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 November picks. Then be sure to give our Spotify account a follow and listen to our favorite tracks!
Stephanie Wagner, Founder
Pick: “Doing Fine” – Ryan Kinder feat. Sykamore
Songwriters: Jordan Ostrom, Justin Morgan, Ryan Kinder
This month, I’ve found myself often listening to this brand new track from Ryan Kinder and Sykamore, “Doing Fine”. The song is a gritty break-up anthem for those trying to move on, but also hoping the other person is having just as much as a struggle with it.
“I hope you have to lie when someone asks you how you’re doing // You tell em you’re alright but you’re barely getting through it // It’s easier if we hurt the same, if you’re a wreck when you hear my name // I need your heart to break like mine // I’m not ok if you’re doing fine”
“Doing Fine” is one of those songs where you can feel the emotion in every line and together, Kinder and Sykamore, do an incredible job of displaying the message of the song through the heartfelt vocals in a collaboration that feels perfectly natural.
Christina Bosch, Managing Editor
Pick: “Redwood Tree” – Cam
Songwriters: Tyler Johnson, Anders Mouridsen, Cam
Opening Cam’s absolutely stellar sophomore album, The Otherside, “Redwood Tree” is a simple concept about growing up, growing old, and the decisions we make as each day passes. From first listen, each lyric resonated with my life while Cam’s soaring harmonies and perfect tone set the stage for the rest of the project. I so often think of the future and spend my life worrying the present away and then when I look back, I realize how I probably missed so many joyous moments. The imagery of a giant redwood tree watching the world change and conform around it is fascinating.
“Don’t know what you have when you’re young, but you’ll know what you had when it’s gone”
I went back and forth trying to choose which song to highlight this month from this album and the fact that so many songs stood out is a true testament to the artistry of Cam.
Lucie Bernheim, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Changes” – Cam
Songwriters: Harry Styles, Lori McKenna, Tom Hull, Tyler Johnson
When I first learned that Lori McKenna and Harry Styles had a song on Cam’s outstanding album The Otherside, I knew I would be obsessed. The idea of them in the same room still gives me chills. When I was a freshman in high school, Cam’s debut, Untamed, Harry’s debut Harry Styles, and Lori’s GRAMMY-winning The Bird & The Rifle soundtracked that tumultuous and incredibly formative year. I’ll never forget the first time I listened to all those records, all during study hall – they truly changed my life and shaped me into the person I am today.
Four years later, in an even more unprecedented time, their work, new and old, still moves me. I’ve only been away at college for three months, and in some ways, I feel like I’ve remained the same. But then there are moments where something hits you and you realized things have changed, big and small. “So, I go / ‘Cause I don’t wanna feel like you don’t know me anymore / Don’t recognize my face”. Cam’s poignant vocal delivery makes it dreamy and even more introspective, and Harry’s faraway whistle at the end of the song makes you realize that things will always be changing – something I’ve never really been good at. As I return home for winter break, I keep thinking about the passage of time, and whether we like it or not, sometimes you outgrow the things you love most, and sometimes, a little time away is just what you need for it to fit again.
Dylan Bestler, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Gone” – Dierks Bentley
Songwriters: Nicolle Galyon, Ben Johnson, Niko Moon
I mentally made this my November pick before it was even released; that’s how much confidence I have in Dierks Bentley. After The Mountain and The Hot Country Knights album, I was itching for new Dierks material and we were lucky enough to get a song as clever and catchy as this one. It can also be interpreted in two ways: for those going through a breakup, and for those just totally sick of being in quarantine. Giving off “Drunk On A Plane” and “Somewhere On A Beach” vibes, this song will surely become a hit for Dierks and I can’t wait to see which direction he takes his new album in.
“I’ve been a million places but they’re all up in head / Over-drinking overthinking ever since you left / I’ve been gone, I’ve been gone / I’ve been sitting on the couch watching TV all day long”
Kristina Callahan, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Hell of a View” – Eric Church
Songwriters: Eric Church, Casey Beathard and Monty Criswell
If there’s one thing that Eric Church knows how to do, it’s write a love song. Before “Hell of a View” he had “Love Your Love the Most” and “Wrecking Ball” just to name a few. Chief brings the story of two people running away from their hometown and risking it all for love in “Hell of a View.”
This ain’t for everybody // Toes hanging off the ledge // Like we got nothin’ to lose // Ain’t always heaven, baby // This livin’ on the edge // You holdin’ me holdin’ you // It’s a hell of a view
Church’s songwriting has always been one of the reasons he’s one of my favorite artists. That and his rebel attitude toward the norms is refreshing in a world where so many are trying to conform to a certain standard. The singer-songwriter has been releasing new songs throughout 2020 and the pandemic so fingers crossed for a new album on the horizon.
Erin Crosby, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Nashville, TN” – Chris Stapleton
Songwriters: Chris Stapleton, Morgane Stapleton
With a new collection of songs from Chris Stapleton, we knew there had to be at least one exceptional track living among them. For the “Tennessee Whiskey” singer’s fourth studio album Starting Over, “Nashville, TN” is it. Despite Stapleton’s attractive raspy tone and ability to quiet a room with one note, he is first and foremost a songwriter. The vulnerability through music portrayed by this iconic, yet still relatively new performer, comes down to the words written and, eventually, spoken with a melody and a guitar. “Nashville, TN” is everything Stapleton brings to country music. It’s simple, conversational and beautifully inviting to all those who listened, is listening and will listen.
Caleigh DeCaprio, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Live With” – Keith Urban
Songwriters: Bobby Pinson, Jon Nite, Zach Kale
I knew this song was going to be one of my favorites when I was dancing at the wheel by the time the first chorus came around. This was one of those songs that I loved so much the first time I heard it that I had to restart it before it was even over. Then I listened to it on repeat until I knew all the words. Now it’s one of the songs I listen to every time I’m in the car because it has me dancing and singing along to it everytime I hear it, never failing to put me in a good mood. From the lyrics to the music, this song radiates good vibes.
It’s all about living your life to the fullest. The one you want to live, not the one that others want you to live. It’s about being able to look back on your life at the end of it and have no regrets of the choices that you’ve made. It reminds us that the best parts of life may not always be the easiest and while chasing your dreams may be scary, it doesn’t mean it won’t be worth it. Even failure can be better than not knowing.
Alexa Ebner, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Christmas Always Finds Me” – Ingrid Andress
Songwriters: Derrick Southerland, Ingrid Andress, Sam Ellis
Earlier this month, Ingrid Andress gifted fans with a Christmas song to kick off the holiday season. As expected, the rising Nashville star delivers a tear jerker that tugs at the heartstrings. Though melancholy in sound, the song conveys a hopeful and inspiring message about the magic of the holidays. Life moves fast and there will be tough days, especially with all that has happened this year, but the holiday spirit will always show up to provide comfort and joy during this time of year. The song feels very personal to the singer, as Andress vividly describes what reminds her of the holidays, “It takes me back to younger days / of stocking on the fireplace / and presents stacked / and waiting by the trees / and even if I’m all alone / a million miles away from home / it shows up in warm memory”. Though this year may be different, Andress has faith that the magic of this time of year will find its way to her. She wistfully repeats the line, “But somehow / Christmas always finds me” throughout the song, offering hope and faith for a special holiday season.
Julia Grubbs, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Starting Over” – Chris Stapleton
Songwriters: Chris Stapleton, Mike Henderson
It’s timely that Chris Stapleton’s new album came out right before we choose our monthly picks. Ever since I learned who he was, I thought he was one of the greatest voices and artists in contemporary country music to date. Whether it’s “Either Way” or his classic “Tennessee Whiskey”, every note just hits right for me. “Starting Over” follows suit, as does the whole album with the same name. The whole album, written right before and during this tumultuous time, seems to provide just the amount of optimism we need to make it through the road ahead with confidence, while admitting that starting over is just part of it. The lighthearted guitar and powerful harmonies of his wife, Morgane Stapleton, make this journey just a little bit easier for all of us. We may not be able to gather with everyone we love, but this is the perfect soundtrack to listen by the fire with the ones closest to us. “Well the road rolls out like a welcome mat /To a better place than the one we’re at / And I ain’t got no kinda plan / But I’ve had all of this town I can stand “
Molly Holmberg, Contributing Writer
Pick: “My First Car” – Megan Patrick
Songwriters: Adam Craig, Joey Hyde, Megan Patrick
In Megan Patrick’s song, “My First Car”, she goes down memory lane of firsts in her life. From her first buck, first can of beer, first scar, all the way to her first truck. If you follow Patrick on Instagram, you will know she spends a lot of time outdoors hunting, fishing, riding dirt bikes. This song comes right from Patrick’s life and listeners will see that nothing has changed her roots. The upbeat, dirt road vibes this song gives off is perfect for anyone who wants to connect back to their country roots!
“Yeah I got it right, right outta the gate / Five inch straight-pipe ’98 / Rolling coal Chevrolet, Lifted up / ‘Cause my first car was a pickup truck / my first car was a pickup truck”
Abby Kaye-Phillips, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Better Than We Found It” – Maren Morris
Songwriters: Jessie Jo Dillon, Jimmy Robbins, Maren Morris, Laura Veltz
Once in a while, a song makes you stop in your tracks and gives you chills over your entire body. That’s how I felt the first time I heard this one, and how I’ve felt when I’ve listened every time since then. “Better Than We Found It” is a haunting ballad about the state of our world and whether or not we’ll be proud to leave it to our children someday. Maren perfectly sums up how so many of us have been feeling this year living in a place in history that feels more divided than ever. While the lyrics and music video are more political than typical country songs, the new mom reminds us that at the end of the day, all we can do is leave this world better than we found it.
“When time turns this moment to dust / I just hope that I’m proud of the woman I was / When lines of tomorrow are drawn / Can I live with the side that I chose to be on? / Will we sit on our hands, do nothing about it? / Or will we leave this world better than we found it?”
My pick for this month is “What’s Your Country Song” by Thomas Rhett. New music from TR is always great but having new music during quarantine has been even better. I remember when he played this early on during one of his lives and instantly fell in love. It’s a great song that not only shows the variety of country music but shows everyone has that one song they turn to no matter the situation.
Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer
Pick: “The One” – MacKenzie Porter
Songwriters: Claire Douglas, MacKenzie Porter, Madison Kozak, Tom Douglas
My November song pick is by one of our recent Swag Spotlight artists, MacKenzie Porter. Her song “The One” is one of those songs that I know I am going to love for a long time coming. Written by the singer with another one of our favorite artists, Madison Kozak and songwriters, Tom Douglas and Claire Douglas, “The One” is heartbreakingly relatable and truthful.
“I was right before right timing / The pearl before the diamond / I was the road trip to the beach / She’s the honeymoon to the Cayman Islands / I made a mess and she made sense / She got your name and a picket fence / I know it’s a part, but it ain’t fun / Bein’ the one before the one”
The track expresses vulnerability and pain through lyrical story-telling and breathtaking vocals, which is everything I love in a country song. I also strongly feel that MacKenzie is one to watch, so I love that I can continue to support her and her music through my song pick.
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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