NYCS First Impression: Ryan Hurd Panorama EP

Ryan Hurd Panorama

For those who have been fans of Ryan Hurd for years, the Panorama EP is an old-friend they first met years ago. For those of us who are newer fans of Hurd, the EP is a welcomed new release from one of Nashville’s most talented and prominent singer-songwriters.

Originally written and recorded in 2015 when the Michigan native was just starting to make a name for himself, the four-track collection is a celebration of Hurd as both a writer and artist. Each of the EP’s four tracks were co-written by Hurd with a variety of other Nashville heavy-hitters, including Laura Veltz, Jessie Jo Dillon, Maren Morris, and the late Andrew Dorff.

He took to Twitter just prior to the release, writing, “Two more things. Even before we were anything romantic, singing with Maren has felt like magic. This was the first thing we ever together that wasn’t demos, and to still get to do it today makes my heart very happy.” He then continued, “The second thing: I grew up with
@aaroneshuis. We started making music together when we were 14. He’s made every recording you’ve ever heard from me and this one is still our favorite.”

Although the EP was initially released four years ago, today marks it’s first wide release. It’s a four-track collection that shows the different sides of Hurd, from the wistful title track to the brooding “Mississippi to Me” and the hopeful “Good As You Think I am” to the darker “I’ll Be the Moon.”

The EP’s titular track is a simple message that everyone needs to hear once in awhile, as he reflects on a moment of tranquility with the person he loves and enjoying the moment. “Laying back on a blanket/ Looking at a blanket way up high/ Between the darkness in the distance/ And the way the whole thing shines,” Hurd sings. “Makes you feel like you see God/ Makes you feel like you’re alive/ For the first time/ Like you were my first time.”

“Mississippi to Me” is a darker cut about loss and a relationship ending, as the singer-songwriter grapples with a breaker. “You don’t want to hurt me/ But you ain’t in love with me.” He reveals on the heartbreaking track. “You’re talking reasons/ but you lost me back at I’m leaving.”

There’s the introspective “Good As You Think I Am,” which was co-written by Dorff and Morris, and reflects on a man trying to live up to what the woman in his life believes he can be. Speaking to Sounds Like Nashville, Hurd revealed, “I think when you see yourself through the lens of someone else’s love it changes you. This song hits me because the melody lives up to the sentiment in the lyrics. As a love song, it’s such an overwhelming realization, trying to become the person that she sees, wanting to live up to the love you’ve been given.”

The EP concludes with the brooding “I’ll Be the Moon,” a song previously released by Dierks Bentley on his 2016 Black album that featured none other than Morris. Hurd’s version here is less produced and more stripped, fully putting the powerfully painful lyrics on full display. Here, he’s a man so in love that he’s willing to settle for being the other man. He’ll take her where can, however, conceding, “I don’t want to be your secret/ But I will if you want me to/ You can leave me in the dark/ If that’s all I get from you/ He can be the sun/ I’ll be the moon.”

In advance of the release, the Michigan native expressed his gratitude to his fans, writing, “I don’t have a much to say tonight except that sometimes life is all about timing. If you’ve been here since the beginning or if it’s brand new to you, thank you for listening to Panorama tonight.”

Earlier this year, Hurd sold out New York City’s Bowery Ballroom, and he spoke to NYCountry Swag a few weeks ago at the Taste of Country Festival at Hunter Mountain. While no local shows are currently announced, Hurd will be joining Old Dominion’s Make It Sweet Tour for much of the rest of 2019.

To see tour dates and more, visit his official website or follow him on FacebookTwitterand Instagram.

Panorama EP is 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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Maren Morris Releases Three Reimagined Tracks On Apple Music

Maren Morris Apple Music

Grammy, CMA, ACM and Billboard award winner Maren Morris has established herself as an incredible artist, performer and vocalist over the course of her career thus far. She is now taking it one step further and reimagining three of her newest tracks in one-take, no track, stripped-down acoustic versions.

Exclusively featured on Apple Music, the EP consists of “GIRL,” “The Bones” and “The Middle.” Accompanying the EP is a special short film, taking fans behind the scenes in the studio as the songstress breaks down her creative process and the stories behind her original lyrics in “GIRL” and “The Bones,” as well as her choice to take on “The Middle” with hit-making DJ and producer, Zedd.

Morris collaborated with Nashville producer Dave Cobb on the entire project. By watching the short film, viewers will perceive the authenticity of their combined musical talents. “I just feel like Dave is such a creative entity in the room,” shares Morris in a press release, “Dave you know, his production is so–rootsy and very soulful and Americana and he just understands that sound so intensely. I love the way it turned out.”  Morris’ passion for storytelling was made evident throughout the length of the short film. Fans can take a sneak peek of the film here.

“GIRL” was sparked by a conversation the songstress had with a friend but later realizing she was writing the song to herself. “We all live in this really bizarre but connected in this Instagram social media culture where all we’re doing is just looking at other people’s lives’ highlight reels that are not reality and comparing what we are doing to someone else’s day in the life [..] and so I think a song kind of addressing that mental state felt really cathartic and then by the end of GIRL, it’s talking about everything’s gonna be alright.”

Speaking about her family and friend’s most favorite track from her sophomore record, Morris shared, “The Bones is about the structure of a relationship remaining steadfast, even through the worst fight or worst tragedy [..] the house don’t fall if the bones are good.”

Discussing her decision to take on the lead vocalist role for the award-winning smash hit collaboration “The Middle,” “When I first heard The Middle, I was really struck by the bareness of the song itself, there was not a ton of track or music happening [..] I kinda took it as this is about a really passionate, tumultuous, contentious relationship where there’s this desperation to see eye to eye with someone else,” Morris shares, “I think that the legs that that song stands on are the vocals and I miss that about pop music, where it’s not all just tracks and overproduction, it’s just who’s singing their ass off right now.” The raw route Morris embarked on for this project accentuates her incredible vocals and undeniable pure talent.

GIRL is still the #1 day one and week one female country album worldwide on Apple Music and holds the record for the top pre-added country album globally by a female artist to date on Apple Music.

Morris’ list of accolades will potentially expand next week as she is currently nominated for three CMT Awards; Video of the Year, Female Video of the Year and CMT Performance of the Year. The powerhouse vocalist will also be a performer on what is sure to be an incredible night of country music. Be sure to tune into the CMT Awards this Wednesday, June 5th airing live from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville at 8/7c.

To watch the full length behind the scenes video, click here. Subscribe to Apple Music to hear the three reimagined tracks.

To keep up with Morris, follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.


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Maren Morris & RaeLynn Sell Out Two Venues in NYC Area

Maren Morris NYC

Justin Aharoni (@jaharoni) for NYCountry Swag

This past weekend, country songwriter turned superstar artist Maren Morris performed for thousands of fans in the New York City area when her GIRL: The World Tour made stops at Brooklyn Steel and Terminal 5. Morris brought her undeniable charm, wit and epic stage presence to deserving fans who have been following her career for years.

Maren Morris Raelynn NYC

Justin Aharoni (@jaharoni) for NYCountry Swag

On this leg of the tour, and both evenings the opening slot was taken by RaeLynn.  The sassy singer-songwriter performed songs from her 2017 debut album WildHorse, such as “Love Triangle” as well as her brand new hits “Queens Don’t” and “Tailgate”. RaeLynn is the perfect opening act for Morris’ fan base, she is real, her songs are relatable and she brings a certain sass that country music fans love.

On Saturday night at Terminal 5, Morris welcomed RaeLynn back to the stage to perform “All My Favorite People” the duet on GIRL that usually features Brothers Osborne. RaeLynn was celebrating her birthday, so after they sang together, Morris led the entire crowd in one giant sing-a-long of “Happy Birthday”. The gesture brought RaeLynn to tears and it was definitely a sweet moment between both artists.

Maren Morris Raelynn NYC

Justin Aharoni (@jaharoni) for NYCountry Swag

Both Friday and Saturday night, Morris put on a memorable show for fans who packed and sold out both venues. Opening with the title track to her latest album and anthemic smash “GIRL”, she weaved songs from her debut album HERO with her new hits and the audience could be heard singing back every word.

maren morris raelyn nyc

Justin Aharoni (@jaharoni) for NYCountry Swag

Before singing “I Could Use A Love Song”, Morris slowed things down a bit to chat with her sold-out audience. She explained the story of a radio programmer who told her not to pick that as her next single saying “Oh god no – people do not want to hear sad women on the radio,” and I was like ‘F*ck you, sure they do’,” she laughed.  “I was so in shock ’cause I have grown up listening to country music and a good bit of it is sad, and as someone that deals with your everyday anxiety and if I have a low day, if I’m sad I don’t turn the radio on and look for a sad song and think that it’s going to make me more depressed, I listen to a sad song on the radio because it makes me feel like someone else out there is going through the same thing,” the audience cheered. “Which is sort of the point of it all, isn’t it, so I did not heed his professional advice, it was a slow climb and it took 42 weeks up the chart to finally hit but it was such poetic justice because that guy got fired and this was my first number one song.”

maren morris nyc

Justin Aharoni (@jaharoni) for NYCountry Swag

Whether she was strutting around with confidence during “Make Out With Me” or “RSVP” or leading the entire crowd in swaying their hands back and forth during “Second Wind”, Morris captivated her audience from the moment she stepped on the stage. She couldn’t end the night without singing the song that truly changed everything for her. “I remember when I wrote this particular song one day, I felt this panic and I felt like, I don’t know if I can give this song away to another artist because it meant so much to me, we don’t get very many of those songs,” she said of “My Church”. I knew that I was on to something, I knew that in my heart, this song would change a lot of things for me and everything starts with one song, a little 3 minute and 30-second song can really turn everything in your life around.” During the entire song, you could barely hear Morris as the crowd sang along, becoming her own personal ‘gospel choir’. Check out the incredible sing-a-long moment below.

Just announced! Maren Morris will be playing the iconic Radio City Music Hall on September 6th, bringing along one of our 2019 Artists to Watch Kassi Ashton as well as Hailey Whitters. For more information and tickets head to

To keep up with Maren Morris follow her on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.


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10 Maren Morris Lyrics to Use As Instagram Captions

Maren Morris

Maren Morris will be taking over New York City this weekend when her ‘GIRL: The World Tour’ makes stops at Brooklyn Steel on Friday, May 3rd and Terminal 5 Saturday, May 4th. Morris has had quite the year thus far with her sophomore record GIRL debuting at #1 on the Top Country Albums chart and shattering the debut streaming record for a country album by a woman with a whopping 23.96 million streams in its first week. From inspiring and empowering, to sassy, heartbreaking and loving, Morris’ lyrics resonate with her fans in a compelling manner. We’ve compiled some of Morris’ best lyrics to accompany your Instagram photos for what is sure to be a lively and magnificent weekend.

1. “I don’t wanna wear your crown, there’s enough to go around” – GIRL

2. “Cause all the little lies rolling off your lips is money falling from the sky.. sh*t I’d be rich” – Rich

3. “And it feels like I’m getting into trouble but I’m gonna do it anyway” – The Feels

4. “Not everybody gets what we’re going through but all my favorite people do” – All My Favorite People

5. “When I was looking for the words somebody said it first like they knew me, they were singing right to me” – A Song For Everything

6. “Oh I’m just tryna make good a little bit greater, I’m cooking up my own flavor” – Flavor

7. “But don’t you know that it’s the low that makes the high so sweet” – Second Wind

8. “The best things come when you don’t even try” – Great Ones

9. “You’re my color custom made, think I finally discovered you’re my perfect shade” – Shade

10. “Now heartbreak ain’t a competition but I took it in a landslide” – To Hell & Back

If you are catching the show this weekend be sure to tag us in your posts for a chance to be featured on our Instagram!


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Maren Morris’ Haunting Game of Thrones Inspired “Kingdom Of One”

Maren Morris Kingdom of One

For seven seasons HBO’s phenomenon Game of Thrones has stunned audiences with its hard-hitting dramatics, loss of beloved characters and incredible storylines. One thing that does make all of the difference is the breathtaking score that plays throughout each episode, making somber scenes more emotional, battle scenes more thrilling and character deaths more tragic. As the much anticipated first episode of the series’ final season taking place this Sunday, the network announced they would mark the occasion of the ending of the show with original songs recorded by the some of modern times biggest artists like SZA, Ellie Goulding, The Weeknd, X Ambassadors, and country music’s very own Maren Morris. The full soundtrack, For The Throne, will be available everywhere you buy or stream music on April 26th but released today, (April 12th) was Morris’s song from the album “Kingdom of One”.

Her haunting vocals on the ballad fit perfectly into the cunning lyrics written by Morris, Eric Frederic, Nate Mercereau, Sam Harris and Wayne Hector. “Would you sell your soul, burn it all, everything that you love, finally become second to none, in a kingdom of one” For fans of the show, they know the references to burning everything to the ground for the right to sit on the Iron Throne and to rule the seven kingdoms is not unheard of.

Sharing on social media Morris captioned a teaser clip of the song; “channeled my inner Daenerys Targaryen for this one. who’s ready for the @gameofthrones premiere this weekend? let “Kingdom of One” take you there…”

Morris is no stranger to crossover songs that have hit it big, her collaboration with Zedd and Grey “The Middle” was a huge song in 2018, garnering billions of streams and award nominations. To find out who will end up on the Iron Throne, tune in this Sunday, April 14th at 9:00 PM on HBO for the final season of Game of Thrones premiere.

To keep up with Maren Morris follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

“Kingdom of One” 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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Maren Morris Stuns In Pink Singing “The Bones” on Ellen

It seems country superstar Maren Morris is giving the world more and more to be excited about, since the release of her number one album GIRL last month. Earlier today, the songstress took her unique swagger, killer style, and catchy tunes to the stage, performing on ‘Ellen’.

Unlike previous TV performances, where she sang her current single “Girl,” Morris chose to sing another song off her sophomore record entitled “The Bones.” The soulful and enticing track pays homage to the fact that if a relationship is built on a solid foundation of trust and honesty, then the couple can get through anything together.

The superstar shared on Instagram that her outfit inspiration for this performance was “edgy Glinda”. Donning a pink, 80’s inspired dress, matching light pink thigh high boots and luscious long, blonde locks, Morris took the stage after a kind introduction from host, Ellen DeGeneres, “This Sunday night our next guest is nominated for the ACM Female Vocalist of the Year. Here to perform “The Bones” off her brilliant new CD, Maren Morris.” The singer-songwriter engaged the audience with both her creative lyrics and sultry vocals, giving fans a taste for what her headlining tour, ‘Girl The World Tour’ might look like. Tune in this Sunday night to see if Morris takes home the coveted Female Vocalist of the Year award at the 54th ACM Awards on CBS.

The tour hits the New York area twice next month, stopping in Brooklyn in May 3rd and New York City’s Terminal 5 on May 4th. For tickets and more tour information, head to

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


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Maren Morris Joins “Watch What Happens Live”

Marren Morris joined “Watch What Happens Live” with Andy Cohen last night alongside fellow guest Teddi Mellencamp from the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” Cohen introduced Morris as a housewife superfan, loyal to the Beverly Hills Housewives. He congratulated Morris with the release of her new album “Girl,” saying Morris is “a woman whose voice is what your ears want.”

Cohen surprised Morris by proving what a huge fan she is of the Beverly Hills Housewives by showing an Instagram clip of where she once pretended she was a housewife, almost like an audition tape for the show! She then had 45 seconds on the clock to ask Cohen and Mellencamp whatever burning Bravo questions she wanted. Next up was a fun game called “Why Don’t You Just Meet Me In The Middle?” Perfect for housewive’s fan Morris and fitting because of her smash single “The Middle”, she was given scenarios of Beverly Hills Feuds and she chose who she thought should forgive first and makeup.

Cohen even got Morris to share that the “Real Housewives” had actually made it into their wedding vows! Maren laughed and gave us the details about the exchange of vows between her and Ryan Hurd. “He said, I promise to love you through everything, the blah-blah-blah to the this and watching ‘Real Housewives’ to this, ” Apparently, he tries to pretend that he’s not a fan and doesn’t keep up on them, “And then he somehow knows all of the information, the inner workings of what’s going on.”

It was then time for some fan questions for Morris, with the first one being, “How did you and your friend Kacey Musgraves initially meet? Maren responded, “Kacey and I are both from Texas, and we started going to the same auditions, and Oprys and talent shows when we were kids and that’s how we met.” Another question that came through was “What was the most intimidating part about performing with Dolly Parton and Miley Cyrus at the Grammys and what did you all talk about backstage? Admitting she was nervous because it was ‘Dolly’ Morris said, “Dolly immediately made me feel so welcomed to be there, and she and I joked about how short we are” while they were backstage. The final question brought up the other pop stars such as Demi Lovato and Camila Cabello and how they passed up recording “The Middle,” and if she had ever reached out to them. Morris doted on them explaining that “they’re huge stars” but they “chose to do other songs at the time.”

Cohen praised Maren’s rendition of “The Middle” by saying, “What a gift it is for your life.” Morris humbly answered, “I come from the country world, and I am a songwriter but on this song, I just knew it was such a hit I didn’t care that I wasn’t a writer on it – and thank God I made the decision” All in all, It has been an incredible month for Morris, since releasing her album on March 8th, GIRL now sits at number 1 on the Top Country Album Chart and has broken the record for the largest ever debut streaming week for a country album by a woman, with 23.96 million streams in its first week.

Check out clips from Morris’ visit to “Watch What Happens Live” for a good laugh and enjoyable entertainment by clicking here.


/Cover Photo Courtesy of Bravo


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Maren Morris iHeartRadio ‘GIRL’ Album Release Show

Maren Morris has been promoting and celebrating the release of her sophomore album, GIRL, right here in New York City all week long. This past Monday night (Mar 11th) the songstress partnered with iHeartRadio to throw an official intimate album release party at the iHeartRadio Theater. Hosted by country radio DJ Bobby Bones, Morris performed three of her biggest hits from HERO, as well as seven brand new songs from GIRL.

Kicking the night off with the album’s title track, the Texas native gave a bit of insight behind the song’s writing process, “No one really wants to have those days where they don’t like themselves and I was having one when I wrote that song. And I just felt like it was a really therapeutic co-write that day.” She also shared one of the co-writers, Sarah Aarons also wrote her pop hit collaboration with Zedd, “The Middle.”

Transitioning into the song that she claims changed her life, “My Church” was up next. Bones asked Morris about how much her life had changed in the past three years, since releasing her debut record back in 2016. “I still have my sass and Texan in me, but I also have gotten married in the last year, fallen in love and so there’s a lot more love on this record represented [..] but also the industry’s changed, the culture of music has changed this year, I just felt Iike I wanted to put something out that’s honest and uplifting because it’s crazy times and I felt like this was a good medicinal record to put out.”

After performing her first ever number one hit“I Could Use A Love Song,” Morris transitioned into two brand new tracks, “The Bones” and “All My Favorite People.” The songstress revealed that when she played demos for this record to family and friends, each one insisted “The Bones” to be featured on the album. She co-wrote “All My Favorite People” with her husband, Ryan Hurd, in which she shared some insight into their professional relationship, “My husband and I met writing songs so it doesn’t ever feel weird to have that part of our relationship be creative and professional. We love writing songs.”

The powerhouse vocalist continued the night with “The Feels” and her seductive new song “RSVP,” which she told the crowd was intended to have country lyrics and the sound of a 90s R&B track. Before performing “Shade,” Morris told the crowd she purposefully placed it as the last track on GIRL, saying it was a perfect period at the end of her sentence, so to speak.

Wrapping up the evening with the nostalgic tribute to music, “A Song For Everything” and “Rich,” the singer-songwriter continuously thanked the audience for showing up and singing along, as well as iHeartRadio for putting on such an unforgettable event.

Morris will head back to New York City this spring, as part of her headlining ‘GIRL: The World Tour.’ Lucky for us New Yorkers, we will have two chances to catch the live show; Friday, May 3rd at Brooklyn Steel and Saturday, May 4th at Terminal 5. Tickets are available now. Visit for all information.

Be sure to tune into the iHeartRadio Music Awards tonight, airing live on FOX at 8 p.m. to catch Morris presenting and hopefully taking home some awards of her own.



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What We’re Listening To: March Picks

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

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




Stephanie Wagner, Founder

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

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

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

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


Christina Bosch, Managing Editor 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dylan Bestler, Contributing Writer

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

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

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

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

Nicole Bochinis, Contributing Writer

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

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


Jeremy Chua, Contributing Writer 

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

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


Taylor Felvey, Contributing Writer

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

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

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


Molly Holmberg, Contributing Writer

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

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

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


Nicole Piering, Contributing Writer

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

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


Olivia Reese, Contributing Writer

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

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

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


Nicole Sellati, Contributing Writer

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

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

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

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

Danielle Tornatore, Contributing Writer

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

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

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


Shanna Vitaliano, Contributing Writer

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

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

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

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


Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer

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

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

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

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

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


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Maren Morris Gives Stunning Performance on the Tonight Show

On the heels of album release week for her sophomore album, GIRL, Maren Morris stopped by the ‘Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon’ to showcase her vocals on the title track. Earlier that night, the songstress performed “GIRL,” and many other songs, during a special live performance for fans sponsored by iHeart radio. The female powerhouse is breaking down barriers with her captivating songs, unique songwriting perspective, and pride in supporting other women.

Towards the end of the show, host Jimmy Fallon introduced Morris to the studio stage, sharing “Performing the title track to her album, “GIRL,” please welcome back Maren Morris,” while holding a record copy of her new LP. This marks Morris’ third time performing on Fallon.

Immediately after the gracious introduction, the cameras cut to the stunning Morris standing confidently center stage, guitar in hand at the microphone stand. Supported by a five-piece band, the singer-songwriter belted the lyrics to the girl-empowerment anthem. Her performance was effortless, as it was clear that she believed every word she was singing to the sure to be a future hit. Afterward, Fallon came running back on stage to greet Morris, making sure to say, “That’s how you do it, Maren Morris! Thank you so much. GIRL is out now!.”

Morris will not be slowing down anytime soon. She is going full speed ahead to promote her album through a slew of appearances, as well as, her headlining ‘GIRL; The World Tour.” The songstress is bringing along fellow gal pals and talented singers, Cassadee Pope and Raelynn along for the ride. New Yorkers have two chances to catch the show on May 3rd at Brooklyn Steel in Brooklyn, and May 4th at Terminal 5 in Manhattan. Tickets are available now.


Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC!

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

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