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 August picks. Then be sure to give our Spotify account a follow and listen to our favorite tracks!
Pick: “Just About Over You” – Priscilla Block
Songwriters: Emily Kroll, Priscilla Block, Sarah Jones
This month I chose country newcomer Priscilla Block’s “Just About Over You”. When I first heard the a cappella version she posted on Instagram before the official release, I was immediately drawn to the honest and raw lyrics.
“Why’d you have to come back in right then // Right when I was just getting good and gone? //
‘Cause I was in the wrong place at the wrong time // You must’ve heard I was moving on”
I think most people can connect with that moment when you think you’re just about over someone and then you run into them or something reminds you of them and it opens a floodgate of all of those emotions that you thought you had moved on from. Block’s ability to not only pinpoint those relatable feelings in her songwriting but to flawlessly deliver the track in such a vocally pleasing way makes her for sure an artist to watch.
Pick: “Forged In the Fire” – Caylee Hammack
Songwriters: Andy Skib, Caylee Hammack, Thomas Finchum
Although Caylee Hammack revealed that this track was written after her home burned down in an actual fire, the lyrics ring true for this absolutely transformational year and era that we are living in. “Forged in the Fire” is sonically pleasing, it builds through the song, similar to the way a person who has been beaten down, picks up what is left of their life and moves on. The chorus questions how much can the human spirit take and when is there a light at the end of something so traumatizing.
“When does a phoenix learn how to fly? / Do I get my wings when I stop asking why? / How do I start moving on, moving past, stop holding on, looking back / When God’s hell-bent on making me a fighter, forged in the fire”
Facing hardships these past 6 months has made me really question God on when things will start looking up but music will always be there, the ability to hear a song, and have it change my entire outlook on something remains true through a pandemic or not.
Pick: “Chasin’ Me” – Caroline Jones
Songwriters: Caroline Jones
Since last summer, I have been obsessed with the breezy, effortless “Chasin’ Me” by Caroline Jones. It’s rare that an artist is as involved in their projects as Jones is; she writes, arranges, and produces each track. The layers of dreamy harmonies are ethereal and her electric guitar work is stunning. It is the perfect summer song! Feeling reminiscent of a time pre-pandemic, I’ve been listening to this song on repeat. Everything about “Chasin’ Me” is atmospheric.
Pick: “Happy Does” – Kenny Chesney
Songwriters: Brad Clawson, Brock Berryhill, Greylan James, Jamie Paulin
“Happy Does” is definitely my favorite song off his most recent record, Here and Now. Happiness may be hard to find for some, especially in times like these, but Chesney has a simple solution: do things that make you happy. People aren’t born happy or sad, they are what they do. By listening to upbeat music, mixing your favorite drink, surrounding yourself with the people you love, and staying away from the media allows us to look at life in a positive light. Our mental health is extremely important in these trying times and we have to fill our days with joy, instead of more bad news.
“Drink a beer just because / Steal a slow dance in a rainstorm / And a kiss from who you love / Laugh and live with a half full cup / Yeah, happy is as happy does”
Pick: “Bad Mother Trucker” – Eric Church
Songwriters: Eric Church, Casey Beathard, Luke Dick, and Jeremy Spillman
Anytime there’s new Eric Church music, the ante is automatically raised. Even though “Bad Mother Trucker” isn’t a particularly deep song, I do believe it has a greater meaning: women are just as capable as men at getting the job done. Church’s voice screams rock ‘n roll in this song and even has an incredible guitar solo in the middle. Joanna Cotten’s background vocals are the perfect counterpart to the gritty lyrics and beat.
She drove an ’81 Peterbilt 18-wheeler // Jet black with pink mud flaps // It was a mean piece of metal with lightning in the pedal // Thunder comin’ out the back // And them boys would chuckle when they saw her buckle // Herself in the captain’s seat // But nobody was laughin’ when she’d go to passin’ // Smilin’ at them real sweet
I can’t remember a Church song I didn’t like. His songwriting ability is unparalleled and I can’t wait to see what he has in store for the rest of 2020.
Pick: “Feels Like Home” – Tyler Rich
Songwriters: Tyler Rich, Andrew DeRoberts, Jon Nite
I usually have really poignant and sad cuts picked out for this monthly feature. But, I think the world’s already as “sad” as it can be, ha. So, what better song to blast and put on repeat than Tyler Rich’s “Feels Like Home”? It’s just an overall feel-good anthem about toasting to the simplicity of a good get-together. “I came here tonight to forget why I’m here / If you’re with me then why don’t you raise up your beer / Dance with a stranger that you’d like to know / ‘Cause it feels like home,” Rich sings in the chorus. The uplifting track reminds listeners (and me!) to celebrate the here and now, and not let go of the joy of being in our “home.” Turn this one up loud for the rest of summer, and enjoy the good times with family and friends!
Pick: “Any Man Of Mine” – Shania Twain
Songwriters: Robert John “Mutt” Lange, Shania Twain
The 1995 hit “Any Man of Mine” has found a home inside my brain over the last few weeks. It’s a song that practically demands to be on full volume with unofficial vocal accompaniment during car rides, bedroom jam sessions and girls nights. I, without fail, sing it loud and proud in hopes that the maxed out volume will drown me out and, instead, focus on Shania Twain’s unmistakable tone.
Lyrically, “Any Man of Mine” is genius. Robert John “Mutt” Lange and the world-renowned artist herself wrote this song that has become a reminder for women that they’re worth so much more than what they might have been given thus far. It’s a reminder to not settle for any undeserving or impassive man.
Pick: “The Stranger” (Reimagined) – Ingrid Andress
Songwriters: Ingrid Andress, Ryan Lafferty
“The Stranger” by Ingrid Andress, a song that was included in her debut album “Lady Like” earlier this year, is a gorgeous song. Luckily for us fans, the singer recently released a stripped-down, piano version – which takes the song to an entirely new level. This new version is very intimate, and almost solely features a piano and Andress’ captivating, magical voice. Andress has revealed to fans that this special song was inspired by her own parent’s love story, and you can feel the raw emotion radiate through her voice as she sings. This song showcases the story of two lovers who wish to forget all of the hardships their relationship has endured, and go back to a place where it can be pure again. The colorful imagery and wistful nostalgia beautifully convey the message restoring love and reconnecting. Be sure to check out this new rendition of “The Stranger”.
Pick: “Gaslighter” – The Chicks
Songwriters: Emily Strayer, Jack Antonoff, Martie Maguire, Natalie Maines
I grew up with the album Fly as an adolescent wannabe performer dancing in my childhood room to the powerful female anthems and catchy tunes of these gals. It wasn’t until my roommate was playing “Gaslighter” that I remembered the strength with which their songs were a part of my memory. And they did not disappoint this time around. The a cappella harmonies at the beginning draw you right in, followed by the smooth verse and captivating chorus. They never fail to tell a tale and poetically wrap up the experiences of an individual. Now that they’re back, I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Pick: “Beers and Sunshine” – Darius Rucker
Songwriters: Darius Rucker, J.T Harding, Josh Osborne, Ross Copperman
My August pick is “Beers and Sunshine” by Darius Rucker. This summer has been far from ideal especially with no concerts. This song is the perfect reminder to forget about all the craziness. When I listen to it I instantly take a breath and think about all the good things to happen especially quality time spent with loved ones. It also isn’t bad to listen to with your favorite drink of choice.
Pick: “GIVE HEAVEN SOME HELL” – HARDY
Songwriters: Ashley Gorley, Ben Johnson, Hunter Phelps, Michael Hardy
I truly believe HARDY can do no wrong! Everything he touches turns to gold in my mind. I have truly loved or grown to love every release he has had so far and every song he has written or co-written. My song pick this month, “GIVE HEAVEN SOME HELL” is just another example of how incredibly talented HARDY is.
The song is everything I want in a country song. The lyrics are catchy, yet meaningful, and the song just hooks you in. I am in awe of HARDY’s masterful way of weaving together sentiments, and I could not be more excited for his next record. I already know it’s going to one of my favorites of the year. If you haven’t jumped aboard the HARDY train, do so, and fast!
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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