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Where Are They Now? Our 2017 Artist to Watch Update

Justin Aharoni (@jaharoni) for NYCountry Swag

Here at New York Country Swag, we pride ourselves on being tastemakers, finding and championing new and up-and-coming artists and introducing our followers to the best of the best of the rising acts. Back in 2017, we named the 10 artists below in our “Artists to Watch in 2017” and we are proud to say, we know rising talent before they make it big. Check out what each of these artists has done over the past two years and what is coming up for them in 2019.

 

10. Seth Ennis- Last year, Ennis followed his debut single, “Woke Up In Nashville” and “Look at You” with the captivating “Call Your Mama,” featuring A-list superstars, Little Big Town. The singer-songwriter went on to make his TODAY Show debut with that song, taking his career to new heights. This year, Ennis also opened up for Dylan Scott on his headlining tour.

 

9. Trent Harmon- Continuing to ride the high from dropping his debut album You Got ‘Em All, Harmon released the title track to country radio last year. The song peaked in the Top 40 on Country Airplay.

 

8. High Valley- The Canadian country duo continues to take the country music world by storm. Back in April, they released their new single, “Single Man” from the forthcoming studio album. The song already reached the number two spot on the Canadian country charts. Earlier this month they released “Your Mama” and the video features real-life shots of their families. We hope 2020 brings more music from the rising duo.

 

7. Runaway June- The ladies of Runaway June have had arguably the most successful year! The trio released their debut record Blue Roses, and their radio single “Buy My Own Drinks” cracked the Top 5 on the Country charts, making history as the first song by a female trio to break into the Top 5 in a decade. Additionally, the ladies joined superstar, Carrie Underwood on her sold-out headlining tour. Check out how they expressed their excitement for their success with us here, during our interview with the girls at Taste of Country Music Festival and our most recent Swag Session below.

 

6. Brett Young- 2019 was a big year for Young, both personally and professionally. The singer-songwriter’s beautiful wife Taylor gave birth to their first child together in October, after they celebrated one year of marriage. As a recording artist, Young released his new project, The Acoustic Sessions EP, which followed the release of his Number 1 sophomore record Ticket to L.A. Fans of Young have his newly announced headlining tour to look forward to in the new year. The tour stops at New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom on February 2nd.

 

5. Ryan Hurd- In 2019, Hurd focused on advancing his career as a solo artist. The talented singer-songwriter sold-out Bowery Ballroom in New York City this past January. We got to catch up with him at Taste of Country, where he shared what it’s like playing for New York fans. Hurd upped the ante by releasing both his EP Panorama and Platonic this year, including lead single “To a T.” Just recently announced, he will be headlining the Platonic Tour with Niko Moon, the tour hits NYC for a two night run on March 4th and 5th.

 

 

4. Russell Dickerson- We are proud to continue to champion the very first artist that New York Country Swag ever featured at our very first event back in January of 2016. Dickerson continues to be one of the most promising rising artists and infectious entertainers on the scene right now. This year, the singer-songwriter achieved a rare feat, as his first three singles to ever go to country radio hit the number one spot on the charts! Even better, the entertainer finally made it to the big stage at Madison Square Garden, where he opened up for Thomas Rhett on his sold-out tour and even shouted out our company, during his set!

 

3. Walker Hayes- Hayes continues to release music that he can be proud of and that his fans can always relate to. This year, he released a beautiful tribute to his wife, Laney, titled “Don’t Let Her,” headlined his own tour, and is about to release Volume 3 of 8Tracks. Check out our interview with the Swag Session alum below, as he talks about “Don’t Let Her,” and his journey.

 

2. Luke Combs- Combs has officially solidified himself as a bonafide country superstar in just a few short years. The singer recently accepted his membership into the Grand Ole Opry and released his record-breaking sophomore record What You See Is What You Get. Combs’ has had seven consecutive singles reach the top spot on County Airplay and continues to sell-out shows in arenas across the country. 2020 is shaping up to be another mega-successful year for the entertainer.

 

1. Drake White- It’s been a relatively quiet year for the White; however, that has not stopped him from bringing his unique talent to stages across the United States. The singer-songwriter captivated fans in New York City back in February when he played at Irving Plaza. He continues to be a mainstay at country music festivals as well.

Be on the lookout in the coming weeks for an update on all the artist we named to watch in 2018 and 2019, and then coming soon, our carefully-cultivated 2020 Artist to Watch list.

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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!

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NYCS First Impression: Ryan Hurd ‘Platonic’

 

Ryan Hurd Platonic

Acclaimed Nashville songwriter, Ryan Hurd, settles into his own style on his new EP, Platonic. No stranger to the limelight, the country artist has written hit songs for everyone from Jake Owen and Dierks Bentley to Florida Georgia Line and Rascal Flatts. Yet, where he really shines is with his own brand of romantic storytelling immersed in hooky melodies.

In 2018, he released an emotional ode to his wife (country superstar Maren Morris) with the single, “Diamonds and Twine” to a smattering a success. The track positioned the artist as more than just a songwriter, but a musician in his own rite. On Platonic, he settles effortlessly into the sound that fans have come to expect, with a renewed focus on the power of storytelling.

If there’s one thing that the “To a T” songwriter does well, is bring a touch of summer sunshine to any track he writes. That’s never more apparent than on “Half Hoping.” Bursting with radiant energy, the regretful breakup song sizzles with the kind of melody you hope never ends — sort of like summer itself. “I’m wishing you would stay / wishing you’d come over /you’re the angel and the devil talking on my shoulder / wishing I’d forget you / but happy I remember / baby, wishing I could pick a side but I’m right in the center”

Title track, “Platonic,” is one of those slow burn romantic stories people write novels (and music) about. Hurd languishes in his usual style, where he paints such a clear picture with his lyrics you can almost see it playing out in front of you. A mid-tempo shuffle that begs for a couples dance, this is a song that’s bound to climb it’s way up the charts and into our hearts.

If ever there was a song that brought you back to your first love, it’s “Florida With A Girl.” The laid back ballad taps into the dizzying anticipation of falling in love for the first time. It captures the moment when you step boldly into adulthood and wrangle with feelings, unlike any you’ve ever felt. From the gentle lull of the melody to the hushed vocals, the songwriter transports us to that place in time. “It was warm cheap beer chasing first kiss fear when the sun goes down / it wasn’t just one week / wasn’t just some beach in a spring break town / it was Florida with a girl”

The final track will break your heart for all the right reasons. A dreamer’s oasis wrapped in a melody, it reflects on how more love in the world would do us all some good. Acoustic guitar mingles with Hurds honied vocals, building a warmth that infuses the meaning of the song into the arrangement itself. On the track, Hurd shares one final line that stands out as a motto we could all live our lives by: “If I could make a wish for the world there would be more music / whenever you got lonely you could always find a friend”

Check out our interview with siner-songwriter from earlier this summer when we caught up with him at Taste of Country Music Festival.

 

The Nashville rising star knows a thing or two about writing great songs, but with his newest EP, he taps into the format that serves him best. Positive vibes and feel good charisma pack the melody-fueled EP — making Platonic a must listen.To keep up with Ryan Hurd follow him on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Platonic is now available everywhere you stream or buy music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist.

 

 

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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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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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Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC & Beyond!

Subscribe to our Weekly Round-Up here 
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and all things country music in the New York metro area and beyond!

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Ryan Hurd Drops Music Video for “To A T”

Ryan Hurd To A T

Seasoned songwriter and rising country artist, Ryan Hurd released the music video for his radio single, “To A T” last week on Valentine’s Day. We witnessed Hurd perform the song live with special guest, country megastar (his wife), Maren Morris, during his sold-out show in at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City back in January. The emotional love song, penned by the singer, was truly elevated by the heartfelt visuals.

Directed by Blythe Thomas, the music video chronicles four different real-life couples, as they celebrate their love. The stories show a couple who have been married for over 50 years, an interracial couple, a lesbian couple and a couple who are expecting a baby. The video, like the lyrics, is emotional, raw and touching. Hurd truly puts love on a pedestal in the clips and gives necessary representation to all types of relationships. Viewers can relate to the comfortability of being in a serious relationship, and the quirky things we do in those relationships. The video is playful, heartwarming, and embraces the connection between human beings. Check out the full-length video below.

After penning songs for many elite country music stars including, Luke Bryan, Tim McGraw, Blake Shelton, Florida Georgia Line, and Brothers Osborne, Hurd, signed to RCA Records Nashville, is making a name for himself as a solo artist. His lyrical phrasing and unique vibe is both enticing and intriguing. We look forward to hearing his debut album, which the singer is said to currently be writing and recording.

Hurd is headlining his own tour with special guest Ryan Beaver, through April.  After selling out his first ever New York City headlining show, Hurd continues to play sold-out shows, with dates coming up in Chicago and Nashville towards the end of the month. For tickets and more information head to ryanhurd.com.

 

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Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC & Beyond!

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and all things country music in the New York metro area and beyond!

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Ryan Hurd Sells Out Bowery Ballroom in New York City

This past Friday, singer-songwriter Ryan Hurd brought his first ever headlining tour to the Bowery Ballroom in New York City with special guest, Ryan Beaver. Luckily for us New Yorkers, we were one of the four sold-out stops he was making on this exclusive series of club shows.

Ryan Hurd / Ryan Beaver

To kick off the night, Ryan Hurd invited his friend Ryan Beaver to warm up the crowd. Beaver took the stage with just a guitar, beginning the night saying, “Last time I was here it was 2016. It’s taken me 3 years to come back to the Bowery Ballroom but I’ve played all over the city, it’s always a blast!” He performed most of his songs off his record, RX, like “Fast,” “When This World Ends,” “Rum and Roses,” “Still Yours,” and the song people were waiting for “Dark.” While on stage he mentioned how performing with just himself and a guitar is one of the most terrifying things one could do but anytime someone is singing his songs, it makes his whole night. He performed each song effortlessly, making it hard to believe how terrifying it really was. Beaver got the audience pumped up for Hurd to take the stage, even covering a song everyone knows and loves, “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley.

Ryan Hurd / Ryan Beaver

Next up was the man of the hour, Ryan Hurd. He kicked off his set performing the song “Last Turn Home,” which Hurd and his wife Maren Morris penned for country superstar, Tim McGraw. As the night was just getting started, Hurd took the time to welcome and thank everyone for coming out to the show before singing his romantic hit song, “Diamonds Or Twine.” The soulful love song had the entire crowd singing back the lyrics to the singer, making it a moment to always remember. As the night went on he performed his own music along with songs that he wrote for other artists throughout the years. Making sure to cover all his bases he sang his songs, “We Do Us,” “Love In A Bar,” “City Girl,” “Hold You Back,” and his most recently released song, “Michigan For The Winter.”

It was a night to never forget, those lucky enough to be in the crowd got to hear Hurd’s brand new song, with him mentioning, “The only other people who ever heard this in the entire world are the country music fans in Los Angeles, California…this song is called “Her Name Was Summer”.” The singer-songwriter was not one to disappoint, he sang his heart out giving everyone a new song to fall in love with. Throughout the night he continued to interact with the crowd, saying, “I’m a songwriter in Nashville, Tennessee, that’s the way I got moving and just sort of stumbled into this part and I never thought that I would have this many country music fans coming to a show like mine, so thank you from the bottom of my heart.” He was nothing but thankful throughout the show, telling everyone how appreciative he was to be performing to a sold-out crowd in New York City.

Hurd continued to show off his songwriting by performing the songs that he had written for other artists. Mentioning to the crowd, “I’ve written a lot of songs for other artists in Nashville and I still do. This is one of them, that’s my favorite,” singing the song he penned for Dierks Bentley, “I’ll Be The Moon.” That wasn’t all for the night, he also performed the songs he wrote, “You Look Good,” cut by Lady Antebellum and “Sunrise, Sunburn, Sunset,” cut by Luke Bryan. Each time the crowd singing along to the infectious tunes.

As the night was coming to an end, Hurd had a special surprise for the crowd. Turning the show into a family affair, he brought out his wife Maren Morris to join him on stage to perform his single, “To A T”.  Bringing the song to life, she was on stage harmonizing and providing backup vocals, their voices intertwining flawlessly. The entire time the crowd was screaming, while every phone shot up to record the magical moment between the two. Head to our Facebook to watch the duet.

The show ended on a high note, with Hurd coming back on stage for the encore saying, “I wrote this song and I played it last week for the first time ever, there’s no recording of it. I love country music with all my heart and I love coming to see beautiful people like you sing it with me…I wrote this song and I hope that you take it home with you tonight, it’s called “Wish For The World”.” Ending the night perfectly, debuting another brand new song. Hurd left the crowd wanting more while being excited to see what the singer-songwriter comes out with next.

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What We’re Listening To: January Picks

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

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

 

JANUARY PICKS:

 

Stephanie Wagner, Founder

Pick: “Every Little Thing” – Russell Dickerson
Songwriters: Casey Brown, Parker Welling, Russell Dickerson

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

 

Christina Bosch, Managing Editor 

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

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

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

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

 

Nicole Bochinis, Contributing Writer

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

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

 

Kelly Cunningham, Contributing Writer

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

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

 

Taylor Felvey, Contributing Writer

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

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

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

 

Molly Holmberg, Contributing Writer

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

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

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

 

Nicole Piering, Contributing Writer

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

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

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

 

Olivia Reese, Contributing Writer

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

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

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

 

Nicole Sellati, Contributing Writer

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

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

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

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

 

Danielle Tornatore, Contributing Writer

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

Songwriters: David Barnes, Jon Green, Jordan Reynolds

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

 

Shanna Vitaliano, Contributing Writer

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

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

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

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

 

Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer

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

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

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

 

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Subscribe to our Weekly Round-Up here
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Ryan Hurd Drops New Song “Michigan for the Winter”

Ryan Hurd Michigan for the Winter

RCA recording artist, Ryan Hurd has released his first new song of the year entitled “Michigan for the Winter.” The mid-tempo ballad, penned by Hurd, Aaron Eshuis and Neil Mason of The Cadillac Three, illustrates the story of the singer-songwriter heading to his home state of Michigan to ward off a bad breakup without entirely giving up hope. He sings in the chorus, “But, just in case you wanna change your mind / I’m lettin’ you know where you can find me / 46th Street, that first right turn / Down a dirt road watching that wood stove burn / I’m either waiting out your memory / Or for you don’t wanna come back to me / Whichever comes first until it don’t hurt no more / I’ll be up North / I’m going to Michigan for the winter”

The track is currently featured on Spotify’s ‘New Boots’ playlist, while his previous single “To A T” is being featured on the ‘Hot Country’ playlist.  Hurd will head out on his four-date sold-out headlining tour this month, which will stop in New York City on January 25th at Bowery Ballroom. Tickets are sold-out but check back with NYCountry Swag for a full show review, as well as live videos on our Instagram Story.

“Michigan for the Winter” is now available everywhere you stream or purchase 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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5 Country Stars Who Bring Their Adorable Pups On Tour

They don’t call dogs a man’s best friend for nothing. If you have a furry friend you know far too well that it isn’t easy being away from their precious faces for too long. Just like us, country stars know this feeling, so why not bring them on the road? Check out the artists, who bring their best buds on tour!

 

1) Brett Eldredge & Edgar Boogie – 

The most famous country pup of them all, Edgar Boogie is never too far from his dad, Brett Eldredge. The duo are inseparable, always keeping the fans up to date on their latest adventures. Every night while on tour Edgar makes a special appearance in the ‘Bedhead Jams’ portion of the show and recently was the star of Eldredge’s music video “Love Someone” The Edgar Cut. The beloved pup also has his own Instagram page, @edgarboogie.

Dogs

Photo Via @Bretteldredge Instagram

 

2) Kelsea Ballerini & Dibs – 

Kelsea Ballerini has a special fur baby in her life, making it too hard to leave him behind. She brings Dibs on tour with her whenever she can and he even has his own backstage pass for his collar. Ballerini got Dibs just after the release of her first album, The First Time, and named the pup after her first single of the same name!

Dogs

Photo Via @KelseaBallerini Instagram

 

3) Chris Young & Porter – 

Chris Young’s pup, Porter, is the newest addition to his road crew on ‘The Losing Sleep World Tour.’ Young received Porter last Christmas from his sister without knowing what his reaction would be; he ended up loving the German Shepard puppy at first sight. As a joke, the hit singer made an Instagram account for his furry friend but kept it once it started gaining followers. You can follow along, @porterthedog, to see how his first time on the road is going!

Dogs

Photo Via @ChrisYoungMusic Instagram

 

4) Michael Ray & Wrigley – 

It was love at first sight for Michael Ray and his adopted pup, Wrigley. He just couldn’t resist taking her home after the Country LakeShake Festival in 2017 and now his beloved Wrigley is constantly on the road with him. Ray and his pup have since launched, Wrigley Cares, a foundation to help animals in need. While Ray’s on tour, he sets up donation stations so concert attendees can drop off supplies that will go to local shelters.

Dogs

Photo Via @MichaelRayMusic Instagram

 

5) Maren Morris & June & Pancake – 

Maren Morris is now a dog mom of two adorable pups; June and Pancake, with husband Ryan Hurd. Morris recently received Pancake from Jon Pardi’s mom, giving June a new pal to play with while on the road. She brings out her pups as often as she can, even having June take part in the tour by having her sit sideline at her meet and greets for fans to play with.

Maren Morris Dogs

Photo Via @MarenMorris Instagram

 

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Where Are They Now? Our 2017 Artists to Watch Update

Here at New York Country Swag, we pride ourselves on being tastemakers, finding and championing new and up-and-coming artists and introducing our followers to the best of the best of the rising acts.  Back in 2017, we named the 10 artists below in our “Artists to Watch in 2017” and we are proud to say, we know rising talent before they make it big.  Check out what each of these artists has done over the past two years and what is coming up for them in 2019.

 

10. Seth Ennis – In 2017, Ennis released his debut EP, Mabelle, which featured his first single “Woke Up In Nashville” which put him on our radar early on.  Most recently he released a heartfelt song “Call Your Mama” which features Little Big Town and has garnered over a million streams on Spotify. The singer-songwriter joins Dylan Scott on tour which hits Gramercy Theatre on January 17th.  Grab your tickets here.

9. Trent Harmon – Harmon spent 2017 writing and working on his debut album, You Got Em All.   The American Idol winner of season 15 set out to prove to his fans and critics that he wasn’t just a competition winner that could sing covers but that he had something important to say with his songwriting.  We caught Harmon back in February in Nashville as he performed his single “You Got Em All” for radio programmers and the audience was blown away by his delivery of the breakup song. He told New York Country Swag during a recent interview:  “I had one job that day and that was to solidify myself a slot for the next year as a relevant up-and-coming artist in the country format,” which he certainly did.  We can’t wait to see what he has in store for fans in 2019.

 

8. High Valley – This Canadian duo since making our Artist to Watch list has toured the country on the Sirius XM The Highway Finds Tour and released brand new music, The Farmhouse Sessions which was recorded appropriately on a farm outside of Nashville. When we caught their infectious, high energy set a little over a year ago, the brothers, led the audience in a dance off and played their top 15 hit “She’s With Me” which elicited a crowd singalong.  The duo has tour dates booked through the new year, playing shows in the U.S as well as Canada. For all of the tour dates head to their website.

 

7. Runaway June –  The ladies of Runaway June are at such an exciting time in their career.  The week that New York Country Swag hosted them for a Live Swag Session, they had just announced they would be joining Carrie Underwood and Maddie and Tae on her Cry Pretty 360 Tour.  Since then they have also released their debut self-titled EP and their single “Buy My Own Drinks” is garnering plenty of spins on Spotify. Watch their performance and interview with New York Country Swag below and grab your tickets to see this powerhouse group of girls at Madison Square Garden on October 2nd, 2019.

 

6. Brett Young – Arguably the artist who has made it the biggest over the past two years, Young released his debut, self-titled album in February of 2017 and since then has had four no. 1 hits including “Sleep Without You,” “In Case You Didn’t Know,” “Like I Loved You”, and “Mercy.”  His brand new single from his forthcoming album, “Here Tonight” is already Top 40 on the Country Radio Charts and steadily climbing. Young is coming to New York City on December 9th with Tyler Rich and drops his sophomore album, Ticket to L.A just two days prior.

 

5. Ryan Hurd – We highlighted Hurd’s incredible songwriting career back in 2017 however since then he has written and recorded songs for himself that have proved he isn’t just a songwriter anymore.  Recently he released two songs, “Diamonds or Twine” and “To A T” which were both inspired by another huge milestone Hurd has accomplished since 2017, he got married. Marrying fellow singer-songwriter and chart-topper Maren Morris earlier this year has given Hurd the opportunity to write about his love for her and when he sings those songs, his delivery and devotion is evident.  We are hoping for a full-length album in 2019 and will keep you posted about future tour dates heading our way.

 

4. Russell Dickerson –  We are proud to champion the very first artist that New York Country Swag ever featured at our very first event back in January of 2016 just a few weeks after our launch! Dickerson played on top of a bar at Libation, a New York City nightclub, the event was sold out long before he had signed his record deal with Triple Tigers.  Since previewing his music for 300 of our lucky followers and a handful of NYCS events later, Dickerson has garnered not one but two no. 1 songs on the Country Radio Charts.  His love song for his wife, “Yours”, made it to the top of the charts and appropriately was the title of his debut album which was released this time last year.  Most recently, his second single to radio “Blue Tacoma” took the top spot. He toured all summer with Lady Antebellum and Darius Rucker, increasing his fanbase.  Looking to the new year, Dickerson is working on new music and will hopefully get back on the road. Take a look back at our Country Night with the rising superstar from September 2016 below.

 

3. Walker Hayes – In January of 2017 when our list was published, Hayes had only released his 8Tracks Vol. 1 and 2 to his fans, a unique take on the storytelling country music is so accustomed to.  Over the past two years, the lines of genres have blended, country music has sonically changed and become more fluid and no artist has benefitted more than Hayes.  His blend of hip-hop, R&B and pop all infuse with country lyrics and have created a sound that is undeniable all his own.  We hosted Hayes earlier this year for a Live Swag Session after he released his major label debut album boom. and garnered plenty of success with his debut radio single “You Broke Up With Me”. He just released a new single, “90’s Country” which name-drops 22 different 90’s country songs that Hayes tells us in a recent interview, influenced him growing up and is the first of new music we can look forward to in the new year.  Watch the Live Swag Session from April below.

 

2. Luke Combs –  Another artist who had huge success since 2017, Combs released not only a debut album but a deluxe version with five additional songs.  The album entered the Billboard charts 73 weeks ago and continually makes its way back to the top of the charts, including this week where he holds the top spot for not only album but also the top song with “She Got The Best of Me” at no. 1 for the second week in a row. This marks the fourth chart-topper for Combs, previously he landed the top spot with “Hurricane,” “When It Rains It Pours,” and “One Number Away”.  He joined Jason Aldean this summer on his High Noon Neon Tour which made its way to Madison Square Garden in August.  The sold-out crowd knew every word to each of his songs, even the deep album cuts proving that the country crooner has grown his fan base so wide and is here to stay.

 

1. Drake White – White’s ability to captivate a crowd during his live performances landed him an opening spot on Zac Brown Band’s tour and at festivals across the country. He just released five new songs in an EP titled Pieces which highlights his signature groove and sultry vocals. Next year he is heading overseas to play the C2C Country to Country Festival in Glasgow along with Chris Stapleton, Keith Urban, and Lady Antebellum.

 

Be on the lookout in the coming weeks for an update on all of the artists we named to watch in 2018 and then coming soon, our 2019 Artist to Watch list.

 

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Ryan Hurd Releases “To A T” featuring Maren Morris

Ryan Hurd To A T

After listening ten times just like Ryan Hurd said to do in his most recent Instagram post, we can agree he has a smash new single on his hands. Though in reality, it doesn’t take more than listening to half of the song to be hooked. The melody of “TO A T” pulls you in immediately and without any second guessing you can tell it will be a fan favorite. The singer-songwriter has been teasing “TO A T” for the past week on social media, first appearing in a video of his coffee cup and later released as a small preview of what was to come. After waiting patiently for Hurd’s next song, it is finally available for download today.

Hurd hasn’t released a new song since March 2018 when he dropped his hit “Diamonds or Twine” as a wedding gift to his wife, Maren Morris. The two met because of music when they were both solely songwriters and now with a singing career of his own, he uses Morris as his muse. The sentiment behind “TO A T” is loving, showing how much he cares for her. As a songwriter, he masters the lyrics perfectly from start to finish telling a sexy love story. That’s not all the song has to offer, the rising country artist herself also takes part in Hurd’s new song. She can be heard harmonizing and providing backup vocals, their voices intertwining flawlessly.  Hurd has got it down “TO A T” with his new release, giving everyone a taste of what is coming next.

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Subscribe to our Weekly Round-Up here 
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