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: “Tell Me How” – Teddy Robb
Songwriters: Aaron Eshuis, Blake Chaffin, Teddy Robb

“This month I easily chose Teddy Robb’s “Tell Me How” as the track I’ve got on repeat. I first heard the song nearly six months ago when one of our writers covering his Nashville show sent me a video clip of the song. I immediately was hooked on the lyrics.

“Tell me you’re okay / Tell me you made it through / Tell me you’re over me / You don’t think about me and you / Tell me you can sleep at night / Tell me your happy now / Tell me you’ve moved on / Then tell me how”

The first time I heard that ending on the chorus, “Then tell me how”, it blew me away. Keep in mind, I didn’t know the name of the song at the time I was sent the clip and totally did not see that coming! It’s definitely one of those songs that tugs at the heartstrings. I’m pumped that it has finally been released and the world can hear more of this talented rising star, Teddy Robb!”

 

Christina Bosch, Managing Editor 

Pick: “Graduation Day” – Madison Kozak
Songwriters: Chris Stapleton, Jesse Frasure

“Who knew that two dudes could write a song that is so relatable for females, however, I guess songwriting geniuses Chris Stapleton and Jesse Frasure can write about pretty much anything. Madison Kozak is a newcomer to the genre but the second I heard this song, I knew I would have it on repeat for a long time. A senior at Belmont University in Nashville, Kozak dropped this song on her graduation day about being done with a loser.

“Boy, you wrote the book on heartbreak school /  had a Ph.D. in making me your fool  / now you’re callin’ me crying /  I wanted to say ‘Congratulations, boy, it’s graduation day’.”

If the killer lyrics and beat don’t make you fall in love with the song, the ‘shoop sha doops’ certainly will.”

 

Dylan Bestler, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Rival” – LANCO
Songwriters: Brandon Lancaster, Tripp Howell

“I liked this song the first time I heard it On The Horizon on Sirius XM but I fell in love with it when the band released the music video. The video brought the song to life and helped me understand what it was really about.

Being an athlete my whole life, I was always one for appreciating underdog stories and songs. The video displays a group of individuals bashing through a wall with negative phrases written on it to show that anyone could overcome hate, discouragement, and doubt. At the start of my junior year, I was taken off the 4×400 meter relay team; the head coach thought his new recruits were faster than I was. Being taken off the relay was the motivation I needed to push myself harder. By the end of the season, I had the second fastest 400 time on the team and was the lead-off leg on the relay that set the school record. I recently added “Rival” to my workout playlist and I suggest y’all do the same.”

 

Nicole Bochinis, Contributing Writer

Pick: “That Old Truck” – Thomas Rhett
Songwriters: Julian Bunetta, Kamron Kimbro, Ryan Tedder, Thomas Rhett

“I have been a fan of Thomas Rhett since the beginning. From It Goes Like This to Tangled Up to Life Changes and now to Center Point Road, I am so proud to call myself a fan and supporter of such a talented artist. Rhett has really changed the style of music that he has been putting out throughout the years but after hearing “That Old Truck,” his roots are showing more and more for his forthcoming album. As the month is coming to an end, my excitement for Center Point Road is growing especially because I get to attend a special album release event during CMA Fest.”

 

Jeremy Chua, Contributing Writer 

Pick: “Her World or Mine” – Michael Ray
Songwriters: Brett Beavers, Travis Denning, Jamie Paulin

“A story that some, if not many of us, have resonated with at some point, “Her World Or Mine” is Michael Ray’s 3rd single following the No. 1 “One That Got Away,” off his sophomore record, Amos. I remember going through something similar just about when clips of Ray performing this song live went online. I heard it and thought to myself, “this is my story man.” It narrates the story of what goes on after a breakup, and how completely opposite both parties feel.

“One of us moved on, one of us got stuck / One of us is drinkin’ just for fun, one of us drinkin’ to get drunk / One of us sleeps good, and one of us hates to face the night / Just depends if you’re talkin’ about her world or mine”

Following the success it’s seen on Spotify and Sirius XM’s The Highway, I sure am glad the label and his team are moving forward with this ballad as the next radio single. It is a bold move to choose it over an uptempo, but this song, one of the sophomore album highlights if you ask me, certainly showcases the vulnerable, more emotional side of Ray both as a performer and individual. If anything it should, and I hope it does, get him his 4th career #1.

 

Kelly Cunningham, Contributing Writer 

Pick: “Backseat Driver” – Robert Counts
Songwriters: Matt Willis, Nicolette Hayford, Robert Counts

This track was cut by William Michael Morgan back in 2016, but Counts’ own version is tough to beat. I just heard this track on The Highway Sirius XM and it caught my attention right away. Counts’ voice is a perfect mixture of country-soulful that gets you attached. It’s about leaving home and moving onto something new but never forgetting where you came from. It has a freedom feeling. It’s definitely a perfect summer road trip song.
“Drive like the devil / When you see an open highway / And let off that pedal / When a good view steals your breath away / Take a left if it feels right / Roll your windows down at night / You may get lost but you’ll be alright / There’s a bible on the dash / And a map tucked in the door / I can’t be your backseat driver anymore”
He was just recently signed by Sony Music Nashville in January and only released two songs. I can’t wait for what’s to come for Counts.

 

Julia Grubbs, Contributing Writer 

Pick: “No Saint” – Lauren Jenkins
Songwriters: Ingrid Andress, Lauren Jenkins

“Ever since I heard this song when Lauren Jenksins opened for The Wild Feathers, I’ve been listening to it nonstop. The gravelly texture of the opening line catches your ear, and the strong lyrics pull you in. She tells the story of needing to forgive someone who wronged her, and the Bible tells her to, but she just can’t do it yet. You can tell she’s wringing herself, not knowing what else to do.

“I fell from grace, I can’t be saved, it’s a long way up from here / I fell from grace, I ain’t no saint, it’s a long way up from here”

With a somber tone and a little bit of resentment still present, this problem was never resolved. The other person walked away as if by saying sorry, they were free of all guilt. She knows it’s not that simple, and can’t get out of this dark place. Her vocals come from a genuine place that everyone listening along can feel the pain and most likely relate. This is a great song to sing along to and to pull at the heartstrings.”

 

Molly Holmberg, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Some People Do” – Old Dominion
Songwriters: Jesse Frasure, Matthew Ramsey, Shane McAnally, Thomas Rhett

“Well, the band has outdone themselves yet again, putting out yet another hit song “Some People Do.” I am always a sucker for a slow ballad but this one really struck a chord. “Most wouldn’t forgive what I put you through, but I’m here tonight hoping some people do.” It sings about a situation very similar to one my best friend was in a couple of months ago with her boyfriend, so naturally, I felt this song deep down.

I believe the vulnerability of the lyrics and the simplicity of the instrumentals really speak to the volume of this track. The whole band has amazing talent as songwriters and if their past is any foreshadowing of the future, don’t be surprised when you see “Some People Do” on the top of the charts. This was definitely an easy pick for this month and I cannot wait to see what the guys do with this song.”

 

Abby Kaye-Phillips, Contributing Writer 

Pick: “Drinking Alone” – Carrie Underwood
Songwriters: Brett James, Carrie Underwood, David Garcia

“One of the reasons I was most excited for Carrie Underwood’s new album, “Cry Pretty” last fall was because she always includes at least one track that is out of the box. This time it was “Drinking Alone”, and I’m obsessed!! It’s rare that a country track crosses into the bluesy, sultry, jazzy territory, but this one does it in the best way. It tells a story, it pulls you in, and it sounds nothing like anything else she’s ever done. It’s definitely the song I’m most looking forward to seeing later this year on the Cry Pretty Tour 360.”
Pick: “Beer Never Broke My Heart” – Luke Combs
Songwriters: Jonathan Singleton, Randy Montana and Luke Combs

Tricia Murdy, Contributing Writer 

Pick: “The Ones That Didn’t Make It Back Home – Justin Moore
Songwriters: Justin Moore, Paul DiGiovanni, Chase McGill, Jeremy Stover

“This is the latest single from Justin Moore and one that resonates so strongly with anyone who has lost someone. The first few times I heard it I had to turn it off because I couldn’t handle the emotions it was invoking in me.

Several years ago I lost a good friend – he was killed in Afghanistan while fighting in the US Army Special Forces just 2 months after his 30th birthday. He was a locally known and respected hero and was loved by everyone that knew him.

The whole town shut down, the whole town showed up, sang Amazing Grace and watched a slideshow of his 22 years. There was laughs and there was tears. And that preacher talked about sacrifice and traffic stopped for them Cadillac lights.”

Those lyrics took me back to the day his body was brought home and a parade was held through town. People lined the streets waving American flags and showing their respect and admiration for one that didn’t make it back home. This song is a ballad, a tribute and pays homage to those heroes near and far that paid the ultimate sacrifice. If you haven’t heard it yet, you must check it out. But maybe grab a tissue first.”

 

Nicole Piering, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Wallflowers & Weeds” – Blake Shelton
Songwriters: Ivy Walker, Jason Gantt, Scott Stepakoff, Sophie Walker

After seeing tons of previews for the animated film, Ugly Dolls, I decided to check out the movie’s star-studded soundtrack. With the voices of Kelly Clarkson, Nick Jonas, Janelle Monae, and Blake Shelton featured in the flick, I had high hopes for the music and was not disappointed. While there’s the expected powerful pop from Clarkson and Jonas, there’s a hidden country gem on the soundtrack by Shelton.

Entitled “Wallflowers and Weeds,” the track is dedicated to embracing what makes you just a little weird, as “wallflowers and weeds are beautiful, too.” On the song, Shelton admits that “sometimes the hardest work is loving what you’re working with.” Although the song is from a children’s movie, the theme of embracing your imperfections is truly universal and carries through to the songs on the soundtrack.

Although Shelton has been getting praised for his recent single, the dark and brooding “God’s Country,” “Wallflowers and Weeds” is a much lighter tune that you’re sure to be singing along with after one listen. After all, “Roses are red/ Violets are blue/ Nothing out there as rare as you / Throwing caution to the wind/ Like a dandelion wish blowing wild and free/ Roses are red/ Violets are blue/ Wallflowers and weeds are beautiful, too.”

 

Olivia Reese, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Good Vibes” – Chris Janson
Songwriters: Ashley Gorley, Chris Janson, Zach Crowell

Summer is right around the corner and “Good Vibes” by Chris Janson is the quintessential feel-good summer song. Lyrically it focuses on living life to the fullest, enjoying the moment, and appreciating what you have; to see the bright side in everything and not let anything bad or roadblock get in your way. “I ain’t tryna hear the negative (nope) / I’m just tryna change the narrative / Hell, it’s simply imperative / And we all have a damn good time.” To me, it is the perfect driving with the windows down and beach song, with a wonderful positive message, which will definitely top my summer playlist this year.

 

Danielle Tornatore, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Good and Gone” – Seaforth
Songwriters: Gordie Sampson, Josh Miller, Mitchell Thompson, Thomas Jordan

“My pick this month was hands down the easiest and quickest decision I’ve made thus far as part of the NYCS team. Seaforth’s debut EP Love That has been on literal repeat for me since the initial release. The second I heard this particular track, I replayed it about twenty times that night and could not get enough. It contains the two things I love most in a song; heartbreaking lyrics masked by an upbeat tune, essentially making it a breakup jam. I’m still listening to it at least five times a day and I hope to hear it live when I see my new favorite duo at CMA Fest next month.”

 

Shanna Vitaliano, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Heaven Bound Balloons” – Granger Smith
Songwriters: Granger Smith, Andy Albert, Jordan Schmidt

“If anyone is looking for a good cry, give Granger Smith’s new song “Heaven Bound Balloons” a listen. The first time I heard it I had chills, as Smith sings about his kids writing messages on balloons to their grandparents that have passed away.

In the chorus Granger sings, “We wrote we miss you and we love you’/ Told him things are great down here / We spelled it out and sent it up / And we watched it disappear / Sometimes I guess you gotta see it to believe it / ‘Cause right then I knew those blue sky prayers were getting through / When we let go of those heaven bound balloons.”

“Heaven Bound Balloons” is an emotional and easily relatable track, one that speaks right to the heart of losing someone you love. Smith has an incredible way of writing lyrics that really pull you in and hit home.”

 

Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Leave Her Wild” – Tyler Rich
Songwriters: Chris DeStefano, Jon Nite, Tyler Rich

This month my song pick came so easily to me. The second Tyler Rich released “Leave Her Wild,” I fell in love with the song- not to mention the “first look” video elevates it completely. The message of the song is what I love so much. It’s about not trying to change the person you fell in love with because they should always be authentic to themselves.

The title “Leave Her Wild,” is such a beautiful sentiment that I relate to on a deep level. I sometimes feel that I am a free spirit that has to conform to meet society’s standards, and I appreciate that though a love song, I am able to connect with Rich’s song in a different way.

“Don’t tame her, try to chain her / The second you do, you’ll break her / Don’t dull that shine that caught your eye / ‘Cause you’re afraid somebody will take her / She ain’t a dial you just turn on and off / She ain’t found, but she ain’t all that lost / If you’re gonna love her, if you’re gonna love her / If you’re gonna love, leave her wild”

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

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The Country Songs That Are the Soundtracks Of Our Lives

As music lovers, the NYCountry Swag team and our writers have decided on songs that sum up their lives. We each picked a song that could be the soundtrack to our lives and explained why.

Soundtracks Of Our Lives

Stephanie Wagner, Founder

Pick: “Family Tree” – Caylee Hammack
Songwriters: Caylee Hammack, Gordie Sampson, Troy Verges

Caylee Hammack’s debut single, “Family Tree” is a song destined to be on everyone’s life soundtrack. The song gets real deep and personal, exposing all of the quirks of the people closest to Hammack, her family.

The chorus of the undeniably catchy tune is what makes the song most relatable “Real life can get real funny / We got more love than we got money / Some swing a little higher / Some’ll just hang low / A few of us are on fire to get out / And some just wanna stay home / but it don’t matter ‘cause our roots run deep / Ain’t nothing gonna shake our family tree”

Every family has their differences, but at the end of the day, no matter what, family is family. Through every chapter, through every phase of life, there’s one thing that doesn’t change and that’s your family tree. In the words of Caylee Hammack, “Through thick and thin, hell we’re still kin at the end of the day.”

 

Christina Bosch, Managing Editor 

Pick: “Stand” – Rascal Flatts
Songwriters: Danny Orton, Blair Daly

This song on Rascal Flatt’s 2006 album Me and My Gang has come through for me in some of the most difficult times of my life. It is an anthem for perseverance, finding the strength and power to move past life’s hardships and stand.

“‘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”

The image of being on your knees, praying for the courage to face whatever life throws at you and then gaining that courage, resiliency and then standing up and making it through has always stuck with me. After losing a close family member when she was very young, I heard this song a few months later at CMAFest, my very first trip to Nashville, and it was given a whole new meaning. I even went the next day and got “Then you stand” tattooed on my hip. It is a song that will always give me peace and a reminder of how strong you can be.

 

Dylan Bestler, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Homegrown” – Zac Brown Band
Songwriters: Niko Moon, Wyatt Durrette, Zac Brown

A simple song about how Brown loves the town where he grew up. I always loved this song because of how my town sounds like his. I have lived in the small town of Williston Park, NY my whole life and I would not have wanted it any other way.

When I was growing up, summer was centered around our little league. Me and the friends I have had since kindergarten would spend our days at the pool and our nights at the field; the two were only separated by a fence. After the games, we’d roam around our town’s mile radius with nothing to do but time to kill.

Our travel baseball team, the Williston Park Patriots stayed together for eight years. After a one year hiatus, we got almost the whole team back together to play slow pitch softball under the same team name. We even got our old coach to play with us. I love everything about Williston Park and am so proud of my roots.

 

Jeremy Chua, Contributing Writer 

Pick: “Riser” – Dierks Bentley
Songwriters: Steve Moakler, Travis Meadows

This song was the first song I thought of when I heard the phrase “soundtrack of your life.” “Riser” is, as I call, my life anthem. Even before its release, when I watched clips of Dierks Bentley performing it live on YouTube, I resonated to it. This was the one song some of my closest friends loved, including a dear big brother from Church. We used it to close one of our youth sessions and, when he passed suddenly, this same song helped me cope with the loss. The lyric “when I don’t know what I’m doing and can fake it, I’ll pray to Jesus who rolls away the stone” always hits home with me. As cheesy as it sounds, “Riser” really pushes me in the best way possible, to rise above every adversity with country music and the Good Lord by my side.

 

Julia Grubbs, Contributing Writer 

Pick: “I Hope You Dance” – Lee Ann Womack
Songwriters: Luke Bryan, Luke Laird, Rodney Clawson

This song encourages exploration, growth, and fighting to reach your dreams. Even while working hard, you can’t forget to live in the moment and just dance. As a dancer, hearing this song helps me remember why I do what I do, and continue to keep pursuing my dream and enjoy the journey.

“I hope you never lose your sense of wonder / You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger / May you never take one single breath for granted / God forbid love ever leave you empty handed / I hope you dance”

 

Abby Kaye-Phillips, Contributing Writer 

Pick: “Every Storm (Runs Out Of Rain)” – Gary Allan
Songwriters: Gary Allan, Hillary Lindsey, Matthew Alan Warren

I feel things very intensely, which is great when things in my life are great, but not so good when things are hard. When everything feels like it’s going wrong in my life it’s easy to think it will stay that way, but this song a great reminder that no matter what, there is always a point where things get better.

 

Rebekah Milsted, Contributing Writer 

Pick: “Fast” – Luke Bryan
Songwriters: Larry Bastian, Patrick Alger, Garth Brooks

“Sixty seconds now feels more like thirty / Tick-tock, won’t stop, around it goes / Tick-tock, won’t stop, around it goes / Sand through the glass sure falls in a hurry / And all you keep trying to do is slow it down, soak it in / Keep trying to make the good times last as long as you can / But you can’t, man/It just goes too fast”

“Fast” by Luke Bryan is my pick because life truly does go by fast, one minute you were in college living with your best friends and now you’re coming up on your second year of marriage. The song teaches you to live in the moment and enjoy what’s in front of you.

 

Tricia Murdy, Contributing Writer 

Pick: “Unanswered Prayers” – Garth Brooks
Songwriters: Larry Bastian, Patrick Alger, Garth Brooks

If I had to choose a country song that sums up my life, something that really defines me… it would be “Unanswered Prayers” by Garth Brooks. This is a timeless classic but still resonates with me every day. There are so many moments where I wanted things to go a certain way and prayed for the outcome that I desired. Things didn’t go the way I wanted and at the time I was disappointed or sad and questioned everything. I can’t even count how many times I’ve referenced this song to someone when things weren’t going how they wanted or even in my own life where I’ve needed to give myself a pep talk. It’s not always easy in those moments to understand why things don’t go the way you planned or the way you want. It sometimes takes months, sometimes years to really become clear to me why things didn’t turn out the way I’d wanted in that moment. Things worked out the way they were supposed to – the way God intended them to, not necessarily how I thought they should have.

“Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers / Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs /  And just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care/Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers”

Always in hindsight, it has been abundantly clear why it didn’t pan out how I wanted it to and in those moments, I am beyond thankful for those unanswered prayers. Maybe when you have those moments and you want something so desperately, just think about those lyrics and have faith your situation will work out just as it’s meant to.

 

Nicole Piering, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Life Ain’t Always Beautiful” – Gary Allan
Songwriters: Tommy Lee James and Cynthia Evelyn Thomson

When I began listening to country music, the first concert I ever attended was Rascal Flatts at Madison Square Garden, with Eric Church and Gary Allan as openers. It was during that show that I first heard Allan’s “Life Ain’t Always Beautiful,” written by Tommy Lee James and Cynthia Evelyn Thomson.

While the song may seem sad initially, the more you listen to it, there’s a bittersweet quality that has stuck with me ever since I first heard it. Through good times and bad, it’s a song and a set of lyrics that I’ve always gone back to, making it the perfect song for the soundtrack of one’s life. Here, Allan reminds listeners that “The struggles make you stronger/ And the changes make you wise/ And happiness has its own way of takin’ its sweet time.” His voice is full of gravelly emotion on the tender ballad, as he sings one of my all-time favorite lines from any song, “Life ain’t always beautiful, but it’s a beautiful ride.”

 

Olivia Reese, Contributing Writer

Pick: “American Honey” – Lady Antebellum
Songwriters: Cary Barlowe, Hillary Lindsey, Shane Stevens

“American Honey” by Lady Antebellum is one of my all time favorite songs. It was always very relatable to me, as I grew up at a house on the edge of town in a more rural area surrounded by corn fields.  Across the street from my very long driveway was a church, with real bells, that would ring every morning and the line

“She grew up on a side of the road/Where the church bells ring and strong love grows/She grew up good/She grew up slow/Like American honey” stood out to me from the first time I heard the song. Now that I’m older I frequently think about living there and sometimes wish I could go back, “There’s a wild, wild whisper
Blowin’ in the wind/Callin’ out my name like a long lost friend/Oh I miss those days as the years go by/Oh nothing’s sweeter than summertime/And American hone,” which has given the song a new meaning, to me. 

Mikayla Sauber, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Don’t Blink” – Kenny Chesney
Songwriters: Casey Beathard, Chris Wallin

“Don’t Blink” by Kenny Chesney is a song I relate to because I am starting to realize just how fast life goes by. It seems like yesterday I was a little kid helping out on my family farm and now I’m finishing my last couple weeks of sophomore year of college.

Every part of the song speaks to me but the part which sticks out the most is “Best start putting first things first / Cause when your hourglass runs out of sand / you can’t flip it over and start again / take every breath God gives you for what it’s worth / Don’t blink.”

I try my best each day to live by these lyrics as life continues to fly by faster than we even know. You need to live in the moment, follow what is most important to you, and don’t wish, or blink, your life away because one day you’ll be wondering where your time went and realizing you blinked it away too fast. You think you have all the time in the world to do your desires and dreams, but you never really know how long you have, and you have to take each moment for what it’s worth.

 

Julia Singer, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Dime Store Cowgirl” – Kacey Musgraves
Songwriters: Kacey Musgraves, Luke Laird, Shane McAnally

I may not be from Golden, Texas, but I would consider Kacey Musgraves’, “Dime Store Cowgirl” to be the soundtrack to my life. This is one of the songs that made me fall in love with country music and reminds me to stay grounded and true to myself, regardless of where life takes me. No matter what I’m going through in life, putting this song on instantly cheers me up. This song helps me be able to appreciate all of the adventures I’ve been on in life, while also remembering my hometown– and the people and places that made me who I am. “It don’t matter where I’m goin’ / I’ll still call my hometown home.”  “Dime Store Cowgirl” is one of those songs that I can always count on to brighten my day and remind me to think of the important things in life.

 

Shanna Vitaliano, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Livin’ Part of Life” – Eric Church
Songwriters: Eric Church, Liz Rose, Walt Wilkins

The song that I chose for the soundtrack of my life is “Livin’ Part of Life” by Eric Church.  This song has been a staple on my playlist for as long as I can remember.  It reminds me not to take life too seriously, and to take some time to relax and enjoy the simple things in life: such as lounging on a front porch enjoying the breeze or going fishing.  It is easy to get caught up in our day to day life, so I feel this song is the perfect reminder to stop worrying about the long “to-do” lists and to leave your troubles behind.  As Church says in the song its time to “kick back and get high, on the livin’ part of life“.

 

Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer

Pick: “This One’s For The Girls”
Songwriters: Aimee Mayo, Chris Lindsey, Hillary Lindsey

My favorite songs are the ones that give me the words to what I’m going through or what I’ve been through – those songs that you have a personal connection with. Martina McBride is one of those artists that sings those types of songs. “This One’s For The Girls” is one of the songs that I have had on replay for several years and almost always fits the stage of life I am in. It is definitely a song I would label as the “Soundtrack to My Life.”

“This one’s for the girls / Who love without holdin’ back / Who dream with everything they have / All around the world / This one’s for the girls.”

Those lyrics are some of the most touching lyrics because it reminds us all that it is okay to be a dreamer and to give life everything you have, even when facing adversity.

 

Cover photo courtesy of UMG Pressroom and Photo Credit: Anthony DAngio

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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: “Forever’s Gotta Start Somewhere” – Chad Brownlee
Songwriters: Cary Barlowe, Donovan Woods, Todd Clark

This month I’m listening to Chad Brownlee’s “Forever’s Gotta Start Somewhere”. The song paints the picture of making that first move whether in a dive bar, on a train, in a crowded room, etc… the idea that for any relationship to begin, it’s got to start somewhere, anywhere first. 

“I know what you must think /Another guy tryin’ to buy your drink / Two for one on a Tuesday /
How can a good thing start this way / Well it could end up anywhere / Forever’s gotta start somewhere”

I love the idea behind these lyrics and paired with the catchy rhythm of the song, it makes it easy to sing along to and keep on repeat.”

 

Christina Bosch, Managing Editor 

Pick: “Ten Year Town” – Hailey Whitters
Songwriters: Brandy Clark and Hailey Whitters 

“I’m twelve years into a ten-year town”  That is the opening line of this incredible song. From the moment I heard it the day it was released, I knew it would be my pick this month.  Hailey Whitters moved to Nashville when she was just 17 years old and has been paying her dues since the day she got there. In a time when pop production has taken over the country genre, this track is simple and Whitters’ voice is delicate, almost melancholy as she explains the struggles she’s dealt with.

“Waiting tables another month, waitin’ on that break to come / all it’s ever done is break my heart”

Whether it’s a songwriter like Whitters who is waiting for that big break, just like a ton of artists in Nashville or co-writer, Brandy Clark who has been nominated for six Grammys but can’t get airplay on country radio, we are all looking to find our little place in this industry.  For me, this track can resonate with anyone waiting for validation in any career, music industry or not.

“Payin’ dues don’t pay the bills / Dreams come true, and I think mine will / lesser fools would have given up, they don’t go for broke like a dreamer does, ya gotta get back up when you get knocked down, I’m twelve years into a ten-year town, this next song could turn it all around”

I hope that I can be a small part of allowing others to hear this song and to take notice of amazing artists and songwriters striving for the spotlight.

Dylan Bestler, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Chapters” – Brett Young feat. Gavin DeGraw
Songwriters: Brett Young, Ross Copperman, and Gavin DeGraw

Like Young, I am also a huge Gavin DeGraw fan. He has always been one of my favorite artists so I was very excited to see him on Ticket to LA’s track listing.

“Chapters” is a true story about Brett Young’s life and his love for baseball growing up. Young received offers from Tampa Bay and Minnesota after high school but turned them down to play in college. However, an elbow injury ended his career which made him get into songwriting. Clearly, it worked out well for him, but his ability to turn the page and start a new chapter is what got him through that tough time in his life. Young and DeGraw explain throughout this very powerful and moving song that just because things didn’t work out the way you intended, doesn’t mean you failed; God had a plan the whole time.

“Every page you’ve turned is a lesson learned / And we all, and we all, just tryna get it right /
These are the chapters of my life.”

Nicole Bochinis, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Brand New Man” – Brooks & Dunn feat. Luke Combs
Songwriters: Don Cook, Kix Brooks, Ronnie Dunn

“Brand New Man” by Brooks & Dunn is one of my favorite country songs. I grew up listening to it with my family during BBQs in the summertime. When I heard that Luke Combs was going to be a part of a reboot for the song I couldn’t contain my excitement. I heard Combs cover this song the first time I saw him live and let me tell you, he does an awesome job and the crowd sings every word with him. Having one of your favorite artists cover a song you love is one of my favorite moments at a show. He’s such a great addition to this song and I’ve had it on repeat since it was released.

 

Jeremy Chua, Contributing Writer 

Pick: “Keep Abilene Beautiful” – Carlton Anderson
Songwriters: Carlton Anderson, Tom Douglas, Tony Lane

“You don’t have to be from Abilene or Texas to love this song. It’s lyrical, vocal and (traditional-leaving) instrumental perfection, evoke a very palpable sense of longing for the familial and familiar warmth we’re sometimes too far away from. And, needless to say, Carlton’s performance of this personified song coupled with his personal connection to the said city in Texas really bolsters the impact “Keep Abilene Beautiful” has on our heartstrings. Personally, I’m rooting for this to be his next single at country radio. With the standing ovation, he got at his Opry debut and the reaction this song is seeing, it could very well be a career-defining one for him— if given the chance to be heard on the radio.”

 

Taylor Felvey, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Sad Song” – Mike Ryan
Songwriters: Mike Ryan, Brent Anderson, and Clint Lagerberg

“San Antonio native, Mike Ryan gives a soulful take on a love song on his Album Blink You’ll Miss It.  The ballad tells the story of a love affair caught in a vicious cycle. It’s a relationship that’s headed nowhere, and will certainly end in heartbreak as the lyrics take you through the tumultuous situation.

“I watched the taxi cab take you away / I was the one left alone in the rain / I’ve drained a few bottles /
Stared a hole through my phone / I’ve come to grips with the fact that you’re gone /
And here you are standing in tears at my door / I don’t know what to tell you / I’ve heard this one before”

 

Molly Holmberg, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Try Saying Goodbye” – John King
Songwriters: Paul DiGiovanni, John King

“I have always loved John King’s upbeat songs from “Tonight, Tonight” to “Heat Wave” although I feel King has never got the attention he deserves. As an amazing songwriter, including Randy Houser’s “We Went”, his newest slow song “Try Saying Goodbye” hits a new chord. The song explores the difficulties of relationships and singing in the chorus, King thought sorry was going to be the hardest thing he would have to say, turns out goodbye is. The main theme of the song is to not take things for granted and be okay with admitting when you are wrong, never letting your pride get in the way.

With such a powerful message, I thought I could not be more compelled to press replay, but I was wrong. The paired music video was also done so well and certainly makes you emotional listening to the song and reflecting back on your own past relationships. Looking ahead, King has new music in the works for the coming year and I cannot be more excited to support him as an independent artist.”

 

Nicole Piering, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Tammy Wynette Kind of Pain” – Reba
Songwriters: Brandy Clark, Mark Narmore, and Shelley Skidmore

“In country music, there are few voices that are as instantly recognizable as Reba’s. In the weeks leading up to the release of her new album, Stronger Than the Truth, the Queen of Country has been releasing a string of new tracks, each showing a different side of the superstar. On “Tammy Wynette Kind of Pain,” co-written by the genius that is Brandy Clark, Reba sings of a cheating man, admitting that “standing by your man, well that’s a broken plan.” Lyrically, the song is absolutely brilliant, weaving in and referencing various Wynette songs to tell the tale of a broken heart. However, it’s Reba’s delivery that makes the song a true masterpiece, as you can absolutely hear the sorrowful ache in her voice. Knowing that Reba went through her own divorce a few years ago, it’s hard not to wonder if she drew upon her own heartache when recording the song. Either way, it’s a powerful performance that once again reestablishes her as the undisputed Queen of the genre.”

 

Olivia Reese, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Gone West” – Gone West
Songwriters: Colbie Caillat, Danelle Reeves, Jason Reeves, Justin Kawika Young

“I’ve absolutely loved the message in “Gone West” by Gone West. Although it can be difficult to leave what you’ve always known the adventure can be worth risking it all, “Sailin’ off to search the islands / Gone west for somethin’ new.”

Additionally, the harmonies with folk undertones are what initially drew me to the song as I have a proclivity for loving harmony bands. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Gone West.”

 

Nicole Sellati, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Give Up The Ghost” – Lauren Jenkins
Songwriters: Emily Shackleton and Lauren Jenkins 

“From the moment I first heard Lauren Jenkins’ song “Give Up The Ghost” off her soon to be released debut album, No Saint, I instantly fell in love with it. From the very first listen I knew this was going to be one of my go-to songs to sing at the top of my lungs while blasting in my car. She combines the essence of rock and country into this song creating the ultimate jam, while the lyrics tell a story about a former flame causing a disruption in a present relationship.

“I know I could make you happy / Baby, if you’d only let me / But two of us is one too many / Open the door and set her free / Give up the ghost, hold onto me”

It’s my favorite song released from the album so far and I can’t wait for No Saint to come out this Friday!”

Danielle Tornatore, Contributing Writer

Pick: “To Hell and Back” – Maren Morris
Songwriters: Maren Morris, Jessie Jo Dillon, Laura Veltz

“I’ve had Maren Morris’ new album GIRL on repeat all month long and I absolutely love every single song, but this one sticks out to me as being the most vulnerable track on the record. The story told in this one is so beautiful. It’s about a partner’s willingness to love you fully and freely and I just love everything about it.”

“You didn’t save me / You didn’t think I needed saving / You didn’t change me/
You didn’t think I needed changing / My wings are frayed and what’s left of my halo’s black /
Lucky for me, your kind of heaven’s been to hell and back”

 

Shanna Vitaliano, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Ol Muddy River” – Dee White
Songwriters: Dee White

“This month, I have Dee White’s “Ol’ Muddy River” on repeat. I heard White and his band perform last year when opening for Ashley McBryde and I was hooked on this song ever since he sang it live.  “Ol Muddy River” is a classic vintage country song with a catchy guitar twang and fiddle.  White singlehandedly penned “Ol’ Muddy River’ and tells a story about going to a river that brings him peace and tranquility.  He sings about his admiration for a place where he can go to escape problems with lyrics:

“All my life’s been wild like the river, so he and I really get along just fine /
Everything’s easy at the Ol’ Muddy River / You know that’s where I like to spend all of my time”

When I listen to “Ol’ Muddy River,” I can easily picture myself fishing and not worrying about a thing!  White released his debut album Southern Gentleman on March 1st, and a week later he made his debut at The Grand Ole Opry.  I am so excited to see what the rest of the year has in store for him!”

 

Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer

Pick: “A Song For Everything” – Maren Morris
Songwriters: Jimmy Robbins, Laura Veltz, Maren Morris

“My March song pick came super easy this month.  The second I heard Maren Morris’ sophomore album GIRL, I instantly fell in love with the nostalgic ballad “A Song for Everything.” It is everything I never knew I always needed in a song. The song is essentially an ode to music for always being there for us, as we go through good and bad experiences in life.

When I was looking for the words / Somebody said it first like they knew me / They were singing right to me /
One danced you through love / One rocked you through lonely / Mixtaped your heartbreak and made you feel holy / For the hits and the misses / For the fire and rain / Close your eyes and listen /
‘Cause there’s a song for everything, yeah / There’s a song for everything / There’s a song for everything”

Ironically, I’m sure that this song will be one of those memorable tracks that I attach to future experiences for a long time coming. Thank you to Maren Morris and her co-writers for penning this monumental 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.

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Deep Album Cuts: Songs That Were Never Singles, But Should Have Been

Here at NYCountry Swag we still love to listen to albums all the way through, hearing the intricate details of what an artist and their teams decided when making a full-length album.  Artists sometimes write or listen to hundreds of songs before narrowing it down to just 10-14 to finally make it on the album, so we think those songs, even though they don’t become radio singles should be recognized. Although each of our writers found it extremely hard to pick just one, here is a list of each of their favorite deep album cuts.

Stephanie Wagner, Founder

Pick: “Faith When I Fall” – Kip Moore
Album Title: Up All Night

“This was hands down one of the hardest picks we ever had to do for a piece. As I started thinking about the song I would choose, so many of my favorite tracks came to mind that were never released as singles. After making a list, ultimately I realized I had about 5 or 6 Kip Moore songs written down. In my opinion, Moore is one of the most underrated artists of all time. He’s truly one of the most entertaining performers, an incredible songwriter,  and gifted musician. Give a listen to any song on any one of his records and it’s immediately clear how much heart and soul he puts into everything he does. Go to his show and every single fan is singing back every word to every song, not just the singles. “Faith When I Fall” has easily become one of my favorite songs and one of my favorite parts of his live show. The heartfelt lyrics beautifully illustrate the desire to need someone to have faith in you when things are tough and just trust that they will get better. 

“Give me love when I ain’t got nobody // A little hope when I ain’t got none at all //
Give me light up ahead on the journey // Give me strength when I’m standing // And faith when I fall” 

Moore’s sweet instrumentals paired with his distinct vocals add emotion to the track. The song depicts a familiar and relatable scenario whether in a relationship, in your career or in life in general. Everybody needs somebody to have a little faith in them.

 

Christina Bosch, Managing Editor 

Pick: “Village’ – Cam
Album Title: Untamed

I know each writer has said it, but this was the hardest song to decide on. As I am writing this I am going back and forth between 7 different songs that I love, that have touched my heart in different ways and have never seen radio play. Ultimately, the song that started this idea for this blog piece is the one I decided to go with, “Village” by Cam. The track closes out Cam’s debut full-length album and is told from the perspective from someone who is no longer alive. Whether or not you chose to believe in an afterlife, I certainly do and this song touches every fiber of my being. Losing a cousin when we were both 2o years old, I choose to believe that she is in heaven, watching over me and cheering me on during all of my big accomplishments.

“I know it feels like I have let you down, but I’m still around / Cause your whole heart’s a village, and everyone you love has built it /  and I’ve been working there myself /  That’s where I’ll be, with a front row seat, to watch you live your life well” 

Her angelic voice carries over the notes, telling the story of reassurance as well as demonstrating a love that is everlasting. For anyone who has lost someone, longing for their presence in your life, take a listen here and try not to smile.

 

Dylan Bestler, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Learned It From The Radio” – Thomas Rhett
Album Title: Tangled Up

How to live, how to love / Everything I need to know / I learned it from the radio

“This song puts an emphasis on how important music is to us; it helps us cope with things that are going on it our lives. Rhett mentions different situations like dreaming big, working hard, chasing girls and writing music, claiming all of his success came from listening to music. It was the radio that told him what to say to that girl, how to work hard and achieve his dreams.  

Being able to relate to a song or an artist can help you learn and get perspective of your own life. It was Kane Brown’s song “What Ifs” that motivated me to ask my friend of four years out on a date. After saying no, she listened to the song and decided to give me a chance because “what if”. We’ve been dating ever since. Just goes to show the impact music can have on people.

Tangled Up is stacked with hits and is my favorite Thomas Rhett album thus far. With the amount great songs this album has (plus the ones from the deluxe album) it was unlikely “Learned It From the Radio” was going to become a radio hit. In my opinion, this song was not only one of the best songs on the album, but one of the best ever put out by Thomas Rhett. “

 

Nicole Bochinis, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Can’t Get You” – Old Dominion
Album Title: Happy Endings

“Old Dominion has a lot of hits that you hear on the radio and are classified as singles. However, “Can’t Get You” is one of the most underrated songs from their album Happy Endings. This song is probably one of my favorite songs to hear live and I was really happy when they added the live version to the album. A studio version of this song would not do it justice. It’s one of those songs that gets you so pumped up when you hear it live, that you never want it to end. Now let’s not forget about the Matt Ramsey wiggle that takes place during this song and the amped-up introduction of the band in concert. Definitely one of my favorite moments during their performance. I know we will probably never see this track as single, but that will never stop me from loving it as much as I do.”

 

Jeremy Chua, Contributing Writer 

Pick: “Leaving Nashville” – Charles Kelley
Album Title: The Driver

“This song hits home for anyone chasing a dream, whether in the music business or not, whether in Nashville or not. Charles Kelley sings with a tear in his voice about the pains of chasing this beautiful yet painful dream, the highs of getting a cut from an artist, and the lows like “throwing up in parking lots all by yourself” and being commodified as a songwriter. I remember hearing this song back in 2015 in NYC when Kelley was headlining his “The Driver” tour to promote his debut solo album of the same title. Even before the album was released, he performed this song at his show, and you could hear pin drop in the room. I looked around, and people were visibly captivated by this song. That’s when I knew this song was more than just a song. For me, my heart ached as “Leaving Nashville”  spoke to me in more ways than one, and continues to even today. There are some songs that are pure album cut gems, and this song is one of them.”

 

Kelly Cunningham, Contributing Writer

Pick: “If I Know Me” – Morgan Wallen
Album Title: If I Know Me 

“If I Know Me” by Morgan Wallen. This track has been my favorite cut ever since his album dropped. I’ve been telling everyone how obsessed I am with this track and how surprised I’ll be if it doesn’t get picked for a future single. It has that “roll the windows down” kind of melody. if he ever puts this track as a single, it’s definitely a summer hit. Wallen’s album is full of hidden songs that I think deserve to be heard on the radio in the near future.

Molly Holmberg, Contributing Writer

Pick: “I Worship The Woman You Walked On” – Ronnie Dunn
Album Title: Tattooed Heart

“People say the Brooks and Dunn were not successful as solo artists once they split and I beg to differ. Ronnie Dunn’s Tattooed Heart album is pure gold and one song that I love that never made it as a single is “I Worship The Woman You Walked On”.  The song is from a man’s perspective who loves a woman that just got out of a bad relationship. The man calls out the woman’s ex-lover in the song, blaming him for her broken heart. “I hold her at night, ’til she’s satisfied. Oh, I try to right all you did wrong. I worship the woman you walked on.” Doesn’t every woman want a man like this? The lyrics stand strong alone, although Dunn’s powerful vocals behind them have made this song one of my favorites.”

 

Nicole Piering, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Green Bananas” – Jake Owen
Album Title: Easy Does It

“Green Bananas” is a deep cut from Jake Owen’s second album, Easy Does It, the follow-up to Startin’ With Me. While the album’s biggest radio hits were “Don’t Think I Can’t Love You” and “Eight Second Ride,” it’s “Green Bananas” that holds a special place for me as one of my all-time favorite album cuts. Co-written by Owen, Jimmy Ritchey, and Bob Regan, “Green Bananas” is an ode to living in the moment and seizing the day. According to Owen, the song is a true story about a real boat by the name “Green Bananas,” which reminds listeners to celebrate the fact that life is short and that we should live it while we’re still able to. “So I don’t buy green bananas/ Well I don’t play the lottery,” Owen sings on the twangy mid-tempo tune. “Right now’s all I’ve got going/ Yeah and that’s just fine for me/ And I don’t own an umbrella/ If it rains, I’m gonna get wet/ So I don’t buy green bananas/ ‘Cause I don’t plan that far ahead.”

 

Olivia Reese, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Crazy Dreams” – Carrie Underwood
Album Title: Carnival Ride

My all-time favorite deep cut and one of my favorite songs is “Crazy Dreams” by Carrie Underwood. It was immediately one of my favorite songs on her album, Carnival Ride, the first time I listened to it. I love how upbeat and optimistic it is, with a great relatable message, yet not too serious. It’s a great song to jam out to, for those “dashboard drummers” and “air guitar players,” but is genuinely encouraging for everyone not to give up on their dreams no matter how difficult they may seem, because “There’s a lot of wonder left inside of me and you / Thank God even crazy dreams come true.

 

Nicole Sellati, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Machine Heart” – Kelsea Ballerini
Album Title: Unapologetically

“From the moment I first heard Kelsea Ballerini’s sophomore album, Unapologetically, I instantly fell in love with her song “Machine Heart.” I love the way Kelsea tells a story through her lyrics, she is so honest with her emotions, giving everyone a song that they can relate to. It’s one of my favorite songs off her album, that I wish she would have made a single so those who may not have listened to her entire album can hear how vulnerable she is with her music. “Machine Heart” is the perfect song to heal a broken heart.”

 

Danielle Tornatore, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Second Wind” – Maren Morris
Album Title: Hero

“This song has meant so much to me since the very moment I first heard it back in 2016. Maren Morris’ entire HERO album means more than words could ever express, but this one song, in particular, has gotten me through some tough times. The message being told through these lyrics is so powerful, I can always turn to this song whenever I’m doubting myself or facing a difficult situation. It’s taught me to believe in myself and never give up, only come back stronger.

“Say what you want about me / Your words are gasoline on my fire / You can hate me, underestimate me / Do what you do cause what you do don’t phase me / Just when you think I’m at the end / Any second imma catch my second wind”

 

Shanna Vitaliano, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Big Day In A Small Town” – Brandy Clark
Album Title: Big Day In A Small Town

I was first introduced to Brandy Clark when I saw her open for Jennifer Nettles on “The ‘That Girl Tour’ in 2014, and again in 2016.  Clark is an extremely talented songwriter with a witty way of singing about the ups and downs of life we all experience.  She does a great job at depicting real-life drama and events in her song “Big Day In A Small Town” and adds humor to lighten it up.

Working in Manhattan, I would listen to it and smile and wonder what it would be like living in a small town especially with lyrics: “There ain’t no mall, no waffle house/but there’s always something to talk about/around here, somebody shot a deer/ somebody’s getting married or buried, or carried away/ if the sun goes up, and the sun goes down/its a big day in a small town.”

Back on June 10th, 2016 Brandy Clark released her second album Big Day In A Small Town, and although the title track “Big Day In A Small Town” was never released as a single, it is one of my absolute favorite songs by her.”

 

Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Why” – Rascal Flatts
Album Title: Unstoppable

“Oftentimes, the songs that really showcase an artist’s talents are the deep album cuts off a record, the songs that don’t make their way to the radio or sometimes, not even to live performances. I went back and forth trying to pick a song for this segment, considering songs by Eric Church and Jon Langston, before I settled on Rascal Flatt’s song “Why.”

This ballad is a deeply heartbreaking and raw track. The painful lyrics express feelings stemming from a life ending too early. I first discovered this song nearly ten years ago, at a time, where my town and peers needed it most. Although it’s not a happy song or a tailgating song, it is one of those songs that will comfort you when you most need it or speak for you, during trying times, when you can’t formulate the words. I’ll always be a lyric girl at heart, and this song opens up dialogue for an important conversation on mental health and the residual effects.”

 

[Cover Photo by Ron Elkman / USA TODAY Sports]

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What We’re Listening To: February Picks

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

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

 

FEBRUARY PICKS:

 

Stephanie Wagner, Founder

Pick: “Rockin’ All Night Long” – Adam Hambrick
Songwriters: Adam Hambrick, Kelly Archer, Pete Good 

“I am currently obsessively listening to Adam Hambrick’s “Rockin’ All Night Long”. Right from the get-go the song creates a nostalgic feeling referencing Don McLean’s “American Pie” in the opening lines. Setting the tone for the track, the first passage references the early days of young adulthood when life was all about chasing good times leading into the chorus: “Bloodshot eyes, watch the sunrise / Sleep when you die, phase of life / It’s a full heart falling hard / Singing songs to her in the dark / Drinking up every moment til it’s gone / Just rockin’ all night long.”

The song moves through the next phase telling the story of meeting the love of your life, “giving in to what your heart wants” and once again enjoying that time of your life of being in love and appreciating those late nights together. PLOT TWIST – the final chorus leads to Hambrick becoming a father, sitting in a rocking chair, rocking his sweet baby girl all night long. “She’s the best reason I’ve ever had…. For those bloodshot eyes…” I know, I know… CHILLS. The song is so sweet and unexpectedly emotional. The story it tells is what everybody wants and/or can relate to and that’s what country music is all about.”

 

Christina Bosch, Managing Editor 

Pick: “Lady Like” – Ingrid Andress
Songwriters: Derrick Southerland, Ingrid Andress, Sam Ellis

“I wasn’t sure which song to pick this month and then last night the NYCountry Swag team attended a showcase with a new songwriter artist, Ingrid Andress.  Andress was recently signed to Warner Music Nashville and released her very first song today.  She shared last night before singing her debut single, “Lady Like” that the song is about not fitting gender stereotypes. “Just because I never wear a dress and just because I never brush my hair, doesn’t mean I’m less of a woman,” she explained. Watching her sass and unapologetic way of telling her story, I fell in love with her as an artist and this debut single will absolutely be a fan favorite.

“Controversial, so outspoken, I’ve been told I’m not ladylike / but I’m a lady like woah / I could bring you to your knees / Get you kicked out the Garden of Eden / Untameable, unframeable Mona Lisa oh / Kiss you like a whiskey fire / Turn around leave your heart in a riot / Lipstick in a cigarette pack on the dash / I’m a lady like that.”

I’m so glad that she released this single so I can share the song with everyone that I know and I can’t wait to see how many people love it as much as I do.”

 

Dylan Bestler, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Living” – Dierks Bentley
Songwriters: Ross Copperman, Jon Nite, Ashley Gorley, Dierks Bentley

“When I first got into country music, “Somewhere on a Beach” was on the radio constantly, so immediately Dierks Bentley was one of my favorite artists. His most recent album, The Mountain is great for all country fans because it has songs of the new style of country such as “Women Amen” and traditional, bluegrass type songs such as “Travelin’ Light” featuring Brandi Carlile.

One song that stands out to me on that album is “Living”. Its message, “just because you are alive and breathing doesn’t mean you’re truly living” speaks to me. It makes me want to do more with my life; be adventurous and take chances! Bentley describes how the world is a beautiful place and you should appreciate every moment this life gives you and make the most of it.”  

“Some days you just forget what all you’ve been given / Some days you just get by / Yeah some days you’re just alive / Some days you’re living”

 

Nicole Bochinis, Contributing Writer

Pick: “If My Heart Had a Heart” – Cassadee Pope
Songwriters: Hannah Ellis, Matthew McGinn, Josh Kerr 

“When I first heard “If My Heart Had A Heart” by Cassadee Pope, I instantly loved it. Singing about heartbreak is never easy but it’s such a relatable topic, that I myself can relate to. I have been a fan of Pope since her Hey Monday days and it has been an honor to watch her grow over the years. From Hey Monday to The Voice to her debut album and now to her sophomore album, it’s amazing to see the growth she’s had and how her voice has matured. There is something so special about her voice and it makes me so happy that the world gets to hear it. I’m so excited to see what the future holds for her.”

 

Jeremy Chua, Contributing Writer 

Pick: “These Walls Talk” – Josh Martin
Songwriters: Marla Cannon-Goodman, Reid Isbell, Josh Martin

“This smooth, country, blues-leaning song is pretty much unlike much you hear on the radio today. I remember it playing randomly on my Spotify shuffle and as soon as I heard the chorus, I had to check the title and singer of this song. That’s when you know the song you’re hearing is really good. It’s got the perfect instrumental storm to make it a compelling track that follows through the protagonist’s push-pull love and heartbreak, through the personification of the walls that surround the couple. Josh Martin is an independent artist, but with writing, vocals and the overall work of art like this song, it won’t be long till power players in Nashville take notice of him!”

 

Kelly Cunningham, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Keep It Simple” – James Barker Band
Songwriters: Gavin Slate, James Barker, Todd Clark, Travis Wood

“James Barker Band just released this new single in January and it’s their catchiest single yet. They pushed boundaries with this track but its one that’ll be stuck in your head for days. It’s an upbeat mood of the well-accomplished image of Friday night fun. This is certainly one of their future hits.”

 

Molly Holmberg, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Raised On Country” – Chris Young
Songwriters: Cary Barlow, Chris Young, Corey Crowder

“When I first heard “Raised On Country”, I thought it was going to be just another anthem to country music as many artists are releasing similar songs. Although, upon first listen, I was hooked. I love the references to such iconic country singers like Joe Diffie, Alan Jackson, Willie Nelson, and George Strait, that like Young, I grew up on. It certainly resonates well with listeners due to its nostalgic ’90s vibes and memories of the old days. The song is a celebration of the country music we were all raised on whether it was on our own or through our parents and the incredible lyrics that draw you in while the catchy beats will get stuck in your head. I believe that “Raised On Country” will continue climbing the charts and possibly be Young’s 12th number one song.”

 

Nicole Piering, Contributing Writer

Pick: “I’ve Been Good” – Cassadee Pope
Songwriters:

“When Cassadee Pope released her new album Stages, it was clear that the singer-songwriter was showing a more personal and vulnerable side of herself. While the album is full of gems including “If My Heart Had a Heart,” it’s the closing track, “I’ve Been Good,” that’s truly a standout. The song paints the portrait of someone painting on a brave face, while they’re dying inside. “I’ve been good at looking people in the eye, saying ‘I’ve been good,'” Pope sings after revealing the heartbreaking truth that deep down she’s struggling. She reveals that she’s “been good at drinking whiskey” and “staying busy,” but doing everything except dealing with her own heartbreak. The song is somber yet realistic, the candor in its delivery breathtakingly refreshing, and I can’t get enough of this record.”

 

Olivia Reese, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Cool” – Rachel Reinert
Songwriters: Davis Naish, Melissa Fuller, Rachel Reinert

“Cool” by Rachel Reinert, has been a jam of mine since it was released last year. It is a laid back tune reminiscing of a relationship ending and coming back together again. “Never thought we’d get back to/The way we used to be when we were cool/We been love, we been hate/We’ve been hurt, but we made it” It has a one of a kind summer sound, perfect for when the winter blues hit and you want a taste of warmer weather. As a long time fan of Rachel Reinert, I was definitely very excited about this single and it didn’t disappoint.”

 

Nicole Sellati, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Speed of Love” – Florida Georgia Line
Songwriters: Brian Kelley, Jordan Schmidt, Tyler Hubbard

“Luckily last week I got the chance to attend two of Florida Georgia Line’s album release day events for Can’t Say I Ain’t Country, and ever since then I’ve had their album on repeat. One of my favorite songs on the album is “Speed Of Love,” because it is fast-paced while giving off the ultimate country vibe. It’s one of those songs that you just have to get up out of your seat to move around to. Though they did not play it at the iHeart Country Album Release Party last week, hopefully, it will be added to their upcoming tour setlist!”

 

Danielle Tornatore, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Swerve” – Florida Georgia Line
Songwriters: Brian Kelley, Tyler Hubbard, David Garcia, Josh Miller

“When I listened to FGL’s new album, Can’t Say I Ain’t Country, this song stood out to me immediately. It’s one of those upbeat jams that the guys are known for, but there’s something a little different about this one. It has a little bit of rock n roll flair to it, with hints of other genres blended in which makes it one of my favorite songs ever from Tyler and BK. I was lucky enough to hear it live the very first time they played it at their iHeartRadio album release party last Friday and it made me love it a hundred times more. It’s such a feel-good song that you can’t help but dance to. I can’t wait to hear it live again this summer at Jones Beach!”

 

Shanna Vitaliano, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Die From A Broken Heart” – Maddie & Tae
Songwriters: Deric Ruttan, Jonathan David Singleton, Maddie Marlow, Taylor Dye

“For this month, I chose Maddie & Tae’s “Die From A Broken Heart” because it is real, raw, and heart-wrenching.  It is a song that can easily take us back to a time in our life when we’ve gone through a devastating breakup and you don’t think things will ever get better.  It is during that broken time when you lean upon those closest to you, especially your Mom and Dad. Lyrics such as “Hey Momma, how do you get a red wine stain out of your favorite dress? /Black mascara off a pillowcase?/Cure a one-too-many headache?” are just a few relatable things that remind us of a time where we couldn’t fathom being without a person you love.  “Die From A Broken Heart” expresses immense vulnerability and after listening all the way through, we are all reminded that things will eventually be okay because we can turn to prayer and to our loved ones for support!”

 

Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Velvet Elvis” – Kacey Musgraves
Songwriters: Kacey Musgraves, Luke Dick, Natalie Hemby

“With so many talented country artists and awesome songs being released daily, it has become harder and harder to pick my favorite song of the month. After all the buzz around the now Grammy winner, Kacey Musgraves, I decided to listen to her entire record, Golden Hour straight through just before the award show aired. I was truly captivated by her unique sound and lyrical ability, and completely understand why everyone is raving about her artistry. One of the songs that stood out to me off the album was my February song pick, “Velvet Elvis.”

The song is truly unique with its phrasing and rhythm, which I find refreshing and innovative. I was hooked from the first verse, “All I ever wanted / Was something classic / A kind of love song that goes on till the end of the time.” Additionally, she has gotten me more and more excited about all the wonderful female artists in the country genre. Musgraves is a one-of-a-kind talent that I encourage everyone to take a chance and listen to.”
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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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: “Every Little Thing” – Russell Dickerson
Songwriters: Casey Brown, Parker Welling, Russell Dickerson

“It’s no surprise that one of my favorite artists is Russell Dickerson, so every time he releases a new song to radio, I always have it playing.  “Every Little Thing” is such a fun, upbeat song from Dickerson’s debut album, Yours, and when he performs the tune live, his energy lifts the entire venue to another level. I’m excited for the world to hear more of this song and can’t wait to see it become his third #1 song.”

 

Christina Bosch, Managing Editor 

Pick: “Confetti” – Gone West
Songwriters: Colbie Caillat, Danelle Reeves, Eric Arjes, Jason Reeves, Justin Kawika Young

“Recently I was driving and heard a song on Sirius XM The Highway that sounded a lot like Little Big Town, I looked down to see the name of a new band, Gone West, singing “Confetti”. After I did some digging I realized the main aspect of why I loved what I heard, one of the female voices was very familiar, singer-songwriter Colbie Caillat. Caillat teamed up with her husband Justin and husband and wife Danelle and Jason to create Gone West. Their incredible harmonies draw you in while the catchy lyrics will get stuck in your head.

“Yeah, my heart didn’t break when I broke into that old bottle of fancy champagne / I’ve been saving for the perfect time/ You can’t rain on my parade / Got my freedom, gonna celebrate / When you left, I was so damn ready / No tears fell, just confetti.

Their debut EP, Tides was released last Friday and each song is better than the last. I am looking forward to hearing more from these musicians and in the meantime, I’ll be over here dancing to “Confetti”.

 

Nicole Bochinis, Contributing Writer

Pick: “GIRL” – Maren Morris
Songwriters: Greg Kurstin, Maren Morris, Sarah Aarons

“GIRL” by Maren Morris is her brand-new song and I am loving every second of it. Since the moment I heard it, I have had it on repeat all day every day. Recently life has been throwing curveballs at me and this song is the perfect pick me up. Every girl should know that they are stronger than they think, and it is the perfect women empowerment song. I can’t wait to see what other new music Maren has in store for us!

 

Kelly Cunningham, Contributing Writer

Pick: “All On You” – Mitchell Tenpenny
Songwriters: Andrew Albert, Jordan Schmidt, Mitchell Tenpenny, Nick Fradiani

“When I first heard Mitchell Tenpenny’s new album, Telling All My Secrets, this was the first track that stood out to me. The catchy, quick lyrics that make you want to sing along is the most unique melody I’ve heard from Tenpenny so far. His voice can pull off any note and he made an outstanding impression on me with this new album. This track can be a potential single I see in Tenpenny’s future. ”

 

Taylor Felvey, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Honky Tonk Flame” – Tyler Childers
Songwriters: Tyler Childers

If you’d like to experience old-school country with a modern age feel – look no further. The moment I heard this song I downloaded every album Tyler Childers has and put the song on repeat. The opening chords and story remind me of something Johnny Cash would write. The love song tells the story of a man trying to woo his new woman, who is no-nonsense, and how he’ll need to step up before he steps out with her.

“Hold on now buddy won’t you wait up a minute / You’re mistaken if you think I’m the same as them skirts you’ve been chasing all over town / Along with that honky tonk flame / I’m a woman with a love so true / Truth of the matter, I’d give it to you / You just got to slow down and quit acting that way / Burning your barn in this honky tonk flame”

 

Molly Holmberg, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Really Shouldn’t Drink Around You” – Teddy Robb
Songwriters: Josh Osborne, Shane McAnally, Trevor Rosen

“Since seeing Teddy Robb a few times in Nashville during his Teddy and Friends shows that we covered, the music that he previewed from his upcoming EP was amazing. Now one of the artists we are most excited about in 2019 is our own Swag Spotlight star.

Just after signing to Monument Records, Robb has been working nonstop with some of Nashville’s best songwriters to create his first project. His newest release following “Lead Me On” which has been streamed over 4 million times, “Really Shouldn’t Drink Around You” was released at the beginning of the year. The new song is relaxed and easy going. Describing the decisions that are made when drinking around an ex, Robb decides that maybe it isn’t always the best idea. The song is currently being featured on Spotify’s ‘New Boots’ playlist and Apple Music’s ‘Breaking Country’ playlist. We are patiently waiting for the anticipated release of Robb’s new project and cannot wait for it to come out!”

 

Nicole Piering, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Running Man” – Randy Houser
Songwriters: Jeffrey Steele, Randy Houser

“When I began listening to Randy Houser’s new album, Magnolia, I was immediately taken by how mature his voice sounded and how deeply personal the singer’s lyrics had become. Since releasing the album, Houser has revealed that he wasn’t always proud of his past musical releases, but that he’s very proud of his newest album.

Despite the fact that I truly enjoy every song on the album, it was track 11, “Running Man,” that immediately captured my attention. The song tells the story of a man who discovers what he was made for, but continues running through lives, filling his “pockets full of empty things.” It’s easy to look at this song as autobiographical for Houser, and it’s even more powerful listening to it that way. On this song, Houser challenges himself vocally and lyrically, and this song is truly a must-listen. “Every show’s got an end/ Where’re you gonna go then/ Running man?”.”

 

Olivia Reese, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Wilder Horses” Brandon Lay
Songwriters: Brandon Lay, Jon Nite, Ross Copperman

“Wilder Horses” by Brandon Lay is the epitome of a nostalgic song. The lyrics provide a vivid image of missing someone and days gone by “I think about you a little too much these days/Riding no-name lost back roads we take/Ain’t easy for gettin’ out innocent stays”

 I’ve been listening to this song on repeat since it came out late last year after really enjoying other music Bradon Lay has released. The imagery of the lyrics is what really got me hooked on this song. It’s like a quick story and you can imagine yourself there experiencing the simultaneous feeling of innocent love and longing for past days  “Whoa I wish I was down in Dixie tonight / Where we were / Wilder Horses, stronger whiskey, faster two lanes / Every other mile marker you kiss me

 

Nicole Sellati, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Puzzle of Us” – Adam Doleac
Songwriters: Adam Doleac and Anthony Smith

“Recently, Adam Doleac kicked off the year releasing not one but two tracks. Both songs, “Famous” and “Puzzle of Us” are incredible, showing off his pure talent and smooth vocals. It’s hard to pick which of the two is my favorite, but if I had to choose one, it would be “Puzzle of Us.” I fell in love with the story behind the song, showing that inspiration can easily come from anywhere.

“The only piece missin’ is you / Fallin’ into my kiss / Your hand slippin’ through my fingertips / Locked up in my arms where you perfectly fit / I wanna hold you so close / I can feel your heartbeat / And be the air that you breathe / And together you and me can put together all the colors of love / Yeah well that’s the puzzle of us”

Doleac took a moment with a stranger and turned it into a beautiful love song. “Puzzle of Us” has easily become a favorite of mine, and I can’t wait to see what he comes out with next!”

 

Danielle Tornatore, Contributing Writer

Pick: “The Way That She Loves” – Tyler Hilton

Songwriters: David Barnes, Jon Green, Jordan Reynolds

“One Tree Hill is my all time favorite show, so of course I have to listen to all of the music Tyler Hilton puts out. I love his previous albums because of his unique sound and raspy voice, but his newly released album, City on Fire, has to be my absolute favorite. There’s just something about the country twist on this one that is sticking with me, particularly “The Way That She Loves.” This song reminds me of something that would play in an early 2000s teen movie and I wholeheartedly mean that in the best way possible. Between the lyrics, the beat, and his voice, this has to be my favorite on the album and possibly of all of his music, obviously besides the iconic “When The Stars Go Blue” (if you know, you know).”

 

Shanna Vitaliano, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Michigan for the Winter”
Songwriters: Aaron Eshuis, Neil Mason, Ryan Hurd 

For this month, the song I chose is Ryan Hurd’s “Michigan for the Winter” written by himself, Aaron Eshuis and Neil Mason of The Cadillac Three. With his commanding vocals and captivating lyrics, you can practically feel the loneliness and emptiness Hurd sings about throughout the mid-tempo breakup song.

With lyrics like: “I can’t stay watching you move on all February long/I’m going to Michigan for the winter/Between the dark and the light of the sky and the snow/Most people go south for the weather/Instead of hiding out in the cold,” Hurd takes us on a journey escaping a broken heart and returning to his home state of Michigan.

I am sure all of us in the NY area including myself can relate to the cold weather feeling Hurd sings about in “Michigan for the Winter” regardless if we are going through a breakup or not. It is the perfect song to play on a chilly day while relaxing on the couch with a glass of wine and the fireplace going! I am excited Hurd will be singing this song live Friday, January 25th at his sold-out show at The Bowery Ballroom in New York City!

 

Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Heart’s Having a Hard Time” – Filmore
Songwriters: Hannah Ellis, Jason Massey, Tyler Filmore 

“This month it was really difficult for me to pick a song, especially with all the great records that have dropped recently. After much deliberation, I kept going back to Filmore’s “Heart’s Having a Hard Time.” I discovered the song thanks to NYCS’s 2019 Artists to Watch list. I had heard of Filmore, but never really listened to any of his songs. Right away, I found “Heart’s Having a Hard Time” to be completely relatable and heartbreaking all at the same time.

The feel of the song is right on trend but still feels fresh and new. More importantly, this track makes me excited to hear more from the recording artist, which is always exciting for me. I encourage you to give “Heart’s Having a Hard Time” a listen if you haven’t already.”

 

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Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC!

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

 

DECEMBER PICKS:

 

Stephanie Wagner, Founder

Pick: “Love That” – Seaforth
Songwriters:Tom Jordan, Mitch Thompson, Daniel Ross and Michael Whitworth

This month I’m choosing Seaforth’s “Love That”.  I was immediately hooked on this track upon first listen from the catchy and upbeat vibe, but deconstructing the lyrics, we find the true essence of a country song.  

“You don’t tell your friends that you stayed the night // you won’t ever say that you’re only mine // and you know I love that // when you kiss me on the neck you make me want that // then you throw my heart away and pull it right back // the pleasure with the pain // there’s something about that // try to fight back // but I relapse // you know I love that”

Painting the picture of a relatable love story where perhaps one person in the relationship wants more than the other. Nonetheless, whether public or not, they can’t resist the urge to be with that person.

Seaforth’s artistry is comparable to fellow country duo Dan + Shay, with a hint of Rascal Flatts and I think that we’ll be hearing a lot of this song in 2019 and more from the rising Australian duo.

 

Christina Bosch, Managing Editor 

Pick: “Jack It To Jesus (Spray It To Hell)” – Jaida Dreyer
Songwriters: Jaida Dreyer & Jesse Frasure

The Season One winner of Real Country, Jaida Dreyer took a leap of faith when choosing to perform an original song she had written for the finale of the country competition show. “Jack It To Jesus (Spray It To Hell)” isn’t only catchy sonically but the female empowerment lyrics reference the incredible “honkey tonk angels” like Loretta and Dolly that have paved the way for all of the current artists trying to make their mark on this genre.

“They broke their own hearts while blazing the trail those honky-tonk angels wore the pain well they teased it up high like true southern belles, they jacked it to Jesus then sprayed it to hell.”

Dreyer shared on Instagram that her friend Melissa Schleicher who has done hair and makeup for Loretta Lynn and Carrie Underwood throughout her remarkable career told her once that everytime Miss Loretta would sit down she would look in the mirror and say “Jack it to Jesus and spray it to hell!”  After reading her caption and hearing the song I immediately fell in love with the story behind the song and the truth from the past that can be depicted in a modern day country song. The Nashville songstress has a unique twangy quality in her voice and won’t be mistaken for anyone else creating music in the genre. Take a listen to the bop and have a whole new appreciation for hairspray.

 

Kelly Cunningham, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Runnin’ Away From Home” – Brett Young
Songwriters: Brett Young, Hilary Lindsey, Zach Crowell

“This track sounds like a sequel to his song “You Ain’t Here To Kiss Me.” I love the idea of continuing a song and looking back on what he wrote and realizing what he did. It’s a catchy tune that shows his growth of songwriting and sharing his personal maturation. You’d never think an artist could pull off writing a second part of a track like this, but Young made it a hit.”

 

Taylor Delia, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Rumor” – Lee Brice
Songwriters: Lee Brice, Kyle Jacobs, Ashley Gorley

“Lee Brice does it again with his new single ‘Rumor’. The catchy guitar chords and the smooth vocals have you reeled in from the start.  Brice solidifies himself as one of my favorite storytellers in country music writing about new love and the limbo period for a couple. You know it’s a great song when you can close your eyes and see the story play out in front of you. ‘There’s a rumor goin’ round about me and you/stirring up this little town the last week or two

 

Molly Holmberg, Contributing Writer

Pick: “I Still Do” – Levi Hummon
Songwriters: Danielle Blakey, Levi Hummon, Trannie Anderson 

“I have covered some events for Levi Hummon in the past and each time this certain song is performed it gets such a positive reaction from the crowd and it is then I knew this was going to be such a great new single. “I Still Do” is a song about a breakup and focuses on the same room once shared with someone else is now empty. The singer knows that they are over yet he still finds himself thinking about her, wanting to go drive to her house and wondering where she is. The video really plays out the lyrics to a T, concentrating on love and its unexpected absence.  The video also just made its premiere on CMT and Billboard earlier this week. The track has already had a ton of engagement, being featured on a number of playlists on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, YouTube Music, and Pandora, and should definitely be added to your playlist!”

 

Nicole Piering, Contributing Writer

Pick: “If You Ever Wanna” – Nick Wayne
Songwriters: Nick Wayne and Justin Ebach

“Last month, I had the privilege of attending a writers round at Nashville’s Listening Room Cafe, where I was introduced to Nick Wayne’s music. While Wayne appeared alongside accomplished songwriters like Josh Kerr and Jordan Minton, it was his unique soulful style and captivating lyrics that immediately won me over. Since then, his Two Sides EP has been on constant replay for me, and while I love both of the EP’s tracks, “If You Ever Wanna” is the one that I keep going back to. The song is endlessly catchy, the lyrics are great, and it’s a great way for Wayne to introduce himself to country fans. I truly expect big things from him in 2019, and can’t wait to hear more from Wayne if “If You Ever Wanna” is any indication of what’s to come.”

 

Olivia Reese, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Rhinestone World” – Dallas Smith
Songwriters: Andrew DeRoberts, Josh Osborne, Rodney Clawson

“Dallas Smith is a Canadian Country artist that I have really enjoyed for a few years now. Occasionally, a single will be featured on a playlist but overall he still remains on the fringes in the U.S. His most recent single “Rhinestone World” does not disappoint. The upbeat tune paints the picture that the love interest of the song is a rare find, an uncommon treasure after a long time searching. “Girl can’t believe you’re mine /Loving you is like finding /A diamond in a Rhinestone world.” The simple lyrics go on to explain that being with your love is like all of the little, yet most joyful, moments in life, “You’re a little white church/ On a corner in Mississippi/ The front porch light that feels like home, girl,” “You’re a red Corvette on a Carolina two-lane /Lighter in the air to a damn good song.”

 

Nicole Sellati, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Drive Thru” – MacKenzie Porter
Songwriters: Mackenzie Porter, Natalie Hemby, Tommy English 

“I first discovered singer-songwriter, MacKenzie Porter in the Netflix original show, ‘Travelers.’  Naturally, I followed her on Instagram, learning that she is also a country musician. She has been teasing that she was in the studio recording her EP and recently released two tracks from it, “Drive Thru,” and “About You.” I absolutely love both songs but “Drive Thru,” has slowly become a clear favorite. The lyrics are fun and catchy, telling the other person in the relationship that she isn’t allowing them to make their own terms.

“I said it before and I’ll say it again. Boy, I ain’t Your Drive Thru / You can’t roll up whenever you like / There’s no late night menu, whenever you got an appetite / You always show up at my window, trying to order this but you know / Boy I ain’t your drive thru, so keep driving thru.”

I love that “Drive Thru” is a song anyone can relate to. There is always that one person who thinks they can come and go whenever they want and in this song, that is not the case. Porter is definitely an artist to watch and I can’t wait to hear her other songs off her EP when it comes out!”

 

Danielle Tornatore, Contributing Writer

Pick: “1, 2, 3 Mississippi” – Brett Young

Songwriters: Brett Young, Jon Nite, Justin Ebach

“Whenever I come across artists and fall in love with their debut records, I always feel a sense of nervousness when they release new ones. I felt this exact way with Brett Young releasing his sophomore record Ticket To L.A. Young’s self-titled album is one of my favorites of all time and luckily, I feel the exact same way about the new one. “1, 2, 3 Mississippi” was my favorite right off the bat. When I listened to the album in full for the first time, I kept replaying this song. It has such a good vibe to it, I can’t wait to drive around in the warmer weather with the windows down with this song blasting.”

 

Shanna Vitaliano, Contributing Writer

Pick: “On My Way To You” – Cody Johnson
Songwriters: Brett James & Tony Lane

“Texas-born country singer Cody Johnson has been one of my favorites for many years and I am so happy that his single “On My Way To You” is making its way up the country music charts.  “On My Way To You, tells a story about a journey on your way to finding the person you are supposed to be with. It is a subtle reminder that the road to find love may not always be easy, but in the end, when you find your one true love, everything you’ve been through was worth it.

Johnson sings heartfelt lyrics such as: “All the boats I’ve missed / All the hell I’ve caused / All the lips I’ve kissed / All the love I’ve lost / I got kicked around / I’ve been black and blue / On my way to you,” that can make anyone stop in their tracks and reflect on a difficult time in their life or a relationship. “On My Way To You” is a very relatable love song that gives hope that hardships lead you to where you’re supposed to be.

Country music fans have a powerful new love ballad to listen to, which does not stray from a traditional country sound. Johnson has a new album Aint Nothin’ To It coming out January 18th, and I am looking forward to watching his continued success!”

 

Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Hate It” – Tucker Beathard
Songwriters: Casey Beathard, Dakota Moniot, Tucker Beathard, Will King

“The moment Tucker Beathard started teasing clips from songs on his new album, I knew it was something special. When his debut album Nobody’s Everything was released, I listened to the whole album on loop, loving just about every track. This month I was between a few songs for my pick, but I kept coming back to Beathard’s “Hate It.” The lyrics are raw, heartbreaking, real, and relatable. I appreciate how the singer-songwriter taps into different life circumstances and emotions that aren’t always a centerpiece in songs. Not to mention, “Hate It” easily gets stuck in your head and the instrumentals mixed with the grittiness of Beathard’s voice are refreshing. Beathard as an artist is one to look out for, and truly has a special voice in country music. I encourage you to download “Hate It,” and the whole record, while you’re at it.”

 

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Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC!

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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What We’re Listening To: November Picks

We recently welcomed a team of writers to the NYCountry Swag Squad. With that, we’re excited to share a new monthly feature with our “What We’re Listening To” playlist, where we’re highlighting 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: “Rules of Breaking Up” – Brandon Ratcliff
Songwriters: A.J Babcock, Brandon Ratcliff, busbee, Pete Good

“Brandon Ratcliff is a brand new artist to hit the scene, but he is sure to make a big impact in the country music world. I first heard his song “Rules of Breaking Up” when one of our writers sent me a 30-second video clip from the song during a writers round she attended in Nashville. I watched that 30-second clip maybe 100 times that night alone. I was immediately hooked on the chorus and knew it was going to be a jam. Fast forward a few weeks later and the song was officially released on all music platforms. I’ve pretty much had it on repeat ever since. The song proposes the realistic idea that a break-up is easier said than done and puts that thought into relatable and catchy lyrics. Paired with a fresh and unique sound, “Rules of Breaking Up” is a standout song in the slew of new country music songs being released.”

“Whoever wrote the rules of breaking up never kissed your lips, touched your skin, had the world at their fingertips / Didn’t have a clue what heaven was / No, they didn’t have to lose that kind of love / And if they ever saw that smile, ever felt your vibe, they might know what I’m going through / Whoever wrote the rules of breaking up, never been broke up, broke up over you”

 

Christina Bosch, Managing Editor 

Pick: “When I Was His Wife” – Pistol Annies
Songwriters: Angaleena Presley, Ashley Monroe, Miranda Lambert

“What is better than one badass female country artist? Three badass female country artists.  Pistol Annies have never backed down, never shied away from writing and singing the truth and with their latest release, Interstate Gospel the truth isn’t the only thing they are serving up.  After Lambert’s very public divorce, the ladies have more than enough material and “When I Was His Wife” takes heartbreak to a whole new level.  The song which was written by the Annies focuses on the veil of love that blinds you in when a relationship is new, only to realize it isn’t all it seems to be as things start to fall apart.  It takes the stance of the ex singing to the new woman in her man’s life.

“He’d never cheat, he’d never lie / He’ll love me forever, till the day that we die / He’ll never take me for granted / I said that too when I was his wife”

“Holy Matrimony” this track from the new album is real and raw, showcasing the southern belle’s heartbreak and the storytelling that traditional country music is known for. I will always love a good emotional wreckage song.

 

Nicole Bochinis, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Love Heals” – Levi Hummon feat. Alison Krauss
Songwriters: Levi Hummon, Marcus Hummon, Tom Douglas 

“I heard “Love Heals” for the first time back in August when Levi Hummon came to Stamford CT. I was blown away by the song and the story behind it. Hummon’s voice is truly amazing and it pairs perfectly with Alison Krauss’ beautiful vocals.  The song was inspired by his mother and her Thistle Farms charity. The organization provides support and employment to victims of sexual assault and human trafficking. This song just gives a hopeful message to all of the women who have suffered. I also feel that this powerful message is for anyone who is struggling. No matter what you are going through, and no matter what is going on in the world, love is powerful, and love heals.”

 

Kelly Cunningham, Contributing Writer

Pick: “How Do I Get Close” – Nick Wayne
Songwriters: Nick Wayne, Josh Kerr, Hannah Ellis

“The first time I heard Nick Wayne sing his upcoming songs at The Listening Room in Nashville he sang this with his friend Josh Kerr and his girlfriend Hannah Ellis. The vocals on this song are insane and the harmonies are even better. He just recently released this song in October and it’s long overdue for the world to hear him. Wayne’s a game-changer to the country music scene and I can’t wait for his upcoming project to drop.”

 

Molly Holmberg, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Miss Love” – Julia Cole
Songwriters: Andy Timmons, Julia Cole, Simon Gugala

“Now I may be biased towards my pick of the month, maybe because I was just on tour with her or because I shot her new single cover, but nonetheless Julia Cole’s new single “Miss Love” is nothing short of amazing. The Houston, Texas native is stunning fans with her perfect combination of country, R&B, and pop and has caught the eyes of many in the country music world including CMT! “Miss Love” is a song about resisting the urge to fall back into an unhealthy relationship with the wrong person just because you miss the perks of being in love. This catchy upbeat song gets everyone singing along during her concert and you will too after the first time you hear it. This single is just a part of a full-band EP that is set to release in 2019, so be on the lookout!”

 

Nicole Piering, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Do You Ever Dream” – Delta Rae
Songwriters: Brittany Holljes, Eric Holljes, Ian Holljes

“From the opening line of Delta Rae‘s “Do You Ever Dream?,” I was immediately captivated by the discernible ache in the lead singer’s (Brittany Holljes) voice. While the song begins acapella, the music builds around the vocals, with guitars, drums, and harmonies adding to the song, rather than detracting from it. That musical build climaxes all the way at the end of the song, and the result is absolutely magical. In some ways, “Do You Ever Dream?” reminds me of country music from the early-2000’s, and that is NOT a bad thing. It’s been on repeat for me since I first heard it, and I can’t wait to hear more from this band. In fact, I’d argue that if this song was released by Little Big Town, it would be a huge hit, and it deserves to be a breakthrough moment for Delta Rae.”

 

Olivia Reese, Contributing Writer

Pick: “This Feeling” – The Chainsmokers feat. Kelsea Ballerini
Songwriters: Alex Pall, Andrew Taggert, Emily Warren

“There have been numerous collaborations between pop and country artists in the past few months, but “This Feeling” captures the unique blend of The Chainsmoker’s electro-pop sound and Kelsea Ballerini’s country background to create a one of a kind song, that I think is perfect for both a Saturday afternoon drive or a night out.

The song brings back the nostalgia of high school or college and going after someone you are crazy about, that your friends don’t like as they try to convince you out of it, to “Think with my head, not that thing in my chest/They got their hands at my neck this time”. Despite their pleas, in your best interest, to reconsider you don’t listen because “They don’t know what this feeling is like.””

 

Nicole Sellati, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Float Your Boat” – Ryan Follese
Songwriters: Adrienne Follese, Cameron Montgomery, Jamie Follese, Keith Follese, Ryan Follese

“I’ve been a fan of singer-songwriter, Ryan Follese since he was the lead singer of Hot Chelle Rae. Ever since then I have kept up with his career and was happy to learn he was working on a solo album in country music. I had the chance to see him perform again on last years tour with Sam Hunt and have been listening to his music non-stop. His entire album is on repeat but in particular the song, “Float Your Boat,” making it the perfect November pick for me. I love how the song is all about living in the moment and doing whatever makes you happy, which is exactly how I try to live life. I can’t wait to see what comes next for his career!”

 

Danielle Tornatore, Contributing Writer

Pick: “It Ain’t You It’s Me” – Kane Brown
Songwriters: Kane Brown, Taylor Phillips, Josh Hoge, Brock Berryhill

“Kane Brown is one of my top five favorite country artists and I have been anxiously awaiting the release of Experiment since it was announced. I’ve had it on repeat since the clock struck midnight last Friday and “It Ain’t You It’s Me” has been the standout for me. For some reason, I’m always drawn to the heartbreaking tracks of albums. Though this one is a bit more upbeat, the message is all the same. I’m hoping this will be on his setlist for the ‘Live Forever Tour’ next year!”

 

Shanna Vitaliano, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Last Shot” – Kip Moore
Songwriters: Kip Moore, Dan Couch, David Lee Murphy

“Kip Moore’s “Last Shot” takes a different outlook on the true meaning of loving someone. I came to really admire this song as I understood the genuine meaning behind the lyrics.  There’s no doubt that Moore’s rugged and infectious vocals can reel you in, but the meaning behind living life to its fullest and enjoying it with the person you care about is what makes the song so special.
Lyrics such as: “If you were my last breath, I’d just want to hold ya/ If you were my last night I ever had on wheels/ I’d wanna drive you like I stole ya,” makes you think of how you’d want to spend the last moments with a person you love.

It is the perfect reminder to show how much you cherish someone as well as who and what matters most in life.”

 

Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Whole Lot In Love” – Austin Burke
Songwriters: Austin Burke, Sherrie Austin, Will Rambeaux

“My November song pick came pretty easy this month. Keeping with my theme of picking songs that resonate with me personally, while still having that aspect of story-telling that is such a staple of country music, this month I went with Austin Burke’s “Whole Lot In Love.”

Burke puts his own twist onto a love song, having a hard time expressing that he’s in love with his partner and exploring the consequences of admitting his feelings out loud. The song is relatable and catchy, while the singer’s unique voice gives it an edgy feel. On a personal note, I can relate to having some difficulty expressing how I feel in relationships, so this track definitely hit home for me.”

 

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What We’re Listening To: October Picks

We recently welcomed a team of writers to the NYCountry Swag Squad. With that, we’re excited to share a new monthly feature with our “What We’re Listening To” playlist, where we’re highlighting 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 October picks. Then be sure to give our Spotify account a follow and listen to our favorite tracks!

 

OCTOBER PICKS:

 

Stephanie Wagner, Founder

Pick: “Break Up More Often” – Riley Green
Songwriters: Chris DuBois, Lynn Hutton, Riley Green

“I’m loving everything from Riley Green right now. His debut single, “There Was This Girl” is currently making waves on country radio, but “Break Up More Often”, another song from his EP, In A Truck Right Now, is what I’ve recently been listening to on repeat. 

I love the twist he puts on a breakup. For anybody who has ever been in an on-again/off-again relationship, it’s completely relatable. One minute you’re arguing like you’ll never see each other again and the next you’re waking up in their bed. Green’s lyrics are honest and vulnerable. 

If tellin’ each other goodbye is gonna lead to a long slow kiss // If you tearin’ out my drive is gonna get us makin’ love like this // ‘Cause it’s crazy to think that yesterday we weren’t even talkin’ // If this is how it’s gonna be, then baby maybe we should break up more often

There is something so desirable about the idea of the makeup being worth the breakup and Green paints that picture perfectly in this song.” 

 

Christina Bosch, Managing Editor 

Pick: “Make You Feel My Love” – Clare Dunn
Songwriters: Bob Dylan

“This song has been covered by the greats including Adele, Garth Brooks, and Billy Joel but available earlier today, country rising artist Clare Dunn released a live, acoustic version of the Bob Dylan classic and I was immediately captivated. Each time I have heard this song, I have loved it more and more but Dunn’s unique delivery and smooth vocals simply gives me chills.  The powerhouse singer makes this acoustic version her own by letting the lyrics take the lead, backed by a single guitar. Clare Dunn is definitely one to watch, setting the bar for women in this industry to pave their own way and proving she can tackle one of the greatest songs of all time.”

 

Nicole Bochinis, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Make It Sweet” – Old Dominion
Songwriters: Brad Tursi, Geoff Sprung, Matthew Ramsey, Shane McAnally, Trevor Rosen, Whit Sellers

“I’ve had “Make It Sweet” on repeat since the moment it was released. The lyrics that stand out to me the most are “Life is short, make it sweet”. Such simple words can mean so much to someone when life gets difficult. Old Dominion has been a favorite of mine since I saw them open up for Chase Rice in 2014. I knew they were going to be big from the moment they took the stage. They are not your typical country group but that is what I love about them. From the lyrics, music, passion and guitar solos, you are in for a treat when you see them. Every song they put out is a hit and this song is just a taste of what’s to come on their next album!”

 

Kelly Cunningham, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Georgia Time” – Riley Green
Songwriters: Riley Green

Mine is “Georgia Time” by Riley Green. This song has been stuck in my head for so long and I’m not complaining. It has this raw southern rhythm to it that is addicting. I just recently got to see him perform last week and he’s definitely bringing old-school country back to the scene. He’s for sure one to look out for as his debut single is climbing the charts quickly!

 

Taylor Felvey, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Drunk Again” – Ashley Scire
Songwriters: Ashley Scire,  John Allan Miller, Sean Ryan Spollen

“With Tailgate season in full swing, fans everywhere are going to thank their lucky stars to have a fall anthem in “Drunk Again”.  The native east coaster’s smooth vocals leave her a force to be reckoned with among fellow females in the Nashville music scene. With a Hilary Scott-type rasp, Scire’s soulful chorus along with upbeat guitar chords will leave everyone singing “Here we are/drunk again/buzzin’ at the bar where it all began/we both know how this night is gonna end/we’re drunk again”.”

 

Crystal Fenton, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Ends of the Earth” – Kenny Chesney
Songwriters: Ben Schneider

“Lately, I’ve been listening to Kenny Chesney’s “Ends Of The Earth” on repeat! I love both the chill vibe of the music (which even sounds somewhat aquatic to me) and the emotion of the lyrics. I’ve been lighting a sea salt scented candle and listening to this song at night to wind down from a long day. My very favorite lines: What good is livin’ a life you’ve been given / If all you do is stand in one place?”

 

Molly Holmberg, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Growin’ Up” – Walker McGuire
Songwriters: Brinley Addington, Jimmie Deeghan, Michael Hardy

“Walker McGuire just dropped their new single, ‘Growin’ Up.’ While not everyone can relate to growing up in a small town, with honest lyrics, a catchy tune, and talking about everyday life this song catches you the first time you listen to it. The lyrics speak the truth about the ups and downs of growing up and while everything that happens around you is an important part of your journey as you grow up no matter how big or small the event was. Their two other hit songs “Til Tomorrow” has almost 27 million streams and “Lost” has almost 7 million. Walker McGuire is currently the hottest duo coming up in country music right now and they are reaching fans across the country.”

 

Nicole Piering, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Ladies in the 90’s” – Lauren Alaina
Songwriters: Amy Wadge, Jesse Frasure, Lauren Alaina

“How can you not love a song that includes lyrics from Britney Spears, Reba, Christina Aguilera, Destiny’s Child, Shania Twain and more? Easy. You can’t. From the moment I heard Lauren Alaina’s “Ladies in the 90’s,” I was hooked. Despite playing to the new trend in country music to namedrop other songs, Lauren Alaina’s take seems fresh. Having grown up on the songs mentioned on this track, it’s easy to relate to and sing along. “I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want, you oughta know”,  is such a well-crafted line that I can’t seem to get it out of my head. Based on talent alone, Alaina should be one of country’s hottest female acts, and I really hope this song helps to cement her position in the industry. It’s what I really, really want.”

 

Nicole Sellati, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Dark Horse” – Devin Dawson
Songwriters: Andrew Roberts, Andy Albert, Devin Dawson

“Since I’ll be seeing Devin Dawson next week in Florida, I thought it would be fitting for “Dark Horse” to be my October pick. From the moment I first heard the song live in 2017, I was in love with it. The song is mesmerizing and each time I listen to it, I feel as if I’m being transported to another place. His entire debut album is perfection, allowing the music to speak for itself but this song, in particular, is so honest and bold, I can’t help but have it on repeat. Dawson is one of my favorite artists to see live and I can’t wait to hear his set one last time on The Long Way tour!”

 

Danielle Tornatore, Contributing Writer

Pick: “I’m Good” – Abby Anderson
Songwriters: Abby Anderson, April Geesbreght, Jason Massey

“A few weeks ago I saw Abby Anderson open up for Brett Eldredge on his ‘The Long Way Tour’ at the Bloomsburg Fair in Pennsylvania. Ever since I’ve had her whole I’m Good EP on repeat which is why it was hard to choose just one of the songs as my pick for this month. After debating for a few days, I had to go with the title track “I’m Good.” It’s a sassy and empowering anthem for all the girls out there who have realized their self-worth and moved on from a certain someone. Anderson sang this song with such confidence at the show, especially the last line of the chorus: “If you’re thinking that I’m on the fence / Thinking I want you back / Nah, baby, I’m good” Every girl who has dealt with any kind of situation similar to this needs to hear this song. I cannot wait to see Anderson again later this month at the Mercury Lounge!”

Shanna Vitaliano, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Tailgate” – Raelynn
Songwriters: Canaan Smith / Corey Crowder / Tyler Hubbard/Raelynn

“Tailgate” is a super catchy song released by Raelynn over the summer.  Every time I hear it on the radio or play it on Spotify I find myself singing along and it’s stuck in my head for the rest of the day.  Written by Raelynn, Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard, Corey Crowder, and Canaan Smith the lyrics tell a fun story about young kids in the back of a pickup truck messing around and hoping no one finds out.  With a chorus saying “If that tailgate ever tells, I’d be the small talk of the town” Raelynn’s twang can bring back teenage memories of times you wish your parents never found out about, especially if it’s in a small town!”

 

Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Chasin’ You” – Morgan Wallen
Songwriters: Craig Wiseman, Jamie Moore, Morgan Wallen

“I knew for this month that I was going to pick a Morgan Wallen song. The singer has been on my radar, since his debut album If I Know Me dropped. I discovered his songs while listening to Pandora. Each time I heard a new song that I liked, I would look at the artist, and sure enough, it was Wallen.

Since I have had the whole record on repeat for a while now, I had a hard time deciding, which song I wanted to pick. After seeing the artist perform live, I finally settled on “Chasin’ You.” (Almost as confirmation, as I write this, the song randomly played on Pandora.) Unlike most of his other songs, this track is the singer’s version of a ballad. The lyrics reminisce about an old relationship that didn’t work out for a variety of reasons.

My favorite lyric is “Chasing that freedom, chasing that feeling that got gone to soon.” Those words can be applied to so many facets of life, and they really resonated with me as a country music fan, but more importantly as a human being. I am so excited to see what Wallen does next with his blossoming career, and I can only hope for more tracks like “Chasin’ You,” with heartfelt, story-telling like this one. ”

 

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Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC!

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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What We’re Listening To: September Picks

We recently welcomed a team of writers to the NYCountry Swag Squad. With that, we’re excited to share a new monthly feature with our “What We’re Listening To” playlist, where we’re highlighting 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: “Prayed For You” – Matt Stell
Songwriters: Matt Stell / Allison Velos / Ash Bowers

It’s funny how music hits you. Sometimes you listen to a song just because you want to, sometimes a friend tells you to listen, and sometimes a song randomly comes on and stops you in your tracks. That was the case for me with Matt Stell’s “Prayed For You” who also joined us for a Live Swag Session to play the song. The beautiful track evokes the idea of praying for that special person that you just know is your soulmate before ever even meeting them. “Every single day, before I knew your name / I couldn’t see your face, but I prayed for you.”  

Holding on to the faith that your one true love is out there, the hopeful love song goes on to paint a picture of the characteristics in the heart’s desire: “For Someone to love me like you do / Graceful eyes to see me through / A smile that steals me, a heart that heals me / A touch that kills me too”.

Whether single or a couple in love, the lyrics are relatable and meaningful, making this one of the best love songs in country music right now.

 

Christina Bosch, Managing Editor 

Pick: “Better On Paper” – Brett Sheroky
Songwriters: Andrew Peebles / Brett Sheroky

“Songwriter turned artist, Brett Sheroky released his latest single “Better On Paper” earlier this summer and the song stopped me in my tracks at first listen. This song is not primed for radio nor will you hear it blaring from speakers as you walk to the venue at a concert during a tailgate but for anyone who has dealt with the disintegration of a relationship, these lyrics will hit you harder than you can imagine. “Better On Paper” refers to the pictures you look back on, the post-it notes that served as love letters and ultimately the divorce papers that have to be signed.

“Oh here we are, the end of us is all typed out in ink / I never thought it’d get to where we couldn’t even speak,  it’s hard to believe / the worst of us would wind right here later, better on paper, a couple of strangers, just better on paper.”

I can’t help but hope that more songwriters take a note from Sheroky and write songs that mean something rather than chasing the commercial dream.  Check back tomorrow when New York Country Swag exclusively premieres the video for “Better On Paper”. “

 

Kelly Cunningham, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Here Tonight” – Brett Young
Songwriters: Ben Caver, Brett Young, Charles Kelley, Justin Ebach

“The song just dropped last weekend, but Brett Young’s been playing “Here Tonight” on the road this past month and this song perfectly shapes his new album Ticket To LA, coming out in December. It has a fall vibe attached to it just in time for the season. The lyrics and upbeat tempo reflect the different place he is in life right now in contrast to his last album. His self-titled album Brett Young was more about heartbreak and love gone wrong and now his new album, Ticket To LA, is giving us a more “life is good” side of Brett’s music.”

 

Crystal Fenton, Contributing Writer

Pick: “First Time Again” – Jason Aldean feat. Kelsea Ballerini
Songwriters: Blake Bollinger, Jaron Boyer, Ben Stennis, and Michael Tyler

“Lately, I’ve been listening to First Time Again on repeat. This song tears at my heart; I especially love/cry when you can actually hear the twinge of despair in her voice when she sings “Begging baby please just stay”. Also, I can relate to pretty much every lyric line in this song, as I’ve had a similar experience. Plus, it’s been rainy here in NYC making it the perfect weather to listen to a song where the emotion really resonates through each word.”

 

Molly Holmberg, Contributing Writer

Pick: “One Shot” – Molly Holmberg
Songwriters: Hunter Hayes

“Hunter Hayes has been out of the scene the last few years focusing on songwriting while playing a few shows here and there. Although in the last two months Hayes has come back full swing with honest lyrics and a vulnerable side that we’ve been waiting for. In the new track “One Shot,” it’s clear that Hayes is having a blast. Musically, he blends the new and old, incorporating elements of pop, country, and even a bit of jazz making “One Shot” feel like the total package. In the chorus of “One Shot,” Hayes sings about something that most people can relate to: “I started with one shot / To have a good time / Everybody knows how easy one can turn into five / Don’t judge me, ’cause it ain’t nobody’s life but mine / And I only get one shot / So I take it one shot at a time.”

We all know how easy it can be to keep going along with the motions while having a great time with friends! It’s fun, infectious, yet also conveys a solid message at the same time.  Hayes delivers all around with his amazing singing, songwriting, production, and with his charismatic personality. It is the perfect upbeat song to add to any playlist and I know that my friends and I have been playing it since the moment it came out!”

 

Nicole Piering, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Bittersweet” – Paul Brandt featuring Lindsay Ell
Songwriters: Ben Stennis, Brad Rempel, Paul Brandt, Seth Mosley

“Although I’ve heard the name Paul Brandt thrown around for years, I only recently discovered his music. The Canadian artist has a huge catalog of phenomenal songs, including “My Heart Has a History” and “All About Her,” but it’s his newest release, “Bittersweet” that I can’t stop listening to. Featuring fellow Canadian Lindsay Ell on electric guitar and co-written with High Valley’s Brad Rempel, “Bittersweet” is an up-tempo country song that you can’t help but tap your feet to. The lyrics touch on life and the moments that you don’t want to forget, but that are bound to only become bittersweet memories. “From the moment to memories, this life is bittersweet,” Brandt sings, and I couldn’t agree more. “We’re living and dying and laughing and crying, and finding the beauty between.” If you haven’t heard Paul Brandt’s music just yet, I highly recommend “Bittersweet” as the gateway into his vast catalog.”

Pick: “Miss Me More” – Kelsea Ballerini
Songwriters: Brett McLaughlin, David Hodges, Kelsea Ballerini

Last weekend I saw Kelsea Ballerini on the Graffiti U World Tour at Mohegan Sun. Since then her song, “Miss Me More,” has been stuck in my head on repeat; naturally, I had to choose it as my September pick. It’s one of my favorite songs off her sophomore album, Unapologetically, because of her sassy lyrics and ear-catching beat.

“I miss me more / I miss my own beat of my own snare drum / I miss my own sheets in the bed I made up / I forgot I had dreams, I forgot I had wings / Forgot who I was before I ever kissed you / I thought I’d miss you, but I miss me more,”

At the show I couldn’t help myself, shouting at the top of my lungs, singing the lyrics right back to her and of course dancing like nobody was watching. What I love about Ballerini is how relatable her music is and this song, in particular, she sings with such confidence, belting out the lyrics. “Miss Me More” is an empowering song that every girl should listen to at least once. I can’t wait to see her again when the tour comes to the Barclays Center next month!”

 

Danielle Tornatore, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Tragic” – Jillian Jacqueline
Songwriters: Andrew DeRoberts, Bob Dipiero, Jillian Jacqueline

“Back in May, I was lucky enough to see Jillian Jacqueline perform at Nash FM 94.7 Hackensack Meridian Health Stage 17 where she performed a new song by introducing it as one of the few off of her next EP Side B. As soon as she sang the first chorus, I knew I NEEDED the studio version. I was counting down the days until Side B was released just for this very song. After waiting a long four months, I finally have “Tragic” on repeat. The lyrics “Bottom line, I survived. Spent all year being so dramatic. It was sad and I was lonely, but I’m standing here alive in this moment, so why’s it gotta be, why’s it gotta be tragic?” are something I believe everyone should hear.”

 

Shanna Vitaliano, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Heart Like A Wheel” – Eric Church
Songwriters: Eric Church

“One of the songs I have on repeat as of late is Eric Church’s “Heart Like A Wheel.” Church slows things down with bluesy vocals and unique flair to bring to life a romantic story about opposites attracting. Opening lyrics such as “She’s caviar and mascara, I’m corduroy and leather It’d take one hell of an imagination to ever paint us together” set the tone for the gospel sounding ballad.  “Heart Like A Wheel” is almost like a seductive follow up to another fan favorite “Like A Wrecking Ball.” Give this song a listen as we look forward to Church’s new album Desperate Man which will be available out October 5th.”

 

Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Hell or High Water” – Ben Danaher
Songwriters: Ben Danaher / Maren Morris

“Earlier this month, we published a First Impression reviewing country singer Ben Danaher’s debut album, Still Feel Lucky. I really related to the entire vibe and raw emotion throughout all the tracks; however, my favorite song (right now) is “Hell or High Water” by the singer This song is such a jam! The track, co-written by country star, Maren Morris, is one of those songs that can translate across multiple genres of music. It embodies soul, country, and rock all in one. Not to mention, “Hell or High Water” features killer guitar riffs. I encourage you to go listen to Danaher’s radio-friendly tune because soon you will be loving the entire album as much as I do.”

 

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Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC!

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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