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
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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”
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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“.
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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