What We’re Listening To: May 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 May picks. Then be sure to give our Spotify account a follow and listen to our favorite tracks!

 

MAY PICKS:

 

 

Stephanie Wagner, Founder

Pick: “Think About You” – Alana Springsteen feat. Filmore
Songwriters: Alana Springsteen, Chris Gelbuda, Jeremy Lister

This month I chose Alana Springsteen and Filmore’s “Think About You”. The piano ballad gives off a pop-friendly vibe, but at its core, the lyrics speak country music. Describing two old flames and the tension that comes along with running into each other unexpectedly, the emotional song focuses on the ins and outs of mutual unspoken love.

“You walked in tonight and I watched the whole room fade around you / 
Oh I’m not alright I just act like I am because I have to”

Newcomer, Alana Springsteen flawlessly delivers the track while Filmore showcases his soft-spoken vocals in comparison to his generally more upbeat music that we are used to hearing from him. The two paired together make for a great duet in this beautiful song.

 

Christina Bosch, Managing Editor 

Pick: “Payin’ Hard” – Kip Moore
Songwriters: Blair Daly, Dave Nassie, Kip Moore, Westin Davis

From the first notes of the final song on Kip Moore’s masterpiece album, Wild World, I was hooked. “Payin’ Hard” clocks in under 3 minutes long but in that short time, you can feel true emotion as the regret-soaked ballad tells the story of sacrifices made to follow a dream.

“At the expense of my heart Lord, I’ve cashed in my soul / Chose this old guitar before the only love I’ve known / I gotta live with that, lose sleep with that when I close my eyes I’ll die with that yeah / My life’s a credit card, play now, pay later and I’m paying hard”.

For anyone who is pursuing an unconventional career whether it be music or not, “Payin’ Hard” is a quiet anthem, reflective on the choices you have made and what they have meant for your life.

 

Lucie Bernheim, Contributing Writer

Pick: “The Days” – Hailey Whitters
Songwriters: Ben West, Hailey Whitters, Hillary Lindsey

Hailey Whitters has been a longtime favorite of mine, and her sophomore record, The Dream, is one of my most-listened-to albums this year. I’m a senior in High School, and I would have graduated next month. “The Days” is like my personal mantra right now. For everyone, including me, this time at home has been a rollercoaster of feelings. When you’re young, you’re told that these are “the days” to look back on. You hear it in the movies and on the radio, and there’s even a magazine called Seventeen. When I turned eighteen in April, my perspective changed. I realized that these moments I had been waiting for look different, but I can still make the most of them. There are plenty of things I can still celebrate because time won’t slow, and the world is still spinning. In the words of Whitters, “instead of counting up the days, I just want to make them count.”

 

Dylan Bestler, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Detours” – Jordan Davis
Songwriters: Dave Turnbull, Jacob Davis, Jordan Davis

I feel like I didn’t know anything about Jordan Davis before this song, but after hearing it I now know about his whole life, which says a lot about how deep and beautiful this song is. He tells the story of what it was like growing up as a wild child with divorced parents to becoming the loving husband and father he is today. He thanks the good Lord for helping him find his direction and turning his life around.

I think this song is a big turning point for Davis in his career. His first few singles were fun and very radio-friendly, but it takes a lot of heart to release a song as vulnerable as this one and it really shows how much he has matured as an artist. I’ve been singing these lines in my head since the song was released:

“Yeah, I lost my way / Damn near lost my mind / Pedal to the metal, let the devil leave me blind / I was way outside the lines”

 

Kristina Callahan, Contributing Writer

Pick: “A Little Lime” – Jordan Davis
Songwriters: Jacob Davis, Jordan Davis, Josh Kerr

Jordan Davis delivers another jam with “A Little Lime” off his new EP. The upbeat, feel-good tempo makes me want to drive around with my windows down blasting.

“Oh, the next song’s kinda slow // I could pull you in close // Spin you around then wash it down with another round of // A little lime and a lot of tequila”

It’s the perfect summer song that describes meeting someone at a bar and immediately hitting it off. The Louisiana native teamed up with his brother, Jacob Davis and hit songwriter Josh Kerr for the song. I dare anyone to listen to this song and not want to scream it at the top of their lungs.

 

Erin Crosby, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Hey World” – Lee Brice
Songwriters: Adam Wood, Dallas Davidson, Lee Brice

“Hey World” is not only the type of song that I would regularly have on repeat for weeks. It’s not only a strong, stripped-down production of honest lyrics with a soft instrumental. It’s all of these things mixed with a worldwide understanding and mutual prayer that the world unplug from the rest of us. The coronavirus pandemic allows these lyrics to hold value with more depth which creates the song to strive solely based on relatability.

It’s pretty rare for a ballad to gain so much attention, but I am all for it when they do. In fact, Brice was practically forced to release this track after posting a clip of it on social media, and we’re glad he did. Besides, the world needs to hear this right now. It’s the official unofficial sponsor for when the quarantine becomes unbearable or when “normal life” seems unbearably far away. Despite the sorrowful words and slow melody, the song has a way of making one feel connected to the rest of the world. Brice is asking the world to leave us alone, but the world answers back with a sense of hope that bonds each of us together.

 

Alexa Ebner, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Slow Down Summer” – Thomas Rhett
Songwriters: – – 

Thomas Rhett has been giving the country music community many treats throughout this quarantine period – by sharing new, acoustic songs that he’s written. “Slow Down Summer” has been one of my favorites, with the soothing melody and heartfelt lyrics. Rhett sings nostalgically about a summer love that must come to an end when the season changes. The song is relatable to all, detailing the feeling of wanting something beautiful to last. The singer beautifully picks his guitar while his voice gently sings this mid-tempo ballad. He uses vivid imagery throughout the song, singing “tangled up with your lips on mine / I’ve never seen a brighter green in those eyes”. The listener is transported to the times in their lives when they’ve experienced something they cherish slip away. To listen, visit @thomasrhettakins on Instagram and head to his IGTV. I really hope that he releases these songs soon!

 

Julia Grubbs, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Here” – Mitchell Tenpenny
Songwriters: Jordan Schmidt, Marc Beeson, Mitchell Tenpenny

I think the most important thing I’ve learned over the last two months is to live in the moment because that is really all we have. The future is full of uncertainty, and nothing more than this minute is promised. Mitchell Tenpenny ultimately captures this idea in “Here”, which has been a regular on my playlist throughout May. He says we only have so many years, so I want to “go too far…play too hard…live it up”; basically just do everything we can to feel all of life’s emotions, good and bad, because that’s what makes life worth living. Why hold back? Why not say what you mean? Need a drive to release some stress? Turn on this song and sing it loud, enjoying the beauty and the heart of country music and the relief and community it brings to its fans.

 

Nicole Piering, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Champagne Night – Lady Antebellum
Songwriters: Andrew DeRoberts, Charles Kelley, Dave Haywood, Dave Thomson, Ester Dean, Hillary Scott, Madeline Merlo, Patricia Conroy, Ryan Tedder, Shane McAnally, Tina Gezma

A song I can’t get enough of lately is “Champagne Night” by Lady Antebellum. While the song actually came from a songwriter on NBC’s hit show, Songland, it wouldn’t have sounded out of place on the group’s latest album, Ocean. The song celebrates not needing anything fancy to have a real good time, and the chorus reminds us that it’s not about what you’re drinking, but with who.
“Raisin’ plastic cups to a life of luxury/ C’est la vie on a Friday / We get dressed up in a blue jean tux/ And we go where we don’t hear the highway / Don’t need doubles and bubbles/ To get in all kinds of trouble/ Out in the country/ Don’t need a crystal chandelier/ To have a real good time / We’re drinkin’ beer on a champagne night”
“Champagne Night” is a fun, summer-ready anthem, and while most of us are still stuck inside, it’s nice to hear songs that remind us of normalcy and that better days are ahead.

Pick: “Single Saturday Night” – Cole Swindell
Songwriters: Ashley Gorley, Michael Hardy, Mark Holman

No surprise that my pick is “Single Saturday Night” by Cole Swindell. New music during this time has been something getting me through since we can’t enjoy live music and Swindell’s new song is no exception. It’s the perfect song to kick off the summer season with of course a White Claw in hand.
Pick: “Second Guessing” – Florida Georgia Line
Songwriters: Shane McAnally, Andrew DeRoberts, Benjamin Simonetti, Brian Kelley, Corey Crowder, Ester Dean, Geoff Warburton, Griffin Palmer, Ryan Tedder, Tyler Hubbard 

I’ve been a huge fan of the NBC series “Songland” since it premiered, but the episodes featuring country artists are obviously my favorite. I was excited to watch Florida Georgia Line on the show, but I didn’t expect to be so obsessed with the song they chose to record. This ballad has a smooth and sincere melody and one of my best hooks I’ve heard in a long time. With a title like “Second Guessing,” I like many people assumed the song would be about doubting a relationship. Instead, the lyrics paint a beautiful picture of the certainty that only comes with experiencing great love.

“Since I met you, I / I ain’t spent one second guessin’ / I made up my mind / I never knew, I / Just had to find my direction / Gettin’ lost in your eyes / Because I’ve turned days into nights / And spent all of my life askin’ questions / Now I don’t spend one second guessin’ “

 

 

Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer

Pick: “i don’t really like your boyfriend” – Avenue Beat
Songwriters: Sam Backoff, Savana Santos, Sami Bearden, Summer Overstreet

This month I ended up choosing another Avenue Beat song as my pick of the month by happenstance. “i don’t really like your boyfriend” has been stuck in my head, since the moment the songstresses previewed it on their social media. It is catchy, clever, and just so real. I cannot get enough of Avenue Beat’s unprecedented honesty and their authenticity. I truly fall in love with just about every song they release.

“Here’s a solid reason why he’s actually the worst / You can’t get trashed at a party without checking with him first / And he says it’s cause he’s worried cause the world is filled with creeps / But he’s really just projecting his own insecurities, yeah / I don’t really like your boyfriend”

The song is a certified bop that you must listen to ASAP!

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.

—————

SHOP THE HERO COLLECTION

The Hero Collection by NYCountry Swag is inspired by the men and women of the Fire, Police and Military Departments across the country. A portion of sales from each purchase is donated to different foundations that support our heroes. We are dedicated to honoring their service and remembering their sacrifice.

—————————-

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:

What We’re Listening To: April 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 April picks. Then be sure to give our Spotify account a follow and listen to our favorite tracks!

 

APRIL PICKS:

 

Stephanie Wagner, Founder

Pick: “Be A Light” – Thomas Rhett feat. Reba, Hillary Scott, Chris Tomlin & Keith Urban
Songwriters: Josh Miller, Josh Thompson, Matt Dragstrem, Thomas Rhett

This month, I’m listening to Thomas Rhett’s “Be A Light” with Reba, Hillary Scott, Chris Tomlin, and Keith Urban. Often times I feel lucky to be a country music fan and a part of the country music industry in general, but in times of turmoil, my pride for the country music world only grows stronger. In the past month, as the world struggles with our new reality surrounding COVID-19, country music stars have worked relentlessly to continue to push positivity forward. “Be A Light” is a strong example of this. Surprising fans with the release of the song, Rhett and friends remind others that through times of darkness, we can all do our part to help by being a light. It’s a song of hope, encouragement, and leaves a feeling of togetherness that the world needs right now. I’ve been listening to it daily and have enjoyed the reminders and positive vibes the song leaves.

 

Christina Bosch, Managing Editor 

Pick: “Water in his Wine Glass” – Maddie & Tae
Songwriters: Jimmy Robbins, Jon Nite, Maddie Marlow, Taylor Dye

One facet of my life that I have been leaning on intensely during this pandemic is my faith and when I first heard this track from Maddie & Tae’s sophomore album, The Way It Feels, I stopped what I was doing, closed my eyes and just listened. The intricate details in the lyrics that act as a quiet prayer pull you in and curate feelings of sympathy for those who have dealt with addiction.

Wishing things could be different, lamenting alcohol and what it can do to a person, this track is so raw and real. “I don’t wanna lose him / Oh, but he’s already lost / And the only one who can find him is looking down here from a cross”  they sing in angelic harmony. “I’m on my knees and all I ask / Is Lord, pour water in his wine glass”

This perspective can be taken by so many who have coped with the disease of alcoholism and while an ask for help, it can also be a cornerstone for those who believe.

 

Lucie Bernheim, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Brave” – Ruston Kelly
Songwriters: Ruston Kelly

The last few months have been some of the most life-changing of my life, and music has been what’s gotten me and so many others through. When I heard Ruston Kelly’s new single, “Brave”, I was instantly stunned, as I am when I hear most of his songs. I love it when songs are stripped to their core because the story stands out amongst everything else. While the lyrics are specific to his life and his journey, it’s easy to place yourself in the track. It’s achingly relatable. Kelly is truly a poet, and his words say things that so many want to say but can’t. “And I didn’t give up to the darkness/I fought with all my might/And I never took for granted/All the love in my life.” Spring has just started, and this is the perfect reflection of the changing season and the changing times.

 

Dylan Bestler, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Young Once” – Sam Hunt
Songwriters: Josh Osborne, Matt Jenkins, Sam Hunt, Zach Crowell

I love everything about this album, so it was hard to pick just one song. I’ve been singing the chorus of “Young Once” over and over again in my head because it’s so catchy and brings me back to a time when nothing really mattered and I could just focus on having fun and trying not to get in trouble. Country music in general is really good at putting you back in that mindset.

Two lines in this song that stand out to me are “Time goes by and it’ll dull the razor” and “Someday we’re gonna know too much to know it all.” Both are cool ways of saying ‘let’s enjoy being young and naive now because we won’t have opportunities like this when we’re older.’ The first is a sadder way of saying it and the second makes me laugh, as it reminds me of times when I’d get in trouble and argue with my parents because I thought I was the smartest person in the world.

I loved my childhood and songs like these help me re-live moments from it in my head.

 

Kristina Callahan, Contributing Writer

Pick: “overshare” – Kelsea Ballerini
Songwriters: Kelsea Ballerini, Jesse Frasure, Josh Osborne, Tayla Parx

Kelsea Ballerini is one of the best at writing relatable and raw songs and “overshare” is a perfect example. It’s the first song on her third studio album, kelsea, and it’s extremely personable about how she gets nervous in situations and tends to talk and in the process, embarrass herself at times.

“I overshare, because I over-care // ’bout the person over there, who’s completely unaware that // I overthink, then I overdrink to overcompensate // Yeah, I know, there’s moments that I’m missin’ // If I’d just shut up and listen // But silence makes me scared // So then I overshare”

Ballerini’s writing is so honest and as a listener, you see yourself in her songs. Her whole album rings true to that and that’s why I can’t stop listening.

 

Jeremy Chua, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Getting Good” – Lauren Alaina
Songwriters: Emily Weisband

Lauren Alaina’s current radio single and invitation to live in the moment cannot be any more apt. In a time where many of us are forced out of our comfort zone by circumstances beyond our control, “Getting Good” brings encouragement to the weary heart. Covering relatable themes of love, life, material wealth, loss and contentment, Alaina reminds us that pursuing of wants is OK, but they should co-exist with this simple motto: “Once I learn to grow right where I’m planted, maybe that’s when life starts getting good.” If your life has also been a roller-coaster ridden with doubt and uncertainty, go check this song out. I’m almost certain it’ll speak to you and provide some comfort to the heart. After all, isn’t that what country music does?

 

Erin Crosby, Contributing Writer

Pick: “2016” – Sam Hunt
Songwriters: Josh Thompson, Zach Crowell, Sam Hunt

Southside, Sam Hunt’s second studio album, opens with an authentic approach that deals with taking responsibility and holding yourself accountable for former mistakes. This track, titled “2016”, sets the stage to showcase the singer-songwriter inside of Hunt. The stripped-down production holds the type of emotion that speaks to the listener; the one where less is not more.

“And I’d drive a thousand miles to your house / Walk in like I walked out / Put the tears back in your eyes / ‘Cause all my lies could still come true / I’d tell you everything was alright / And hold you, baby, all night / When your heart was all patched up / And our love was good as new / I’d take 2016 / And give it back to you”

In fact, in July of 2018, when this bad-boy country singer sat down in front of a piano for “Make You Miss Me” on the Atlantic City BeachFest stage, it wasn’t hard to admit how gifted of an entertainer Hunt truly is. The performance was done very intimate: just him and the keys. It portrayed the musician.

“2016” does the same. After each listen, the emotion doesn’t soften.

 

Alexa Ebner, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Bad Advice” – Ingrid Andress
Songwriters: Derrick Southerland, Ingrid Andress, Jamie Moore

So far, I’ve loved every song that Ingrid Andress has released – her debut album, Lady Like is captivating. One of my favorites on the album is the playful, yet sorrowful opening track, “Bad Advice”.  The production is unique and fresh to listen to, most notably with the tropical and soothing extended introduction.

The lyrics are casual, raw, and super relatable! In the very first line the songwriter sings, “I drove / down to Trader Joe’s / straight to aisle 5 / got a bottle of Merlot”. She mixes it up with several ‘talking’ verses that lead us straight into the catchy chorus, which features the juxtaposition of fun-loving lyrics and pure emotional desperation. You can hear the conviction come through Andress’ voice throughout the song, making this one so special.

 

Julia Grubbs, Contributing Writer

Pick: “I Kept The Roses” – Tenille Townes
Songwriters: Chris Gelbuda, Dustin Christiansen, Tenille Townes

It’s one thing to be alone during this time, but for anyone going through a breakup, this song hits right to the heart. Tenille has been my number one lately, and this song doesn’t disappoint. It might be a breakup song, and you can tell it truly hurt, but rather than being resentful or pitying herself, she’s found the seed for growth. She realizes that to have loved and lost is better than to have never loved at all and that she realizes that love is still possible, even though she’s dealing with a broken heart. It reminds us all that no matter how low we might feel, we can always grow and learn something, and be so grateful for the journey.
“And they should make me lonely / But I’m smiling instead / Oh, ’cause you weren’t the one, babe / But you were the closest”

Molly Holmberg, Contributing Writer

Pick: “This Woman and This Man” – Clay Walker
Songwriters: Jeff Penning, Michael Lunn

Ever since COVID-19 hit I have decided to move home for a few weeks to spend more time with my family since school is all online. One thing I have missed is listening to old, classic country with my dad. The song that I, shamefully, forgot existed is Clay Walker’s “This Woman and This Man”. The song, well it’s a heartbreaker. The singer confronts his partner sharing his feelings that he beforehand was unable to explain. This hypothetical situation he is singing about attempts to get the woman to see it is their relationship as they drift apart. The lyrics in the song are masterfully crafted and it is songs like these that make me fall in love with classic country all over again.

 

Nicole Piering, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Be A Light” – Thomas Rhett feat. Reba, Hillary Scott, Chris Tomlin & Keith Urban
Songwriters: Josh Miller, Josh Thompson, Matt Dragstrem, Thomas Rhett

In these crazy times, most of us use music to escape. For this reason, I’m picking Thomas Rhett’s “Be a Light” as my April pick. On the track, Rhett enlists some famous friends including Reba McEntire, Hillary Scott, Chris Tomlin, and Keith Urban to spread his message of doing what’s right and being a light in the darkness. “Don’t hide in the dark, you were born to shine,” They sing. “In a world full of hate, be a light.” It’s a message we could all use right now, and the combination of these five distinct, yet familiar voices, make the song all the more special.

 

Michal Pietrzak, Contributing Writer

Pick: “That’s Everything” – Matt Kennon
Songwriters: Aaron Scherz, Adam Browder

Matt Kennon “That’s Everything” – This song is my an early contender to become The Most Beautiful Country Songs of 2020. Calm, slow tunes and compelling lyrics are my cup of tea. The song is about little things in life that matter the most. How a pinch of love and a message on a mirror can change your day in a positive way. Matt Kennon’s raspy voice makes this song a gem, at least, for me. “Listening to her even though I don’t have a thing to say/ Making sure she knows she’s the best part of my day/ A random outta nowhere just because I can steal her kiss/ I’ve burnt a couple of dinners trying to give her all that I get/ It don’t seem like much/ But a little bit of love doing what it does/ It’s more than enough”.

 

Rebekah Milsted, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Humble and Kind” – Tim McGraw
Songwriters: Lori McKenna

My April pick is Humble and Kind by Tim McGraw. This song was always special to me, I even have a sign hanging up in my living room. But now during these weird times, the lyrics mean more than ever. While we may not like being able to live our normal routine, we have to remember that we are all in this together. Be nice to those around you, especially those essential employees who are putting themselves in danger to make sure we have everything that we need.

Pick: “Both” – Ingrid Andress
Songwriters: Derrick Southerland, Ingrid Andress, Jordan Schmidt

Andress exploded onto the country music scene with “More Hearts Than Mine” earlier this year, but one of my favorites off her new album is a track titled “Both”. We’ve all had someone who wants to have their cake and eat it too when it comes to love (or maybe we’ve been that person) – getting close enough to reap the benefits of a relationship but not close enough to fully commit. It can be infuriating when the other person is half in, half out, especially when you just want to know where you stand. Andress’ chilling vocals on this song and the poignant lyrics around the topic are sure to give you all the feels.

“You can tell me to stay / You can push me away / Have space or get close / But you can’t do both / You can kiss me goodnight / Or kiss me goodbye / Baby, love me or don’t / But you can’t do, you can’t do both”

 

Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer

Pick: “thank you anxiety” – Avenue Beat
Songwriters: Sam Backoff, Sami Bearden, Savana Santos, Summer Overstreet

This month I chose to highlight Avenue Beat’s brand new song “thank you anxiety.” First and foremost, if you have not yet heard of Avenue Beat, stop what you’re doing, and go listen to them. They are a trio of extremely talented ladies, who not only can sing but have swagger for days and killer lyrics. This particular song is extremely relatable for me, and I am sure many others out there.

Typically anxiety is not something discussed in a country song, but the group does it in such a way that rids it of its taboo, while maintaining a necessary level of sass, maturity, and sarcasm. The songstresses deliver a song that is especially relevant in today’s climate. Their honesty and openness to discuss something so personal, yet important is refreshing. I appreciate their ability to ‘go there’ with their music, and I look forward to more inspiring songs by the girls!

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.

—————

SHOP THE HERO COLLECTION

The Hero Collection by NYCountry Swag is inspired by the men and women of the Fire, Police and Military Departments across the country. A portion of sales from each purchase is donated to different foundations that support our heroes. We are dedicated to honoring their service and remembering their sacrifice.

—————————-

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:

What We’re Listening To: March 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 March picks. Then be sure to give our Spotify account a follow and listen to our favorite tracks!

 

MARCH PICKS:

 

Stephanie Wagner, Founder

Pick: “Man Enough Now” – Chris Bandi
Songwriters: Jason Allen Duke, Jason Massey

After seeing Chris perform this song live for a Swag Session earlier this month, I loved it even more than I had originally. The lyrics depict a story that everyone who has been in a relationship can relate to. I’m really looking forward to seeing this song take country radio by storm.

 

Christina Bosch, Managing Editor 

Pick: “Janice at the Hotel Bar” – Hailey Whitters
Songwriters: Lori McKenna, Hailey Whitters

This was always going to be my pick for March but the words to “make a good life” ring true even more as we face these scary times with COVID-19. The thing I love about this song most is I have been following Living with Landyn on Instagram for over 5 years and I remember her telling a story about a woman that she met in a hotel bar in NYC and one of my all-time favorite songwriters, Lori McKenna heard the story and teamed up with Hailey to write the song.

We all have a ‘Janice’ in our life, someone who has great advice and who has lived a life to admire. The words in this song resonate so clearly to not take anything for granted and to remember what truly matters in life.

“Make good love, good company / Drink good wine, make good coffee / Keep your chin up, but every once in a while / Have a good cry / Well, go on and make a good living, girl, don’t forget / To make a good life”

 

Lucie Bernheim, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Small Town Hypocrite” – Caylee Hammack
Songwriters: Caylee Hammack, Jared Scott

I’ve liked all of Caylee Hammack’s previously released singles, but when I heard her new song, “Small Town Hypocrite”, I was instantly stopped in my tracks. The delicate guitar is stunning, and the lyrics are evocative and cut you right to your core. “And that scholarship was a ship that sailed/When I chose you and daddy gave me hell”, she sings on the second verse, telling the story of a girl who’s dreams were bigger than her town but had succumbed to what she described as a small town hypocrite: everything she used to hate. It’s clear that Hammack is on her way to becoming one of country’s best songwriter-artists. Her voice soars on the chorus, where she sings with everything in her, “And I’m staring at a picket fence/Wondering where the hell time went/I should’ve been running, running, running by now/But I just hang around.” It’s a powerful song that is very autobiographical but manages to still be universal.

Dylan Bestler, Contributing Writer

Pick: Pretty Heart” – Parker McCollum
Songwriters: Parker McCollum, Randy Montana

This song is getting a lot of airtime on Sirius XM and for good reason. This track is extremely catchy and Parker’s distinctive vocals give it that uniqueness that will make this a smash-hit for him. I never heard of McCollum before this song. I thought he was a new, up-and-coming artist but after looking him up, I discovered he has two full-length albums. I guess I have something to do during the quarantine.

 

Kristina Callahan, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Thinking ‘Bout You” – Dustin Lynch
Songwriters: Dustin Lynch, Andy Albert, Hunter Phelps, Will Weatherly 

This album has been out for more than two months and I’m still playing it on repeat. The mix of Dustin Lynch’s smooth, southern twang and Lauren Alaina’s powerhouse vocals gives me a chill every time. The concept is simple as Lynch sings about an old love interest calling him and immediately all these memories come to mind.

“I was just thinkin’ ’bout that weekend out on Cumberland Lake // And that one time in Baton Rouge when we made out in the rain // Where we went chasin’ fallin’ stars on a hill at your daddy’s farm // Don’t be sorry for callin’ me up out of the blue // I was was just thinkin’ ’bout you”

I think almost everyone can relate to a song like this and Lynch, as a songwriter and a singer, is so good at bringing out those nostalgic moments.

 

Jeremy Chua, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Ain’t Lookin’ Back” – Mo Pitney
Songwriters: Derek George, Tony Martin, Wendell Mobley

Mo Pitney’s back with new music this year, baby! His latest release, “Ain’t Lookin’ Back,” reflects on his decision to not let the past define his future while acknowledging the undeniable impact past events have in shaping his life. I think this aspect and two-way thought really resonates with me because, again, of the recent changes and happenings in my life. His sentiment on this encouraging tune comes out at a timely point in my life. “I spend enough time watching the sunset / All the way down into the darkness / Now I just wanna drive every day / Right into the sunrise,” he sings, almost as if he’s lived through these questions, doubts and resolution. Hell, maybe he has– and that’s what makes this delivery special. (side-note: excited about Mo’s sophomore record, due for release later this year! “A Music Man” will hit home for many.)

 

Erin Crosby, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Halfway Home” – Carly Pearce
Songwriters: Carly Pearce, Jimmy Robbins, Laura Veltz

Carly Pearce lays down her soul with a freeing yet guilty revelation in a new track, from her sophomore self-titled album, “Halfway Home”. It sets the stage to annotate a halfway-out-the-door type of relationship that is preserved solely out of the fear and reluctance in breaking a heart.

The lyrics are magic and take on a more conversational route than what one might be used to. This couplet introduces the humble goodbye to a love grown out of itself which immediately grabs the listeners’ attention and gives Pearce the chance to tell the rest of her story:

“Blame it on me, I’m an actor, I’m a fake / Blame it on me, I broke your heart but by mistake”

The production involves guilt, but somehow the heartbreaker is seen as an innocent. It’s all in the delivery and this singer-songwriter delivered well.

 

Molly Holmberg, Contributing Writer

Pick: “God Whispered Your Name” – Keith Urban
Songwriters: Chris August, James Slater, Micah Carter, Shy Carter

“God Whispered Your Name” is Keith Urban’s newest music release since his single “We Were” alongside Eric Church. The song sets the somber mood of a lost soul looking for its way in the world. It was not until God whispered a name that the world suddenly began to make sense again. Whether it was a person that came into your life or a realization you had, everyone can relate to going through a journey of being lost and found again. I personally can relate to that in so many areas of my life and the lyrics really hit me upon first listen.

“Suddenly I wanna live / More than I ever did / I’m never gonna be the same / When God whispered your name”

 

Briana Lopez, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Giving You Up” – Kameron Marlowe
Songwriters: Kameron Marlowe

Kameron Marlowe is an artist that I recently came across. His song “Giving You Up” is a somber story of growing from a heartbreak.

The lyrics and melody tell a story that I feel like everyone can relate to. Everyone loves a good heartbreak song and this one hits every major point. Marlowe begins the song by telling the person who crushed his heart not to come around anymore after how the relationship ended.

“Don’t you dare try and reappear after you already got me standing here/ I can’t believe you would come at me looking for a little bit of sympathy/ Like I wasn’t the one you left all alone crying/ Looking like a hot mess/ Don’t show your face’ round here any more honey/ This is something you better get through your head”

For me, the best part of the song is the chorus because it shows the transition from hurting to realizing what is actually happening in his life.

“And I’m giving you up/ The same way I did the whiskey on ice/ And it’s all so tough/ You turned me into a man I don’t even recognize/ I’m giving you up/ The same way you did me out in the moonlight”

This is definitely the ultimate bounce back from a break-up song. Showing that there is hope in the heartache and hope in rebuilding your heart after someone does you wrong.

 

Nicole Piering, Contributing Writer

Pick: “If The World Was Ending” – Hannah Ellis & Nick Wayne
Songwriters: JP Saxe, Julia Michaels

Even before all of the madness that is COVID-19 and social distancing, I was hooked on the song “If the World Was Ending” by Nick Wayne and Hannah Ellis. The song tells the story of two ill-fated lovers, as he asks if she’d come over if the world was ending. The pair may not be meant for each other long term, but there’s love there that they need to express upon the end of the world. On the mostly-acoustic duet, the pair harmonize mournfully over Wayne’s guitar strumming. “But if the world was ending/ You’d come over right?”, they implore each other, and this song has never felt more timely than in these uncertain times. Sometimes you just need a sad song, and “If the World Was Ending” is the perfect one, especially now.

 

Michal Pietrzak, Contributing Writer

Pick: “I’ll Be The Sad Song” – Brandy Clark
Songwriters: Brandy Clark, Chase McGill, Jessie Jo Dillon

I don’t know if it’s her storytelling or voice but she’s simply wonderful. I guess I love sad songs because I can’t stop listening to it since it had been released. This record has all the features I adore, beautiful melody, true to the core lyrics, delightful voice, and amazing performance. So far Brandy Clark’s Your Life is a Record album is my favorite album of the year.

“If your life is a record/ People and places are the songs/ I’ll be your sad song/ Your “what we almost had” song/ Your “might’ve been but wasn’t meant to be”/ Couldn’t be your happy song/ But at least we had a song/ So I’ll be the sad song you sing/ ‘ Cause you’ll always be that song to me”

Pick: “One Margarita”- Luke Bryan
Songwriters: Josh Thompson, Matt Dragstrem, Michael Carter

My song for March is “One Margarita” by Luke Bryan. Times are crazy right now, one thing getting shutdown after another. This song came out at the perfect time to remind us to live in the moment, relax and enjoy a margarita, even if at the moment this has to all be done from home. We can’t stop enjoying life just because we’re stuck inside. The world will hopefully return to normalcy soon.

Pick: “What Are You Gonna Tell Her” – Mickey Guyton
Songwriters: Emma-Lee, Karen Kosowski, Mickey Guyton, Victoria Banks

I can’t remember the last time a song gave me chills from the first verse through the final note but the timely ballad from Mickey Guyton absolutely blew me away. The new song, which she premiered during Country Radio Seminar in Nashville last month, got a standing ovation from the crowd for its haunting reminder of the inequities women face in our society. One of the things that make country music so powerful is the honesty with which artists write, and you can tell from listening to this track that Guyton feels incredibly passionate about this topic. The verses describe an innocent young girl with the world at her fingertips and the hard truth that the deck is stacked against her.

“But what are you gonna tell her when she’s wrong? / Will you just shrug and say it’s been that way all along? / What are you gonna tell her when she figures out / That all this time you’ve built her up / Just so the world could let her down? / Yeah what will you tell her?”

 

Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer

Pick: “White Lightning” – The Cadillac Three

Songwriters: Jaren Johnston

This month I’m throwing it back to a song from five years ago, “White Lightning” by The Cadillac Three. After recently seeing the incredible trio perform in New York City, and falling in love with their newest album, I rediscovered how much I enjoy this particular song. Although different than their typical ‘rough around their edges’ tunes, I truly believe the song was one of the first to really show how versatile and musical the band can be.

“Faster than number three breaking every record / Faster than a tree dies in the desert / Faster than a bug splattered on my windshield / Faster than you die when you take too many pills / Ooh, I saw white lightning / Ooh, I saw white lightning”

Additionally, I love that it’s a love song because it’s unexpected. The vulnerability in the song is both endearing and believable, and I especially love how pretty, yet strong the vocals are. Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the song is a solo-write by Jaren Johnston, which to me, makes it that more special. So in the midst of all the new and great music that is constantly being released, I encourage you to add this old-school jam back to your playlist!

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.

—————

SHOP THE HERO COLLECTION

The Hero Collection by NYCountry Swag is inspired by the men and women of the Fire, Police and Military Departments across the country. A portion of sales from each purchase is donated to different foundations that support our heroes. We are dedicated to honoring their service and remembering their sacrifice.

—————————-

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:

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: “Like I Used To Love You” – Russell Dickerson
Songwriters: Casey Brown, Parker Welling, Russell Dickerson

It’s been nearly two and a half years since we got new music from Russell Dickerson, but the wait is finally over and “Love You Like I Used To” surely doesn’t disappoint. The sweet love song in honor of Dickerson’s wife Kailey is exactly what was missing in country music today. We have the new love songs, the break-up songs, the cheating songs, but what about the songs that praise a love that only gets better and better. I love how the opening lines could lead you to believe the song may end differently, but as you get closer to the chorus you’re hit with the idea that the love isn’t like it used to be, it’s even better, creating a picture-perfect idea of what every relationship should be, stronger with time. The song has powerful lyrics paired with a radio-friendly beat and I can already picture fans across the country singing this song back during RD’s live shows.

Christina Bosch, Managing Editor 

Pick: “What I’m Leaving For” – Lady Antebellum
Songwriters: Laura Veltz, Micah Rayan Premnath, Sam Ellis

As a mom, this song really struck a chord with me the first time I heard it. It doesn’t matter what industry you work in when you have to leave the house each day, you miss your children terribly. I was instantly brought to tears with lyrics like “And it kills me that I gotta go / Couldn’t do it if I didn’t know / That every time I’m walking out that door / You know what I’m leaving for”.

By pursuing my dreams, I am becoming a role model for my son, to chase after what you love and that hard work will pay off.

 

Lucie Bernheim, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Southern Accident” – Caroline Spence
Songwriters: Caroline Spence

The days are getting longer as we approach spring, and one of my favorite things to do when it’s nice enough is take long walks through the city listening to music. I love the alternative, more singer-songwriter side of country, especially when taking these walks. Caroline Spence’s “Southern Accident” is one I’ve had on repeat for the past month. It’s a song written solely by Spence about her childhood and how it’s nothing like her significant other’s.

It’s thoughtful but really hopeful. The build-up is a slow burn; it starts off with just an acoustic guitar and adds elements like a slow kick-drum and a gliding electric guitar solo. Her voice is stunning as she tells her significant other that while she may be a little skeptical about love, she’s willing to give it a try. “Honey I’m doubtful/Honey I’m hopeful/Honey I’m a handful/But I’m a hand you can hold onto” she sings on the chorus. This season of life feels very transitional, and it’s the perfect song to listen to when reflecting on all these changes.

 

Dylan Bestler, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Asphalt” – Hot Country Knights
Songwriters: Brett Tyler, Jim Beavers, Jon Nite

I was shocked the first time I heard this song. I thought ‘wow, the Hot Country Knights put out a sad, serious song.’ Then I read the lyrics over and I understood the real meaning. As an avid Dierks Bentley fan, I’m going to love anything he puts out, but even as a comedy song, it’s extremely witty and well-written. The whole song is a play-on-words and at first listen, it may seem like the singer just loves driving on the open road but in reality, he’s chasing something else. There are eight different butt jokes that are cleverly thrown into the lyrics, that when tied together with the music video, make it such a hilarious, enjoyable track. I love this whole bit and I’m anxiously waiting to see more from the Hot Country Knights.

It ain’t my fault / It’s that asphalt / Yeah, it calls out my name and I’m gone just like that/ I don’t really care if it’s curvy or flat / I could stay, but there’s always a “but”

 

Kristina Callahan, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Best Night Ever” – Chase Rice
Songwriters: Chase Rice, Chris DeStefano, Matt Jenkins

When I first heard Chase Rice tease this song on his Instagram, I knew it’d be one of my favorite songs. It tells an intimate, personal and fun story about a special night. The lyrics are extremely catchy and you get a look into his world as they paint a vivid image.

“Never seen you so beautiful, darling // Running through rain in the dark, best night ever // Then you pulled me in hard under that pole barn // Oh my God, it was the best night ever”

I think most people can relate to having a specific memory or night ingrained in their mind and this song speaks to that.

 

Jeremy Chua, Contributing Writer

Pick: “It Won’t Always Be Like This” – Carly Pearce
Songwriters: Carly Pearce, Natalie Hemby, Sam Ellis

Coinciding with the Big Machine Records artist’s sophomore album release week is my choice for this month’s team picks– “It Won’t Always Be Like This” by Carly Pearce. This poignant song speaks to me so much right now, after being hit with a big life/educational/college curveball and detour. The lyric that resonates most? “I had big wings but didn’t have a sky / Just a front-row view of everybody flying high / Waiting for my time.” I believe this vulnerable lyric must have come from a place of doubt, fear and disappointment, something that perhaps writers Pearce, Natalie Hemby and Sam Ellis personally drew from. While I’m excited to hear CP2 in its entirety, I have a good feeling this song will be a standout and favorite for me, and anyone else who’s on a journey to chase their passion-fueled dreams.

 

Erin Crosby, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Drunk Again” – Nick Wayne feat. Hannah Ellis
Songwriters: Emily Shackleton, Joe Ginsberg, Nick Wayne

Nick Wayne has been on my playlists for years, though somehow I am only just realizing how truly gifted of a singer-songwriter he is. I watched Wayne and Hannah Ellis on IGTV during their Bobby Bones Show visit a few weeks ago and ever since I’ve been hooked on the way their voices merge and flatter one another. “Drunk Again” is a new release from Wayne that includes background vocals from a rising female country artist, Ellis. It coincides with the “Tequila” by Dan + Shay theme whereas alcohol is a reminder of a romance gone wrong, though this new track contains a more desperate heartache that is amplified with the Nashville native’s earthy rasp and a bit of a more stripped-down production with piano as the sole instrument heavily present throughout.

 

Alexa Ebner, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Life Of the Party” – Ingrid Andress
Songwriters: Ingrid Andress, Jason Yik Nam Wu, Jesse “Babyface” Thomas

I’m so excited that Ingrid Andress is finally releasing new music in anticipation of her upcoming album “Lady Like” on March 27th. I love how honest and raw her songs are – she shows her fans that she’s really just like all of us. In her new single, “Life of the Party”, Andress plays the role of a fun, carefree party girl masking her emotions. In her NYC live show at Rockwood Music Hall in October 2019, the singer-songwriter previewed this track with the audience among other songs that will be on her new album. She shared with the audience this song is about her struggling through a breakup, and how she’d hide her pain and pretend everything is okay. This is a relatable song, showing that no matter how one appears on the outside, you never know what struggles they are facing. I love the passion and intensity in Andress’ voice and how she’s 100% real with her fans through the lyrics. There is a perfect balance of an upbeat tempo with somber undertones – mirroring the dual nature of the song’s meaning.

 

Julia Grubbs, Contributing Writer 

Pick: “Both” – Ingrid Andress
Songwriters: Derrick Southerland, Ingrid Andress, Jordan Schmidt

Ingrid Andress has definitely been flying to the top of my go-to listens lately, but this is definitely one of my favorites. She is such an amazing lyricist, with words that touch the pinpoint of the emotion that pulls you in every time. “Both” captures the heart of so many almost-relationships of today, with a true dichotomy of intentions being displayed. This, in so many words, is what I hear all my girlfriends say. This song has the singer-songwriter vibe that is present in most of her songs but doesn’t fail to ring true to the heart of the country spirit.
“You’re blurring the lines, you’re playing two sides / Just make up your mind / You can tell me to stay, you can push me away /Have space or get close /But you can’t do both”

 

Molly Holmberg, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Thinking ‘Bout You” – Dustin Lynch
Songwriters: Andy Albert, Dustin Lynch, Hunter Phelps, Will Weatherly

“Thinking ‘Bout You” by Dustin Lynch is a song that I have been playing nonstop since he released his latest album, Tullahoma, earlier this year. The song features Lauren Alaina’s vocals and is the perfect nostalgic song for anyone who has had a past relationship they cannot get out of their head. Reminiscing on a past love, the lyrics read “Don’t be sorry for callin’ me up out of the blue, I was was just thinkin’ ’bout you”. The song would appear to be a slow ballad although upon first listen it is upbeat and has a melody that gets you singing for months to come.

 

Briana Lopez, Contributing Writer

Pick: “I Do For You” – Dillon Carmichael
Songwriters: Dillon Carmichael, Jimmy Melton

Dillon Carmichael is an artist that I recently came across this past month. His song “I Do For You” co-written by him and Jimmy Melton made me fall in love with his music.

The lyrics mixed with the soulful upbeat music makes for a great track with a sweet gesture behind it. The song is all about changing up the things you do for the person you love.

Carmichael begins the song by naming all these things that he’d never do.

“I don’t take phone calls when I’m fishing/ I don’t do weddings and I don’t do dishes/ I’m not gonna sit in the front pew/ I don’t go to the mall on Saturday/ I never felt the call to spend my time that way/ But I’m proud to say I do for you”

As if the song couldn’t get better, it most certainly does, especially with the sweet ending in the last verse.

“Trim my beard up/ Put a suit on/Pick a preacher/ Pick a love song/ Never thought I’d see the day I say “I do”/ I do for you”

If you’re looking for the perfect love song that is full of fun, love, and meaning then this one is definitely a contender!

 

Nicole Piering, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Nobody But You” – Blake Shelton feat. Gwen Stefani
Songwriters: Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne, Ross Copperman, Tommy Lee James

My pick of the month is “Nobody But You” by Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani. On paper, the two make absolutely no sense together, musically or otherwise. He’s Blake Shelton, all Oklahoma country, and she’s Gwen Stefani, all California cool and No Doubt swag. Somehow, however, they manage to use their differences to create magic, as evidenced on this duet, and it works. Really well. I absolutely love this song and I’ve had it on repeat since it was released.

 

Michal Pietrzak, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Whiskey Kinda Night” – William Michael Morgan
Songwriters: Adam Woods, Doug Johnson, Warner Tamerlane

I hope this song is just a tease of the new album because it’s amazing and the video clip is beautiful (glimpses of the bar are the reason why I want to go to the USA and drink a beer or two in that kind of bar) and he hasn’t released an album in four years. Soft and slow sounds make this song perfect at least for me. He sings about the pain/regret of losing someone you love especially if you’re the side which messed things up, so he drinks to get through the night that’s the reason why it’s whiskey kind night. I don’t know how, but a line like “It ain’t a buzz from a rum and coke” subconsciously convinced me to buy a rum and coke.

“It ain’t a buzz from a rum and coke/ A Miller Light? Yeah right, that’s a joke/ It can’t touch this heartache inside/ No, it’s whiskey kinda night”

Pick: “Forever To Go- Chase Rice
Songwriters: Casey Brown, Geoffrey Warburton, Jordan Minton

“Forever To Go” is my monthly pick for February because, of course, it’s the “month of love”. It’s a great song that shows marriage is more than just a honeymoon phase. It shows that even if you and your significant other have been together for years, your love can continue to grow each day.

 

Pick: “Seeing Other People” – MacKenzie Porter
Songwriters: Emily Falvey, Jason Afable, Matt McGinn

I’ve loved MacKenzie since I saw her perform in all-female writers round a year ago. Her newest release depicts a situation we’ve all been in: when we think we are over someone until we see them with someone else. Feelings are complicated, and no matter how much you think you’ve moved on, seeing your ex out with someone new can make every the most confident person jealous. You second guess yourself, you start making comparisons, and it’s natural to notice yourself acting pretty crazy. The lyrics are simple yet relatable, and it’s a total earworm!

“I thought that seeing other people was something I wanted / yeah I think I hate it if I’m being honest / It kills me to see you with somebody new / Thought we should see other people ’till I started seeing other people with you”

Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer

Pick: “My Person” – Spencer Crandall

Songwriters: Kelly Archer, Lalo Guzman, Spencer Crandall

This month, my song pick came by happenstance. I was watching Sabina’s (Tyler Rich’s wife) Instagram stories when she posted this song by Spencer Crandall called “My Person.” I could barely hear it, but I knew it sounded good. I immediately went to Apple music, looked it up, and fell in love with the love song.

“My person / My heartbeat / My slow dance / My Sunday morning sippin’ on coffee / In bed / My know-when-you-know best friend / The stealin’ / of my t-shirts / My reason for speedin’ home from work / My saving grace / My everything / I’ve never been more sure that you’re / my person”

I learned later on that Tyler Rich has a playlist on Spotify with all his current favorite songs, and this was one of them! Spencer Crandall is a rising country artist I have yet to hear of, so It was cool discovering a new artist with a fresh sound. “My Person” is super relatable and honest, and although love songs are not usually my jam, it deserves the recognition! I wouldn’t be surprised if this tune became someone’s wedding song!

 

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.

—————

SHOP THE HERO COLLECTION

The Hero Collectionby NYCountry Swag is inspired by the men and women of the Fire, Police and Military Departments across the country. A portion of sales from each purchase is donated to different foundations that support our heroes. We are dedicated to honoring their service and remembering their sacrifice.

—————————-

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:

What We’re Listening To: January 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 January picks. Then be sure to give our Spotify account a follow and listen to our favorite tracks!

 

JANUARY PICKS:

 

Stephanie Wagner, Founder

Pick: “Make Me Want To” – Jimmie Allen
Songwriters: Jennifer Denmark, Jimmie Allen, Paul Sikes

This month I chose Jimmie Allen’s “Make Me Want To”. When this song came out on his debut album over a year ago, it was instantly one of my favorites, but as it continues to climb the charts and is played more and more on radio, I constantly find myself going to put it on as soon as I open Spotify. It’s the kind of jam you just have to put a little louder and bop along to. I hope we can see this song hit # 1!

 

Christina Bosch, Managing Editor 

Pick: “Martha Divine” – Ashley McBryde
Songwriters: Ashley McBryde, Jeremy Spillman

Country music does a lot of things well, especially revenge songs. On “Martha Divine”, released just this past Monday, Ashley McBryde continues the narrative from the first hint of new music from the reigning CMA New Artist of the Year award winner, “One Night Standards”. The story is brought to life with the music videos that accompany the songs but what really caught my attention was the powerful drum beat and production.

It’s been over two years since I’ve seen her live, but I can guarantee that “Martha Divine” is going to become a staple in her live set. Revenge killing has been done before, the cheating husband, all of the two-timing bastards, but putting a new twist in this track, it isn’t the man but the mistress getting the ax.

McBryde’s delivery and final ‘nail in the coffin’ line gets me every time I listen, “It ain’t murder if I bury you alive, Martha Divine”. 

 

Lucie Bernheim, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Sugar Coat” – Little Big Town
Songwriters: Jordyn Shellhart, Lori McKenna, Josh Kerr

One of my favorite songs of the past year is Little Big Town’s “Sugar Coat.” It’s a poignant anthem for women and people everywhere. It’s about women feeling the need to gloss over things even when they do not want to. They have been taught to from a very young age, and oftentimes, that weight gets really heavy, as if wearing a coat – hence the play-on-words title. “Passed down from my mom / She wore it so well / She’d rest it on my shoulders / Say it’s colder out there than you think,” member Karen Fairchild sings on the second verse.

The narrator of the song is not the type to turn to alcohol or pills or one-night stands. But sometimes she wishes she was, just so she could feel something other than pain. “Sometimes I hardly can stand it/I just smile with a lump in my throat/Sometimes I wish I could bear it/Didn’t have to wear this sugar coat,” the band sings on the chorus. It’s brilliantly written and brilliantly performed, and as a young woman myself, I resonate with the sentiment.

 

Dylan Bestler, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Sinning With You” – Sam Hunt
Songwriters: Emily Weisband, Josh Osborne, Paul DiGiovanni, Sam Hunt

I’ve been waiting for Sam Hunt to release this since he played it for the first time in September. Written from the perspective of an unmarried man, love puts his faith to the test as he confesses to God that because his feelings for this girl are so strong and he knows they will end up together, the actions they partake in shouldn’t be considered sins.

“As long as you’re for me / as long as I’m for you / who could be against us, baby?”

I find his relationship story so intriguing. The girl he sang all of those songs about on Montevallo (her hometown) is now his wife. In “Drinkin’ Too Much” he straight-up says “Hannah Lee, I’m on my way to you”, and here he is in 2020 singing “I always knew that I would end up with you”. If that’s not love (and perseverance) then I don’t know what is. Like he says in the song, nothing should interfere with true love and they shouldn’t feel guilty about whichever way they want to express it. I believe this song carries more weight than people think.

 

Kristina Callahan, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Front Seat” – Rayne Johnson
Songwriters: Joe Jordan

I first heard this song on Sirius XM “The Highway” and fell in love with it. When I heard the title I immediately thought it’d be a fun, upbeat song about sitting in the front seat of a car but it’s the complete opposite.

“You belong on the right side /Of the right guy that puts you first ’cause you’re the grand prize / And I ain’t saying you belong with me / But you belong in the front seat”

Johnson compares being in the front seat of a car to being someone’s priority. Country music has a ton of cliche yet catchy love songs but I think the lyrics in this one are so unique and I was immediately hooked.

 

Alexa Ebner, Contributing Writer

Pick: “London” – Filmore
Songwriters: John-Luke Carter, Filmore

I love this song, as it’s super honest and relatable. I also enjoy that it’s a little bit slower and calmer than Filmore’s other music. The prominent acoustic guitar makes Filmore’s voice shine and also creates a very nostalgic and comforting mood. It’s interesting to see this different side of him and connect with his music on a deeper level, with the extremely honest lyrics and smoother sound. Throughout the song, Filmore features in clever mentions of the city of London, as he sings about visiting a city alone with someone that you once dreamed/and or planned that you’d be going with.

 

Autumn Haile, Contributing Writer 

Pick: “Good Times” – The Lone Bellow
Songwriters: Aaron Dessner, Brian Elmquist, Jason Pipkin, Zach Williams 

If you need a funky, blues-inspired pick-me-up in the form of a Country/Americana track, look no further than “Good Times” by The Lone Bellow. Nashville transplants by way of Brooklyn, NY, this group of musicians and songwriters make music filled with meaning and washed in stunning harmonies. “Good Times” is no different. It’s a bit more upbeat and atmospheric than some of their previous work, but it’s a reminder as to why these guys have continued to build a strong fanbase year over year — they’re just that good. You’ll want to lift your hands in exultation when the track comes to its wild end.

 

Molly Holmberg, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Damn Strait” – Adam Sanders
Songwriters: Adam Sanders, Ben Stennis, Jordan Rager

Adam Sanders is one of my favorite people I worked with in Nashville last year. Not too shortly after I got to hear him play a song called “Damn Strait” and I fell in love and prayed he would release it. Months go by and Granger Smith cuts the song and Sanders released his own version shortly after. The song makes references to King George Strait’s biggest hits, “Amarillo by Morning” and “Nobody in His Right Mind Would’ve Left Her.” Adam’s grittiness in his voice gives this song the passion to the lyrics, making it a great ode to Strait himself.
“Between the still and the whiskey, something just hit me / Maybe I might’ve been wrong / I’m living every line and nobody in his right mind / Praying that it ain’t too late / Damn Strait”

 

Briana Lopez, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Noise” – Cody Johnson
Songwriters: Gordie Sampson, Jim McCormick, Radney Foster

I’ve been a Cody Johnson fan for about five years now and every song he releases I catch myself calling it my favorite but, his song “Noise” off of his Ain’t Nothin’ To It album is definitely my go to.

The lyrics and music are so powerful and make a good song but, the emotion that he pours into it when he sings makes it a GREAT story.

“Your eyes cut through every distraction/ Through the rage of the machine and the roar of the engines/ This rock keeps turnin’, this city don’t sleep/ You’re my secret shelter when I can’t find peace/ The way you touch, the way you whisper/ The way you love and how it lingers/ You can make it all go away”

This part sends chills up my spine and makes me feel warm inside, especially when he sings it live. His voice and songs make him a powerhouse, and something us local Texans can be proud of.

 

Nicole Piering, Contributing Writer

Pick: “On A Night Like This” – Lady Antebellum
Songwriters: Dave Barnes

One of the songs I can’t get enough of is Lady Antebellum’s version of “On a Night Like This.” I’ve been a huge fan of singer-songwriter Dave Barnes for well over a decade, so to hear Lady A re-record one of his songs was a treat. Their version is stunning and orchestral with a hint of a Christmas vibe, as evidenced by their performance of it on CMA Country Christmas. Make sure to check out the original version as well – they’re both so beautiful and different.

 

Pick: “Everywhere But On” – Matt Stell
Songwriters: Lance Miller, Matt Stell, Paul Sikes

I love songs that tell common storylines but in a new way, and I was intrigued the first time I heard this new one from Matt Stell. The lyrics tell of a familiar tale: a heartbreak that makes you want to run away and start over. But as the character in this story learns, trying to escape the memories and feelings is easier said than done. He moves from state to state, hoping that leaving his small town will be enough to get over his ex. Eventually, though, he realizes he won’t move on until he stops running. Doesn’t that just hit you right in the feels??

“I’ve been from Savannah to Long Beach / Trying to keep your memory out of reach / But there you were in the Delta nights / The Santa Fe sun, the Colorado sky / I could add another pushpin to the map / But that don’t stop me from missing you and looking back / Guess there’s just one place I haven’t gone / I’ve moved everywhere but on”

 

Rebekah Milsted, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Reasons To Drink” – Cole Swindell
Songwriters: Brandon Kinney, Cole Swindell, Michael Carter

My song for this month is “Reasons to Drink” by Cole Swindell. It may be older but it’s a song that can bring anyone together. Whether you’re celebrating a life event, hanging out with your friends, or getting over a breakup, we all have a reason to drink.

 

Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer

Pick: “This Bar” – Morgan Wallen
Songwriters: Ernest Smith, Jackson Morgan, Jake Scott, HARDY, Morgan Wallen, Ryan Vojtesak

This month I had to pick yet another Morgan Wallen song. In my opinion, the rising artist’s newest track “This Bar” is just as good as all the tracks on his debut record. The new song is honest, personal, and relatable- and of course, complete with a catchy hook and chorus.

“I found myself in this bar / Making mistakes and making new friends / I was growing p and nothing made sense / Buzzing all night like neon in the dark / I found myself in this bar”

Wallen is one of the most exciting artists out there right now, and so far, he has yet to disappoint. I am eager to see what his next releases sound like and how he continues to grow as a singer-songwriter.

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.

—————

SHOP THE HERO COLLECTION

The Hero Collectionby NYCountry Swag is inspired by the men and women of the Fire, Police and Military Departments across the country. A portion of sales from each purchase is donated to different foundations that support our heroes. We are dedicated to honoring their service and remembering their sacrifice.

—————————-

Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC & Beyond!

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

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NYCS Team Favorite Country Lyrics Of All Time

Country music is known for its incredible storytelling and having lyrics that can change your perspective, mood, and even your life. Our team reflected on their favorite country music lyrics from some of the most iconic songs. Take a look below and let us know in the comments what your favorite country lyric is.

Lyrics

 

Stephanie Wagner, Founder

Lyric: “Follow your arrow, wherever it points” – Follow Your Arrow, Kacey Musgraves

 

Christina Bosch, Managing Editor 

Lyric: “Cause when push comes to shove, you taste what you’re made of / You might bend till you break, ’cause it’s all you can take / On your knees, you look up, decide you’ve had enough / You get mad, you get strong / Wipe your hands, shake it off, then you stand” – Stand, Rascal Flatts

 

Lucie Bernheim, Contributing Writer

Lyric: “Bitterness keeps you from flying, always stay humble and kind”- Humble & Kind, Lori McKenna

 

Dylan Bestler, Contributing Writer

Lyric: “Some days you just get by and some days you’re just alive, some days you’re living.” – Dierks Bentley

 

Kristina Callahan, Contributing Writer

Lyric: “I go back to watchin’ summer fade to fall / Growin’ up too fast and I do recall / Wishin’ time would stop right in its tracks. – I Go Back, Kenny Chesney

 

Erin Crosby, Contributing Writer

Lyric: “I’ve heard of God the Son and God the Father / I’m just looking for a god for the daughters”- The Daughters, Little Big Town

 

Alexa Ebner, Contributing Writer

Lyric: “We’re all flawed and we’re all perfect / we’re all lost and we’re all hurtin’ / and just searchin’ for somebody to love” -Somebody to Love, Kacey Musgraves

 

Julia Grubbs, Contributing Writer 

Lyric: “If I bring you home to mama, I guess I’d better warn ya, she feels every heartache I go through /  And if my dad sees me crying, he’ll pour some whiskey over ice and tell a lie and say he never really liked you / Oh, if we break up, I’ll be fine / But you’ll be breaking more hearts than mine” – More Hearts Than Mine, Ingrid Andress

 

Molly Holmberg, Contributing Writer

Lyric: “Life’s not the breaths you take but the moments that take your breath away.” – The Breath You Take,  George Strait

 

Nicole Piering, Contributing Writer

Lyric:  “Sometimes I thank God/ For unanswered prayers/ Remember when you’re talkin’/ To the man upstairs/That just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care/ ‘Cause some of God’s greatest gifts / Are unanswered prayers” – Unanswered Prayers, Garth Brooks

 

Lyric: “We all have a song that somehow stamped our lives / takes us to another place and time” – I Go Back, Kenny Chesney
Lyric: “Hey, you call me up again just to break me like a promise. So casually cruel in the name of being honest” – All Too Well, Taylor Swift
Lyric: “Don’t take for granted the love this life gives you” – Humble and Kind, Tim McGraw
Lyric:  “I wanted the world until my whole world stopped.” – What We Ain’t Got, Travis Meadows

 

Shanna Vitaliano, Contributing Writer

Lyric: “Funny how a melody sounds like a memory, like a soundtrack to a July, Saturday night…Springsteen” – Springsteen, Eric Church

Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer

Lyric: “I know my heart will never be the same / But I’m telling myself I’ll be okay / Even on my weakest days, I get a little bit stronger” –  A Little Bit Stronger, Sara Evans

—————

SHOP THE HERO COLLECTION

The Hero Collectionby NYCountry Swag is inspired by the men and women of the Fire, Police and Military Departments across the country. A portion of sales from each purchase is donated to different foundations that support our heroes. We are dedicated to honoring their service and remembering their sacrifice.

—————————-

Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC & Beyond!

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

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The Ones We Had On Repeat: NYCS Favorite Albums of 2019

As 2019 comes to a close, the New York Country Swag team is highlighting the wide range of our team’s favorite songs and artists when it comes to the country music genre by featuring our favorite album picks of 2019.  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 the albums we’ve had on repeat this year.

Find below each of our team member’s favorite albums and why in our 2019 album picks.

Favorite Albums 2019

 

Stephanie Wagner, Founder

Pick: GIRL – Maren Morris

It was an interesting year for new music in the country genre and I am so proud of the eclectic mix of choices that our team chose for their favorite album picks. For me, Maren Morris’ GIRL was absolutely iconic. During a time when it feels like women needed it most, Maren Morris reminded the world of female empowerment. Morris sings on the album with such fearlessness and delivers each and every track with empathy, compassion, and encouragement.

Delivering a sophomore record after your debut does so well is not always an easy task but Morris stepped up, included tracks that showcased her maturity over the years as well as the changes that occurred in her life between albums. While HERO had standouts like “My Church”, “Second Wind”, and “I Could Use A Love Song”, Morris dug deep for GIRL, producing an album that highlights messy love, empowering emotions and a sense of Girl Power that men, women, young and old will enjoy for years.

 

Christina Bosch, Managing Editor 

Pick: Hixtape Vol. 1 – HARDY

There was no question in my mind which album I was going to choose this year. The concept behind HARDY’s Hixtape is genius, taking artists from different generations, different genres and different major labels in country music and put them all on one project that showcases the best parts of living in a small town. The guest features include Keith Urban, Morgan Wallen, Trace Adkins, Lauren Alaina, Devin Dawson, Mitchell Tenpenny and many more, totaling 17 stars.

Being an early fan of the project, it was particularly incredible to sit down with HARDY and discuss the decision to release this collaboration album during our Swag Session earlier this year.

While each song on the album makes me want to move to a small town in the south, they are still relatable for this country-music-loving New Yorker.

HARDY’s masterful songwriting is on full display with lines like “Somewhere the dirt will stain your boot soles red, like the words I was raised up on” referencing Jesus’s words in the Bible (“My Kinda Living”)  or “But when I get to missin’ my roots, sittin’ somewhere West of wherever, you can find me tapping these Red Wing boots together, cause there ain’t no place like home town” referencing The Wizard of Oz and the ruby slippers (No Place Like Home Town”).

Hands down my favorite song on the record, however, is “One Beer”, a modern-day “There Goes My Life” story that has an infectious chorus and features Lauren Alaina and Devin Dawson. While HARDY narrates the story, Dawson and Alaina become the couple who experienced one beer turning into a whole lot more, eventually ending up with a baby in the carriage. The kicker and the moment that gets me every single listen is the fact that the drumbeat is a baby’s heartbeat, one that you hear for the first time during that initial sonogram.

HARDY’s persona, his clever wordplay, and his impeccable delivery make our team so truly impressed and excited to see what comes next for him in 2020.

 

Lucie Bernheim, Contributing Writer

Pick: How Do You Remember Me – Josh Kerr

There were so many albums that came out in 2019 that I loved start to finish, like Kelleigh Bannen’s Favorite Colors and Maren Morris’ GIRL. But my favorite was Josh Kerr’s debut album, “How Do You Remember Me”. Kerr has been one of the most sought-after songwriters in Nashville for almost half a decade, and his debut is absolutely phenomenal. It’s cohesive, fun, and vulnerable, and it’s as purely singer-songwriter as it is crisp pop-country. Songs like “In Case I Never See You Again” and “It Wasn’t That Long Ago” are upbeat, hit-ready songs, although the latter is a sad song disguised by its poppy elements, which I love.

The standout tracks on Kerr’s project are the confessional “If I’m Being Honest”, and “Love Me Now”. “If I’m Being Honest” is cinematic and pulsing; a song that is impossible not to feel when listening to and stops me in my tracks every time. “Love Me Now” is softer, but is equally as gut-punching. Kerr’s lyrics and artistry are reminiscent of John Mayer and Sam Hunt, as reflected throughout all 11 songs. This is an example of an album that is amazing shuffled or in order, and that is equally strong in lyrical content and production.

Dylan Bestler, Contributing Writer

Pick: Can’t Say I Ain’t Country – Florida Georgia Line

Honestly, not many albums reach my ridiculously high expectations on the first few listens, Can’t Say I Ain’t Country did and then some. A great country album to me is one that can get the party started and then pull at your heartstrings right after. This album has something for everyone; feel-good jams like “Y’all Boys”, slow ballads like “Women” and everything in between. FGL showed their softer side on Dig Your Roots, which I loved, but the ability to do both makes this one really special.

“May We All” was a song I really related to and I didn’t think Florida Georgia Line would ever come back with a song I loved like that one; then I heard “Simple”. Right after hearing the first two lines, (The way your fingers fit in mine / It’s five plus five, not rocket science) I was hooked and couldn’t turn it off repeat. Also, one of my favorite music videos in the past few years.

Another underrated aspect of this album are the skits with Brother Jervel. First off, he’s hilarious. Second, it’s a unique way of bringing their hip-hop influence into country music. Finally, they support the overall theme ‘you can take the boy from the country but you can’t take the country out of the boy.’

In a year that featured a number of fantastic album releases, I would be remiss if I didn’t reveal my honorable mentions: Center Point Road – Thomas Rhett, Real Friends – Chris Janson and Heartache Medication – Jon Pardi.

 

Kristina Callahan, Contributing Writer

Pick: Different ‘Round Here – Riley Green

Pure country is what comes to mind when I first heard the album Different ‘Round Here by Riley Green. I had high expectations after Green’s “There Was This Girl.” There are tracks similar to that like “In Love by Now” and “Same Old Song,” but it’s the deep yet simple songs like “I Wish Grandpas Never Died” and “Hard to Leave” that really sold me on this album.

“And I wish even cars had truck beds / And every road was named Copperhead / And coolers never run out of cold Bud Light / And I wish high school home teams never lost / And back road drinkin’ kids never got caught / And I wish the price of gas was low and cotton was high / I wish honky tonks didn’t have no closing time / And I wish grandpas never died”

I love an artist who’s not only a performer but a songwriter and that’s exactly what Green is. He co-wrote all of the 14 tracks on the album and even gave writing credit to both his grandfathers, who he wrote “I Wish Grandpas Never Died” about. He sings about love, family, hometown friends which almost every country fan can relate to.

Jeremy Chua, Contributing Writer

Pick: MagnoliaRandy Houser

It perhaps is no surprise that one of the most underrated albums emerges as one of my top favorite country records of this past year. Randy Houser has an incredible way of blending his powerhouse (and also smooth) vocals and the genres lines of country and soul together to a perfect musical concoction. Highlights include “No Good Place To Cry,” “What Whiskey Does (feat. Hillary Lindsey),” “Running Man” and the Lucie Silvas duet, “Our Hearts.” However, the best song on this album has to be “No Stone Unturned.”

With lyrics that everyone can relate to on this roller-coaster journey of life and a great hook of a chorus (“no stone unturned, no turn unstoned”), I would boldly declare this song as one of Houser’s career highlights. If you haven’t checked this record out, you need to. And if you haven’t since him live yet, you also need to. Get ready to be blown away, I know I was.

 

Erin Crosby, Contributing Writer

Pick: What You See Is What You Get – Luke Combs

Luke Comb’s What You See Is What You Get was released last month and is the perfect addition to his earlier album themes of both good-time party vibes and lovey-dovey ballads. This sophomore release opens with “Beer Never Broke My Heart” which is a fun, upbeat track devoted to loving beer and its constant loyalty despite other setbacks. For instance, the lyric “a couple beautiful girls tell me goodbye/ trucks break down and dogs run off” acts as examples to solidify the argument that beer is one of the few creations worthy of relying on. To quote Combs, “long neck, ice cold beer never broke my heart”.

Rightfully so, there are several tracks that take on more heartfelt, sentimental tones, such as “Even Though I’m Leaving”, “New Every Day”, “Dear Today” and “Better Together”. This is where Combs stands out from the rest of the genre. The raspy, hardcore tone stripped down to a subtle instrument backdrop and honest, poetic lyrics is simply an addictive “match made up in heaven”; a lyric from “Better Together”, arguably the most played song on the What You See Is What You Get collection. This track closes the album and establishes Combs’ songwriting abilities, with credit to Dan Isbell and Randy Montana who together created this metaphorically dense piece.

There are two collaborations within this album, which is new for Combs, though it came at an appropriate time in his career and not a minute too soon. Eric Church plays a role in “Does To Me” while Brooks and Dunn put down vocals on “1,2 Many”. These tracks are successful in the feel-good song that usually fits into the male country song partnerships. Church and Combs mesh well together so much so that I wouldn’t mind the special guest to have a more evident vocal presence. The same goes for “1,2 Many”, Brooks and Dunn are introduced late in the song without giving the listeners a sense of the chemistry between the two acts. Still, a great addition to the album that breaks up the continuity of the seventeen track production.

What You See Is What You Get is a great cluster of songs from Combs and is a step in the right direction so early on in his career, definitely an artist to pay attention to if this level of artistry is achieved after only a couple of years in the industry.

Alexa Ebner, Contributing Writer

Pick: A Very Kacey Christmas – Kacey Musgraves

When I think of country music in 2019, I think of discovering Kacey Musgraves’ music and falling in love with her as an artist! I’ve spent the last 9 months, since “Golden Hour” won Album of the Year at the Grammys exploring her past and present music.

What better way to close off the year than Musgraves releasing a Christmas special, The Kacey Musgraves Christmas Show, which premiered on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, 11/29. Alongside the Amazon special, Kacey re-released an updated version of her Christmas album from 2016, A Very Kacey Christmas. This album includes interludes from the show, in addition to the music, making it especially entertaining and unique.

dir=”auto”>Musgraves invites an exciting array of collaborators to join her for both old and new songs. My favorite is a new song on the album called “Glittery”, performed by Musgraves and Troye Sivan. This love song uses a holiday take to describe the feeling of ‘butterflies’ towards your significant other. The song feels magical and evokes the holiday spirit.

Other highlight guest performances include Camila Cabello, who joins Musgraves for “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and Lana Del Ray, who helps sing the classic Christmas ballad, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”. One of the most emotional moments of the album is when Musgraves sings her original song, “Christmas Makes Me Cry.” On this tune, Musgraves sings about feeling sad emotions during a time where everyone helps seems to be happy.

The show and the accompanying album is eclectic, joyful, and brings you into the holiday spirit. I feel like I’m in a dreamy winter wonderland when I listen, especially after I’ve had the chance to watch the songs come to life visually.
I’m hoping for more new music from Musgraves in the new year!

Julia Grubbs, Contributing Writer 

Pick: Rivers – King Calaway

From their first show ever in front of an audience in New York City (put on by New York Country Swag), to opening for Garth Brooks, playing the Grand Ole Opry, and releasing their first album, 2019 has been an exciting year for King Calaway.  And they definitely don’t disappoint.

This band works so hard, and seems to have a blast doing it. Rivers is an album I keep on repeat now, never getting tired of the beautiful harmonies and interesting arrangements. “Rivers” is probably my favorite on the album, with such a cool rhythm to jam to. “World for Two” and “I Do” have a bit more laid back feel, that is great background music, or a love song, if you’re looking for it. “Driver’s Seat” picks it up again for an awesome song for a drive on the open road. Their cover of “Love the One You’re With” is such a cool new spin on the classic.  The vocals show the band’s true talent and individuality.

Whether you want to jam or chill, Rivers gives you all you need. The band is finding their voice, and I think they definitely have a lot to say. If they did all this in 2019, I can’t wait to see what’s in store for them in 2020.

 

Autumn Haile, Contributing Writer

Pick: GIRL – Maren Morris

It always feels impossible to pick an album of the year when there is so much amazing music coming out of Nashville. However, the first release that came to mind when I looked back at 2019 was Maren Morris’ GIRL. In what Nashville could call the “year of the women,” this album just about sums up what it means to be a woman in this crazy world right now.

From “A Song For Everything,” which takes me back to every melody that is connected to a memory, to the honest and heartbreaking title track, “GIRL” — it’s by far one of the most cohesive, emotional, and well-written albums of the year. A perfect listen from start to finish.

 

Nicole Piering, Contributing Writer

Pick: Ocean – Lady Antebellum

Although there were a ton of great albums released in 2019 that I’ve had on repeat, my favorite is probably Lady Antebellum’s, Ocean. I’ve been a huge fan of Lady A since the beginning of their career, and the best part about this album was seeing them return to their roots as a trio.

The album is full of the country songs and stellar harmonies that made them a superstar group and I couldn’t be a bigger fan of it. Over the years, Lady A has sampled with solo projects and different sounds, but this album is them in their wheelhouse on songs like “Ocean,” “What If I Never Get Over You,” “Be Patient With My Love,” and the up-tempo, “You Can Do You.” On top of all of that, there’s a collaboration with Little Big Town on “The Thing That Wrecks You” that’s absolutely magical.

 

Pick: Center Point Road – Thomas Rhett

It was very hard to pick a favorite album of 2019, but Spotify doesn’t lie, and TR’s latest project was my most-played for a million reasons. I’ve been a fan of his since the beginning, but this album seemed to let fans into his life like never before. Every track tells not just a story about his life, but reminds us that even though his lyrics are uniquely his, we can all relate to the sentiments he describes.

From the love songs about his wife Lauren like “Notice”, “Look What God Gave Her” and “Blessed” (they are the definition of couple goals) to the picture he paints of living a simple life away from the spotlight in “That Old Truck” and “Center Point Road”, the album takes you on a journey. Full of ballads, fun upbeat anthems, and killer collaborations, this project definitely defined my year. It’s tough to pick a favorite song, but I can’t listen to “Remember You Young” without getting chills no matter how many times I hear it, and seeing it live twice, once during his “Very Hot Summer Tour” and again at the CMA Awards were unforgettable (pun intended).

Pick: Center Point Road – Thomas Rhett
With so many great albums of the year, it was incredibly difficult to choose, especially with Luke Combs releasing a new album, but in the end, Thomas Rhett took the trophy for me. Center Point Road takes the prize because it shows us a very personal side of the singer-songwriter we don’t get to see too often. He not only took us back to his childhood in “Center Point Road” and “That Old Truck,” but he gave us an inside look as what it is like to be a dad.

To be honest, when the first single, “Look What God Gave Her,” was released, I was nervous about the album, but that quickly changed. If you haven’t given it a listen yet, be sure to add it to your playlist ASAP.

Pick:  Center Point Road – Thomas Rhett

My favorite album of 2019 would definitely have to be Thomas Rhett’s “Center Point Road.” In the past, I’ve always thought Thomas Rhett had lovable and catchy songs based off of “Die a Happy Man”, “Life Changes”, and “T-Shirt”, and an adorable family, but never actually took the time to listen to his albums all the way through. Over the summer, I realized it was time for me to stop limiting myself to the same couple of songs that everyone knows by him and actually give his new album a listen, especially after watching the touching video for “Life Changes.”

Some albums take some time to get used to, but being that I really invested myself in actually listening to the lyrics and songs instead of having it on as background music while I looked at other things online, I felt an instant liking towards so many of the songs on Center Point Road. I feel like this album is the perfect balance of nostalgic while at the same time celebrating life and being thankful for everything it is in the current moment.

Songs like “Remember You Young” and “Center Point Road” make me think back to all of the special memories I’ve shared in my younger life, even though I’m only 21, while at the same time, “Don’t Threaten Me with a Good Time” and “Beer Can’t Fix” provide the perfect mix of tailgate friendly summertime songs that fit perfectly right into where I am in life right now, just having turned 21.

“Blessed” and “Things You Do for Love” are the type of songs I want to play at my wedding, with some of the most touching country lyrics I’ve ever heard, and every country music fan knows, there are far too many. Last night, I was surprised to actually find out Thomas Rhett was my Spotify most-streamed artist of the year, which is a huge deal considering I listen to John Mayer almost 24/7. I can’t wait to hear all the music Thomas Rhett will release in future years and hopefully, 2020 will include me seeing him in concert for the first time! (Fingers crossed)

Shanna Vitaliano, Contributing Writer

Pick: Let It Roll– Midland

This year there were so many incredible albums released that picking my favorite one made it very difficult.  However, Midland’s album Let It Roll is traditional, fun, honky-tonking music at its finest.

After seeing Midland live in New York City, I was hooked.  Their album Let It Roll had been released earlier that week, so I was listening to it on repeat.  I love their authenticity and defined style they bring to each track. Their massive hit “Mr. Lonely” set the foundation for the record, and their clever songwriting mixed with their unique twang on some of my favorite tracks like Playboys” and “Let It Roll” proved they really are the best  “21st Century Honky Tonk American Band.”

Brianna Vacca, Contributing Writer

Pick: The Highwomen – The Highwomen

The Highwomen’s self-titled debut released earlier this year influenced me heavily as a country music listener, creator and music journalist. I commend the album’s dynamic steal on family and love while disentangling the stereotypical frame society views women through.

This project embroiders conventional country music aesthetics which tends to be my favorite projects coming out. My favorite tracks on this September release are “If She Ever Leaves Me,” written by one of the female-powerhouse fronts Amanda Shires with husband and fellow bandmate Jason Isbell, featuring Brandi Carlile on lead. Second, “Cocktail And A Song” is another front-runner. I look forward to the supergroup’s impending endeavors.

 

Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer

Pick: k, i’m done – Lacy Cavalier

This year has been a great year for country music. 2019 gave us so much new music from emerging artists, as well as, records from established singers. I went back and forth trying to decide, which album I wanted to highlight as my favorite of 2019, either Christina’s pick, HARDY’s Hixtape Vol. 1 or Lacy Cavalier’s k I’m done. It was a close call, but I went with the latter because I truly believe 2019 was a monumental year for women in country music.

Technically Cavalier’s record was an independent EP release with only six songs, but those six songs are so special. Almost instantly, the songstress had me rooting for her success. I really believe in her talent and her knack for writing vulnerable, personal, yet deeply relatable song lyrics. “Single” and “Cheating on U” are two of the standout tracks off the EP and my personal favorites.

Furthermore, a mark of a good record is one you never get tired of, and k i’m done has that appeal. I cannot wait to see how Cavalier’s career evolves and how her artistry grows, as she moves passed the period of her life in which this record was created from. I can only hope that her connection to her fans and to her music continues with her next project. If you haven’t managed to listen to her just yet, do yourself a favor and listen to the record!

—————

SHOP THE HERO COLLECTION

The Hero Collectionby NYCountry Swag is inspired by the men and women of the Fire, Police and Military Departments across the country. A portion of sales from each purchase is donated to different foundations that support our heroes. We are dedicated to honoring their service and remembering their sacrifice.

—————————-

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:

What We’re Listening To: November 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 November picks. Then be sure to give our Spotify account a follow and listen to our favorite tracks!

 

NOVEMBER PICKS:

 

Stephanie Wagner, Founder

Pick: “Be A Bro” – Avenue Beat
Songwriters: Sam Backoff, Sami Bearden, Savana Santos, Summer Overstreet 

This month I chose Avenue Beat’s “Be A Bro”. The spunky, fun track is a refreshingly upbeat song reminding all girls of the ‘girl code’.

“Life is tough enough, ya gotta show a little love // sometimes I mess it up, but here’s what I know // If you hold a sister down, it’ll all come back around // so – be a bro, know the girl code”

An anthem for female empowerment, “Be A Bro” combines Avenue Beat’s unique sound and sassy flair making this the perfect track to bop along to.

 

Christina Bosch, Managing Editor 

Pick: “Craving California” – Jill and Kate
Songwriters: Jill Pickering, Kate Rapier

I truly feel like Jill and Kate speak to my soul with their music, their voices and harmonies always get me hooked no matter what they are singing about. In this case, they are missing a place (California) that I’ve never even been to, but their delivery and the lyrics make me miss it too.

What’s actually funny is the city they are singing about being lonely and rainy, Nashville, is a city that I am constantly craving to visit. They personify a state, by eliciting memories of a past relationship and mention the sunshine state’s most beautiful attributes, while reminiscing about the good in that relationship.

I’ve been listening to the song a ton since it was released last week and I will always love supporting Jill and Kate because they genuinely create music that I love.

 

Lucie Bernheim, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Time Machine” – Kelleigh Bannen
Songwriters: Kelleigh Bannem, Mark Trussell

Kelleigh Bannen does it all- she’s a singer, songwriter, podcast and radio host. She put on the singer/songwriter hat to release debut album Favorite Colors this fall, and one of the standout tracks is the reminiscent “Time Machine”.

The melody starts up simple but sweet. It almost sounds far away, like she’s cruising down an easy backroad. The chorus is when she really starts to drive. She picks the pace up a little, belting and almost pressing hard on the gas.

“It might be a melody/It might be a song on an old six-string” she sings on the chorus. “Who says there’s no such thing/ if you ask me/ There’s all kind of time machines”. It’s nostalgic, specific, and universal all at the same time. Her album is without a doubt one of the best releases of the year.

Dylan Bestler, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Hawaii On Me” – Chris Janson
Songwriters: Chris Janson, Kelly Roland, Will Nance

A lot of Chris Janson songs are upbeat and present the scene of a good time, like in songs “Power of Positive Drinkin’”, “Fix a Drink” and “Good Vibes”. However, we see him show his sensitive side in songs such as “Holdin’ Her”, “Drunk Girl” and this one, “Hawaii on Me”. In this track, Janson discusses what he wants his family to do with his money when he passes away.

My favorite lines in the song are: Now, don’t spend my money / on a box in a hole / That might be my body / but that ain’t my soul. It’s an interesting way to look at the situation. A dead corpse does not benefit from having a fancy casket. Watching their loved ones from the sky enjoy a nice trip to a tropical island in their memory is much more satisfying.

What appears to be his children join him for the final chorus to end this emotionally moving song. The track ends with an “I love you dad” from the kids and it’s super cute. I think I “aww”ed out loud after hearing it.

 

 

Kristina Callahan, Contributing Writer

Pick: “club” – Kelsea Ballerini
Songwriters: Jimmy Robbins, Nicolle Galyon, Kelsea Ballerini

When I first heard this song, my first thought was how it wasn’t what I expected at all. When you see the title, you assume it’ll be about going out to a club with your friends but it’s almost the exact opposite.

“I already know it ain’t worth it in the morning / And yeah I like the high, I just don’t like payin’ for it / I’m stressin’ over conversations / But now that’s anxiety that I’m erasin’ /Cause lately / I don’t wanna go to the club / I don’t wanna watch everybody around me try to hook up / And say stuff they don’t mean / And get drunk and get cheap / So what’s wrong with me /Cause I don’t wanna go to the club”

I’d imagine deciding to go out on Saturday night or stay in is a battle almost everyone faces from time to time—it’s a weekly struggle for me so this song is literally my life in three minutes. Besides the catchy chorus, this song is just incredibly relatable. I’m just really enjoying Kelsea Ballerini’s new songs for her third studio album. She can go from singing about wanting to stay in on one song then about wanting to show your true self in another. I can’t wait to hear what else she has in store for us in 2020.

 

Erin Crosby, Contributing Writer

Pick: “I Don’t Love You” – Lindsay Ell
Songwriters: Adam Hambrick, Melissa Fuller, Neil Medley

This single checks all the boxes of any successful break-up song. It’s a conversational piece that narrates details of this relationship that is seemingly difficult to move on from. The chorus is where the melody picks up and Lindsay Ell showcases her musical ability; solidifying her place as an upcoming female country artist. The instrumental aspect of the song is soft, allowing the lyrics to stand out which allows the piece to act more like a story with the listeners on the edge of their seats, waiting for what will come next.

 

Alexa Ebner, Contributing Writer

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

I’ve been a huge fan of Ryan Hurd and could not wait to listen when he released his new EP, Platonic. One of my favorite songs on the EP is “Wish for the World”, which I have not stopped listening to this month! The song has an incredibly sweet message and can boost any mood. Hurd sings about how he wishes everyone would enjoy life’s moments and stop sweating the small stuff. He opens the song encouraging people to make more time for the simple pleasures in life.

“If I could make a wish for the world / There’d be one more cup of coffee / In the morning when you wake up / Just to soak the morning in”

The overarching message and spin that he puts on the song is that letting love into your life is what’s most important and leads to true joy.

“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”

This song has a very ‘feel-good’ sound and I love hearing him sing about his wife, Maren Morris!

Julia Grubbs, Contributing Writer 

Pick: “Where You Are” – Tenille Townes
Songwriters: Daniel Tashian, Keelan Donovan, Tenille Townes

Tenille has been killing it recently, with her single, “Somebody’s Daughter” playing on so many playlists, and I came across this song again, not quite realizing it was her. With the raw emotion wringing through her voice, I think this melody is so interesting and catchy while remaining a strong, powerful, artistic song. Recently on tour with Dierks Bentley, this female powerhouse has everything you want out of country, with the essence and sound of an indie singer-songwriter. I definitely will continue to replay this song, especially when I feel the need to express some emotions.

 

Autumn Haile, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Damn You For Breaking My Heart” – Caitlyn Smith
Songwriters: Caitlyn Smith, Gordie Sampson, Rollie Gaalswyck

There’s nothing like a beautiful heartbreak song. On Caitlyn Smith’s “Damn You For Breaking My Heart,” the singer, songwriter, and musician continue a streak of emotionally intense tracks that make you want to weep. She combines the energy of Florence Welsh with the songwriting prowess of every great Nashville name for a single that rattles your bones and touches your heart on a soul level. For anyone that has ever experienced the reverberations of heartbreak, and the way it ripples through every moment of your life, this is a must-listen. For that reason alone, it’s on the top of my new release list.

 

Nicole Piering, Contributing Writer

Pick: “The Thing That Wrecks You” – Lady Antebellum feat. Little Big Town
Songwriters: Daniel Tashian, Kate York, Tenille Townes

My song of the month pick is “The Thing That Wrecks You” by Lady Antebellum and Little Big Town, from Lady A’s new album, Ocean. There’s just something ethereal and magical about the seven voices harmonizing together that I can’t get enough of. The track has been on repeat since I first heard it, and I’d love to see more collaborations between the two groups. I’ve always been a sucker for male and female harmonies, and both Lady A and Little Big Town are unmatched in that department, so it’s only fitting that together, “The Thing That Wrecks You” is pure magic.

 

Pick: “So Pretty” – Jenny Tolman
Songwriters: Jenny Tolman, Mark Sanders, Sophie Sanders
Woman to woman songs in country music are some of my favorites (think LBT’s “Girl Crush”) and “So Pretty” is my new obsession. The beautiful ballad tells the story of a girl who meets her ex’s new beau for the first time. We’ve all been there, and usually, you prepare by convincing yourself that she’s going to be horrible. If she’s ugly or rude then it’s easy to hate her, and not be jealous. But what happens when she’s the opposite? I dare you to listen to this chorus and not get chills!
“I wish you weren’t so pretty / Wish you weren’t so sweet / Wish he didn’t need you / Like he didn’t need me / I wish I hated you / Like I wanted to / But you turned out to be, so pretty”
Pick: “Blue Collar Boys” – Luke Combs
Songwriters: Derrick Moody, Erik Dylan, Luke Combs, Ray Fulcher
I chose this song because as a wife to a blue-collar worker it’s nice to see them get the recognition they deserve, especially for the long hours they endure. My husband works a different shift each week and while I may never get used to it, this song makes me appreciate what he does for us, even more than I already have.
Pick: “Every Little Bit Helps” – Luke Combs
Songwriters: Chase McGill, James McNair, Luke Combs
It would be an understatement to say I’m OBSESSED with Luke Combs’ new album, but then again who isn’t right now. When it first came out and I shamelessly listened to it on loop for the next few hours, “Every Little Bit Helps” really stuck out to me from the first listen.
This song reminds me so much of “When it Rains it Pours” and “Beer Never Broke my Heart” in the way that it’s the type of song that can instantly put you in a great mood every time you hear it and have the entire room singing along. I feel like it’s definitely a song everyone can relate to- not just strictly in relationships but broken friendships and different negative situations- for everyone there’s been a time where we can’t seem to get our mind off of something. This song makes me want to let go of all of the negative energy, have a great time with the people I love and let loose, because even though it may not make everything perfect, or get you all the way over it, as he says, “Every little bit helps!”

Shanna Vitaliano, Contributing Writer

Pick: “1, 2 Many” – Luke Combs
Songwriters: Dan Isbell, Drew Parker, Luke Combs, Tyler King

Just like the rest of the country music world, I can’t get enough of Luke Comb’s new albumWhat You See Is What You Getso for my song of the month I had to go with one of my favorite tracks on the album, “1, 2 Many.”  Legends Brooks and Dunn join Combs for this honky tonkin’ good time drinking song that is incredibly fun to listen to. “1, 2 Many” could easily be the next bar anthem to get the crowd going, with the catchy and clever chorus, “About half-past 10, I’m half-past tipsy/ And quarter to 12, man I done had plenty/The countdown’s on when the first beer hits me/5-4-3-2-1, too many.”  You’ll definitely want to raise the volume when you hear this song!

Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Better Together” – Luke Combs
Songwriters: Dan Isbell, Luke Combs, Randy Montana

I normally like to choose songs by rising artists for this feature, but this month I had to pick a song off Luke Combs’ sophomore record What You See Is What You Get. Each song is deserving of this playlist, but my current favorite is the heartfelt “Better Together.” As usual, I gravitate towards one of the more lyrically-driven, emotive song off the record. Although the track is simple in the nature, the expression of love is undeniable. It is always incredible to me, when an artist can string together words to express an emotion, especially one as pure as love for your partner.

“Some things just go better together and probably always will / Like a cup of coffee and a sunrise, Sunday drives and time to kill / What’s the point of this ol’ guitar if it ain’t got no strings / Or pourin’ your heart into a song that you ain’t gonna sing / It’s a match made up in heaven, like good ol’ boys and beer / And me, as long as you’re right here.”

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.

—————

SHOP THE HERO COLLECTION

The Hero Collectionby NYCountry Swag is inspired by the men and women of the Fire, Police and Military Departments across the country. A portion of sales from each purchase is donated to different foundations that support our heroes. We are dedicated to honoring their service and remembering their sacrifice.

—————————-

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:

What We’re Listening To: October 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 September picks. Then be sure to give our Spotify account a follow and listen to our favorite tracks!

 

OCTOBER PICKS:

 

Stephanie Wagner, Founder

Pick: “Drink About Me” – Brett Kissel
Songwriters: Ben Stennis & Matt Rogers

Ever since we hosted Brett Kissel for one of our latest Swag Sessions, I’ve been listening to his song “Drink About Me” on repeat. I love the way the lyrics talk about the memories of a past love and with each and every drink it can take you to a different moment with that person and wonder if they think about the same things too. 

 

Christina Bosch, Managing Editor 

Pick: “Getting Good” – Lauren Alaina
Songwriters: Emily Weisband

When I first heard Lauren Alaina’s new single, “Getting Good” I immediately resonated with always looking ahead to the next thing, instead of taking a look around and appreciating where I am at this very present moment. I love this wave of new music from female artists just singing about real life, not relenting about a man, rather focusing on things that men and women can relate to. I especially relate to the lines about worrying about her parents dying and the anxiety that so often overcomes me.

“I’m afraid of both my parents dying / I call my dad, he answers right away / And I didn’t hear a word ’cause I was thinking
 / About what hasn’t happened yet but will someday / And we hang up the phone before I know it / I’m crying over the conversation my fear took / I’m thinking once I learn to soak up every moment / I’ll realize my life’s already good”

In my life, knowing that so much has changed over the past few years, I try to constantly stop and smell the proverbial roses. I have always loved Lauren Alaina, since the moment she stepped in front of the judges on American Idol back in 2011 and with each release, I fall more and more in love with her voice, her personality and specifically her flawless songwriting.

 

Lucie Bernheim, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Trying To Let Her” – Ruston Kelly
Songwriters: Kyle Jacobs, Ruston Kelly, Joe Leathers

My playlist always changes when the weather does, and now that it’s fall, I’ve been listening to Ruston Kelly’s debut album, Dying Star, on repeat. Kelly leans more on the alternative side of country music, or as he calls it- “dirt emo”, but I love everything about it. The story is thought-provoking, and while autobiographical, it’s universal. I also love the production;  it’s simple, yet beautiful, and the three-part harmony gives me chills.

“So, do you really wanna live like this forever / She’s trying to love you, boy / Why don’t you let her?”

 

Dylan Bestler, Contributing Writer

Pick: “The City” – Chase Rice
Songwriters: Chase Rice and Chris Destefano

Chase Rice put on an incredible show on Friday night at the Playstation Theater where he debuted a new song for us called the “The City” that will be on his next album. I’m not sure if I can pick an unreleased song but it’s been stuck in my head since and I can’t wait for him to release it so I can play it on repeat. It cannot go on our playlist yet but you can check it out an acoustic version on his Instagram page.

We were higher than the moon / hanging over lights on Broadway / as the band played / Baby let’s take/let’s take it to the city

 

Kristina Callahan, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Heartbeat of a Small Town” – Travis Denning
Songwriters: Chris Stevens, Rhett Akins, Travis Denning

When I listen to this song, I’m immediately thrown back to growing up in my hometown in Upstate New York where every Friday in the fall was all about high school football.

“Friday night, home team, marching band // Whole crowd stomping in the stands // You can hear them pads popping a mile away”

I think any song that can take you back to great memories growing up is something so special. I’ve been a fan of Denning’s other songs he’s released like “After a Few,” “David Ashley Parker from Powder Springs,” and “Tank of Gas with a Radio Song.” While still up-and-coming, I can’t wait to see what this Georgia boy has coming up next.

Julia Grubbs, Contributing Writer 

Pick: “Coming Down the Mountain” – Mipso
Songwriters: Libby Rodenbough

With the fall chill in the air, and New Yorkers gearing up for Thanksgiving, Christmas, winter, don’t forget Halloween!, I’m taking full advantage of the sweater weather to listen to chill country music in preparation for the changing of the seasons. I’ll light my Honeycrisp Apple candle from Trader Joe’s and throw on this easy tune by Mipso. I’m totally into the Indie-Country mashups these days, where you can’t place the music in any particular genre, but it just makes you feel good.
Her voice eases any tension you might be holding and encourages a slowing down so appropriate for this time of year. Imagine watching the leaves fall with this in the background, and you’ll get what I mean. The harmonies also sit well, further relaxing you into a casual ‘sit on the porch with your coffee’ mood. I think we all need a bit more slow-moving songs in this fast-paced society, so let Mipso give you all you need to gather round the people you hold dear and just breathe. If you have the chance to listen to this in the mountains, then you’ll really catch the essence of the song.

Autumn Haile, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Newport” – Kylie Rothfield
Songwriters: Kylie Rothfield

Although Kylie Rothfield toes the line between pop and country, her ethereal songwriting is what fits her so effortlessly into the Nashville music scene. It also happens to be what made me fall in love with her song, “Newport.” While “Newport” isn’t one of her newest songs, it’s one that recently caught my attention because of the wistful atmosphere and the emotional reminiscent sprinkled throughout the lyrics. It captures that feeling you get when you look back on a moment you didn’t realize was important until long after it was over.  Her talent with words and melodies makes listeners feel every ebb and flow of the melody, which is perfect for a song that reminds me of being close to the water with someone I love. From the very first listen, I was hooked on her voice, her sound, and her talent. I still feel you holding me / I still feel your love / We always have Newport, babe / Our escape from the world that we don’t understand / We always have Newport / and We left something there that we’ll never get back

Molly Holmberg, Contributing Writer

Pick: “A Road and A Radio” – Charles Esten
Songwriters: Charles Esten and J.T. Harding

This month I have been listening to Charles Esten’s “A Road and A Radio.” This song embraces the free spirit that an open road brings and listening to your favorite, nostalgic songs with friends, or just simply driving to clear your mind. The song channels an upbeat rock in roll toon with such ease to sing along. Esten mentioned in a press release, “It would be nice to think that maybe when somebody out there, in an attempt to get away from it all, decides to get ‘a song turned up’ and ‘a ragtop down,’ this just might be one of the songs they turn up.” I can definitely say that I have turned this one up more than once while driving with friends.

 

Nicole Piering, Contributing Writer

Pick: “The Father, My Son, and the Holy Ghost” – Craig Morgan
Songwriters: Craig Morgan

My pick for the month of October is Craig Morgan’s “The Father, My Son, and the Holy Ghost.” Released in late August, the song was given much-deserved attention thanks to a viral campaign led by Blake Shelton. With the help of Shelton and some other famous friends, including Ellen Degeneres, Carson Daly, Kelly Clarkson, and Hoda Kotb, the song climbed to #1 atop the iTunes’ all-genre chart. Unlike many other viral hits, Morgan’s song is a meaningful and powerful proclamation of faith and love, written in the wake of tragedy. Morgan penned the track after the passing of his son three years ago in a drowning accident, and it’s sure to give you chills. “I know my boy ain’t here, but he ain’t gone,” He sings, and it’s a message that anyone who’s ever lost someone can definitely relate to.

Pick: “Right Where I Left It” – Cole Swindell
Songwriters: Cole Swindell, Cole Taylor, Michael Carter
My pick for October is “Right Where I Left It” by Cole Swindell. The latest song to come from Cole Swindell’s new EP, Down Home Sessions V, might be my favorite from the EP so far.  It’s a great reminder that no matter how old you get or how far you move, your home town is always going to be there. Growing up in a small town in South Jersey, I know that’s true.

Shanna Vitaliano, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Let It Roll” – Midland
Songwriters: Jess Carson

I have been listening to “Let It Roll” by Midland since I saw them kick off their tour last month in New York City.  Penned by Jess Carson, it is a wordy track that reels you in with the authentic feel of strong country roots.  Midland sticks with their undeniably incredible distinguished style as “Let It Roll” tells a story of being in awe over someone.  It is a great song to play while on a long drive with an easy-going chorus, “So let it roll/Out of your soul/And we’ll fly down the road/See how high we can go/And let it ride/Like the tumblin’ dice/When you flash me those eyes/Girl, I’m out of my mind.”  “Let It Roll” has a twangy, laid back vibe that showcases what Midland is all about.

Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer

Pick: “One Beer” – HARDY feat. Devin Dawson and Lauren Alaina
Songwriters: Hillary Lindsey, Jake Mitchell, HARDY

This month I knew exactly which song I was picking for my song of the month almost as soon as I heard it. My pick is HARDY’s song “One Beer,” featuring Devin Dawson and Lauren Alaina. First off, the entire concept of HARDY’s record “Hixtape Vol. 1” blows my mind and excites me for more music from him, but this song is for sure stand out off the record.

“A Boy and a girl and a three on a tree / K-I-S-S-I-N-G / First comes lust, then a shotgun marriage / Six month’s later come a baby in a carriage / You know what, y’all? You know what, y’all? / The whole thing started with some alcohol / The whole thing started with some alcohol.”

“One Beer” is innovative, oddly relatable, and storytelling at its finest. It paints the picture of a young couple, who find out that they are having a baby, which clearly changes the course of their lives. “One Beer” is the modern day “There Goes My Life” by Kenny Chesney. From the clever wordplay to the killer vocals by the collaborators to using a baby’s heartbeat as an instrumental, HARDY created a masterpiece with this track. I’ll always be a sucker for some creative and heartfelt lyrics, so I cannot wait to see what HARDY brings to the table next with his song-writing craft.

 

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

—————

SHOP THE HERO COLLECTION

The Hero Collection by NYCountry Swag is inspired by the men and women of the Fire, Police and Military Departments across the country. A portion of sales from each purchase is donated to different foundations that support our heroes. We are dedicated to honoring their service and remembering their sacrifice.

—————————-

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:

What We’re Listening To: September 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 September picks. Then be sure to give our Spotify account a follow and listen to our favorite tracks!

 

SEPTEMBER PICKS:

 

Stephanie Wagner, Founder

Pick: “She’s Mine” – Kip Moore
Songwriters: Dan Couch, Kip Moore, Scott Stepakoff

“This month, I’m listening to Kip Moore’s latest release “She’s Mine”. In typical Kip Moore fashion, the song is a bop paired with meaningful lyrics. On first impression, the title of the song may lead you to believe that it’s just another country love song, but upon further listening, Moore lays out the idea of searching for that love and questioning the endless possibilities of where she might be. I love that so many ideas and questions are asked in this song, suggesting that love could literally be anywhere.”

 

Christina Bosch, Managing Editor 

Pick: “Bluebird” – Miranda Lambert
Songwriters: Luke Dick, Miranda Lambert, Natalie Hemby

Miranda Lambert has already released several songs that will be on her new record, Wildcard which is out later this fall and while I have truly loved each of them, “Bluebird” is definitely a favorite and a song I’ve had on repeat this month. Sonically, the song is sweet, simple and an easy listen but it’s the lyrics that are relatable while also being specific to Lambert’s current journey.

“Yeah, I’m a keeper / I keep digging down for the deep / Like the records I’m playing, they might keep you waiting / But you know I’m gonna play em for keeps”

The line above specifically spoke to me, I always gravitate towards meaningful lyrics, songs that move you and make you think. Lambert has always had a way with words, especially when she teams up with hit writers like Luke Dick and Natalie Hemby. I am so looking forward to the rest of the Wildcard album to see what else the songstress has up her sleeve.

 

Dylan Bestler, Contributing Writer

Pick: “He Went To Jared” – HARDY & Morgan Wallen
Songwriters: Michael Hardy, Morgan Wallen, Chase McGill

“There’s nothing better than a fun, upbeat, breakup song and in my opinion and this track fits that category perfectly; it’s a straight-up banger. HARDY and Wallen share their stories about how their rough, southern, blue-collar lifestyle wasn’t enough for their girls as they lost them to rich, classy, clean cut guys.

“He went to Ole Miss, I went to work / He pushes paper, I push the dirt / He’s got that clean cut, drivin’ him a clean truck / I’m just sittin’ here with a beer and my jeans tucked”

I love how good of friends Morgan Wallen and HARDY are. Their friendship and similar music styles make them a great duo for songwriting and performing. These guys have already topped the charts as either artists or songwriters and will continue to do so for a long time. “

 

Julia Grubbs, Contributing Writer 

Pick: “Front Porch” – Joy Williams
Songwriters: Emily Shackleton, Joy Williams, Lize Rose

“I don’t have much time to just relax around the house, but when I do, Country Coffeehouse is one of my favorite Spotify playlists to throw on, especially in the beginnings of fall. More of an indie-country sound, these songs create the perfect mood for the incoming chill. I love this relaxing song by Joy Williams, with the peaceful violin, wringing vocals, and the rhythmic guitar to settle me in and slow down from the craziness of New York City. She talks about coming home, back to where you’re welcomed, no matter what has happened.”

“If never you find what you’re looking for/ Come on back to the front porch / Say my name through the screen door…Whatever you’ve done, it doesn’t matter / ‘Cause darling we’re all a little splintered and battered”

 

Autumn Haile, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Weeping Willow” – Ruston Kelly
Songwriters: A.P Carter

“As a child, I spent a lot of time with my grandmother, who was raised in the desolate landscape of Alabama back in the 1950s. Growing up alongside her, I was exposed to old-school country music like Patsy Cline, Hank Williams, and The Carter Family. So, when Ruston Kelly, one of my favorite modern-day country artists, covered the heartbreaking “Weeping Willow,” originally made famous by The Carter Family, it made my entire summer. This somber track about pining for unrequited love is grounded in modern production while tipping its hat eloquently to the creators of the past. Ruston’s perfectly affected vocals, layered harmonies, and aching emotional timbre bring this tragic track to life. It’s been on repeat, which probably isn’t great for my mood but definitely feeds my soul.”

 

Molly Holmberg, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Lonely If You Are” – Chase Rice
Songwriters: Chase Rice, Lindsey Rimes, Hunter Phelps

“This month I have been listening to Chase Rice’s new song “Lonely If You Are.” I think Rice is one of the most underrated artists, granted he hasn’t put out an album in two years, although Lambs and Lions is filled with gold. Finally garnering more airtime with “Eyes On You” and now with “Lonely If You Are,” his music is really starting to pick up the traction it had with his Ignite The Night album. It opens with the acoustic guitar and fades into a steamy romantic situation. This song is his way of letting the girl know that he will be there no matter what time of day or night it is.

“You could have your hair down, all curled up on the couch / And the quiet ain’t loud enough / It could be A.M. or P.M. / It could be middle of the week or the weekend baby / It ain’t too late or too far / Just call me ’cause I’m lonely / If you are, if you are”

“Lonely If You Are” is a complete hit and I would love to see it go Number 1.”

 

Abby Kaye-Phillips, Contributing Writer 

Pick: “Dream You Never Had” – Thomas Rhett
Songwriters: Ashley Gorley, Jesse Frasure, Rhett Akins, Thomas Rhett

“I love how country singers tend to write about their own lives, even if we as listeners can’t necessarily relate to their exact experience. “Dream You Never Had” is a beautiful tribute to Thomas Rhett’s wife Lauren, who fell in love with him before he was famous, and has stood by him through it all, even though it may not be the life she pictured for herself. Being under the spotlight can be tough, and this song thanks her for putting her dreams aside to let her partner shine, and it’s really powerful. When the song first came out, other artists were commenting on how true the sentiment was, and knowing that this is how many artists feel about their husbands and wives gives us as fans an inside look into the real lives of the stars we love.

“I know it’s been hard / I know it ain’t easy / Oh, but I couldn’t do one show without you / Oh, baby, believe me,/ Crowds have been crazy / But baby, I’m missing you bad / Just wanna say thank you for living this dream / I know you never had”

Pick: “Never Grow Old” – Houston Bernard Band
Songwriters: Houston Bernard, Mary Lynn Haller
“Life can get crazy and sometimes you just need that reminder to have fun and stay young. As hard as it may be, adulting will get easier and there’s no need to stress about it.”

Tricia Murdy, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Leaving Love Behind” – Zac Brown Band
Songwriters: Clay Cook, Coy Bowles, Jimmy DeMartini, Phil Hanseroth, Tim Hanseroth

“Zac Brown Band spent the summer covering the US on The Owl Tour. I got to see this amazing show this summer at PNC Bank Arts Center. They played a few new tracks that will be included on their upcoming studio album. “There’s some really personal songs on here,” Brown told CNN about the upcoming new album. “Sometimes life can be challenging in facing things that are hard, and music has always been my therapy. It’s been my way to make it through a lot of things, so I’m blessed to be able to do that. You always get to hear about our lives in the music that we put out – lots of diversity on this album.” This one titled “Leaving Love Behind” was by far was the best. It was so emotional, so raw that it had me in tears. It was announced last year that Zac Brown and his wife of 12 years were separating and hearing him pour his heart into this tune, you could feel the pain the artist has been going through.

“I believe, yes I do, that everything we lose will be a gift in time, but the hardest part is leaving love behind.”

This song is so relatable to anyone who has been through a painful experience, whether that be a breakup, a loss, anything. I’m not even sure what in my heart the song was pulling on in that moment, but just listening to Brown pour his heart out with those words was enough to melt even the iciest of hearts.”

 

Danielle Tornatore, Contributing Writer

Pick: “homecoming queen?” – Kelsea Ballerini
Songwriters: Jimmy Robbins, Kelsea Ballerini, Nicolle Galyon

“Whenever an artist releases such a vulnerable and relatable song like this, it holds a special place in my heart. Kelsea truly knocked it out of the park with this one; accepting your flaws and not being afraid to admit that everything is not perfect, though they may seem it on the outside. Songs like this are why I love country music so much.”

 

Jaclyn Tracy, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Remember You Young” – Thomas Rhett
Songwriters: Ashley Gorley, Jesse Frasure, Thomas Rhett

“I have always been a fan of Thomas Rhett but I never really took the time to listen to all of his songs, including the more low-key ones that are not on the radio. After seeing the title “Remember You Young”, and knowing how deep Thomas Rhett’s music can be, I was definitely curious to give it a listen.

After listening to it just once and reading through the lyrics, I was almost brought to tears. This song carries such an interesting and sentimental meaning. A lot of times in our daily lives we are so caught up in work, obligations and just being extremely busy that we often forget about the young person we once were, full of imagination, hope and innocence. The song talks about always being able to bring yourself back to those times when you were a child, or in college having some of the best times of your life, and even references his wife, daughters and some of his best friends and family.

I am obsessed with this song and have been playing it over and over again after hearing it, and am now encouraged to listen to more of his most recent album Center Point Road, and hear what other meaningful and amazing songs are on this album waiting to be heard by country music fans like me.”

 

Shanna Vitaliano, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Catch A Cold One” – Jake Owen
Songwriters: Jon Nite, Josh Thompson, Justin Ebach

“As the summer quickly comes to an end, for my pick this month I decided to go with Jake Owen’s song, “Catch A Cold One.” This track was written by Jon Nite, Josh Thompson, and Justin Ebach and it is a song about fishing with your grandfather, reflecting on life, and accepting that when things may not always seem to be going right – keep a positive attitude.  “Catch A Cold One” is refreshing in a sense that it reminds us all that even if “you can’t always catch a break or a big one,” not to worry because “you can always catch a cold one.”
One of my favorite parts of the song is the second verse when Owen reflects on his grandfather’s advice and sings, “Yeah, I didn’t get it then, but I sure do now / It’s kinda up to you how it all turns out / Life ain’t always pinewood docks and blue skies / Every time I reach down in the ice / I can still hear him from the other side.”  “Catch A Cold One” is a feel-good, laid back, country song with a subtle message that we can all relate to.”

Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Still Our Town” – Josh Kerr
Songwriters: Jordan Minton, Josh Kerr

“This month I’m loving songwriter, turned solo artist, Josh Kerr! He recently released two songs, “Still Our Town” and “Oklahoma.” The former is my pick for this month. I love how relatable the track is. Kerr depicts how places that use to feel like yours, now feel like it belongs to your ex because of all the memories that were made there. It’s a simple concept, but Kerr delivers the message in a new and innovative way. Also, the beat is super catchy, which only adds to the enticing tune.

“I used to have it all to myself / Every street light, every stop sign / Country line to county line / Now you’re in all the parts that I love / Every inch and every corner / Every song on the radio.”

I love songwriters, and I’m especially loving watching talented songwriters release their own music. Go download “Still Our Town!” I can’t wait to see what Kerr drops next.”

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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