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Best Country Albums of 2020 – Our Favorite Picks

As this crazy, unprecedented year finally comes to a close, the one thing we could all find solace in was music in 2020.  The New York Country Swag team is highlighting the wide range of our team’s favorite songs and artists when it comes to the country music genre by featuring our favorite album picks of 2020.  At the end of the day, we are all fans first with a passion for country music and are eager to share with you all the albums we’ve had on repeat this year.

Best Country Albums of 2020 - Our Favorite Picks

Best Country Albums of 2020 – Our Favorite Picks

Find below each of our team member’s favorite albums and why in our 2020 best country album picks.

 

Stephanie Wagner, Founder

Pick: Southern Symphony – Russell Dickerson

Although the album has only been out a few weeks, I would be lying if I said I haven’t been playing it on repeat nonstop since its release. It’s one of those albums you can listen to over and over again and each time fall in love with a new song. This was one of the records I was looking forward to most this year and I’m so glad that in a year of uncertainty, this new music from Russell Dickerson has made its way out into the world. I can not wait to see songs from this project performed live!

Honorable Mention:  Southside – Sam Hunt – When I think of the early days of quarantine, I think of this album and listening to it on repeat night and day. It’s full of jams, relatable lyrics, and clever twists that made it easy to listen to over and over again.

 

Christina Bosch, Managing Editor 

Pick: The Other Side – Cam

Cam

Throughout this unprecedented and unpredictable year music has been healing and also very painful to listen to. Missing live music and the way our old life played out was something I had to come to grips with early on in the pandemic but each time a new album was released, I fell deeper and deeper in love with music and was able to really focus on my favorite part of the country genre – the lyrics.

Picking a favorite album of 2020 was nearly impossible. Three different albums were constantly playing throughout the year, the first half of the year was Nightfall by Little Big Town, then came my favorite singer-songwriter HARDY with A ROCK. Both of those albums were chosen by two of our writers so finally, released at the end of October was Cam’s sophomore project, The Other Side.

Cam’s impeccable vocal ability blew me away from the moment I first heard her sing but with this second project, she proves her power in this genre. Each song tells a different story from heartbreak, divorce, growing older, and a love that is envied by all. “Happier for You”, “Redwood Tree”, and “What Goodbye Means” are highlights but even choosing three songs to showcase was hard. I am so glad that “Diane” is getting a second life on this project as well after being released back in 2017.

For any fans of real country music that tells a story, The Other Side will instantly become a favorite for years to come.

 

Lucie Bernheim, Contributing Writer

Pick: The Dream – Hailey Whitters

2020 has felt like multiple years rolled into one. Between a global pandemic, civil unrest, and ultimately, vast unpredictability, the true silver lining has been the incredible music released over the last 12 months. This year has produced some of my favorite works of all time, two being Brett Eldredge’s risk-taking Sunday Drive, which I got to review in July, and Hailey Whitters’ magical and brilliant The Dream. Choosing between these albums was hard because they are both my favorites on different ways, but when it came down to it, I had to choose Hailey Whitters’ The Dream.

The Dream is a dream album. It’s cohesive and gorgeous, insightful and witty, heartbreaking and hopeful. “Dream, Girl” and “All The Cool Girls” have a real groove and mystique to them, making them standouts. “Janice At The Hotel Bar” is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of song. I remember where I was when I first heard the song, walking in Central Park, so moved I had to stop. I immediately played it for my parents and my sister. Lyrically, it’s incredible, as is any story-song written by Whitters and the unparalleled Lori McKenna. “Paris in the spring of 1973/She said if there is a heaven, that’s where I’ll be”.  Something about the delivery and production makes it incredibly evocative, with Whitters’ reverbed vocals and a shimmering acoustic guitar gliding you along. It’s the kind of musical moment you never forget.

It’s hard to encapsulate what music has meant to me this year. “The Days” gave me the closure I needed to end my senior year of high school; “Heartland” and “Janice At The Hotel Bar” got me through my first semester of college. Whenever I hear this record, I will always be transported back in time to 2020, a year that even if we try to forget, we never will. I can’t wait to see what Hailey Whitters does next.

 

Dylan Bestler, Contributing Writer

Pick: Southside – Sam Hunt

With all live shows being canceled this year, we needed artists to drop a lot of new music to fill the void and get through quarantine. Luckily, country artists delivered and we got a ton of great albums from Luke Bryan, Kelsea Ballerini, Dustin Lynch, Brett Eldredge, Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, Carly Pearce, Chris Stapleton, and many others. My favorite was Sam Hunt’s Southside.

Hunt covered a lot of themes on this record. Being that his last album was released five and a half years ago (which could’ve been another reason why I loved Southside so much), he had a lot of stories to tell. His songs are very personal to him, but are general enough where others can relate as well.

If you want to dance and have a good time, “Kinfolks” and “Hard to Forget” are great tailgate anthems. If you want to get in your feels and maybe even cry, “2016” and “That Ain’t Beautiful” are for you. “Young Once” and “Sinning With You” paint great pictures of young love if you want to reminisce on your youth. There is a song for every type of emotion on this record which makes it so versatile and relevant.

Honorable Mentions: A ROCK-HARDY, The Lemonade Stand-Tenille Townes, The K Is Silent-Hot Country Knights.

 

Kristina Callahan, Contributing Writer

Pick: Tullahoma – Dustin Lynch

Remember a time when artists put out albums, did press about the new record, and maybe even have an album release party? It seems like that was a lifetime ago. Dustin Lynch put out Tullahoma, his fourth studio album, right before the Covid-19 pandemic hit and let me tell you, I can still listen to it front to back nearly a year later. The album is named after Lynch’s hometown of Tullahoma, Tennessee, and is a central theme throughout the album from running into an ex-girlfriend at the Circle K in “Thinking ‘Bout You” or singing about momma’s fried chicken in “Dirt Road.”
I grew up on a dirt road dreaming ’bout making a name // And getting out of dodge and the same ol’ same // Graduate and settle down, man I was out of that town // Now I catch myself rewind and reminiscing // ‘Bout a small town girl and mama’s fried chicken // I can taste it right now // Let me tell you I’m proud
 
Lynch sings about his hometown in a way that so many that grew up in the small towns can relate to: driving down backroads, having everything remind you of an ex, and memories with some of your best friends. I think that’s why I love this album so much, it’s relatable and simple. When Lynch can finally perform these songs live in front of thousands of fans, I have no doubt they’ll be crowd favorites.

Jeremy Chua, Contributing Writer

Pick: Rollin’ On – Jesse Daniel

If your knowledge of country music relies solely on what’s played on country radio, you probably wouldn’t have heard of Jesse Daniel. But, if you listen to country radio and also keep up critics’ reviews, you would have heard the buzz about the California native. Though Daniel released his debut album back in 2018, it is his sophomore (and latest) effort that caught the ears of many. Rollin’ On is a throwback to the warmth of classic country, whilst also giving a nod to the Bakersfield sound made famous by icons like Buck Owens and Dwight Yoakam.

The twelve-track project boasts plenty of fiddle, steel, mandolin, and all your favorite traditional country elements. Sometimes, you hear the phrase “my life is a country song” tossed around in lighthearted humor. But Daniel’s life truly is a country song. He’s lived through poverty, drugs, substance abuse, jail time, rehab and more. This roller-coaster journey is on full display in Rollin’ On. “Champion” boasts a story of overcoming odds, “If You Ain’t Happy Now (You Never Will Be)” is a timely reminder of true contentment, while the rollicking title track celebrates the adventure of life everyone is on. Like classic country? Like authentic songwriting? Like a record with impeccable production? Then Jesse Daniel’s Rollin’ On is definitely for you. Look out for him in 2021! This album is just the beginning for the rising country star.

 

Erin Crosby, Contributing Writer

Pick: Lady Like (Deluxe) – Ingrid Andress

This “More Hearts Than Mine” singer-songwriter and piano ballad enthusiast did not only release LadyLike, her debut record, in a time when the word quarantine was still freshly coming off the tongue like a foreign island that protrudes its way onto the coast, impacting the nation in more ways than could have been anticipated. But, Ingrid Andress followed up with a deluxe edition just six months after the collection itself.

LadyLike (Deluxe) deepens and expands a presence of the crisp, lovable yet heartbreaking sentiment that exceeds an already palpable sense of her artistry in the original album. A stripped-down and honest production is only accentuated in the follow-up project with a rearranged tracklist that is said to tell the story in the order that it occurred. Each song acts as a chapter of Andress’ life whether it highlights emotional distress or an attempt at a real relationship, though intentions vary throughout depending on where you left off in the story. LadyLike (Deluxe) acts as a true representation of modern ideologies of romance while not closing the curtain on inner frustrations and insecurities along the way.

 

Caleigh DeCaprio, Contributing Writer

Pick: kelsea– Kelsea Ballerini

There were a few albums that I found myself playing on repeat this year, including The Speed of Now Part 1, What you see Ain’t Always What You Get, and Diplo Presents Thomas Wesley, Chapter 1: Snake Oil. But when it came to what album got me ~through~ this year, it was kelsea.

Too many of these songs felt like Kelsea wrote them just for me. I’ve never heard a song that was so lyrically perfect for me before I listened to “club”. Seriously if you know me, this song is my anthem. I had already loved “homecoming queen?” and “la” because of how vulnerable and relatable they were and when I heard the full album, I felt the very same way about “overshare”, “half of my hometown”, and “a country song”. I related so strongly to these songs to the point that I felt I could have written them myself. (not that I could have done that, but you know what I mean).

The artistry in the songwriting and production of this entire album is a pure example of a true and rare talent. No matter what song you come across on this record, it will be some of the most vulnerable and honest music you have heard. Ballerini shares her highs and lows and everything in between. It’s not that common for an artist to be so open and forward about their struggles with anxiety and introversion, especially this early on in their career, but Ballerini showed that side of her and then some with this album.

My heart hurt for her when this album came out the week the world shut down. I wanted her to get to play these songs live and receive all the glory she deserved for this beautiful work of art. However, the way that she was able to spin that negative into the reimagining of the very same songs on ballerini in order to give herself the chance to re-fall in love with these songs was extraordinary and a lovely example of music that would not exist if it weren’t for this year’s events. The re-imagined ballerini album just made fans understand even more how much love she had for this collection of songs.

The pair of albums was meant to show that there are two sides to every story and every person. Understanding that we all have more to us than what is seen on the surface is an important and beautiful lesson that we can take away from these albums and this year. When the day finally comes for Kelsea to play these songs on tour, I will be the first one in line to see it.

Julia Grubbs, Contributing Writer 

Pick: Starting Over – Chris Stapleton

2020 has been a certain kind of year, so I was looking for something that told a complete story. As soon as I heard Starting Over, I knew it captured everything I was feeling about how the year had gone: some of the anger, some of the resentment, some of the just getting up every day for a brand new day that looked very similar to the one before. While Stapleton always manages to speak truth to listeners in ways no one else can, this year we needed comfort and assurance unlike any other that we will make it through this. “Cold” is one of my favorites, using his iconic tone and lyricism to hit raw emotion. “Starting Over”, just like the title of the album, reminds us that through this journey, we can still learn and grow, find moments of joy, and serves as a reminder that we must accept what has happened, and use that as a pivotal moment for the path forward.

 

Nicole Piering, Contributing Writer

Pick: Nightfall – Little Big Town

My favorite and most listened to album of 2020 was easily Little Big Town’s Nightfall, which came out in simpler pre-pandemic times back in January. In fact, their phenomenal concert at the Apollo was my last taste of live music this year, so at least I went out on a high note.

Although not as single-heavy as some of their other releases, Nightfall is truly a cohesive masterclass in harmony. With standout songs such as “Sugar Coat,” “Questions,” and “The Daughters,” this album is one I’ll be listening to through 2021 and beyond.
Pick: My Gift – Carrie Underwood
Whether or not you’re a religious person, this album is absolutely stunning. We needed something positive to come out of 2020 and the first ever holiday project from the queen of country definitely delivered. From gorgeous covers of Christmas classics like “O Holy Night”, “Mary Did You Know” and “Joyful Joyful” to new original songs like “Let There Be Peace” and “Sweet Baby Jesus” the album truly has something for everyone. Underwood’s voice shines on the power ballads and the softer hymns alike, and you can hear her emotion and faith come through every song.
My personal favorites off the album happen to be the two collaborations: “Hallelujah” with John Legend and “Little Drummer Boy” featuring Underwood’s son, Isaiah. Curling up with hot chocolate and a blanket and listening to My Gift has been my weekend routine since it came out in September, and I’m definitely going to be listening to these songs well after the holiday season.

What a year wild ride 2020 has been. While it was so strange not going to any concerts, new music from many great country artists certainly got me through. While this was a tough decision to make, my favorite album of 2020 had to be Granger Smith’s Country Things (Both Volumes). It just gives you such perspective to live in the moment and enjoy the little things. This was such an important message for 2020 as while we may not have gotten to enjoy the big events, we got to enjoy those moments with our loved ones we may not have gotten to if we had a year of our normal, busy schedules.

 

Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer

Pick: A ROCK – HARDY

If there is one thing that got me through this year, it was music. As 2020 comes to a close, I could not be more grateful for country music! With that being said, my favorite record of 2020 has to be HARDY’s album, A ROCK.

I am completely in love with everything HARDY does as a singer, a songwriter, and a performer. He continues to exceed my expectations and delivers music that I relate to, enjoy, and want to share with my friends and family. HARDY’s ability to craft lyrics is a skill I’ll never get enough of. Moreover, his record is a cohesive masterpiece that tells a full story from start to finish.

Songs like the title track, “A ROCK,” “GIVE HEAVEN SOME HELL,” and “SO CLOSE” are all so different, yet distinctly HARDY.  Time after time, the singer-songwriter and superstar in the making proves that he has an IQ high above the rest when it comes to creating a captivating song and full-length project.

I truly cannot wait to see what he does next. Also, it is an added bonus that HARDY gave us all a live concert via streaming to celebrate this record. Even through the screen, I could feel how amazing the record truly is and will be when performed in front of a live audience; hopefully next year! Congrats to HARDY and his team for delivering a badass and unique record to an ever-growing fanbase!

Honorable Mention: Jordan Davis Self-titled EP

 

How do our favorite picks match up to yours? Let us know what music you’ve had on repeat in 2020. Already anticipating new music in 2021? Check out our list of albums to expect in the new year here.

 

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SHOP THE HERO COLLECTION

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

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Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC & Beyond!

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

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Ingrid Andress’ Songs Show New Meaning in Lady Like (Deluxe)

Ingrid Andress’ songs are now entirely available through the deluxe edition to her debut album Lady Like, featuring a brand new song “Feeling Things”. Read more about the deluxe album below.
Lady Like Deluxe Ingrid Andress

Ingrid Andress: Lady Like (Deluxe) Album

After a quick detour with an unexpected let down after two people bond over tequila in the July release “Waste of Lime”, Ingrid Andress has returned to her piano to lay down her truth with a deluxe edition to her debut album Lady Like. The new project includes three new tracks and, because the tracklist has been personally reorganized by Andress, listeners will be able to better understand the storyline told by the “More Hearts Than Mine” singer-songwriter.

“My love life and emotions are always all over the place,” Andress explains in a press release. “And with the new songs as a part of the deluxe, I felt like this special track listing was a perfect way to let fans inside my head a little bit more.”

Lady Like (Deluxe) features a new original song titled “Feeling Things” that reminds us of the artist that we were all introduced to with “More Hearts Than Mine” and “Lady Like”. It consists of that slow yet up-tempo melody similar to the album’s title track, while the songwriting aspects hold and intrigue the listener much like Andress’ Number 1 debut single.

Listeners are given a fresh take with “More Hearts Than Mine” on the deluxe album with vocal contribution from Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman of the multi-Grammy winning country group Little Big Town.

The collaboration is even more thoroughly stripped down than the first production and takes on a church choir type of feel in the chorus when all voices come together. It’s a soothing, captivating rendition of an authentic story with soft instrumental elements.

A cover of “Boys”, which Andress originally co-wrote for Charlie XCX along with Ari Leff, Emily Warren, Michael Pollack, Cass Lowe, and Jerker, is also shown in a new light on Lady Like (Deluxe). Andress showcases her well-known, excellent style by transforming this electro-pop song into a simpler production that suits her tone and artistic tendencies.

To wrap up Andress’ songs on this project, “The Stranger (Reimagined)” and “Waste of Lime” are the additional tracks included throughout the 13-song collection, which originally featured eight.

Lady Like (Deluxe) is a reminder of Andress’ artistry as a singer-songwriter who shines with an honest lyric over a set of keys. With her undisputed concern to tell a more detailed, orderly story for the sake of her fans, the tracklist is given new acknowledgment and appreciation. The deluxe edition is a thorough, innovative gift from Andress to learn in a deeper way the message that began with Lady Like.

To celebrate this release and Andress’ 29th birthday, a Lady Like (Deluxe) bundle is offered with a limited edition “Feeling Things” sweatshirt and keychain. Plus, fans will also receive a digital album download. For more information, visit the Warner Music Group store.

Fans can join our Weekly Round-Up e-newsletter here, for the latest in country music and more news about future Ingrid Andress releases.

To keep up with Ingrid Andress, follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.

Lady Like (Deluxe) 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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SHOP THE HERO COLLECTION

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

—————————-

Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC & Beyond!

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

+ Follow our country music adventures on InstagramTwitter & Facebook:

Ingrid Andress Releases Party Anthem “Waste of Lime”

Waste of Lime

It’s only been a few months since Ingrid Andress released her debut album Lady Like, and now she’s back with a new, feel-good summer song. This one strives away from her usual musical stories of estranged or distant love. Though, “Waste of Lime” is the most involved and grand production that Andress has been a part of with seven other songwriters being a part of the process, practically guaranteeing another hit after “More Hearts than Mine” climbed to the top of the charts in April.

Perfectly released before the Fourth of July weekend, the track explores a bar scene in which one person has been led on to believe they may be spending the night with someone. However, once the opportunity comes, the individual walks away to revoke any preconceived notions of what the night may hold. And, after a few rounds of drinks, the renegade is simplified to a waste of lime.

“You’re just a waste of lime / Waste of a real good time / I guess I’ll be going home all alone / No Patron Silver lining / Just an empty margarita / Left me and this tequila high and dry / No drunk pickup lines / No “Your place or mine?” / You’re just a waste of lime”

“Waste of Lime” is the start of Andress’ sophomore career and sets up the anticipation for what else this singer-songwriter from Colorado has in store for her fans. This track speaks for itself and showcases the beginning of a versatile artist with bottomless limes.

To keep up with Ingrid Andress, follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.

“Waste of Lime” is now available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more 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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SHOP THE HERO COLLECTION

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

Saturday Night Live Combs

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Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC & Beyond!

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

+ Follow our country music adventures on InstagramTwitter & Facebook:

Tim McGraw Cancels Here On Earth 2020 Tour

As summer shows and tours are canceled or postponed throughout the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tim McGraw’s Here On Earth 2020 Tour with special guests Midland and Ingrid Andress, becomes the latest to post an update. Unfortunately, the entire tour has been canceled.

“I hope my live shows are proof enough of how much I absolutely love performing for you guys. I’m so sad to have to cancel this year’s Here on Earth Tour but everyone’s safety has to be the top priority. We’re working with our teams to figure out when and how we can get back out on the road and see you all safely. In the meantime, we’re looking for some new ways to connect with you and get more music out,” McGraw wrote in an Instagram post shared above.

Ticket holders will receive an e-mail in the coming days regarding refund options.

For more information visit, timmcgraw.com.

To keep up with Tim McGraw, you can follow them on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

 

Tim McGraw’s Here On Earth 2020 ORIGINAL Tour Dates:
with Midland and Ingrid Andress

July 10 Syracuse, NY St. Joseph’s Health Amphitheater at Lakeview
July 11 Hartford, CT Xfinity Theatre
July 12 Wilkes-Barre, PA Mohegan Sun Arena
July 16 Raleigh, NC Coastal Credit Union Music Park @ Walnut Creek
July 17 Charlotte, NC PNC Music Pavilion
July 18 Bristow, VA Jiffy Lube Live
July 23 Cincinnati, OH Riverbend Music Center
July 24 Cuyahoga Falls, OH Blossom Music Center
July 25 Toronto, ON Budweiser Stage
July 30 Canandaigua, NY Constellation Brands-Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center
July 31 Burgettstown, PA S&T Bank Music Park
August 1 Holmdel, NJ PNC Bank Arts Center
August 6 Austin, TX Germania Insurance Amphitheater
August 7 Houston, TX Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion presented by Huntsman
August 8 Dallas, TX Dos Equis Pavilion
August 13 Albuquerque, NM Isleta Amphitheater
August 14 Phoenix, AZ Ak-Chin Pavilion
August 15 San Diego, CA North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre
August 21 Mountain View, CA Shoreline Amphitheatre
August 22 Sacramento, CA Toyota Amphitheatre
August 27 Salt Lake City, UT USANA Amphitheatre
August 28 Boise, ID Ford Idaho Center Amphitheater
August 29 Portland, OR Sunlight Supply Amphitheater
September 4 Los Angeles, CA SoFi Stadium (with Luke Combs)
September 12 Philadelphia, PA Citizens Bank Park (with Luke Combs)
September 17 Tuscaloosa, AL Tuscaloosa Amphitheater
September 18 Atlanta, GA Ameris Bank Amphitheatre
September 24 St. Louis, MO Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
September 25 Indianapolis, IN Ruoff Music Center
September 26 Chicago, IL Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre

 

 

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SHOP THE HERO COLLECTION

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

—————————-

Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC & Beyond!

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

+ Follow our country music adventures on InstagramTwitter & Facebook:

NYCS First Impression: Ingrid Andress ‘Lady Like’

Ingrid Andress Lady Like

Since bursting onto the scene with her unique brand of piano-infused country, Ingrid Andress has been one of the genre’s most exciting and fastest rising stars. Today (March 27), she releases her debut album, Lady Like, which shows no sign of the songstress slowing down. From the album’s opening notes of “Bad Advice” through its closing title track, it’s abundantly clear why Andress has repeatedly been named one of the genre’s brightest new artists, including one of our 2020 Artists to Watch.

From the opening notes of the endlessly catchy, “Bad Advice,” Andress is in full control, her talent on display. The lyrics catch you immediately, as she begins, “I drove down to Trader Joe’s/ Straight to aisle five/ Got a bottle of Merlot/ ‘Cause my friend told me/ If I drink the whole thing/ Then I wouldn’t think about you/ And after glass two/ Well, I’d be brand new.” In just a few bars, the tone for the album is set. Andress is blunt and brilliant here, each song co-written by her, with lyrics that tell stories in a way rarely seen in country music. Here, she’s magically a perfect mix of brilliant yet relatable, humorous yet poignant.

While the album kicks off with an up-tempo, Andress shines on the ballads, akin to a modern country version of Sara Bareilles. This is evident on the achingly beautiful “More Hearts Than Mine” and her unique take on defining a relationship in “We’re Not Friends.” On the former, she plans to take a new love to meet her family, warning him that ending their relationship will affect her family more than her. “If I bring you home to Mama/ I guess I better worn you/ She falls in love a little faster than I do,” She warns. “If we break up, I’ll be fine/ But you’ll be breaking more hearts than mine.”

“We’re Not Friends” tells the story of a couple who desperately needs to define their relationship, but simply calls themselves friends. “Friends are something that we were/ Before me sleeping in your shirt,” Andress admits. “But baby we’re past that now/ Friends don’t do the things we do/ Friends don’t use the words we use/ Yeah, friends can just hang out.”

Another of the album’s highlights is “Life of the Party,” which shows Andress putting on a brave face despite living with a broken heart. Here it’s 3 am and she’s still going strong, while no one knows that she’s hurting. She’s the life of the party here to hide her broken heart, and it’s all too familiar a sentiment.

For Ingrid Andress, Lady Like is a beautifully cohesive piece of work that every music fan would be remiss in ignoring. The only downside here is the album’s length, caught somewhere between an EP and a full-length release with only eight tracks, many of which have been previously released. However, the eight tracks that Andress has given us are a beautiful collection of songs and stories that are sure to cement her place in the musical landscape among the likes of music’s big names.

NYCS Picks:
1. More Hearts than Mine
2. Life of the Party
3. We’re Not Friends

Lady Like Track List
1. “Bad Advice” – Ingrid Andress, Derrick Southerland, Jamie Moore
2. “Both” – Ingrid Andress, Derrick Southerland, Jordan Schmidt
3. “We’re Not Friends” – Ingrid Andress, AJ Pruis, Derrick Southerland, Nate Cyphert
4. “The Stranger” – Ingrid Andress, Ryan Lafferty
5. “Anything But Love” – Ingrid Andress, Zach Abend, Jamie Floyd
6. “More Hearts Than Mine” – Ingrid Andress, Sam Ellis, Derrick Southerland
7. “Life of the Party” – Ingrid Andress, Jason Yik Nam Wu, Jesse Thomas
8. “Lady Like” – Ingrid Andress, Sam Ellis, Derrick Southerland

To keep up with Ingrid Andress, follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Lady Like 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.

 

 

—————

SHOP THE HERO COLLECTION

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

—————————-

Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC & Beyond!

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

+ Follow our country music adventures on InstagramTwitter & Facebook:

Gabby Barrett & Ingrid Andress Break Into The Top 10 on the Charts

Ingrid Andress Gabby Barrett

We named last year, 2019, the year of women in country music, but 2020 is continuing the momentum. Earlier this month, we celebrated International Women’s Day at Refinery Rooftop with Madison Kozak, Nicolle Gaylon, and of course our NYCS family, and today we get to celebrate womanhood yet again. Two rising female songstresses in the industry, Gabby Barrett and Ingrid Andress, two of our 2020 Artists to Watch, have broken into the Top 10 on the Billboard charts with their debut singles.

 

 

Historically, female country artists have not had the same recognition on the charts, as male country artists, so this is a big deal. After rising in popularity, former American Idol star, Gabby Barrett’s debut single “I Hope” has finally reached the number 9 spot. The song has been one of our favorites for a while, and we are so proud to see Barrett soar to new heights! As for Ingrid Andress, her song “More Hearts Than Mine” also broke the top 10. We believe she is one of the most powerful new voices in the genre.

 

Both artists have made history, as this is the first time that two lead solo female artists have had debut hits rank in the top 10 together! Together, the ladies are breaking down barriers and representing women across the country genre. This major feat happened to occur, when a leading lady in country music, Maren Morris has snagged the top spot on the chars with her single “The Bones.”

We hope that this is just the beginning for Barrett and Andress, and we cannot wait to see other female artists get the recognition, praise, and support that they deserve on the charts and in their careers as well! As Kristen Williams of Warner Music Nashville shared in an article for Billboard, “Let’s make this habit instead of history.”

To keep up with Gabby Barrett follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

To keep up with Ingrid Andress follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

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

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Ingrid Andress Releases Confessional Instant Grat “Life of the Party”

Andress Life of the Party

Ingrid Andress has been making quite a name for herself over the past year. Her debut single to radio, “More Hearts Than Mine” is Top 15 and climbing; she’s about to embark on tours with Dan + Shay and Tim McGraw; and she announced that her debut album Ladylike is slated for release on March 27th. To celebrate, she gifted fans an instant-grat single titled “Life of the Party”, an anthem about someone who goes out to get their ex off their mind.

The introduction is a simple piano melody, accompanied by a beautiful string arrangement that leads right into the conversational first verse. Andress lists all the things she’s doing to have a good time: she’s laughing, dancing on tables, taking tequila shots… but despite her singing, “Yeah, I’m killing it”, she admits that having fun isn’t solving her problems. In the pre-chorus, a really interesting banjo lick is introduced and is layered on top of the piano, as it segways perfectly into the chorus.

The kick drum bounces off the wall once the cinematic chorus hits. “Look at me I’m the life of the party/Round here everybody loves me”, Andress sings. “But they don’t know that I’ve been hurting/Cuz baby ever since you left me/I’ve been the life of the party”. It’s a perfect musical moment, with all the components of the song adding up to get to that very spot.

This song really shows off Andress’ vocals. She sings her heart out on the last chorus, and it’s so intense that it feels as if it’s this big emotional release like she had been bottling up these thoughts for so long. It’s authentic while being catchy all at the same time. All of Andress’ songs are relatable and from the heart, yet so pleasing to the ears.

Ladylike is out Friday, March 27th. To keep up with Ingrid Andress, follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

“Life of the Party” 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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SHOP THE HERO COLLECTION

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

Saturday Night Live Combs

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Tim McGraw Announces the Here On Earth 2020 Summer Tour

Tim McGraw Here On Earth Tour

Summer just got a whole lot more exciting with Tim McGraw’s tour announcement. He’s hitting the road starting in July and reigning CMA Vocalist of the Year, Luke Combs will join him for two stadium shows in Philadelphia and Los Angeles. Special guests Midland and Ingrid Andress will be out there opening for McGraw on all the tour stops.

“Anyone who knows me knows how much I love to be outside in the summertime playing music. Everyone is there, sharing the moment, having fun and letting loose,” says McGraw in a recent press release. “To be here on earth in this moment, together, sharing our love for music and getting through all that life is throwing us — that’s what it’s all about.”

The Grammy-award winning singer put out a video on Facebook announcing the tour, while he’s in New Orleans for the College Football Playoff Game, where he’s performing before the game.

Fans can first purchase tickets beginning January 24th for select cities as part of Live Nation’s Country Megaticket at www.Megaticket.com. Pre-sale access for the Los Angeles and Philadelphia stadium shows will also be available for Luke Comb’s fan club group The Bootleggers. Additional ticket on-sale dates will begin in February.

Here On Earth Tour Dates

July 10 Syracuse, NY St. Joseph’s Health Amphitheater at Lakeview
July 11 Hartford, CT Xfinity Theatre
July 12 Wilkes-Barre, PA Mohegan Sun Arena
July 16 Raleigh, NC Coastal Credit Union Music Park @ Walnut Creek
July 17 Charlotte, NC PNC Music Pavilion
July 18 Bristow, VA Jiffy Lube Live
July 23 Cincinnati, OH Riverbend Music Center
July 24 Cuyahoga Falls, OH Blossom Music Center
July 25 Toronto, ON Budweiser Stage
July 30 Canandaigua, NY Constellation Brands-Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center
July 31 Burgettstown, PA S&T Bank Music Park
August 1 Holmdel, NJ PNC Bank Arts Center
August 6 Austin, TX Germania Insurance Amphitheater
August 7 Houston, TX Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion presented by Huntsman
August 8 Dallas, TX Dos Equis Pavilion
August 13 Albuquerque, NM Isleta Amphitheater
August 14 Phoenix, AZ Ak-Chin Pavilion
August 15 San Diego, CA North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre
August 21 Mountain View, CA Shoreline Amphitheatre
August 22 Sacramento, CA Toyota Amphitheatre
August 27 Salt Lake City, UT USANA Amphitheatre
August 28 Boise, ID Ford Idaho Center Amphitheater
August 29 Portland, OR Sunlight Supply Amphitheater
September 4 Los Angeles, CA SoFi Stadium (with Luke Combs)
September 12 Philadelphia, PA Citizens Bank Park (with Luke Combs)
September 17 Tuscaloosa, AL Tuscaloosa Amphitheater
September 18 Atlanta, GA Ameris Bank Amphitheatre
September 24 St. Louis, MO Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
September 25 Indianapolis, IN Ruoff Music Center
September 26 Chicago, IL Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre

To keep up with McGraw and his ‘Here on Earth Tour’ follow him on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

The singer’s latest single, “Way Down” is now available where 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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SHOP THE HERO COLLECTION

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

—————————-

Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC & Beyond!

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

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NYCountry Swag’s 2020 Artists To Watch

The New York Country Swag team loves to support rising artists and introduce our followers to the best new music in the genre. Since our inception four years ago we have named rising stars like Russell Dickerson, Luke Combs, Brett Young, Jordan Davis, Mitchell Tenpenny, and Jimmie Allen as our Artists to Watch. Check out our picks in 2017, 2018, and 2019 before checking out the 10 artists we picked to have a huge 2020 below.

 

Parker McCollum

10. Parker McCollum – This Texas native may have just released his first song on a major label, “Pretty Heart” this past summer after signing with MCA Nashville/UMG Nashville but in the past, he has independently delivered two full-length projects. Focusing on the depth and artistry behind songwriting, McCollum has found a clever balance between traditional Texas country and what is coming out of modern Nashville. We are looking forward to more new music in 2020 and to catch a live show.

For Fans Of: Cody Johnson, Riley Green

Listen: “Pretty Heart”

Stay Connected: @ParkerMcCollum

 

Madison Kozak

9. Madison Kozak – Growing up in Ontario but moving to Nashville when she was only 14 years old, Kozak has been chasing the music dream, honing in on her incredible ability to write a song that is filled with emotions for years. We first heard of the songstress in May we were instantly hooked and since then 2019 was a whirlwind for the budding star, signing a record deal as the flagship artist on a female-driven label, Songs & Daughters and touring the country on three different tours.  Label head, Nicolle Galyon in partnership with Big Loud Records saw something special in this songwriter artist after hearing “First Last Name”, a song she wrote for her father and ever since has been releasing exceptional songs. She kicks off the new year by heading overseas to tour with Chase Rice.

For Fans Of: Kelsea Ballerini, Carrie Underwood

Listen: “OMG ILY”

Stay Connected: @Madison_Kozak

 

King Calaway

8. King Calaway – Last January we were introduced to a brand new band comprised of six talented musicians from different places, Caleb Miller (Ohio), Chris Deaton (Nashville), Simon Dumas (Gibraltar), Jordan Harvey (Scotland), Chad Michael Jervis (Delaware), and Austin Luther (Minnesota). One of the very first time they played for fans before their music was released, King Calaway performed a showcase with NYCountry Swag in New York City and all in attendance were blown away.  Their impeccable harmonies, catchy tunes, and larger than life personalities have since caught the attention of country music fans across the nation. Their debut record, Rivers features 12 tracks written by some of Nashville’s biggest songwriters and covers an array of topics.

For Fans Of: One Direction, Rascal Flatts

Listen: “Rivers”

Stay Connected: @KingCalaway

 

Chris Bandi

7. Chris Bandi – When a song is streamed 60 million times, you know there is something special about it. St. Louis native, Nashville based artist and songwriter Chris Bandi is pushing his major-label debut, “Man Enough Now” to country radio this year and the tale rings true of realizing your mistakes, owning them and hoping for a second chance. Bandi will hit the road with Matt Stell in the upcoming months and sources say plans to release an EP as well.

For Fans Of: Gavin DeGraw, Chris Lane

Listen: “Man Enough Now”

Stay Connected: @ChrisBandi

 

Ingrid Andress

6. Ingrid Andress – We first caught songwriter/artist Ingrid Andress last February during an NYC showcase right after she was signed to Warner Music Nashville/Atlantic Records and her unique presence, storytelling ability, and hilarious realness caught our attention immediately. With songs like “More Hearts Than Mine”, “Both”, and “Lady Like”, Andress pushes the boundaries of topics usually discussed in the country format, forcing new followers to pay attention. She was named one of CRS New Faces for the class of 2020, a prestigious honor and she joins Dan + Shay on the first leg of their arena tour in 2020.

For Fans Of: Kacey Musgraves, Ashley McBryde

Listen: “More Hearts Than Mine”

Stay Connected: @IngridAndress

 

Ross Ellis

5. Ross Ellis –  Although a bit more undiscovered than the rest of our list, Ross Ellis has a powerhouse, unique voice and his latest single “Buy and Buy” is compelling and begs for repeat spins. By weaving a powerful visual of religion, addiction, and wasted time, “Buy and Buy” is as profound as it is innovative. As a songwriter, Ellis co-wrote one of Tim McGraw’s latest singles, “Neon Church” and a song on Home Free’s new album, Dive Bar Saints called “Dreamer” but in 2020 we hope to hear new songs from Ellis as we continue to champion rising artists and songwriters like him.

For Fans Of: Brett Young, Dan + Shay

Listen: “Buy and Buy” 

Stay Connected: @RossEllisMusic

Avenue Beat 2020 Artists to Watch

4. Avenue Beat – Our most unique, fresh, and different act on this year’s Artists to Watch is Avenue Beat. Comprised of three girls from Illinois, Sami Bearden, Savana Santos, and Sam Backoff they are original and their creative new wave country is as endearing as it is inventive. Their harmonies, melodies, and frankly genius lyrics are relatable to a niche of young women that are thirsty for someone to sing about what they are going through. Signed to Big Machine Label Group’s Valory Music Co. in partnership with Tape Room Records they released their debut self-titled EP in July and toured with Mason Ramsey in 2019. If you are looking for some sass with a side of sensational lyrics, look no further than Avenue Beat.

For Fans Of: Walker Hayes, Kelsea Ballerini

Listen: “Be A Bro” 

Stay Connected: @AvenueBeat

 

Jameson Rodgers

3. Jameson Rodgers – Last February we interviewed Jameson Rodgers for our Swag Spotlight feature, right after he released his EP which featured his break out hit, “Some Girls”. This Mississippi native is now planted firmly in Nashville, writing and creating music as a Sony Music Nashville artist and has toured with Luke Combs on his Beer Never Broke My Heart tour and just announced that in 2020 he will embark on his very first headlining tour. Relatable lyrics that are set to a modern-day twang, Rodgers has already garnered a ton of fans and hopefully the new year we can expect a full-length album.

For Fans Of: Jon Pardi, Luke Combs

Listen: “Some Girls”

Stay Connected: @JamesonRodgers

 

Gabby Barrett

2. Gabby Barrett – She may have become a household name because of her stint on American Idol but Gabby Barrett is showing Nashville and the country music community that women want to hear a female write a song from her own perspective. Her debut radio single, “I Hope” not only features her sultry voice but has a twist in the chorus that will make men and women fall in love with her honest take on a bad breakup. Having toured with Chris Lane, Barrett is already included in major festival line ups including Stagecoach, Tortuga, and New York’s own TrailBlazer.

For Fans Of: Maren Morris, Lauren Alaina

Listen: “I Hope”

Stay Connected: @GabbyBarrett_

HARDY 2020 Artists to Watch

1. HARDY – Already having a huge break out year in 2019, HARDY celebrated four number one songs as a songwriter, “God’s Country”, “I Don’t Know About You”, “Simple”, and “Up Down”. He also released one of the most prolific albums of the year, HIXTAPE Vol. 1 which features 17 different artists, all singing about growing up in a small town. Emerging as an artist, HARDY has created a persona that makes you envy his Mississippi upbringing, making ‘redneck’ cool. In October we caught his sold-out headlining NYC show and just announced, the songwriter and artist will join Cole Swindell and Thomas Rhett on the Center Point Road tour which will make it’s away across the country this summer.

For Fans Of: Morgan Wallen, Florida Georgia Line

Listen: “One Beer” 

Stay Connected: @HARDY

 

 

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SHOP THE HERO COLLECTION

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

—————————-

Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC & Beyond!

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

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Country Music Artists Who Started Out As Songwriters

Behind every one of our favorite songs is a team of songwriters, who are quietly creating beautiful lyrics and enticing melodies. In some cases, like with “Humble and Kind,” by Lori McKenna, a single songwriter is the brains behind the entire song. Lately, it seems songwriters are stepping out into the limelight, releasing their own music to the world as solo artists.

Here are some of our favorite songwriters turned solo artists:

HARDY

HARDY is the man behind several number one songs. Most recently he co-wrote “God’s Country” for Blake Shelton, as well as, “Up Down” for Morgan Wallen. For the last year or so, the singer-songwriter has ventured out on his own, releasing two EP’s THIS OLE BOY and WHERE TO FIND ME, while also creating a masterpiece of a collaborative full-length record called HIXTAPE, Vol. 1. In his short time center-stage, HARDY has toured with the likes of Wallen, Florida Georgia Line, and Dan + Shay. This December, we’ll finally get to catch a full set from the rising artist, when he embarks on his first headlining tour. We are pumped to see what HARDY brings to the table next with his creative and unique music. Check out our interview with him to learn more about his transition from songwriter to artist.

Chris Stapleton

Before he shot to stardom with his debut record Traveller, Chris Stapleton was one of Nashville’s most respected songwriters. Stapleton co-wrote Kenny Chesney’s number one, “Never Wanted Nothing More,” George Strait’s “Love’s Gonna Make It Alright,” and Luke Bryan’s “Drink a Beer.” He’s even ventured out of the genre, both collaborating on songs for Grammy winner, Adele and Ed Sheeran, as well as, performing with Justin Timberlake and P!nk. As a solo artist, Stapleton is the recipient of five Grammy Awards, several Academy of Country Music Awards, as well as, many Country Music Awards. It’s clear that he will continue to be a staple in the music industry for decades to come.

Lee Brice

Since 2006, Lee Brice has warmed our hearts with his lyrics and made our souls dance with his melodies. Before making it as a solo artist, Brice co-wrote songs for Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney, and Garth Brooks. It wasn’t until 2010 that he released his debut record Love Like Crazy, which garnered nominations for its title track. Even after finding success with his own music and releasing four albums, Brice still finds time to write for other artists. Most recently he co-wrote “Boy” for Faith Hill. It has been two years since Brice gave us new music of his own, so we’re hopeful that he has more music in the works in 2020!

Maren Morris Songwriter

Photo Credit: Justin Aharoni for NYCountry Swag

Maren Morris

One of our favorite songstresses in the industry, Maren Morris, started her incredible career as a songwriter. She penned songs for artists like Tim McGraw, Kelly Clarkson, Jessie James Decker, and Brothers Osborne. Now she is one of the most notable women singer-songwriters in country music. Her sophomore record GIRL has already broken records and the title track was the first song by a female to grab the top spot on country radio in months. As if Morris isn’t busy enough, she continues to expand her platform, spreading the message of female empowerment and strength, as one of the members of the new all female super-group The Highwomen. We admire Morris’ confidence and look forward to her future success.

Josh Kerr

Hit songwriter, Josh Kerr recently exploded on to the scene as a solo artist! In just a month, he has garnered attention for his debut songs, “Still Our Town,” and “Oklahoma,” as well as for proposing to Maddie & Tae’s, Taylor Dye. Musically speaking, Kerr has penned Keith Urban’s top 20 hit, “Never Comin’ Down,” Abby Anderson’s “GOOD LORD,” as well as, “If My Heart Had a Heart” by Cassadee Pope and several songs on Kelsea Ballerini’s debut album. Most recently, he even co-wrote Maddie & Tae’s “Bathroom Floor.” Kerr is already a respected songwriter and producer in Nashville, and we cannot wait to see how his career as a solo artist will blossom.

Ingrid Andress

One of our favorite new songstresses, Ingrid Andress started her career as a songwriter. Before she shared her own prolific music with the world, she wrote for artists such as Alicia Keys, Sam Hunt, and Charlie XCX. Andress even received co-writer credits on Lauren Jenkins record No Saint, which was released earlier this year. She’s one of the most unique vocalists in country music right now, but her exquisite knack for storytelling will always be paramount. We can’t wait to see how her way with words and arrangements will manifest in more of her own music in the future.

 

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SHOP THE HERO COLLECTION

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

—————————-

Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC & Beyond!

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

+ Follow our country music adventures on InstagramTwitter & Facebook: