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 April 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: “Country Again” – Thomas Rhett
Songwriters: Ashley Gorley, Thomas Rhett, Zach Crowell
I know this song has only been out for a little over a week, but the second I heard it, it instantly moved me and I’ve had it on repeat since. Although the lyrics speak personally to Rhett, I think it acts in a relatable way to anyone who has had the opportunity to slow down over the past year and enjoy the things they once took for granted. Time with friends and loved ones, being home, and enjoying the simple things in life.
To me, I think of the word ‘wholesome’ when I think of this song, it’s so nice to see Rhett enjoying the little things and getting back to his roots. I love the idea that although 2020 wasn’t the best year, we can look back and think that there were some good things to come from it.
“I traded sunsets with my wife // For hours on my phone // And even when I was right beside her // I still wasn’t really home // But last night we built a fire // Watched the moonlight kiss her skin // I thought, “Man, it feels good to be country again”
Pick: “Do You Think About Me” – Caitlyn Smith
Songwriters: Rollie Gaalswyk, Jeremy Lardani, Caitlyn Smith
Pick: “Famous Friends” – Chris Young & Kane Brown
Songwriters: Cary Barlowe, Chris Young, Corey Crowder
This song came out a few months ago, and I was hoping it would start gaining some traction because I think it’s a perfect representation of country music and small-town life. Everyone looks up to politicians, athletes, celebrities, and other individuals whose names carry weight but as the pandemic has exaggerated, the real heroes are the doctors, teachers, shop owners, and friends that helped us through tough times. The two emphasize the importance these people have in our community.
I love when Chris Young and Kane Brown collab because Brown often credits Young for being an idol to him when he was growing up and pursuing music as a career. Knowing Brown’s backstory and being a huge fan, it’s nice to see it become full circle.
Songwriters: Chase Rice, Hunter Phelps, Cale Dodds & Corey Crowder
Pick: “Wings” – Jackson Dean
Songwriters: Jackson Dean, Park Chisolm
“Wings” from newly signed recording artist Jackson Dean is a paralyzing production of a deep-rooted sentiment through heavy vocals of attractive rasp and intriguing range. From the finger-picking that opens the song and leads up to the words sprung out from this Maryland native who teeters on the same stylistic approaches as Chris Stapleton in this debut song, Dean Jackson is one to look out for. “Wings” is an incredible start to his journey with Big Machine Records.
Pick: “Hard to Stay Mad At” – Tim McGraw
Songwriters: Lori McKenna, Luke Laird, Shane McAnally
In honor of Tim McGraw releasing the Ultimate Edition and the Ultimate Video Edition of Here on Earth, I’ve been re-listening to the album, and “Hard to Stay Mad” is one of my favorite songs off of it. I love any song that finds a way to reference other songs in it, but I especially love that McGraw has reached a point where he is referencing his own songs within his new tunes, which he does multiple times on this album alone.
In “7500 OBO”, McGraw name drops “Where the Green Grass Grows” and “Southern Girl” and he does it again in “Hard to Stay Mad At”. You can hear musical undertones that sound similar to “I Need You” throughout the song, that eventually form to “I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you” that follows the same pattern, until adding in the infamous “I need you, I need you, I need you, I need you” and ending the song with “I want you” in the same beat. Not only is “I Need You” an iconic song and a staple when it comes to the careers of both Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, but McGraw’s inclusion of it on his songs and albums now speaks volumes to the success of his career. He even threw in an anecdote about him and Hill in his latest release off the upcoming album in “God Moves the Pen”. Can’t wait to see what other surprises he has for the rest of the album!
“If you weren’t so damn stubborn, we would’ve never got this far // Be just another casualty, two people in a bar // Here we are, another day // Everytime I walk away, I walk right back // ‘Cause you’re hard to stay mad at”
Pick: “No Sad Songs” – Niko Moon
Songwriters: Alysa Vanderheym, Anna Moon, Joshua Murty, Niko Moon, Steven Lee Olsen
Pick: “Chasing After You” – Ryan Hurd & Maren Morris
Songwriters: Brinley Addington & Jerry Flowers
I’m a sucker for country couples (Kelsea Ballerini and Morgan Evans, anyone??) and I can’t stop listening to Ryan Hurd’s track with wife and mega-star Maren Morris, “Chasing After You”. The song is simple, catchy, and relatable and the fact that the two are in love in real life is the icing on the cake.
“But I know, yeah I know it’s a matter of time // ‘Till you walk, ’till you walk back out of my life // Leave me standing here lonely feeling like a fool // Every time, every time you say we’re done // You come back to the love you werе running from // Don’t know why, don’t know why I let you but I do // Guess I love chasing aftеr you”
Pick: “That’s When” – Taylor Swift & Keith Urban
Songwriters: Brad Warren, Brett Warren, Taylor Swift
My pick for this month is “That’s When” by Taylor Swift featuring Keith Urban. It’s no secret that “country Taylor” is my favorite era, so when she announced new songs from the vault coming I was so excited. “That’s When” is the perfect breakup track whether it was when you are 17 (like I was when Fearless came out) or now as an adult. Having Keith Urban on the track also makes it super special as they were former tourmates. Their voices fit so well together.
Pick: “I Would’ve Loved You” – Jake Hoot & Kelly Clarkson
Songwriters: Dean Sams, Jake Hoot, Jamie Floyd
My pick this month is “I Would’ve Loved You,” by The Voice winner Jake Hoot and his coach, Kelly Clarkson. There’s just something to love about a country power ballad, and this one is as good as they get. Written by Hoot, Jamie Floyd, and Dean Sams of Lonestar, the song is an interesting take on a breakup song, the pair belting, “I’m gonna hate you as long and as much as I would’ve loved you.” Both Hoot and Clarkson shine vocally on this song, singing their hearts out, and sounding absolutely beautiful together while doing so.
Pick: “Ran into You” – Mitch Rossell & Trisha Yearwood
Songwriters: Dave Turnbull, Mitch Rossell, Tommy Karlas
The song is everything I love about country music. It tells a story. It has impeccable lyrics and the vocals are just out of this world. The added collaboration with Trisha Yearwood and the harmonies are just a bonus! The song feels honest and authentic, making me feel for the protagonist despite not experiencing this particular story myself.
“I ran like hell to nowhere fast / From myself / From my past / From my hometown and everyone I ever knew / I ran from God when he got too close / I ran from love and the hearts I broke / And from all the wreckage I left in my rear-view. All I ever knew was running / ’Til I ran into you”
Mitch Rossell is also an artist that I really believe in him, so I was honored to get to pick his song as my favorite of the month! Now, go listen to it!
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.