Brandon Ratcliff Releases Heartfelt New Song “Slow Down Hometown”

Slow Down HomeTown

Our very first Swag Spotlight of 2019, Brandon Ratcliff is delivering his emotions on a silver platter in his newest song entitled “Slow Down Hometown.” This marks the third new song from the rising country artist, who is currently working on his first debut record. “Slow Down Hometown” follows his debut single “Rules of Breaking Up” and the infectious “Number in My Phone.”

We first heard the new song, during an intimate set at a low-key New York City bar as part of a string of ‘Sofar Sounds’ shows. He explained, during the event that the track was near and dear to his heart, calling it a “love letter” to his hometown. Today, the singer-songwriter took to Instagram to express his gratitude for the new song, as well as, for Alison Krauss, who lent her vocals to the noteworthy track.

He shared on Instagram, “Growing up in a small town, I never really knew what it looked like to leave. Everything just felt right when I was there, all my friends and family were there, every pivotal memory or defining moment in my life was made there […] But when I picked up and tried to make this music thing work, all that went away. Most of the friends and family are still there, and the place is still ultimately what it was when I lived there, but my perspective has shifted… everything feels further away now. And I learned that everyone and everything changes, grows, or evolves and you either grow together or you grow apart. I wrote this song to try to explain what that feeling is like.”

“Slow down hometown / Why you gotta move so fast / Tell me why it feels like / I’m the only one looking back.”

The song shows Ratcliff’s more vulnerable side, expands his artistry and shows off his capabilities, proving exactly why we named him one of our 2019 Artists to Watch. We can’t wait to continue to watch his career blossom and champion his talent along the way. Catch him this September with Keith Urban in Las Vegas, and make sure to keep an eye out on his website, for shows in a city near you.

To keep up with Brandon Ratcliff follow him on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

“Slow Down Hometown” is now available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.


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Brandon Ratcliff Releases Debut Music Video for “Rules of Breaking Up”

Louisiana-born singer Brandon Ratcliff just released the long-anticipated music video for his single, “Rules of Breaking Up”. Featuring Ratcliff playing an electric guitar, the video starts on a close up of the guitar as those recognizable first chords open the song and he is then in an abandoned lot, and those close-ups give viewers the full expression of emotion in this song. His red hoodie underneath a patterned jacket project him as just having wandered into the lot, needing to express his feelings. Captured in slow-motion is Ratcliff falling through the sky, paired with water droplets also suspended in time. This suspension mimics the lostness that often accompanies a breakup; somewhere where your whole world is turned upside down.

An image of a female, also falling, shows that both people at the end of a relationship can have that feeling. Halfway through, it seems to switch, as though he is falling up, and returning to a state of normalcy. All the while, he is alone, emphasizing the isolation one must feel. Even though you might know the breakup is for the best, Ratcliff embodies the fact that it will still hurt, especially when breaking up with someone like the person he is referencing. “Whoever wrote the rules of breaking up, never been broke up, broke up over you.”

To read more about Ratcliff, check out our Swag Spotlight features from earlier in the year here and grab tickets to his show this summer in New Jersey at Jenks Club on July 31st here.

To keep up with Brandon Ratcliff follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


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Brandon Ratcliff Performs at an Intimate New York City Bar

Brandon Ratcliff

Last night (3/25), the NYCountry Swag team headed to Beckett’s Bar & Grill in downtown Manhattan to listen to rising country artist and one of New York Country Swag’s 2019 Artists to Watch, Brandon Ratcliff performed an intimate set for Sofar Sounds. This marks the second time, we’ve been able to witness the singer-songwriter’s talents with the first time being back in February, during Country Radio Seminar.

Ratcliff’s performance was part of a string of ‘Sofar Sounds’ shows that he participated in, sharing that NYC was his second to last show. A ‘Sofar’ gig is a unique show held at different venues, fans sit on the floor surrounding the artist and listen to each act play three to four songs. Most times, the crowd doesn’t know in advance which acts are performing that night, giving the rising artist a chance to organically garner fans and to interact with audiences in cities across the globe.

After a quick introduction by the emcee, the Monument Records recording artist got right into his acoustic set, performing his first unreleased song “Sometimes, Always, Never You,” with help from two band members. The catchy country and R&B infused jam resonated well with the audience, who were all swaying to the beat of the track. After the song, Ratcliff showed off his humble and vivacious personality, introducing his family and friends who were present, as well as, sharing his journey as a singer and a songwriter.

Ratcliff shared that he moved to Nashville from a small-town in Louisiana, four years ago, where he met fellow songwriters Pete Good and AJ Babcock. Read more about his backstory here in our Swag Spotlight interview. The three formed an undeniable relationship and got busy writing each and every song off his debut album, slated for release sometime later this year.

The Swag Spotlight alum continued his performance, singing the most recent song he has released, “Number in My Phone.” Excited to share this song, Ratcliff exclaimed “This song is one of my favorites off the record because I love writing about relationships because I think it’s something that we can all relate to,” adding, “Relationships are some of the most important in our lives.”

Ratcliff went on to sing his next unreleased song, “Slow Down, Hometown.” The ballad was truly touching and showed off the singer’s artistry and songwriting skills. He shared, “So I kinda wrote this song almost as a love letter to my hometown. I know you gotta move on, I know there’s a new set of kids coming up in this town, but just for a small time, while we’re here, in this moment, can we be who we were when you were my hometown?!” Adding later, that fellow musician, and one of his family friends, Alison Krauss lent her voice to this record.

Ratcliff closed out his show with the first song he ever released publicly, announcing that the song will go to country radio next month as his first single. The track already has over 20 million streams and counting and is sure to be a hit on the radio. “This song is super special because it’s kinda the catalyst that started this whole record. […] “Rules” really was just the song that was about the one relationship that made you want to break all those rules. This song’s called “Rules of Breaking Up”.”

Brandon Ratcliff

Brandon Ratcliff with Contributing Writers Danielle, Nicole and Erica with Managing Editor, Christina and Founder, Stephanie.

At the end of his 20-minute set, Ratcliff took some time to answer some personal questions from fans, including how he met his wife and of course, sharing his upcoming tour plans. The artist will accompany fellow country stars, Kelsea Ballerini and Brett Young this spring on the ‘Miss Me More Tour.’ For more information and dates head to

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


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[Listen] 2019 Artist to Watch Brandon Ratcliff “Number in My Phone”

Brandon Ratcliff Number in My Phone

Primed for a big year, rising country artist and our Swag Spotlight artist, Brandon Ratcliff released a new song across all platforms earlier today. After finding success with his debut single, “Rules of Breaking Up,” the singer-songwriter is sure to keep the momentum going with his new song, “Number in My Phone.”

The track was written by the Louisiana native, along with talented songwriters Pete Good and A.J. Babcock. Not to mention, the song was produced by two of the more recognizable names in Nashville, Shane McAnally and Good. “Number in My Phone” is a charming and clever story about how a relationship can begin from a simple gesture, such as getting someone’s number, and then all of a sudden that person means the world to you. On the contrary, it tells the full story, as that person, that number, becomes just a number again, after a breakup.

Like his last hit, “Rules of Breaking Up,” the new track features a catchy chorus with a relatable story, making it a perfect future radio single. “Cause you were just a number in my phone / Till I called you up and we talked until you were a first date, red wine kiss / And you were staying later every night, until you were an angel in my bed / Leaving your clothes at my place / You were the best damn thing I ever had till you were gone / Now you’re just another number in my phone.”

With a great team around him, smooth vocals, and a unique blend of R&B and new wave country, Ratcliff is proving that he is worthy of a spot on NYCountry Swag’s Artist to Watch 2019 list. Catch Ratcliff on Kelsea Ballerini’s ‘Miss Me More Tour’ with Brett Young this Spring. For more information and dates head to

Take a listen to the track below and click here to check out our New Country Music Spotify playlist for all of the newest country music.


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NYCS Swag Spotlight: Brandon Ratcliff

Brandon Ratcliff

Our very first Swag Spotlight of 2019 is also one of our Artists to Watch this year, Brandon Ratcliff. As a young man, grew up surrounded by the music industry as the son of Suzanne Cox of the legendary band, The Cox Family. His hometown, Cotton Valley, Louisiana proved to be the perfect small town to grow up.  “One of the big cornerstones of my childhood was my mom teaching me to be a true fan of great music in the car rides on the way to school, her being the DJ, she showed me and my younger brother so much great music everything from Merle Haggard to Ricky Skaggs, Stevie Wonder, Hall and Oates and Fleetwood Mac, I had a love for music, art, and songwriting from a young age,” he tells us in a recent interview. Although his very first dream was to be a professional basketball player, after discovering artists and songwriters like John Mayer and Eric Church struck a chord for him and he decided to pursue songwriting himself.

In 2014 he moved to Nashville and focused on honing his songwriting craft. “I was really focused on writing songs and because that was to me, my favorite part about it, I was a song person, I always wanted to write great music,” Ratcliff explains. He tells us that he found his tribe of songwriters and after meeting Pete Good and AJ Babcock it just clicked. “Once you meet your team, it really is the most empowering feeling when you are doing what you love with that group of guys.”

Back in October, Ratcliff released his debut single “Rules of Breaking Up” which already has garnered over a million streams on Spotify.  When discussing the writing process he tells us it was born out of a conversation with A.J Babcock, busbee, and Pete Good.  “We all know the rules when you break up but the lyrics were specifically about the one relationship that makes you want to break all of those rules,” he says. An interesting anecdote is Ratcliff doesn’t think of the song as a breakup song but instead, one for someone you deeply care about. “It was a little bit of a love song, it was born out of a place of almost writing what it would be like to lose someone that important, it was more of an introspective,” he explains. “You love someone so much, if I broke up with you, I wouldn’t be able to follow those rules.”  The beauty of songwriting and something that he loves about the process is the way that people can interpret songs differently.

To close out 2018, Ratcliff announced that he would be opening on the Miss Me More Tour with Brett Young and Kelsea Ballerini. The two artists will bring their diverse fan base to the nationwide tour and the rising artist is so humbled and excited to get to play his music for them. Looking forward into the new year besides the tour, he is can’t wait to release the music he has been writing and recording for the past two years. For tour dates and more info head to and be sure to be following Brandon Ratcliff on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


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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!




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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