Country 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 June 2021 picks of the current best country music songs. Then be sure to give our Spotify account a follow and listen to our favorite tracks!
Pick: “I Quit Drinking” – Kelsea Ballerini & LANY
Songwriters: Nicolle Galyon, Kelsea Ballerini, Paul Jason Klein
When I first saw Kelsea Ballerini and LANY perform this song together during the CMT Awards, I was immediately hooked. I love a good collab, especially cross-genre, that brings unique voices and flairs together and this one knocked it out of the park. I love the concept of this song where most break-up songs sing about needing that drink to move on and this one is quite literally the opposite. Not being together is the reason the main character can’t enjoy those drinks now. It’s such a simple concept that makes so much sense and on top of that it’s extremely catchy and the kind of song that makes you want to blast and sing along to.
Pick: “Better Man” – Little Big Town
Songwriters: Taylor Swift
Little Big Town’s The Breaker album is one of my favorites to go back to, and I never get tired of listening to “Better Man”. Karen Fairchild’s vocals sound like a diary entry, and the rich harmonies that fill the space add so much depth to the already powerful lyrics. Taylor Swift’s lyricism is always brilliant, and on this track, it’s no exception. It’s heartbreaking yet empowering, “the bravest thing I ever did was run” – and I think that the overall strength of the song is what always brings me back to it. “Better Man”, in my mind, will go on to be one of the classics of this era of country music.
Pick: “Summer Job Money” – Chris Lane
Songwriters: Blake Pendergrass, John Byron
Chris Lane released a lot of new music lately, but “Summer Job Money” is, in my opinion, the stand-out of the bunch. Its comical and catchy lyrics backed by its mix of modern and traditional country sound make it a great summer-love tune. I constantly find myself singing the chorus over-and-over in my head.
In his earlier stuff, I feel he was leaning heavily on the big pop-productions, like on “Fix,” “Let Me Love You,” and “Take Back Home Girl.” It is apparent that Lane is returning to his roots with these new songs. As someone who generally appreciates lyrics over background music, I think a simpler sound works better with Lane’s style and persona. I’m looking forward to more from him this summer!
Pick: “Famous Friends” – Chris Young & Kane Brown
Songwriters: Cary Barlowe, Chris Young, Corey Crowder
One of the reasons I love Chris Young is the energy he brings to his songs whether it be a ballad or an upbeat drinking song. “Famous Friends” fits in the latter category but it’s about a group of friends that might not be famous by Hollywood standards but they’re local celebrities in their hometown. The song namedrops counties throughout Tennessee in the chorus, a shout out to the Volunteer State.
“I’ve got some famous friends you’ve probably never heard of // But back in Hamilton County our crowd is second to none // You might not know ’em here in this big city we’re in // But when I go back home I’ve got some famous friends”
Young brought his real-life friend Kane Brown onto the song and he’s the perfect addition. They both closed out the CMT Music Awards earlier this month with “Famous Friends” and you can tell their friendship runs deep.
Pick: “Buy Dirt” – Jordan Davis & Luke Bryan
Songwriters: Jacob Davis, Jordan Davis, Josh Jenkins, Matt Jenkins
Every so often a song comes along that gives me chills not just the first time I hear it, but every time after that. Maybe I’m sentimental after the year we’ve all had, or maybe I’m extra emotional because I recently got married, but this track about what really matters has been giving me all the feels this month. The song is catchy, heartfelt, simple, and so very country. And the collaboration between a rising talent and an established superstar is just the icing on top.
“Buy dirt // Find the one you can’t live without // Get a ring, let your knee hit the ground // Do what you love but call it work // And throw a little money in the plate at church // Send your prayers up and your roots down deep // Add a few limbs to your family tree // And watch their pencil marks // And the grass in the yard all grow up // ‘Cause the truth about it is // It all goes by real quick // You can’t buy happiness // But you can buy dirt”
Pick: “Woman You Got” – Maddie & Tae
Songwriters: Laura Veltz, Maddie Font, Mark Holman, Taylor Kerr
This month, I chose “Woman You Got” by Maddie and Tae as a song I have had on repeat. The track is fun and catchy yet gets it right about growing in a relationship whether that be dating or marriage.
“You say you love me, I know you love me // Love that you love me, baby // I know you know me, but if I know me // I’m gonna drive you crazy // The thing about me is I’m always getting better // The truth is, boy, it might take forever but // When it comes to loving you I’m never gonna stop // And that’s the kind of woman you got”
Pick: “Middle Man” – Kasey Tyndall
Songwriters: Kasey Tyndall, Lainey Wilson
After getting to interview Kasey Tyndall for our Swag Spotlight series, I knew I had to choose her song “Middle Man” as my pick of the month. I already loved the song, but hearing how effortlessly the track came together really spoke to me. I love songs that can make me feel something. “Middle Man” fits the bill. Although I do not have divorced parents, I can literally feel the emotion that Tyndall conveys in the poignant new single.
“I was too young to understand // I was a little girl // And the middle man // I got a taste of rock n roll // Swear I learned to talk to Jesus // And I made best friends with the road // I got real good // I got real good at leaving”
The songstress finds a way to matter-of-factly speak her truth, while speaking for a larger landscape of people. She does not cast blame on anyone, which makes the song even more special. We are all just people after all. “Middle Man” reminds listeners that we are always influenced by where we come, regardless of our circumstances. That is a beautiful message to come out of a tender, yet gritty single!
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.