstances. So it just put me right into the position of those memories and that life that I had growing up that wasn’t the best sometimes. So that’s what it did to me… I can visually picture it. I mean I could picture the house. I could picture the windows open and the curtains blowing out of the windows. I could picture all of it happening. It was just to me, it was just so vivid. For one thing, there was some inner emotional connection that I had to it with my life but also, it was just so visceral and visual to me that I couldn’t, I just couldn’t get it out of my head.” See the behind the scenes clip and interview here.  

“Sunday mornin’, my best shirt // Crockpot’s on for dinner after church // Dad was baptized by Lynchburg // Mama’d always beg him to come with us // Crying cuttin’ onions in the kitchen

Another brand new song off the album, “Truth Is” is about not wanting to face the truth about a relationship that’s come to an end so you just avoid seeing the people that are going to make you talk about it. Similar to other heartbreak songs off the album like “7500 OBO”, “Not From California”, and “If I Was a Cowboy”, “Truth Is” is about doing what you can to forget what was or what could have been and struggling to face what you’re going through. 

“I don’t wanna go, where everybody knows your name // So I just stay at home, many more these days // ‘Cause every time I leave the house I hear somebody asking about you and I just can’t bring myself to tell the truth about it so I tell a lie // Say you’re doing pretty good and things are going like they should and when I get back home tonight I’m gonna tell you that they sad to tell you ‘hi’”

“Keep Your Eyes on Me” and “Gravity” are both songs that McGraw co-wrote. “Keep Your Eyes on Me” is the first song he and Faith Hill wrote together with Lori McKenna, which McGraw and Hill performed together in the 2017 film The Shack, which McGraw also starred in. The superstar shared that “Gravity” was the third song he’d ever written for a film, also with Lori McKenna, and that he knew he wanted it to be included on a project down the line. If you’ve ever seen Free Solo or know the incredible story of Alex Holland, then you know the immense weight this song holds in being the one that closes out the film.

“Keep your eyes on me // When you’re lost in the dark // Keep your eyes on me // When the light in your heart is too burnt out to see // Keep your eyes on me // Swear you’re all alone sometimes // Keep your eyes on me // And you can’t find your way home sometimes // Keep your eyes on me”

On June 12th, there will be a special edition 12” vinyl available for Record Store Day that will have “Undivided”, on one side, and an acoustic version of “I Called Mama” on the other. These two songs are incredible representatives of not only McGraw’s current career but of how he is releasing important music at an essential time.

“Undivided” was released at a crucial moment for our country, and just in time for the Presidential Inauguration in January where McGraw and Hubbard performed the song live for the first time together. They have also released a director’s cut version of the song’s music video since then. “I Called Mama”, now out for almost a year, continues to act as a reminder of the importance of home and human connection even in the toughest of times.

HERE ON EARTH Ultimate Edition Track List
*indicates video featured on HERE ON EARTH Ultimate Video Edition 

  1. LA
  2. Chevy
  3. Here on Earth*
  4. Damn Sure Do
  5. Hallelujahville
  6. Good Taste In Women
  7. Hard to Stay Mad At
  8. Sheryl Crow
  9. Not From California
  10. Hold You Tonight
  11. 7500 OBO
  12. If I Was A Cowboy
  13. I Called Mama*
  14. Gravy*
  15. War of Art
  16. Doggone
  17. Undivided / Tim McGraw & Tyler Hubbard*
  18. Thought About You*
  19. Neon Church*
  20. Cuttin’ Onions
  21. Truth Is 
  22. God Moves the Pen   

Bonus Movie Tracks

  1. Keep Your Eyes on Me / Tim McGraw & Faith Hill from feature film The Shack
  2. 24. Gravity from Academy Award ® winning documentary “Free Solo”

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

To keep up with Tim McGraw, follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

“Tin Man” 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.

—————

SHOP THE STORE

—————————-

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:

Eric Church: ‘Heart’ – Album Review

Eric Church’s new album, Heart, is available now, April 16th, on all streaming platforms. The record marks the first of 3 new albums to be released by Church this month, including ‘&’ and ‘Soul‘, which will come next week. Read our first impression review of ‘Heart‘ below as we dig a little deeper into the new music. 

Eric Church's first of three new albums, 'Heart' available everywhere now, April 16th

Eric Church’s first of three new albums, ‘Heart’ available everywhere now, April 16th

There are few artists as unique and innovative as Eric Church. Determined to bend the conventions of the music industry, Church continues down that path with the first release of his three-part collection, Heart & Soul. Heart is out today (April 16), followed by ‘&’ on April 20 (released exclusively on vinyl to members of his fan club, The Church Choir), and Soul on April 23. Each part of the collection was born during Church’s month-long retreat to the mountains of North Carolina, where he collaborated with famed producer Jay Joyce on 24 new explosive and introspective tracks, each with a unique sound and story.

The album opens with “Heart On Fire,” and it’s immediately apparent that Church is back and better than ever, ready to do something different on this record. One of the highlights of many of Church’s recent releases has been the use of a female background vocalist, and this is on full display here, as is a mean guitar solo that begins around the 2:25 mark.

“Heart of the Night” tells the tale of escaping a suffocating life, and the staccato delivery of “Let’s point this thing west //into the chest // of the still-beating heart of the night” is one of our favorite things we’ve heard in a long time. The bridge takes on a life of its own as it completely changes melodically, venturing into almost Broadway-esque territory, and it’s clear we’re witnessing something special on this album.

“Russian Roulette” is a clever take on that moment when a song can literally cripple you. Church assures us that he’s doing okay, but he needs to avoid those songs that will strike him like a bullet, “messing up my head, playing Russian Roulette with the radio.” This is such a relatable topic that those who know and love music can most certainly relate to, as everyone has a song, or songs, that can bring you to your knees. “I need a melody without a memory,” He pleads. “Take me where I’ve never been // I hear ‘em gunnin’ for me // I feel ‘em huntin’ for me // But I ain’t tunin’ them in.”

Church also continues to celebrate humanity in different ways on “People Break” and “Never Break Heart.” The first is a slow homage to heartbreak. “People break, people try // Things happen people cry // Someone leaves, love dies,” Church sings over the melancholy music. “Someone changes their mind // Baby I get it I really do // But now I gotta go and do the hardest part // Break the news to a broken heart.”

As usual, Church isn’t one to stay quiet when it comes to the realness of life, tackling some of life’s toughest topics on “Stick That In Your Country Song”, which is interestingly the only song on this collection that he didn’t co-write. Profiled on the cover of Billboard for encouraging fans to receive the COVID vaccine, Church is open to singing and talking about everything.

The album goes out with a bang, just as it began. “Bunch of Nothing” shows a different side of Church, a more twangy up-tempo than we’re used to from the Chief, lending itself midway through to a hand-clapping musical interlude that is sure to have you bopping along. 

The final song on Heart is “Love Shine Down,” a track that builds from a sparse slow tempo to a full-out Gospel-inspired jam. Here, Church gives a nod to one of his earliest hits, “Sinners Like Me,” as he sings, “It’s cold and it’s dark in this sinner’s heart // Lady let your love shine down.”

Eric Church’s Heart is a unique and genre-bending release, showing different sides of Church, and if it’s any indication of what’s to come, we can’t wait for the next two releases from Heart & Soul.

NYCS Picks:

  1. Heart of the Night
  2. People Break
  3. Russian Roulette
Eric Church set to release three albums, 'Heart', '&', 'Soul' this April 2021

Eric Church’s three-album project, ‘Heart’, ‘&’, ‘Soul’, April 2021

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

To keep up with Eric Church, follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Heart 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.

—————

SHOP THE STORE

—————————-

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:

Brian Kelley: BK’s Wave Pack – EP Review

Brian Kelley, who serves as one half of the GRAMMY-nominated duo, Florida Georgia Line, makes his solo debut with brand new EP, BK’s Wave Pack available everywhere today, April 13th. Listen to the 4-track collection and take a look below as we dig a little deeper into the new music.

Kelley and bandmate Tyler Hubbard shocked the country world when they announced the two of them will be focusing more on their solo careers going forward after the release of their latest album, Life Rolls On. Although we are unsure when or if there will be new Florida Georgia Line music in the future, we know that Kelley’s solo career with Warner Music Nashville is just beginning to take off.

“I couldn’t be more grateful for everyone who has helped me on my journey to get here. I’m humbled to team up with Warner Music Nashville to take the music I’ve been dreamin’ and schemin’ up to the next level,” Kelley shared in a recent press release. “This is just the beginning of a whole new adventure.”

Fans can sense the entire vibe of this album just by reading the names of the songs. During the pandemic, Kelley spent a lot of time writing and being inspired at the beach. The lead track is a mid-tempo, pop-country crossover that immediately sets the mood. Kelley puts the listener in a tropical paradise, declaring himself the “Beach Cowboy” that “goes John Wayne on these waves.” The following song, “Made By The Water,” is reminiscent of classic Kenny Chesney/Jake Owen, as he portrays a perfect day at the beach.

“Soul of a sailor, born for a boat // My tie-dye girl got their heart floating // The way that it’s going I know when the sun sinks down like a bobber // there’s going to be some love made by the water”

Kelley turns the relaxation up with the next track, “Party on the Beach.” With the sounds from a traditional Hawaiian luau and a screeching seagull, he puts listeners’ minds into vacation mode. In the final track, “Sunday Service In The Sand,” the singer-songwriter shows gratitude for island life by thanking God for his beach-chair blessings. He admits that heaven could not get much closer than this.

“I can feel the salt-water working // High-tide’s taking me to church and // I can’t help but raise my hands to another Sunday service in the sand”

Although the two shared writing and producing credits, Hubbard was the predominant voice on most FGL songs, especially on their last two albums. It was nice to see Kelley venture out and sing along with his voice for a change. We are hopeful to see a full project album from Kelley in the future.

BK’s Wave Pack Track List:

1. “Beach Cowboy” (Brian Kelley, Blake Redferrin, Jake Rose) *
2. “Made By The Water” (Brian Kelley, Corey Crowder, Randy Montana)
3. “Party On The Beach” (Brian Kelley, Corey Crowder, Blake Redferrin, Canaan Smith)
4. “Sunday Service In The Sand” (Brian Kelley, Blake Redferrin, Canaan Smith, Jake Rose)

All Songs Produced by Corey Crowder, Brian Kelley
* Co-Produced by Jake Rose

Along with Hubbard, Kelley is nominated for Duo of the Year at the upcoming ACM Awards this Sunday on April 18th. Their arm-in-arm anthem, “Long Live” hit number one just last week, landing the duo their 18th career chart topper.

Brian Kelley's 'BK's Wave Pack EP' is available now, April 13th

Brian Kelley’s ‘BK’s Wave Pack EP’ is available now, April 13th

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

To keep up with Brian Kelley, follow him on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook.

BK’s Wave Pack 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.

—————

SHOP THE STORE

—————————-

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:

Taylor Swift Releases Reimagined Album, Fearless (Taylor’s Version)

In an attempt to reclaim her back catalog of music, Taylor Swift is releasing reimagined versions of her old albums, starting today with Fearless (Taylor’s Version). In addition to the new recordings, the collection includes unreleased songs “From The Vault” including tracks featuring Keith Urban and Maren Morris. Take a look below as we dig a little deeper into the project.

Fans have waited patiently for the release of the reimagined album, Fearless (Taylor’s Version), as the Pennsylvania native announced in 2019 that she was planning to re-record her first six albums when she legally could. Fearless was first released in 2008 and not only earned the Pennsylvania native her first two GRAMMYs but also gave her the honor of having the most awarded album in country music history.

The 26-track project is not only filled with the album’s original songs we know and love, but also includes six unreleased songs “From The Vault”.  Encompassed with heartbreak, love, and bravery, this album has the nostalgia of the country Taylor we were introduced to, yet has the vocals of the mature artist we know today.

Three of the six vault songs feature award-winning country singers Maren Morris and Keith Urban. “You All Over Me” featuring Maren Morris was released last month. Written by Swift and Scooter Carusos, the track focuses on the struggles of moving on after a breakup. Morris joins in on the first chorus and continues throughout the ballad. The two of them together are the perfect blend as they compliment each other perfectly on the harmonies.

“That’s When” and “We Were Happy” feature country superstar Keith Urban. Written by Liz Rose and Swift, “We Were Happy” starts off slow but picks up during the chorus where Urban joins in. An acoustic ballad about reflecting upon the happy times of a relationship before it ended, Swift and Urban’s voices are flawless together. “That’s When” written by Brad Warren, Brett Warren, and Swift is a catchy duet about two exes reminiscing on their relationship.  Urban was the perfect choice for the song as once again, the two showcase how well their voices mix.

Swift recently shared how excited she was to have him be a part of the album, “ I’m really honored that @KeithUrban is a part of this project, duetting on “That’s When” and singing harmonies on “We Were Happy”. I was his opening act during the Fearlessalbum era and his music has inspired me endlessly.

Overall, Fearless (Taylor’s Version) reminds us why it won Album of the Year at the GRAMMYs, The CMAs, as well as the ACM Awards. We can’t wait for the other re-recordings!

Taylor Swift's 'Fearless (Taylor's Version)' is available now, April 9th

Taylor Swift’s ‘Fearless (Taylor’s Version)’ is available now, April 9th

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

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

Fearless (Taylor’s Version) 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.

—————

SHOP THE STORE

—————————-

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:

Tim Montana: ‘Long Shots’ – Album Review

Tim Montana’s new album, Long Shots, is available everywhere you buy or stream music now, April 9th. Featuring 12 tracks co-written by Montana and a slew of other heavy-hitters including David Lee Murphy, Erik Dylan, Josh Thomspon, Micah Wilshire, and more. Take a look below as dive a little deeper into the collection of music.

While Tim Montana may not be a household name just yet, he’s poised on the brink of something big with his BBR Music Group major-label debut album, Long Shots, is out today, April 9th. Despite finally being signed to a label, the country-rocker has been hustling for years, making a name for himself in business, television, music, and more, and he couldn’t be more thankful for where he’s ended up.

“I heard ‘no’ from just about every record label around (more than once from some), but all my life I’ve never let outside factors stand in the way of my aspirations—instead the rejection fueled me to dig my heels in more, get a little scrappier and work even harder,” said Montana in a recent press release. “The fact that I’m now about to put out an album as a signed artist kind of blows my mind in the best way—I’m lucky enough to be six feet up instead of six feet under and I celebrate that every day.”

From the opening notes of “Do It Fast,” it’s clear the listeners are in for a ride. With its stomping opening beats and driving guitar, the song, written by Montana, David Lee Murphy, and Micah Wilshire, is the perfect introduction to the album, and for many, to Montana. It’s high-energy and explosive, as Montana advises that “If you’re gonna stay up // And do it all night long // Driving through life // Like it can’t go wrong // Put the pedal down and don’t look back // The key to hard living is to do it fast.”

The 1-2 punch of energy continues on “Get Em Up,” inviting “everybody get your hands in the air,” and we can immediately picture a crowd of concertgoers lifting their beers in the air as Montana hits the stage to this track. This song is an invitation into Montana’s world, and it’s the perfect follow-up track to “Do It Fast.”

While Montana is definitely a ball of energy on Long Shots, he does have a softer side, evidenced on songs like “Bar Band” and “Gone Looks Better.” On the latter, he sings of an ex who is clearly handling a breakup better than he is. Meanwhile, the former is a love song where he namedrops famous country acts, proclaiming, “I want to get you // like a bar band gets you // Turned up to eleven when the night moves hit you // Get you smiling // Get you laughing // I want to get you like a bar band gets you.”

“River Kids,” co-written by Montana, Wilshire, and Erik Dylan, is an ode to his upbringing, celebrating the days when he was a kid, without a care in the world. “Take me back // take me back,” He pleads, and it’s a sentiment almost every adult can relate to from time to time. “Back when we were river kids // And didn’t have a care in this ol world // Take me back // Take me back // Underneath that big sky bridge // When love and life were simple // Back when we were river kids.”

The album’s title track is easily one of the highlights of the collection, celebrating the underdogs who end up with significant others that seem just a bit unconventional or out of their league. “Here’s to the long shots // Last calls // Good ol’ boys like me,” Montana sings. “Had to wait a long time // To find my knock me off my feet.” While the song is clearly about a relationship, it could also apply to his career, as he was an underdog in the industry before releasing this album.

The album ends with “To An End,” a somber and haunting track about redemption. “I bow my head // And close my eyes // And pray the shaking stops in time // So I can look her in the eyes again.” For an album that’s such high-energy, it’s quite the sonic foray, proving what a talent Montana really is.

Long Shots is an explosive collection of in-your-face and high-energy country rock that’s absolutely perfect for summer and tailgates. However, it’s far from one-note, weaving in tales of love, heartache, and redemption, keeping the listener intrigued to the very last note.

NYCS Picks:

  1. Long Shots
  2. Bar Band
  3. Do It Fast
v

Tim Montana’s ‘Long Shots’ is available now, April 9th

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

To keep up with Tim Montana, Follow him on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Long Shots 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.

—————

SHOP THE STORE

—————————-

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:

Luke Bryan: ‘Born Here Live Here Die Here’ (Deluxe Edition) – Album Review

Luke Bryan’s Born Here Live Here Die Here (Deluxe Edition) is available everywhere you buy or stream music today, April 9th. After landing four number one songs on the original album, Bryan adds six brand new tracks to the deluxe version. Take a look below as we dig a little deeper into the new music.

The original version of the #1 album Born Here Live Here Die Here includes several chart toppers including “Knockin’ Boots”, “What She Wants Tonight”, “One Margarita”, and Bryan’s 26th and most recent #1 “Down to One”. The incredible collection of music also includes fan favorites like “Build Me A Daddy” and the album’s title track.

Today, the Deluxe Edition adds six new songs to the project, including previously released “Country Does” and “Drink A Little Whiskey Down”. The remaining songs are “Waves”, which Bryan played an unreleased version of for fans on Facebook Live when he announced the Deluxe Album, “Bill Dance”, “Up”, and “Floatin This Creek”.

“Country Does” is about as country as it gets and is the perfect track to add to the album and lead the deluxe tracks. It is true to Bryan’s upbringing and classic to what he so often sings about, growing up and the small-town way of life. “Drink a Little Whiskey Down” plays between being truly over a past love and trying to convince yourself that you are, with a little help from the bottle.

Next up, “Waves” is about summer love and the stars aligning for a perfect night. It shares the same writers as “Sunrise, Sunburn, Sunset” and gives a similar image of spending summer with the one you love and those nights you hope never end. 

In “Bill Dance”, Bryan pays tribute to the man who fostered his love for fishing. It makes sense that Bryan was the lead writer, as his passion for fishing and admiration for his idol so strongly shines through the entirety of the song. 

“There’s a lot of heroes out there these days // but if you ask me mine, there’s only one name I’ll say // Bill Dance, fishing for a living // Saturday morning, on television // A Georgia boy learning how to hook big bass from the best damn fisherman the world’s ever had” 

“Up” is another song about the way Bryan was raised and the life he had in small-town Georgia. It’s about being grateful for the way he grew up but also how everything in his life circles back to his faith and how important it is to everything he does.

“Up, in the sky // There’s a guy, looking down on us // Looking up, our whole life // raised up right, in a town nobody knows // what a way to grow, Up”

“Floatin’ This Creek” closes the album as a laid-back song that applies to both a day of fishing and life in general. It’s about going with the flow, taking some time to relax, not always needing to have a plan, and soaking it all in. 

“I’m just floatin’ this creek and taking it slow // tryna catch something big and sip something cold // I’d be a liar if I said I had a plan today // except watch these banks roll by, take it all in // don’t get too deep, don’t forget where I’ve been // nothing but time to see where it takes me, floatin’ this creek”  

Luke Bryan's 'Born Here Live Here Die Here (Deluxe Edition)' is available now, April 9th

Luke Bryan’s ‘Born Here Live Here Die Here (Deluxe Edition)’ is available now, April 9th

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

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

Born Here Live Here Die Here (Deluxe Edition) 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.

—————

SHOP THE STORE

—————————-

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:

Brett Kissel: ‘What Is Life?’ – Album Review

Brett Kissel’s brand new album, What Is Life?, is available everywhere now, April 9th. Take a look below as we dig a little deeper into the 14-track collection of original material.

Brett Kissel's brand new album, 'What Is Life?', is available everywhere now, April 9th

Brett Kissel’s brand new album, ‘What Is Life?’, is available everywhere now, April 9th

There’s music and then there’s artistry. Brett Kissel’s brand new record What Is Life? is the latter. The Canadian country superstar outdoes himself with this new release, creating a powerful project that is all love, all heart, and all honesty. The inspiration for the record stems from the philosophical question “What Is Life?” It is clear from this project that Kissel has answered that question for himself.

The first track off the project, “What Is Life? – A Perspective” sets the tone for the entire record. Interestingly enough, it is not a song, but a poetic prose that questions the meaning of life, how to live life in abundance and in gratitude, and the importance of family. Kissel asks the listener “What brings tears to your eyes or joy to your heart? What brings angst to your backbone, brings fire to your belly?,” adding, “I’m trying to figure it out too.”

With the rest of the album, fans get to hear exactly what conclusions the singer-songwriter has drawn from the original question. Songs like the lead single, “Make A Life, Not A Living” and “Down To Earth” remind us to fill our lives with experiences and moments with the people we love, rather than with money and material objects. Both songs encourage listeners to remove the veil that so often clouds our vision and to focus on the people and the experiences that bring us the most joy.

In a similar vein, “Die To Go Home” and “Everything In The Rearview” reminds listeners of the importance of sitting firmly in your roots. The former is a song about the appreciation of where you’re from, while the latter, one of our favorites, is one of the most nostalgic songs off the record. “Everything In The Review” takes us on a trip down memory lane reminding us of all the things that make us who we are.

“All the good, the bad, the tears, the laughs, the bitter, and the sweet // All the time we lost / The parking lots, those memories still run deep // It’s as part of me as my heart beating”

Proving that the past is just as important as the present, Kissel enlisted the help of his three children on this one-of-a-kind project. Family is clearly embedded into the fabric of who the singer is and the type of music he makes, so vocal clips of each of his three kids, Aria, Leo, and Mila were the perfect fit for the project. The children say things such as “You’re the love of my heart,” and “I love you more dad.” Even more special, in “From Leo,” Kissel’s wife is heard saying things like “You are brave” and “You are important” to their son.

Although most of the songs have at least a little bit to do with love, “Without” and “From This Day Forward” are the two most obviously romantic tunes. “Without” shows off Kissel’s vocals like no other, while “From This Day Forward” could be a future wedding song for anyone getting married soon. The song is lyrical vows, and we think it’s pretty sweet!

“I wouldn’t doubt us for a second // Now here we are, taking the next step // I want you to know that // I promise to put you first for the rest of my life // Take on your problems when they get too heavy // I’m always going to stand by your side // Hold you up when you feel unsteady”

Finally, we could not end this review without talking about the final track off the record, “Kindness.” The whole message of the album comes full circle with this song. The beautifully articulated tune is acoustic and even acapella at times, but the message is all heart. Making a reference to track number one, Kissel pictures what a world would be like if kindness was contagious. The message is just as special as the song, and the entire project as a whole.

“If kindness was contagious // And no one could escape it // It would be a four-letter word nobody used // Different isn’t dangerous // Hands were meant for shaking // Hearts were made for making love // This I promise you // The world would be such a better place // If kindness was contagious”

Get to know more about Brett Kissel in our interview below, where the talented singer-songwriter joined us for an acoustic performance and to chat about his artistry back in 2019.

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

To keep up with Brett Kissel, follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

What Is Life? 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.

—————

SHOP THE STORE

—————————-

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:

Canaan Smith: ‘High Country Sound’ Album Review + Interview

Canaan Smith’s highly anticipated sophomore album, High Country Sound, is available now, April 2nd, everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a look below for our exclusive interview and full review of the project.

Canaan Smith's new album, 'High Country Sound' is available now, April 2nd

Canaan Smith’s new album, ‘High Country Sound’ is available now, April 2nd

It may have taken you some time to recall the name “Canaan Smith” because it feels like forever since his name has been commonly used in country music. His debut album, Bronco was released in June of 2015 and it produced the massive single “Love You Like That,” which hit number one a month later. After taking a break from music for a few years, he became the first artist to sign with Florida Georgia Line’s newly-formed label, Round Here Records in August of 2019 and released the song, “Beer Drinkin’ Weather.” The release of other stand-alone singles such as “Life Ain’t Fair,” “Country Boy Things,” and “Pour Decisions” followed, and now, we finally have a true sophomore album from him.

High Country Sound is a project that speaks Smith’s truth from beginning to end. Impressively, Smith co-wrote every single song on the record, which is no easy feat. Not only that, but Smith also is the sole producer on 8 of 12 tracks and co-produced the remaining 4 with Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley of Florida Georgia Line. This is a standout achievement of the platinum hit-maker.

“When I moved here sixteen years ago from Virginia, I set out to write the kind of music that I’m doing now with this new album,” Smith tells us in our recent exclusive interview. “But somewhere along the way I sort of lost sight a little bit and started reaching more than digging and wasn’t doing what comes natural to me or what felt like an expression of who I am.”

Smith showcases his true, country-boy self throughout this entire album by discussing themes of love, heartbreak, growing up, and having a good time. You can hear the authenticity from Smith in the first two tracks, “Grounded” and “Mason Jars & Fireflies.” In the former, he reflects on hardships he has dealt with in the past but is thankful for them because they shaped the person he is today. In “Mason Jars & Fireflies,” Smith paints a beautiful picture of a simpler time when fireflies lighting up the summer sky were the most important thing on their minds. “Cabin In The Woods” also reminisces on summertime during his teenage years. He recognizes how much he has grown since then, but the memories made at that particular cabin remain fresh in his mind.

Colder Than You” was the first song he released from this project and will serve as the lead single. Written with Corey Crowder and Jared Mullins, the singer finds comfort in a 12-pack when his girlfriend leaves him. This is not a sad breakup song, however. He realizes how much she tried to change about him, the people he hung out with, and the music he listened to and discovers he is happier without her. The cheeky and clever songwriting makes it a fun track to sing-along with and drink a beer to.

“Girl, I ain’t drowning your memory // These mountains are all that’s in here gettin’ blue // Baby, I might’ve finally found something colder than you.”

“High Country” and “Catch Me If You Can” are fun, upbeat songs all about having a good time. In the former, the singer’s girlfriend just ended things but he has a hard time being sad about it because “it’s hard to be low in high country.” This track contains a heavy amount of steel, fiddle, banjo, and harmonica, giving it a classic country sound. You can hear the Florida Georgia Line in these tracks, as they were both co-produced by Kelley and Hubbard alongside Smith.

“Sweet Virginia” is not only an ode to his home state but shows praise to his 1-year-old daughter, Virginia Rose. In the first verse, he reflects on the difficult decision to leave home to chase his dream in Nashville, but by the second verse, you can interpret the lyrics in either direction. This song is near and dear to his heart in two ways, which is probably why it was his favorite on the record.

“This record is an attempt for people to know me and that song covers all the bases,” he tells us. “In one listen you can kind of get the whole picture and story of my life until now.”

The final three songs, “Like I Ain’t Missing You;” “Highway Blues;” and “Losing Sleep Over A Girl” all touch on love and show his vulnerable side. In the first, the singer uses alcohol and other women to help him get over his ex. He acts fine, but deep down he knows he is just lying to himself. In the second, he hops in his car and goes for a long drive to try and ease his mind. He states: “Wish I was holdin’ you ‘Stead of huggin’ on a yellow line.”

The album ends on a positive note however, as he tells the story of how he fell in love with the two girls in his life: his wife and his daughter. It all started with a kiss after a George Strait concert; he could not sleep that night and he cannot sleep now due to his crying baby. The sweetest part is, he wouldn’t want it any other way.

“Wide awake, heart racin’ // So hypnotized // Lost in the moment, still lost in her eyes // As the sun made its way ‘cross the dark side of the world // There I was again / Losing sleep over a girl”

Smith discussed in our interview that he didn’t care about making a “cool” album with commercial success; he just wanted to create a project that was authentic and true to himself.

“The more you write your personal truth, it seems like that would be more isolating but it’s the exact opposite. In my experience, the more honest and open I am about my personal self, I find it resonates stronger with people than the other stuff does…I’ve gotten messages from listeners that have been finding themselves in these songs and feeling like they’re connected to them and it makes me feel really proud.”

It’s very easy to make something generic that everyone can relate to. Smith trusted his gut, took the necessary time, and put out a genuine record that contains elements of modern and traditional country with moments of celebration, heartbreak, and honest stories. It must have been a lot of pressure to come back with a sophomore record six years after your debut, but Smith delivered, and in a big way.

NYCS Top Picks

  1. Losin’ Sleep Over A Girl
  2. Grounded
  3. Colder Than You
  4. Sweet Virginia

Canaan Smith’s HIGH COUNTRY SOUND Track Listing:

1. “Grounded” (Canaan Smith, Jim Beavers, Ben Stennis) *
2. “Mason Jars & Fireflies” (Canaan Smith, Brian Kelley, Corey Crowder) 
3. “Colder Than You” (Canaan Smith, Jared Mullins, Corey Crowder) 
4. “High Country” (Canaan Smith, Blake Redferrin, Corey Crowder) 
5. “Catch Me If You Can” ft. Brent Cobb (Canaan Smith, Brian Kelley, Tyler Hubbard, Jason Afable) *
6. “Cabin In The Woods” (Canaan Smith, Josh Miller, Brian Kelley, David Garcia) ^
7. “American Dream” (Canaan Smith, Blair Daly) *
8. “Sweet Virginia” (Canaan Smith, Brian Kelley, Tyler Hubbard, Corey Crowder) ^  
9. “Still” (Canaan Smith, Ben Stennis, Jim Beavers) *
10. “Like I Ain’t Missin’ You” (Canaan Smith, Blake Redferrin, Jason Afable) *
11. “Highway Blues” (Canaan Smith, Jake Rose, Brian Kelley) *
12. “Losin’ Sleep Over A Girl” (Canaan Smith, Marv Green, Kyle Fishman) *

Produced by Canaan Smith
Produced by Canaan Smith, Brian Kelley + Tyler Hubbard

* Interview Conducted by: Erica Zisman // Written by: Dylan Bestler for NYCountry Swag

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

To keep up with Canaan Smith, follow him on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

High Country Sound 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.

—————

SHOP THE STORE

—————————-

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: