And The Nominees Are…2021 ACM Award Nominees Announced

The 2021 ACM Awards will take place on Sunday, April 18th at 8PM ET on CBS.

Earlier today on CBS This Morning, Kelsea Ballerini and Brothers Osborne kicked off the nomination announcements for the 56th Annual Show revealing who’s up for the night’s biggest honors like Female Artist of the Year, Male Artist of the Year, Duo of the Year, Group of the Year, Single of the Year and the most coveted award of the night: Entertainer of the Year.

Following the morning show announcement, ET’s Rachel Smith revealed the remaining categories which included New Male Artist of the Year, New Female Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Video of the Year, and Music Event of the Year.

Normally airing from Las Vegas, this year the annual event will return to Nashville for a live broadcast for the second consecutive year following significant changes to the show due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The show will once again feature yet-to-be-announced performances happening across three different iconic music venues in Music City: Grand Ole Opry, Ryman Auditorium, and The Bluebird Cafe.

Airing on Sunday, April 18th, 2021 from 8PM ET – 11PM ET on CBS, the 56th ACM Awards will also be available to stream live and on-demand.

Check out the full list of nominations below + click the image below to visit us on Instagram and let us know your vote for this year’s Entertainer of the Year.

 

2021 ACM AWARDS NOMINATIONS:

 

ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR:
Luke Bryan
Eric Church
Luke Combs
Thomas Rhett
Chris Stapleton

 

GROUP OF THE YEAR:
Lady A
Little Big Town
Old Dominion
The Cadillac Three
The Highwomen

 

MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR:
Dierks Bentley
Eric Church
Luke Combs
Thomas Rhett
Chris Stapleton

 

FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR:
Kelsea Ballerini
Miranda Lambert
Ashley McBryde
Maren Morris
Carly Pearce

 

DUO OF THE YEAR:
Brooks & Dunn
Brothers Osborne
Dan + Shay
Florida Georgia Line
Maddie & Tae

 

SINGLE OF THE YEAR [Awarded to Artist(s)/Producer(s)/Record Company–Label(s)]:
Bluebird – Miranda Lambert
– Producer: Jay Joyce
– Record Label: Vanner Records/RCA Records Nashville

I Hope – Gabby Barrett
– Producers: Ross Copperman, Zach Kale
– Record Label: Warner Music Nashville

I Hope You’re Happy Now – Carly Pearce & Lee Brice
– Producers: busbee
– Record Label: Big Machine Records / Curb Records

More Hearts Than Mine – Ingrid Andress
– Producers: Ingrid Andress, Sam Ellis
– Record Label: Warner Music Nashville

The Bones – Maren Morris
– Producer: Greg Kurstin
– Record Label: Columbia Nashville

 

NEW FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR:
Ingrid Andress
Tenille Arts
Gabby Barrett
Mickey Guyton
Caylee Hammack

 

NEW MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR:
Jimmie Allen
Travis Denning
HARDY
Cody Johnson
Parker McCollum

 

SONG OF THE YEAR
*Awarded to Songwriter(s)/Publisher(s)/Artist(s):
Bluebird – Miranda Lambert
– Songwriter(s): Luke Dick, Miranda Lambert, Natalie Hemby
– Publishers: Emileon Songs; Little Louder Songs; Pink Dog Publishing; Songs of Universal, INC; Sony ATV Tree Publishing; Wrucke for You Publishing

One Night Standards – Ashley McBryde
– Songwriter(s): Ashley McBryde, Nicolette Hayford, Shane McAnally
– Publishers: Canned Biscuit Songs; Smackworks Music; Smack Blue, LLC; Smackstreet Music; Tempo Investments; Warner Geo Met Ric Music; Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp

Some People Do – Old Dominion
– Songwriter(s): Jesse Frasure, Matt Ramsey, Thomas Rhett, Shane McAnally
– Publishers: Carrot Seed Songs; EMI Blackwood Music INC; Smackville Music; Songs of ROC Nation; Telemitry Rhythm House Music; Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp; Smack Hits; Tempo Investments; Warner Gro Met Ric Music

Starting Over – Chris Stapleton
– Songwriter(s): Chris Stapleton, Mike Henderson
– Publishers: I Wrote These Songs; Straight Six Music; WC Music Corp

The Bones – Maren Morris
– Songwriter(s): Jimmy Robbins, Maren Morris, Laura Veltz
– Publishers: Big Machine Music, LLC; Extraordinary Alien Publishing; International Dog Music; Oh Denise Publishing; Round Hill Songs; Warner-Tamerlane
Publishing Corp.

 

ALBUM OF THE YEAR
*Awarded to Artist(s)/Producer(s)/Record Company–Label(s):
Born Here Live Here Die Here – Luke Bryan
– Producers: Jeff Stevens, Jody Stevens
– Record Label: Capitol Records Nashville

Mixtape Vol. 1 – Kane Brown
– Producers: Andrew Goldstein, Charlie Handsome, Dann Huff, Lindsay Rimes
– Record Label: RCA Nashville

Never Will – Ashley McBryde
– Producer: Jay Joyce
– Record Label: Warner Music Nashville

Skeletons – Brothers Osborne
– Producer: Jay Joyce
– Record Label: EMI Records Nashville

Starting Over – Chris Stapleton
– Producers: Chris Stapleton, Dave Cobb
– Record Label: Mercury Nashville

 

Tune in to the show to see who will take home the awards on April 18th on CBS.
+ Follow us on Twitter while we live-tweet the show, @NYCOUNTRYSWAG.

Fans can join our Weekly Round-Up e-newsletter here, for the latest in country music.

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TRACK45: ‘Big Dreams’ – EP Review

Track45’s sophomore EP Big Dreams is today, February 26th and features previously released tracks in debut project Small Town such as “Come On In” and “Met Me Now”. Take a look below as we dig a little deeper into the project.
Track45's new EP, 'Big Dreams' is available everywhere now, February 26th

Track45’s new EP, ‘Big Dreams’ is available everywhere now, February 26th

Track45, a trio and family band from Mississippi who introduced themselves with three tracks in the fall, are back with more. Made up by Ben Johnson, KK Johnson, and Jenna Johnson, these artists are keeping up the momentum with a second collection titled Big Dreams which includes the previously released tracks as well as two more productions.

The 5-track EP marks the start of new music while, at the same time, comes directly following a six-week radio tour. Furthermore, the single “Met Me Now” that has attained nearly 675,000 streams on Spotify after just four months is set to hit U.S. country radio airwaves next week.

“Little Bit More”, the only stand-alone, original song off this Track45 release with songwriting contribution from all members in addition to American singer-songwriter Audra Mae, highlights their contagious energy. As described, their personal experiences both as a family and individually mixed with adventurous yet deliberate decisions in the studio are eloquently captivated. The intricate entanglement of vocals can only be explicitly compared to the dynamic vivacity and stunning exuberance of a Coca-Cola. Perhaps it’s the filled-to-the-brim talent in each act that creates this overwhelming sense of carbonation after hearing vocals bounce off and flatter one other.

On the contrary, country roots are planted through a cover of Dolly Parton’s “Light of a Clear Blue Morning”, which marks the second and final new production of Big Dreams. The raspy, youthful approach of the graceful and affectionate “Jolene” musical icon implements a different shade of color to paint over the words originated and first heard in 1977. Similar to “Little Bit More” Track45 chooses a lively, infectious shade to reinvent and cover the sturdy framework with a fresh layer of paint without reconstructing its bones.

Big Dreams marks phase two of the introductory projects from Track45’s with a continuation of refreshing voices and overflowing creativity.

Fans can join our Weekly Round-Up e-newsletter here, for the latest in country music and more news about future Track45 releases.

To keep up with Track45, follow them on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Big Dreams 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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Ian Munsick: ‘Coyote Cry’ – Album Review

Ian Munsick’s brand new album Coyote Cry is available now, February 26th, everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a look below as we dig a little deeper into the project.

Ian Munsick's new album, 'Coyote Cry' is available everywhere now, February 26th

Ian Munsick’s new album, ‘Coyote Cry’ is available everywhere now, February 26th

Ian Munsick, who formerly released a self-titled EP in 2017 and won iHeartRadio’s Rocky Mountain Song of the Year with “Horses Are Faster”, has signed with Warner Music. After a tumultuous, active year releasing six tracks that are now featured on today’s LP Coyote Cry, listeners are given the full-length story with four additional productions.

“Solo”, which preluded this project and acted as the first song to mark a new musical journey for Munsick, acts as a reminder of Jason Derulo’s famous 2010 hit “Ridin’ Solo”. This transformative, renowned time in history that marked the end of those middle school relationships along with the immediate change of a relationship status on Facebook will forever be held dear. Though, the country twangy-rasp that swarms through this modern-day story brings dixie cups and shotgun ridin’ to the table in an unexpected yet incredibly genre-permitting way.

“She got me ridin’ solo / Down here at the bar drinkin’ all alone / Sippin’ from a Dixie, wishin’ it would fix me / Had me on a high like Colorado / Now she got me ridin’ solo”

While “Solo” showcases the drinking-heartbreak-away storytelling aspect of country music from this Wyoming-born and raised musician, “Mountain Time” seeps lyrical creativity and good, old-fashioned lightheartedness to the mix. The echo involvement creates a back-and-forth interaction between the singer himself and accompanying instruments, suggesting a successful delivery on a production-conscious process. At the same time, old country hee-haw sensations are modernized as if Munsick was intentionally giving the genre a nicely wrapped present to the past.

“It don’t matter where I go / I always find my way back home / After all, my heart belongs to you (You) / I’ve been near and I’ve been far / But there’s nowhere like where you are / Hey, honey, it’s about time / To settle on down in Mountain Time / (Ya-hi, ya-hi-i-hi) / (Ya-hi, ya-hi-i-hi)”

This release is not a traditional, formal introduction from an aspiring, upcoming Nashville-based act. Munsick, a newly signed artist, seemingly raises awareness to his musical icons by spinning classics to fit his style whether these renditions originate from pop, R&B or rock. “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac is put under a microscope and transformed in a way that is familiar yet nearly unrecognizable over a male vocal. The production is loosely engrained with pop-country elements while still remaining true to its historical leverage.

Coyote Cry is a soundtrack for the modern western lifestyle,” Munsick said in a press release. “A firm handshake between cowboy and hippy, traditional and contemporary and everything in between.”

One of the brand new features, “Like It Ain’t”, could be considered the epitome of what we can expect from Munsick. An original track with musical contribution unguarded from genre limitations while maintaining singer-songwriter, southern accolades, and finger-snapping, tender notes.

Raised in the mountains of Wyoming, there’s no doubt that this new artist with Warner Music will incorporate a refreshing sense of artistry and perspective to the country music scene. “It’s the life I’ve lived so far and the lessons I’ve learned along the way. No matter who you are, I think you’ll find a piece of yourself in there and maybe even lose yourself to the howling in the hills.”

With more music coming soon, fans are encouraged to join the Munsick club cleverly named “The Heard” after his ranch-bred musicianship. Subscribers will be the first to hear about music announcements with access to exclusive merch and more. Join here: IanMunsick.com

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

To keep up with Ian Munsick, follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Coyote Cry 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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BRELAND Gets Personal in his Latest Release “Cross Country”

BRELAND’s new song “Cross Country” is available now, February 26th, everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a look below as we dig a little deeper into the track.

BRELAND's new song "Cross Country" is available everywhere now, February 26th

BRELAND’s new song “Cross Country” is available everywhere now, February 26th

After finally finding a place for himself and his music in this business, BRELAND gets the chance to share the journey of how he got here in his newest single “Cross Country”. This release follows the success of his debut single “My Truck” as well as his seven-track self-titled EP which includes two versions of “My Truck”, the original and the Sam Hunt Remix, and “In The Woulds” featuring Chase Rice and Lauren Alaina.

BRELAND’s unique and cross-genre sound can be explained through his musical influences which include the Beatles, Rascal Flatts, Prince, and his number one influence, Stevie Wonder. BRELAND began his musical career as a songwriter for rappers like Elhae and YK Osiris. However, wanting to give his own music a chance, he released “My Truck” on social media to see if it could gain some attention. When it did, BRELAND self-released the song and it is now certified platinum. He went on to release a remix with Sam Hunt and in May 2020 he released his self-titled EP.

BRELAND’s EP gave fans an intro into his story right off the bat. From this collection of songs, you can gather a lot about his journey and about his love and appreciation for two genres which until recently, have scarcely been meshed. “Cross Country” beautifully captures the struggle of BRELAND’s story about never feeling as though he fit in where he was and always searching for his purpose. He has been chasing this dream of his for so long and trying to find a place in this world for his music. With such a love for two genres that only recently received acceptance and attention when combined, BRELAND struggled to find someone who would listen and help find a place in this world for his music.

BRELAND

Photo Credit: Jimmy Fontaine

With nothing against the places he has been or the people he had there, BRELAND expresses that he has always felt like something was missing and that he didn’t belong. As he tells his story of never being heard or being able to catch his break, he continued to show confidence in a situation where it would have been difficult to stay optimistic. He knew he would find his place somewhere and knew he wasn’t going to give up because one day he would have what he had always dreamt of. While this may be an autobiographical song of BRELAND’s journey, it is certainly a message that is shared by so many.

“Cross Country” poses as motivation for anyone who may feel like they don’t belong or that they don’t fit in where they are. It encourages them to believe that their spot is out there and their time will come if they are willing to work to get there and never give up. 

“I tried to fit in, but didn’t, I’m different yeah I know / the houses I stayed in, were great but they never felt like home (no) / I’m going Cross Country / I won’t stop running til I find where I belong / I’m going Cross Country / know they might judge me, I ain’t gotta prove ‘em wrong / cause I know it’s okay, to be in my own lane / when I’m doing what they say can’t be done”

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

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

“Cross 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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Fellow New Yorker Willie Lock Releases New Song “Bad Things”

Willie Lock’s new song “Bad Things”, co-written by Lock, Dan Emino, and John Pizz, is available now, February 26th, everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a look below as we dig a little deeper into the track.

Willie Lock’s new song "Bad Things" is available everywhere now, February 26th

Willie Lock’s new song “Bad Things” is available everywhere now, February 26th

For our local New Yorkers, Lock will be playing the 6th Ward in Brooklyn tonight (2/26) with his co-writer Dan Emino in celebration of their song release. The two posted a clip of the song the day they wrote it way back in May of 2019. They also posted an acoustic version of the song on Instagram Live in May 2020. Lock will also be playing Sunday at The Inn in Long Beach with his other co-writer John Pizz.

Willie Lock is a local New York country artist that has spent the better half of the last decade performing across the country. He may actually be more known to local New Yorkers and specifically Long Islanders than they realize. Lock has been the lead singer of the cover band Mean Machine since early 2016. Mean Machine has played across the tri-state area and are frequent performers of summer night gigs at popular locations across NYC and Long Island including The Inn (Long Beach), Salt Shack (Babylon), Dublin Deck (Patchogue), Tiki Joe’s Beach Hut (Smith Point), and Dockers (The Hamptons). 

With three released songs so far, Lock’s journey is only just beginning and he believes “Bad Things” will be the biggest song of his career. Lock’s debut single “Follow Your Soul” was released in June of 2019. This song is the story of his journey as an artist including moving to New York City and the challenges he faced along the way including his fight to make ends meet and continuing to believe in his dream of making it as an artist. When Lock was sleeping on his friend’s floor and unable to afford the subway fare to and from work, he spent many nights walking home from his restaurant job. It was on those walks that he wrote “Follow Your Soul”. He says this song “is a story about not caring about what anybody thinks of you, taking the opinions of outsiders with a grain of salt, and staying true to yourself.” If it weren’t for following his soul and believing whole-heartedly in the lyrics of this song and its message, he would likely not be where he is now, continuing to release music and chase his dream of making it as an artist.

Following his debut single in 2019, Lock went on to release three new songs in 2020 including “Radio”, “100 Ways” and an original Christmas song, “Footprints”. In June of 2020, Locke also formed the duo Sunrise Highway, a group with his good friend, guitarist, and fellow Mean Machine member, John Pizz. Lock made his Nashville performance debut this past June when Sunrise Highway toured from New York to Nashville.

Continuing on the momentum that the last year has brought him, Lock has now released his newest single “Bad Things”. This song is about that person that you know isn’t good for you, but you keep going back to them anyway. Just because you know they’re bad for you, doesn’t mean that’s going to stop you from wanting them.

“Like I’m stealing things when I knew I’d get caught and / Touching fire when I knew it was hot and / Mixing liquor at the end of the night / You’re one of the bad things that I like / Getting high off the Cali Fire and / Doing 90 in a 75 and / A cigarette at the end of the night / You’re one of the bad things that I like”

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

To keep up with Willie Lock, follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook

“Bad Things” 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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Noah Schnacky Releases New Single, “She Broke My Heart”

Noah Schnacky’s ‘glass half full’ point of view on heartbreak in his new song, “She Broke My Heart”, available now, February 26th, reminds us that everything really does happen for a reason. Take a look below as we dig a little deeper into the track.

Noah Schnacky's new song "She Broke My Heart" is available everywhere now, February 26th

Noah Schnacky’s new song “She Broke My Heart” is available everywhere now, February 26th

Noah Schnacky had an impressive 2020, releasing his debut EP in July, which included two pre-released singles: “Comeback” and “Where’d You Go”, and wrapping up the year with the December release of his current single “Every Girl I Ever Loved”. Continuing with this momentum, Schnacky kicks off 2021 with his brand new song “She Broke My Heart”, written by Schnacky with Lindsay Rimes, and Laura Veltz.

Though its title may be deceiving, “She Broke My Heart” is an optimistic ‘glass half full’ take on a brutal break-up. If his ex never broke it off out of nowhere, then he never would have been led to the girl he’s with now. Schnacky can justify the heartbreak by saying “if there was still a her, there wouldn’t be an us,” which is a much-needed reminder that something that seems so bad at the time can truly be a blessing in disguise. 

“She broke my heart / she left me all alone / did it on the phone, about twenty seconds long / she broke my heart / I never saw it coming / I thought that we were something, she thought we were nothing / she broke my heart, she called it quits / but looking back man, I sure am glad she did”

This is really the ‘when one door closes, another one opens’ idea we all need to be taking from a breakup or any hardship. Everything really does happen for a reason. The night that he met the girl he’s with now would never have happened if his ex didn’t break his heart first. 

“I wouldn’t have been riding solo Friday night at the House of Blues / and I wouldn’t have been here to accidentally spill my drink on you / You wouldn’t have laughed at how I dance / I wouldn’t have tried to hold your hand / I wouldn’t have thought I had a chance, but here you are / Thank God she broke my heart”

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

To keep up with Noah Schnacky, follow him on  Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

“She Broke My 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.

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Brett Young Releases New Song, “You Got Away With It”

Brett Young’s new song “You Got Away With It” is available now, February 26th, everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a look below as we dig a little deeper into the track.

2020 proved to be a busy year for Brett Young, between caring for his newborn baby and touring (at least for a little while) on his Chapters Tour, which was named after his most personal song from his 2019 album, Ticket to LA. Luckily for us, Young was able to make it to NYC in February just before having to cancel the tour due to the ongoing worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. Young and his wife Taylor Mills also announced a few weeks ago that they are expecting their second child.

Now, the singer-songwriter is releasing a brand new song, “You Got Away With It”, which follows his 2020 hit single “Lady”, written for his daughter Presley, as well as his incredible collaboration on “I do” with Astrid S. “You Got Away With It” is an upbeat tune with the classic Brett Young wordplay that we’ve come to love from the singer-songwriter. It’s about a girl that stole everything from a guy and he let her get away with all of it. From the start of the night, she stole his attention and a kiss at the bar and she goes on to steal his time and then his heart. He was just single on a Saturday night and let her get away with whatever she wanted.  

“You got away with it, so don’t you go breaking it / Girl you’ve been making it tough for me to not love every little thing that you do baby / You got away with it, and girl I ain’t hating it / It’s too late I don’t want it back, it’s yours and that’s that, and you stole my heart / You got away with it”

Brett Young's new song "You Got Away With It" is available everywhere now, February 26th

Brett Young’s new song “You Got Away With It” is available everywhere now, February 26th

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

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

“You Got Away With It” 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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Hailey Whitters: ‘Living The Dream’ – Deluxe Album Review

Hailey Whitters’ brand new deluxe album LIVING THE DREAM is available now, February 26th, everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a look below as we dig a little deeper into the project.

Hailey Whitters' 'Living The Dream Deluxe Album' is available everywhere now, February 26th

Hailey Whitters’ ‘Living The Dream – Deluxe Album’ is available everywhere now, February 26th

For almost exactly a year, rising singer-songwriter and former Swag Spotlight artist, Hailey Whitters has been riding the high from the release of her debut full-length record The Dream. Clearly feeling like the album’s journey was not completely finished, the profound songstress is releasing a deluxe version of the project adding five new songs to the record, officially out today!

The record features familiar songs and fan-favorites like “Ten Year Town” and “Janice at the Hotel Bar.” The former is her dynamite former single, a song that paints the picture of what it was like for Whitters as she was trying to figure out if she should continue to try to ‘make it’ in Nashville. Written with the exceptional Brandy Clark, the track is one that will be a staple for Whitters for a long time coming.

The latter is another one of our favorites. Reminiscent of Lori McKenna’s awe-inspiring, “Humble and Kind”, Whitters combined forces with McKenna to express a real-life tale about an encounter with a wise woman named Janice. The song offers advice on how to live a good life, suggesting simple lessons like “get on the pill if you ain’t ready to start a family” and “make good love, good company.”

The songstress continues to remind us to be appreciative of life’s little moments in “The Days,” while expressing her truth in the breathtaking “Loose Strings,” a song about both love and loss. In “Heartland,” Whitters once again sings about life not going the way she thought it would, but alas, she knows she can always fall back on her Midwestern roots. “Heart – land in the middle of nowhere.”

The record also features “Happy People”, a song that Whitters wrote and was recorded by Little Big Town on their album, The Breaker. This new version is a mid-tempo jam that is laced with authenticity, gritty lyrics, and a traditional-country rooted instrumental. It focuses on the simple, yet complex concept of happiness and how to obtain it.

Whitters even collaborates with LBT on a brand new song on the record called “Fillin’ My Cup.” The track is a fun-loving, traditional-country jam, filled with banjos and eloquent harmonies. We’d love to see Little Big Town and Whitters perform this one live!

Like “Fillin’ My Cup,” the other four brand new songs are also collaborations. On “How Far Can I Go,” the songstress fulfills a childhood dream and duets with country superstar, Trisha Yearwood. The duet is truly timeless, and it feels like the two women have been singing together forever. Similarly, “Glad To Be Here,” Whitters’ dueling duet with Brent Cobb is just as enticing. The song is a nostalgic track about appreciating where you are, especially your hometown.

One of our favorite collaborations off the record is “How To Break A Heart.” A song that is truly songwriting and storytelling at its finest. It’s no surprise that Whitters combined her talent with two extraordinary musicians, Lori McKenna and Hillary Lindsey. The song is so beautiful and captivating both lyrically and melodically.

Whitters also collaborates with fellow rising country star, Jordan Davis on “The Ride,” the final song on the record. Although different than the other collaborations, Whitters and Davis prove how talented they both are. Their ability to stay true to their individual sounds, while creating something new and fresh has superstardom written all over it for both of them.

Of course, we would be remiss if we did not mention the closing track off the original version of the album, a song entitled “Livin’ The Dream.” Whitters inspires people to look at every step, every trial, and every hardship as part of ‘The Dream.’ For the songstress, her grind in Nashville, which included waiting on tables and living in a small apartment are all important parts of her journey, her story, and ultimately, her dream.

“Oh the one thing I’ve learned is that the world keeps on spinning / Love is the only thing that makes it go round / I’ve given it all with the time I’ve been given / I’m out here livin’ / Yeah we all just livin’ / the dream”

Whitters is an artist that is done trying to fit whatever mold the industry tries to push female singers into. Her artistry rivals that of any established superstar in country music, but it is her infectious vocals, stellar songwriter, and pure talent and perseverance that is going to take her far. Moreover, the fact that she chose to collaborate with the artists and songwriters that have helped her or inspired her on her journey just shows how proud she is of her craft.

NYCS Picks:

  1. “Ten Year Town”
  2. “The Ride”
  3. “Janice at The Hotel Bar”
  4. “How To Break A Heart”

LIVING THE DREAM Deluxe Tracklist:

  1. Ten Year Town
  2. The Days
  3. Red Wine & Blue
  4. Dream, Girl
  5. Loose Strings
  6. Heartland
  7. Janice at the Hotel Bar
  8. Happy People
  9. The Devil Always Made Me Think Twice
  10. All The Cool Girls
  11. The Faker
  12. Living the Dream
  13. Fillin’ My Cup (feat. Little Big Town)
  14. Glad To Be Here (feat. Brent Cobb)
  15. How To Break A Heart (feat. Lori McKenna & Hillary Lindsey)
  16. How Far Can It Go? (feat. Trisha Yearwood)
  17. The Ride (feat. Jordan Davis)

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

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

Living The Dream 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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What We’re Listening To: February Picks

NYCountry Swag’s “What We’re Listening To” playlist highlights the wide range of our team’s favorite songs and artists when it comes to the country music genre.  At the end of the day, we are all fans first with a passion for country music and are eager to share with you all what we’ve got on repeat each month.

Find below each of our team member’s favorite songs and why in our February picks. Then be sure to give our Spotify account a follow and listen to our favorite tracks!

 

FEBRUARY PICKS:

 

 

Stephanie Wagner, Founder

Pick: “Before You” – Drew Baldridge
Songwriters: Chris Lucas, Drew Baldridge, Preston Brust

This month I chose Drew Baldridge’s “Before You”. Released back in March 2020, this is a song I constantly find myself going back to. It’s a beautiful love song that tells the story of falling in love and everything you were (and weren’t) before meeting that person. As Baldridge used for his real-life proposal, this is the perfect tune for an engagement, first dance, or anniversary celebration.
“Before you, I was half the man I am now, baby // Didn’t know it was you I was cravin’ // If I could go back and rewrite pages // I know what I’d do // I’d step on the gas // And I’d hurry up through // All those wasted nights on love I thought I knew // Before you”

Christina Bosch, Managing Editor 

Pick: “Tired of Flying” – Ryan Kinder feat Brandy Clark
Songwriters: Jen Schott, Luke Sheets, Ryan Kinder

I’ve been a fan of every song that Ryan Kinder has released for the past six years. His voice is unmatched, it’s unique and his storytelling abilities are what country music is all about. Recently, he announced he will be dropping an album full of features, and “Tired Of Flying” is the second track previewed from his new project.

In a time of such anxiety and uncertainty, it’s normal to feel completely drained and as a mom, I have felt so tired this past year. The lyrics of “Tired Of Flying” hit me so hard, when Brandy Clark comes in and her gentle voice sings “Does the sun wish it could just stop shining? it cuts deep.

“As I look out the window, I wonder, where the sparrow, goes to find shelter from the storm / Does that blue-grey sky get tired of crying, does that lonely bird get tired of flying?”

Being a mother is most days, a very thankless job that comes with a burden and obstacles that many do not ever get to see. I’m grateful for the refuge that music brings me, the healing, and country songs like this one that really showcases the power of lyrics and how important a song can be.

 

Lucie Bernheim, Contributing Writer

Pick: “To Be Loved By You” – Parker McCollum
Songwriters: Parker McCollum, Rhett Akins

I’m not entirely sure what it is I love about this song. I do really like the lyrics and the story McCollum tells, but I think what draws me in most is the melody and his vocal delivery. It’s country, but it feels kind of desperate and pleading in that indie-rock way which is something I often gravitate towards. “Well I’ve been running as fast as I can/And you’ll never get over what you can’t understand/Pissed off, hanging up the telephone/Forever ain’t fair, I’m heading home”. It’s exciting to see a Texas artist blowing up the way McCollum is, and if this new track is any indication, I can’t wait for what’s next.

 

Dylan Bestler, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Home Sweet” – Russell Dickerson
Songwriters: Russell Dickerson, Charles Kelley, Casey Brown

For me, “Home Sweet” was the stand-out song from Russell Dickerson’s latest record, Southern Symphony. Even if you believe the “home is where you are” message is becoming a cliché, the images Dickerson describes (and the pictures in his new video) make their relationship feel real, relatable, and extra special. One lyric I found interesting was: Went from all-inclusive margaritas in Malibu / To prayin’ we could pay rent this month. It is funny that couples who are barely scraping by pay for this expensive wedding and honeymoon. In a way, it is a sign of real love, like ‘memories we share are more important than finances’ – it’s cute. The song’s catchy chorus also makes it almost impossible not to sing along to.

 

Kristina Callahan, Contributing Writer

Pick: “I Bet You Wanna Know” – Priscilla Block
Songwriters: Priscilla Block, Sarah Jones, Stone Aielli

I first heard of Priscilla Block during one of my late-night Tik Tok scrolling fests and immediately loved her infectious personality and catchy lyrics. Her song “Just About Over You” has been a huge hit and can now be heard on your favorite country radio station and even got her signed to a record label. I was anxious to hear what other music she’d release so cue her follow-up single: “I Bet You Wanna Know.” Where “Just About Over You” is exactly what the title suggests, almost being over someone but then seeing them out, the singer-songwriter’s new song is about having the upper hand and knowing you’re on that person’s mind.

“You just wanna know where I’m at tonight // If I’m all up on someone new I like // Busch Light sippin’, midnight kissin’ // Did it lead us back to my place? // Did he drop me off or did he stay // ‘Til the sun rose? // Did we lose our clothes? // How far we’d go? // I bet you wanna know”

Block has such a fun, carefree edge to her that makes her and her lyrics so relatable. I can’t wait to hear more of what she has up her sleeve in the coming months.

 

Erin Crosby, Contributing Writer

Pick: “California, Missouri” – Kassi Ashton
Songwriters: Shane McAnally, Kassi Ashton, Luke Laird

During Alex Hall’s virtually intimate Six Strings release show, hosted by the singer-songwriter hub of Nashville, The Bluebird Cafe, Kassi Ashton performed a stripped rendition of her 2018 debut single “California, Missouri”. In such a setting, artists are given room to showcase their unfiltered vocals while portraying the sentiment that stemmed the song’s conception through performance. And, the anguish yet tender regard involved in the track then laid out for the viewers, including a small group of musicians surrounding her in the round such as Tenille Townes and Brad Tursi, was palpable.

Lyrically, “California, Missouri” astounds those listeners that, similar to Ashton, feel like the outsider in their own place of birth.

 

Caleigh DeCaprio, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Wish For The World” – Ryan Hurd
Songwriters: Aaron Eshuis, Joe Clemmons, Ryan Hurd

When Ryan Hurd released his new song “Chasing After You” with his wife Maren Morris earlier this month, it really made me want to dive back into all of his music. One song that I really loved hearing again was “Wish for the World”. It’s a humbling piece off of Hurd’s Platonic EP about the simple things in life that are sometimes overlooked but ultimately end up having a big impact, even if we don’t know it at the time. This song has always provided a refreshing and much-needed reminder, but the message was particularly nice to hear at a time like this.  As I was listening, I couldn’t help but think about the way the meaning of a song can change, or even the memories it can bring back, depending on what stage of life you’re listening to it in.

Pointing out the little things, Hurd mentions the cup of coffee you drink while you’re soaking in the morning, the power of apologies and forgiveness, music, friendship, everything that the Summertime brings, Christmas time, and more. However, the most special thing of all is the love you have for your person, and your ability to give them it.

“A little more starin’ at the stars / A little more sittin’ round the fire / A little less comin’ up with reasons not to chase your heart’s desire / But when it really comes down to it / If just one wish could come true / I wish everyone could find someone to love like I love you”

In terms of lyrical expression, unique sound, artistry, and genuine personality, Ryan Hurd is one of my favorites in music, and the reason for this easily shines through in this song. His live version of “Wish for the World”, which he likes to close his shows with, is featured on his EOM EP. I really love listening to this version because of the way it allows the love he has for his fans and his music to really stand out, which is such a huge part of what this song is about. Especially this past year, Hurd’s music has had an extra special meaning to me ever since I went to his show in Philly last March, not knowing that within the next few days the world as we knew it would shut down. For right now, his music symbolizes the last time my world was normal, and the last concert I’d get to go to for a while. This song, and specifically the live version, takes me back to one great night spent at a small intimate venue, where I got to sing and dance along to one of my favorite artists – my absolute favorite thing to do. Right now, my wish would be to be able to relive that night.

Alexa Ebner, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Chasing After You” – Maren Morris and Ryan Hurd
Songwriters: Brinley Addington, Jerry Flowers

Ryan Hurd and Maren Morris are two of my favorite artists. I am so happy that this unstoppable duo recorded this beautiful song together. The song has a passionate feel and highlights both of the singer’s vocals, as they switch off between verses. It features distinct guitar licks that make you want to play it over and over. The song details an intense romance that isn’t a straight road. There is also an accompanying music video, which encapsulates the sultry vibe of the song and the story behind it with the muted tones and shots of the two singers holding each other. “Chasing After You” is a gorgeous song, and feels very soothing and comforting to listen to.

Julia Grubbs, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Just Look At You” – Carson Beyer
Songwriters: Carson Beyer, Sergio Sanchez

I don’t know whether it’s just the winter blues or the fact that it’s been a year and we’re still doing this, but I am finding it harder and harder to keep the mood and spirits high. Sometimes I force myself out of it by pumping some jams and having a little dance party, and others I curl up and wallow. The latter times are when I’ll listen to a song like Carson Beyer’s new “Just Look at You” for all the comfort and heartwarming love I need. Telling the story of when things just don’t go your way, there’s still someone there that sees the beauty in just your being. An intimate love song like this with Beyer’s soothing tones reminds us that everything will be okay, and it rings with the only everlasting truth to get us through: a deep true love. The soft electric guitar encapsulates the deep vibes of winter, but somehow the song seems to warm you like a campfire on a bitter night. And just like that fire, “Just Look at You” provides that light leading the way into the future unknown.

Molly Holmberg, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Humble” – Ian Munsick
Songwriters: Dave Villa, Ian Munsick, Jamie Kenney

I’ve been listening to Ian Munsick for the last few months and his ability to tell a story in a song is unparalleled. He started releasing songs from, an upcoming album titled Coyote Cry, in 2020. “Humble” is his first song of 2021 and it fits in with his previous releases like a missing puzzle piece. From the intro’s first few beats to the chorus, his modern soundscape draws you in. Lyrics talk about how a real cowboy acts, with hands in the dirt, boots on his feet, and calluses on his hands. Despite who a cowboy is, women tend to always get drawn in. With the sounds and rhythms found in his songs, there is no doubt he is pioneering within the country music industry. Already making a wave, I would keep an eye out for Munsick as he releases more music.
“He ain’t too strong to cry or too proud to pray // Give the shirt off his back and nah, he ain’t afraid to rumble // A cowboy’s always humble”

Pick: “Should’ve Known Better” – Carly Pearce
Songwriters: Carly Pearce, Emily Shackleton, Jordan Reynolds

With so many country hits written about love and loss I’m always excited by songs that come at the topic from a different lens. This single, the follow up to ‘Next Girl’ and second off Pearce’s new EP, ’29’ seems from the title like it’ll come from the perspective of the broken-hearted. Instead, the blame alternates throughout between the one who was hurt (‘I should’ve known better’) and the one who did the hearting (‘you should’ve known better’). The melody and descriptive lyrics will resonate with anyone who has been on either side of a tough breakup. I’m very much looking forward to the new era of Pearce’s music!

“You sold me on the fantasy / Damn, and it all felt real to me / Thought you were the man in the photograph / I Should’ve known better than that / I gave you my heart, you let it go to waste / You made me do the leaving and you made me take the blame / Does it make you feel good, to make me feel bad? / Yeah, you should’ve known better than that”

 

Nicole Piering, Contributing Writer

Pick: “29” – Carly Pearce
Songwriters: Josh Osborne, Shane McAnally, Carly Pearce

My pick for February is Carly Pearce’s “29,” the title track off her stellar new album. With true country instrumentation and powerful lyrics, the song is bound to be one of the strongest released in 2021. The self-reflective, banjo-laden track tells the tale of Pearce’s last year in her 20s, which didn’t go quite as planned. Whether you’ve been in similar shoes or not, the song is truly an ode to life not living up to your expectations for it. For Pearce, it focuses heavily on her marriage and subsequent divorce, both of which happened at the age of 29. The chorus sums it up, Pearce lamenting, “But for me, twenty-nine/ Is the year that I got married and divorced/ I held on for dear life, but I still fell off the horse/ From a Miss to a Mrs. / Then the other way around/ The yеar I was gonna live it up/ Now I’m never gonna livе it down.”

 

Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Common Ground” – Heath Sanders
Songwriters: Heath Sanders, Jay Brunswick, Jeremy Bussey

The second I heard the title-track, “Common Ground” off Heath Sanders’ major-label debut, I knew it would be my song pick for this month. Although the song was not intended to be about the social climate we have all been living in for the last year, it perfectly personifies everything that has been going on in a simple and provoking song. The lyrics, the melody, and the overall vibe of the song is really the perfect introduction to his artistry

“And we’re all on a different journey / We’re all findin’ our own way / We’re all livin’, we’re all learnin’ / From the cradle to the grave / We’re all weak, we’re all strong / We’re all right and we’re all wrong / And when time runs out / We all end up in common ground”

Sanders is an incredible singer-songwriter, and the fact that he chose to put a song like “Common Ground” on his EP proves that he wants to make a difference through music. The power of connection is vital, and music does it best.

Listen to our picks on our “What We’re Listening To” playlist on Spotify and be sure to give it a follow, so you can catch our monthly updates.

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The Best Deep Cuts from Maren Morris

With just two records, Maren Morris has provided us with music that sets our soul on fire. Already a bonafide superstar cross-genres, Morris has music for every phase of life. Check out our favorite deep cuts from her two records Hero and GIRL below.

“Second Wind”- Hero

“You can hate me, underestimate me / Do what you do cause what you do don’t phase me / Just when you think I’m at the end / Any second Ima catch my second wind”

 An anthem on its own, “Second Wind” is one of our favorites off Morris’ debut album. The song is a reminder to take it on the chin, and remember who you are.

 

“Make Out with Me”- GIRL

“I got a heart that don’t beat without ya / Get so jealous when you ain’t by my side / I know it’s selfish, but I need you tonight”

This song is romantic, sensual, and so damn catchy! Morris finds a way to portray female sexuality in this song, while keeping things classy and fun at the same time. Plus, her vocals soar on this one!

 

“Drunk Girls Don’t Cry”- Hero

“That’s like saying / Drunk girls don’t cry / Girl, you must be outta your damn mind”

 Another great one on her debut record, “Drunk Girls Don’t Cry” had so much radio potential! The track is easily relatable to everyone. The clever wordplay, catchy beat, and great lyrics make it a perfect Maren Morris song!

 

“A Song For Everything”- GIRL

“Mixtaped your heartbreak and made you feel holy / For the hits and the misses / For the fire and rain / Close your eyes and listen / ‘Cause there’s a song for everything, yeah”

 Arguably my favorite Maren Morris song ever, this track is an ode to music and all it does for us. This particular song is a stand-out on her sophomore record.

 

“All My Favorite People”- GIRL

“I don’t know about them, but I know about us / It is what it is and we love who we love / Not everybody gets what we’re going though / But all my favorite people do”

 A collaboration with Brothers Osborne, this song is one of our favorites to hear live. Morris kills it both vocally and lyrically, while the duo adds a much-needed layer to the amazing track.

 

“Gold Love”- GIRL

“But we talked a while ‘bout our dreams / Our lives, our saints / How you like to hear me sing”

 Rounding out our list with “Gold Love,” the song is all about a ‘just for now’ relationship. Despite the nature of the song, the track is one of those songs we always go back to her on her newest record.

 

How does our list match up to yours? Let us know and be sure to follow our ‘Deep Cuts’ playlist on Spotify. Check out more deep cuts from some of our favorite artists like Morgan Wallen, Carrie Underwood, Brett Young, Miranda Lambert, Kane Brown, Thomas Rhett, Eric Church, and Luke Combs here.

Fans can join our Weekly Round-Up e-newsletter here, for the latest in country music and more news about upcoming Maren Morris releases in the coming weeks.

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

 

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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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