The Ones We Had On Repeat: NYCS Favorite Albums of 2019

As 2019 comes to a close, the New York Country Swag team is highlighting the wide range of our team’s favorite songs and artists when it comes to the country music genre by featuring our favorite album picks of 2019.  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 the albums we’ve had on repeat this year.

Find below each of our team member’s favorite albums and why in our 2019 album picks.

Favorite Albums 2019


Stephanie Wagner, Founder

Pick: GIRL – Maren Morris

It was an interesting year for new music in the country genre and I am so proud of the eclectic mix of choices that our team chose for their favorite album picks. For me, Maren Morris’ GIRL was absolutely iconic. During a time when it feels like women needed it most, Maren Morris reminded the world of female empowerment. Morris sings on the album with such fearlessness and delivers each and every track with empathy, compassion, and encouragement.

Delivering a sophomore record after your debut does so well is not always an easy task but Morris stepped up, included tracks that showcased her maturity over the years as well as the changes that occurred in her life between albums. While HERO had standouts like “My Church”, “Second Wind”, and “I Could Use A Love Song”, Morris dug deep for GIRL, producing an album that highlights messy love, empowering emotions and a sense of Girl Power that men, women, young and old will enjoy for years.


Christina Bosch, Managing Editor 

Pick: Hixtape Vol. 1 – HARDY

There was no question in my mind which album I was going to choose this year. The concept behind HARDY’s Hixtape is genius, taking artists from different generations, different genres and different major labels in country music and put them all on one project that showcases the best parts of living in a small town. The guest features include Keith Urban, Morgan Wallen, Trace Adkins, Lauren Alaina, Devin Dawson, Mitchell Tenpenny and many more, totaling 17 stars.

Being an early fan of the project, it was particularly incredible to sit down with HARDY and discuss the decision to release this collaboration album during our Swag Session earlier this year.

While each song on the album makes me want to move to a small town in the south, they are still relatable for this country-music-loving New Yorker.

HARDY’s masterful songwriting is on full display with lines like “Somewhere the dirt will stain your boot soles red, like the words I was raised up on” referencing Jesus’s words in the Bible (“My Kinda Living”)  or “But when I get to missin’ my roots, sittin’ somewhere West of wherever, you can find me tapping these Red Wing boots together, cause there ain’t no place like home town” referencing The Wizard of Oz and the ruby slippers (No Place Like Home Town”).

Hands down my favorite song on the record, however, is “One Beer”, a modern-day “There Goes My Life” story that has an infectious chorus and features Lauren Alaina and Devin Dawson. While HARDY narrates the story, Dawson and Alaina become the couple who experienced one beer turning into a whole lot more, eventually ending up with a baby in the carriage. The kicker and the moment that gets me every single listen is the fact that the drumbeat is a baby’s heartbeat, one that you hear for the first time during that initial sonogram.

HARDY’s persona, his clever wordplay, and his impeccable delivery make our team so truly impressed and excited to see what comes next for him in 2020.


Lucie Bernheim, Contributing Writer

Pick: How Do You Remember Me – Josh Kerr

There were so many albums that came out in 2019 that I loved start to finish, like Kelleigh Bannen’s Favorite Colors and Maren Morris’ GIRL. But my favorite was Josh Kerr’s debut album, “How Do You Remember Me”. Kerr has been one of the most sought-after songwriters in Nashville for almost half a decade, and his debut is absolutely phenomenal. It’s cohesive, fun, and vulnerable, and it’s as purely singer-songwriter as it is crisp pop-country. Songs like “In Case I Never See You Again” and “It Wasn’t That Long Ago” are upbeat, hit-ready songs, although the latter is a sad song disguised by its poppy elements, which I love.

The standout tracks on Kerr’s project are the confessional “If I’m Being Honest”, and “Love Me Now”. “If I’m Being Honest” is cinematic and pulsing; a song that is impossible not to feel when listening to and stops me in my tracks every time. “Love Me Now” is softer, but is equally as gut-punching. Kerr’s lyrics and artistry are reminiscent of John Mayer and Sam Hunt, as reflected throughout all 11 songs. This is an example of an album that is amazing shuffled or in order, and that is equally strong in lyrical content and production.

Dylan Bestler, Contributing Writer

Pick: Can’t Say I Ain’t Country – Florida Georgia Line

Honestly, not many albums reach my ridiculously high expectations on the first few listens, Can’t Say I Ain’t Country did and then some. A great country album to me is one that can get the party started and then pull at your heartstrings right after. This album has something for everyone; feel-good jams like “Y’all Boys”, slow ballads like “Women” and everything in between. FGL showed their softer side on Dig Your Roots, which I loved, but the ability to do both makes this one really special.

“May We All” was a song I really related to and I didn’t think Florida Georgia Line would ever come back with a song I loved like that one; then I heard “Simple”. Right after hearing the first two lines, (The way your fingers fit in mine / It’s five plus five, not rocket science) I was hooked and couldn’t turn it off repeat. Also, one of my favorite music videos in the past few years.

Another underrated aspect of this album are the skits with Brother Jervel. First off, he’s hilarious. Second, it’s a unique way of bringing their hip-hop influence into country music. Finally, they support the overall theme ‘you can take the boy from the country but you can’t take the country out of the boy.’

In a year that featured a number of fantastic album releases, I would be remiss if I didn’t reveal my honorable mentions: Center Point Road – Thomas Rhett, Real Friends – Chris Janson and Heartache Medication – Jon Pardi.


Kristina Callahan, Contributing Writer

Pick: Different ‘Round Here – Riley Green

Pure country is what comes to mind when I first heard the album Different ‘Round Here by Riley Green. I had high expectations after Green’s “There Was This Girl.” There are tracks similar to that like “In Love by Now” and “Same Old Song,” but it’s the deep yet simple songs like “I Wish Grandpas Never Died” and “Hard to Leave” that really sold me on this album.

“And I wish even cars had truck beds / And every road was named Copperhead / And coolers never run out of cold Bud Light / And I wish high school home teams never lost / And back road drinkin’ kids never got caught / And I wish the price of gas was low and cotton was high / I wish honky tonks didn’t have no closing time / And I wish grandpas never died”

I love an artist who’s not only a performer but a songwriter and that’s exactly what Green is. He co-wrote all of the 14 tracks on the album and even gave writing credit to both his grandfathers, who he wrote “I Wish Grandpas Never Died” about. He sings about love, family, hometown friends which almost every country fan can relate to.

Jeremy Chua, Contributing Writer

Pick: MagnoliaRandy Houser

It perhaps is no surprise that one of the most underrated albums emerges as one of my top favorite country records of this past year. Randy Houser has an incredible way of blending his powerhouse (and also smooth) vocals and the genres lines of country and soul together to a perfect musical concoction. Highlights include “No Good Place To Cry,” “What Whiskey Does (feat. Hillary Lindsey),” “Running Man” and the Lucie Silvas duet, “Our Hearts.” However, the best song on this album has to be “No Stone Unturned.”

With lyrics that everyone can relate to on this roller-coaster journey of life and a great hook of a chorus (“no stone unturned, no turn unstoned”), I would boldly declare this song as one of Houser’s career highlights. If you haven’t checked this record out, you need to. And if you haven’t since him live yet, you also need to. Get ready to be blown away, I know I was.


Erin Crosby, Contributing Writer

Pick: What You See Is What You Get – Luke Combs

Luke Comb’s What You See Is What You Get was released last month and is the perfect addition to his earlier album themes of both good-time party vibes and lovey-dovey ballads. This sophomore release opens with “Beer Never Broke My Heart” which is a fun, upbeat track devoted to loving beer and its constant loyalty despite other setbacks. For instance, the lyric “a couple beautiful girls tell me goodbye/ trucks break down and dogs run off” acts as examples to solidify the argument that beer is one of the few creations worthy of relying on. To quote Combs, “long neck, ice cold beer never broke my heart”.

Rightfully so, there are several tracks that take on more heartfelt, sentimental tones, such as “Even Though I’m Leaving”, “New Every Day”, “Dear Today” and “Better Together”. This is where Combs stands out from the rest of the genre. The raspy, hardcore tone stripped down to a subtle instrument backdrop and honest, poetic lyrics is simply an addictive “match made up in heaven”; a lyric from “Better Together”, arguably the most played song on the What You See Is What You Get collection. This track closes the album and establishes Combs’ songwriting abilities, with credit to Dan Isbell and Randy Montana who together created this metaphorically dense piece.

There are two collaborations within this album, which is new for Combs, though it came at an appropriate time in his career and not a minute too soon. Eric Church plays a role in “Does To Me” while Brooks and Dunn put down vocals on “1,2 Many”. These tracks are successful in the feel-good song that usually fits into the male country song partnerships. Church and Combs mesh well together so much so that I wouldn’t mind the special guest to have a more evident vocal presence. The same goes for “1,2 Many”, Brooks and Dunn are introduced late in the song without giving the listeners a sense of the chemistry between the two acts. Still, a great addition to the album that breaks up the continuity of the seventeen track production.

What You See Is What You Get is a great cluster of songs from Combs and is a step in the right direction so early on in his career, definitely an artist to pay attention to if this level of artistry is achieved after only a couple of years in the industry.

Alexa Ebner, Contributing Writer

Pick: A Very Kacey Christmas – Kacey Musgraves

When I think of country music in 2019, I think of discovering Kacey Musgraves’ music and falling in love with her as an artist! I’ve spent the last 9 months, since “Golden Hour” won Album of the Year at the Grammys exploring her past and present music.

What better way to close off the year than Musgraves releasing a Christmas special, The Kacey Musgraves Christmas Show, which premiered on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, 11/29. Alongside the Amazon special, Kacey re-released an updated version of her Christmas album from 2016, A Very Kacey Christmas. This album includes interludes from the show, in addition to the music, making it especially entertaining and unique.

dir=”auto”>Musgraves invites an exciting array of collaborators to join her for both old and new songs. My favorite is a new song on the album called “Glittery”, performed by Musgraves and Troye Sivan. This love song uses a holiday take to describe the feeling of ‘butterflies’ towards your significant other. The song feels magical and evokes the holiday spirit.

Other highlight guest performances include Camila Cabello, who joins Musgraves for “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and Lana Del Ray, who helps sing the classic Christmas ballad, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”. One of the most emotional moments of the album is when Musgraves sings her original song, “Christmas Makes Me Cry.” On this tune, Musgraves sings about feeling sad emotions during a time where everyone helps seems to be happy.

The show and the accompanying album is eclectic, joyful, and brings you into the holiday spirit. I feel like I’m in a dreamy winter wonderland when I listen, especially after I’ve had the chance to watch the songs come to life visually.
I’m hoping for more new music from Musgraves in the new year!

Julia Grubbs, Contributing Writer 

Pick: Rivers – King Calaway

From their first show ever in front of an audience in New York City (put on by New York Country Swag), to opening for Garth Brooks, playing the Grand Ole Opry, and releasing their first album, 2019 has been an exciting year for King Calaway.  And they definitely don’t disappoint.

This band works so hard, and seems to have a blast doing it. Rivers is an album I keep on repeat now, never getting tired of the beautiful harmonies and interesting arrangements. “Rivers” is probably my favorite on the album, with such a cool rhythm to jam to. “World for Two” and “I Do” have a bit more laid back feel, that is great background music, or a love song, if you’re looking for it. “Driver’s Seat” picks it up again for an awesome song for a drive on the open road. Their cover of “Love the One You’re With” is such a cool new spin on the classic.  The vocals show the band’s true talent and individuality.

Whether you want to jam or chill, Rivers gives you all you need. The band is finding their voice, and I think they definitely have a lot to say. If they did all this in 2019, I can’t wait to see what’s in store for them in 2020.


Autumn Haile, Contributing Writer

Pick: GIRL – Maren Morris

It always feels impossible to pick an album of the year when there is so much amazing music coming out of Nashville. However, the first release that came to mind when I looked back at 2019 was Maren Morris’ GIRL. In what Nashville could call the “year of the women,” this album just about sums up what it means to be a woman in this crazy world right now.

From “A Song For Everything,” which takes me back to every melody that is connected to a memory, to the honest and heartbreaking title track, “GIRL” — it’s by far one of the most cohesive, emotional, and well-written albums of the year. A perfect listen from start to finish.


Nicole Piering, Contributing Writer

Pick: Ocean – Lady Antebellum

Although there were a ton of great albums released in 2019 that I’ve had on repeat, my favorite is probably Lady Antebellum’s, Ocean. I’ve been a huge fan of Lady A since the beginning of their career, and the best part about this album was seeing them return to their roots as a trio.

The album is full of the country songs and stellar harmonies that made them a superstar group and I couldn’t be a bigger fan of it. Over the years, Lady A has sampled with solo projects and different sounds, but this album is them in their wheelhouse on songs like “Ocean,” “What If I Never Get Over You,” “Be Patient With My Love,” and the up-tempo, “You Can Do You.” On top of all of that, there’s a collaboration with Little Big Town on “The Thing That Wrecks You” that’s absolutely magical.


Pick: Center Point Road – Thomas Rhett

It was very hard to pick a favorite album of 2019, but Spotify doesn’t lie, and TR’s latest project was my most-played for a million reasons. I’ve been a fan of his since the beginning, but this album seemed to let fans into his life like never before. Every track tells not just a story about his life, but reminds us that even though his lyrics are uniquely his, we can all relate to the sentiments he describes.

From the love songs about his wife Lauren like “Notice”, “Look What God Gave Her” and “Blessed” (they are the definition of couple goals) to the picture he paints of living a simple life away from the spotlight in “That Old Truck” and “Center Point Road”, the album takes you on a journey. Full of ballads, fun upbeat anthems, and killer collaborations, this project definitely defined my year. It’s tough to pick a favorite song, but I can’t listen to “Remember You Young” without getting chills no matter how many times I hear it, and seeing it live twice, once during his “Very Hot Summer Tour” and again at the CMA Awards were unforgettable (pun intended).

Pick: Center Point Road – Thomas Rhett
With so many great albums of the year, it was incredibly difficult to choose, especially with Luke Combs releasing a new album, but in the end, Thomas Rhett took the trophy for me. Center Point Road takes the prize because it shows us a very personal side of the singer-songwriter we don’t get to see too often. He not only took us back to his childhood in “Center Point Road” and “That Old Truck,” but he gave us an inside look as what it is like to be a dad.

To be honest, when the first single, “Look What God Gave Her,” was released, I was nervous about the album, but that quickly changed. If you haven’t given it a listen yet, be sure to add it to your playlist ASAP.

Pick:  Center Point Road – Thomas Rhett

My favorite album of 2019 would definitely have to be Thomas Rhett’s “Center Point Road.” In the past, I’ve always thought Thomas Rhett had lovable and catchy songs based off of “Die a Happy Man”, “Life Changes”, and “T-Shirt”, and an adorable family, but never actually took the time to listen to his albums all the way through. Over the summer, I realized it was time for me to stop limiting myself to the same couple of songs that everyone knows by him and actually give his new album a listen, especially after watching the touching video for “Life Changes.”

Some albums take some time to get used to, but being that I really invested myself in actually listening to the lyrics and songs instead of having it on as background music while I looked at other things online, I felt an instant liking towards so many of the songs on Center Point Road. I feel like this album is the perfect balance of nostalgic while at the same time celebrating life and being thankful for everything it is in the current moment.

Songs like “Remember You Young” and “Center Point Road” make me think back to all of the special memories I’ve shared in my younger life, even though I’m only 21, while at the same time, “Don’t Threaten Me with a Good Time” and “Beer Can’t Fix” provide the perfect mix of tailgate friendly summertime songs that fit perfectly right into where I am in life right now, just having turned 21.

“Blessed” and “Things You Do for Love” are the type of songs I want to play at my wedding, with some of the most touching country lyrics I’ve ever heard, and every country music fan knows, there are far too many. Last night, I was surprised to actually find out Thomas Rhett was my Spotify most-streamed artist of the year, which is a huge deal considering I listen to John Mayer almost 24/7. I can’t wait to hear all the music Thomas Rhett will release in future years and hopefully, 2020 will include me seeing him in concert for the first time! (Fingers crossed)

Shanna Vitaliano, Contributing Writer

Pick: Let It Roll– Midland

This year there were so many incredible albums released that picking my favorite one made it very difficult.  However, Midland’s album Let It Roll is traditional, fun, honky-tonking music at its finest.

After seeing Midland live in New York City, I was hooked.  Their album Let It Roll had been released earlier that week, so I was listening to it on repeat.  I love their authenticity and defined style they bring to each track. Their massive hit “Mr. Lonely” set the foundation for the record, and their clever songwriting mixed with their unique twang on some of my favorite tracks like Playboys” and “Let It Roll” proved they really are the best  “21st Century Honky Tonk American Band.”

Brianna Vacca, Contributing Writer

Pick: The Highwomen – The Highwomen

The Highwomen’s self-titled debut released earlier this year influenced me heavily as a country music listener, creator and music journalist. I commend the album’s dynamic steal on family and love while disentangling the stereotypical frame society views women through.

This project embroiders conventional country music aesthetics which tends to be my favorite projects coming out. My favorite tracks on this September release are “If She Ever Leaves Me,” written by one of the female-powerhouse fronts Amanda Shires with husband and fellow bandmate Jason Isbell, featuring Brandi Carlile on lead. Second, “Cocktail And A Song” is another front-runner. I look forward to the supergroup’s impending endeavors.


Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer

Pick: k, i’m done – Lacy Cavalier

This year has been a great year for country music. 2019 gave us so much new music from emerging artists, as well as, records from established singers. I went back and forth trying to decide, which album I wanted to highlight as my favorite of 2019, either Christina’s pick, HARDY’s Hixtape Vol. 1 or Lacy Cavalier’s k I’m done. It was a close call, but I went with the latter because I truly believe 2019 was a monumental year for women in country music.

Technically Cavalier’s record was an independent EP release with only six songs, but those six songs are so special. Almost instantly, the songstress had me rooting for her success. I really believe in her talent and her knack for writing vulnerable, personal, yet deeply relatable song lyrics. “Single” and “Cheating on U” are two of the standout tracks off the EP and my personal favorites.

Furthermore, a mark of a good record is one you never get tired of, and k i’m done has that appeal. I cannot wait to see how Cavalier’s career evolves and how her artistry grows, as she moves passed the period of her life in which this record was created from. I can only hope that her connection to her fans and to her music continues with her next project. If you haven’t managed to listen to her just yet, do yourself a favor and listen to the record!



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What We’re Listening To: November 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 November picks. Then be sure to give our Spotify account a follow and listen to our favorite tracks!




Stephanie Wagner, Founder

Pick: “Be A Bro” – Avenue Beat
Songwriters: Sam Backoff, Sami Bearden, Savana Santos, Summer Overstreet 

This month I chose Avenue Beat’s “Be A Bro”. The spunky, fun track is a refreshingly upbeat song reminding all girls of the ‘girl code’.

“Life is tough enough, ya gotta show a little love // sometimes I mess it up, but here’s what I know // If you hold a sister down, it’ll all come back around // so – be a bro, know the girl code”

An anthem for female empowerment, “Be A Bro” combines Avenue Beat’s unique sound and sassy flair making this the perfect track to bop along to.


Christina Bosch, Managing Editor 

Pick: “Craving California” – Jill and Kate
Songwriters: Jill Pickering, Kate Rapier

I truly feel like Jill and Kate speak to my soul with their music, their voices and harmonies always get me hooked no matter what they are singing about. In this case, they are missing a place (California) that I’ve never even been to, but their delivery and the lyrics make me miss it too.

What’s actually funny is the city they are singing about being lonely and rainy, Nashville, is a city that I am constantly craving to visit. They personify a state, by eliciting memories of a past relationship and mention the sunshine state’s most beautiful attributes, while reminiscing about the good in that relationship.

I’ve been listening to the song a ton since it was released last week and I will always love supporting Jill and Kate because they genuinely create music that I love.


Lucie Bernheim, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Time Machine” – Kelleigh Bannen
Songwriters: Kelleigh Bannem, Mark Trussell

Kelleigh Bannen does it all- she’s a singer, songwriter, podcast and radio host. She put on the singer/songwriter hat to release debut album Favorite Colors this fall, and one of the standout tracks is the reminiscent “Time Machine”.

The melody starts up simple but sweet. It almost sounds far away, like she’s cruising down an easy backroad. The chorus is when she really starts to drive. She picks the pace up a little, belting and almost pressing hard on the gas.

“It might be a melody/It might be a song on an old six-string” she sings on the chorus. “Who says there’s no such thing/ if you ask me/ There’s all kind of time machines”. It’s nostalgic, specific, and universal all at the same time. Her album is without a doubt one of the best releases of the year.

Dylan Bestler, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Hawaii On Me” – Chris Janson
Songwriters: Chris Janson, Kelly Roland, Will Nance

A lot of Chris Janson songs are upbeat and present the scene of a good time, like in songs “Power of Positive Drinkin’”, “Fix a Drink” and “Good Vibes”. However, we see him show his sensitive side in songs such as “Holdin’ Her”, “Drunk Girl” and this one, “Hawaii on Me”. In this track, Janson discusses what he wants his family to do with his money when he passes away.

My favorite lines in the song are: Now, don’t spend my money / on a box in a hole / That might be my body / but that ain’t my soul. It’s an interesting way to look at the situation. A dead corpse does not benefit from having a fancy casket. Watching their loved ones from the sky enjoy a nice trip to a tropical island in their memory is much more satisfying.

What appears to be his children join him for the final chorus to end this emotionally moving song. The track ends with an “I love you dad” from the kids and it’s super cute. I think I “aww”ed out loud after hearing it.



Kristina Callahan, Contributing Writer

Pick: “club” – Kelsea Ballerini
Songwriters: Jimmy Robbins, Nicolle Galyon, Kelsea Ballerini

When I first heard this song, my first thought was how it wasn’t what I expected at all. When you see the title, you assume it’ll be about going out to a club with your friends but it’s almost the exact opposite.

“I already know it ain’t worth it in the morning / And yeah I like the high, I just don’t like payin’ for it / I’m stressin’ over conversations / But now that’s anxiety that I’m erasin’ /Cause lately / I don’t wanna go to the club / I don’t wanna watch everybody around me try to hook up / And say stuff they don’t mean / And get drunk and get cheap / So what’s wrong with me /Cause I don’t wanna go to the club”

I’d imagine deciding to go out on Saturday night or stay in is a battle almost everyone faces from time to time—it’s a weekly struggle for me so this song is literally my life in three minutes. Besides the catchy chorus, this song is just incredibly relatable. I’m just really enjoying Kelsea Ballerini’s new songs for her third studio album. She can go from singing about wanting to stay in on one song then about wanting to show your true self in another. I can’t wait to hear what else she has in store for us in 2020.


Erin Crosby, Contributing Writer

Pick: “I Don’t Love You” – Lindsay Ell
Songwriters: Adam Hambrick, Melissa Fuller, Neil Medley

This single checks all the boxes of any successful break-up song. It’s a conversational piece that narrates details of this relationship that is seemingly difficult to move on from. The chorus is where the melody picks up and Lindsay Ell showcases her musical ability; solidifying her place as an upcoming female country artist. The instrumental aspect of the song is soft, allowing the lyrics to stand out which allows the piece to act more like a story with the listeners on the edge of their seats, waiting for what will come next.


Alexa Ebner, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Wish For The World” – Ryan Hurd
Songwriters: Aaron Eshuis, Joe Clemmons, Ryan Hurd

I’ve been a huge fan of Ryan Hurd and could not wait to listen when he released his new EP, Platonic. One of my favorite songs on the EP is “Wish for the World”, which I have not stopped listening to this month! The song has an incredibly sweet message and can boost any mood. Hurd sings about how he wishes everyone would enjoy life’s moments and stop sweating the small stuff. He opens the song encouraging people to make more time for the simple pleasures in life.

“If I could make a wish for the world / There’d be one more cup of coffee / In the morning when you wake up / Just to soak the morning in”

The overarching message and spin that he puts on the song is that letting love into your life is what’s most important and leads to true joy.

“When it really comes down to it / If just one wish could come true / I wish everyone could find someone to love like I love you”

This song has a very ‘feel-good’ sound and I love hearing him sing about his wife, Maren Morris!

Julia Grubbs, Contributing Writer 

Pick: “Where You Are” – Tenille Townes
Songwriters: Daniel Tashian, Keelan Donovan, Tenille Townes

Tenille has been killing it recently, with her single, “Somebody’s Daughter” playing on so many playlists, and I came across this song again, not quite realizing it was her. With the raw emotion wringing through her voice, I think this melody is so interesting and catchy while remaining a strong, powerful, artistic song. Recently on tour with Dierks Bentley, this female powerhouse has everything you want out of country, with the essence and sound of an indie singer-songwriter. I definitely will continue to replay this song, especially when I feel the need to express some emotions.


Autumn Haile, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Damn You For Breaking My Heart” – Caitlyn Smith
Songwriters: Caitlyn Smith, Gordie Sampson, Rollie Gaalswyck

There’s nothing like a beautiful heartbreak song. On Caitlyn Smith’s “Damn You For Breaking My Heart,” the singer, songwriter, and musician continue a streak of emotionally intense tracks that make you want to weep. She combines the energy of Florence Welsh with the songwriting prowess of every great Nashville name for a single that rattles your bones and touches your heart on a soul level. For anyone that has ever experienced the reverberations of heartbreak, and the way it ripples through every moment of your life, this is a must-listen. For that reason alone, it’s on the top of my new release list.


Nicole Piering, Contributing Writer

Pick: “The Thing That Wrecks You” – Lady Antebellum feat. Little Big Town
Songwriters: Daniel Tashian, Kate York, Tenille Townes

My song of the month pick is “The Thing That Wrecks You” by Lady Antebellum and Little Big Town, from Lady A’s new album, Ocean. There’s just something ethereal and magical about the seven voices harmonizing together that I can’t get enough of. The track has been on repeat since I first heard it, and I’d love to see more collaborations between the two groups. I’ve always been a sucker for male and female harmonies, and both Lady A and Little Big Town are unmatched in that department, so it’s only fitting that together, “The Thing That Wrecks You” is pure magic.


Pick: “So Pretty” – Jenny Tolman
Songwriters: Jenny Tolman, Mark Sanders, Sophie Sanders
Woman to woman songs in country music are some of my favorites (think LBT’s “Girl Crush”) and “So Pretty” is my new obsession. The beautiful ballad tells the story of a girl who meets her ex’s new beau for the first time. We’ve all been there, and usually, you prepare by convincing yourself that she’s going to be horrible. If she’s ugly or rude then it’s easy to hate her, and not be jealous. But what happens when she’s the opposite? I dare you to listen to this chorus and not get chills!
“I wish you weren’t so pretty / Wish you weren’t so sweet / Wish he didn’t need you / Like he didn’t need me / I wish I hated you / Like I wanted to / But you turned out to be, so pretty”
Pick: “Blue Collar Boys” – Luke Combs
Songwriters: Derrick Moody, Erik Dylan, Luke Combs, Ray Fulcher
I chose this song because as a wife to a blue-collar worker it’s nice to see them get the recognition they deserve, especially for the long hours they endure. My husband works a different shift each week and while I may never get used to it, this song makes me appreciate what he does for us, even more than I already have.
Pick: “Every Little Bit Helps” – Luke Combs
Songwriters: Chase McGill, James McNair, Luke Combs
It would be an understatement to say I’m OBSESSED with Luke Combs’ new album, but then again who isn’t right now. When it first came out and I shamelessly listened to it on loop for the next few hours, “Every Little Bit Helps” really stuck out to me from the first listen.
This song reminds me so much of “When it Rains it Pours” and “Beer Never Broke my Heart” in the way that it’s the type of song that can instantly put you in a great mood every time you hear it and have the entire room singing along. I feel like it’s definitely a song everyone can relate to- not just strictly in relationships but broken friendships and different negative situations- for everyone there’s been a time where we can’t seem to get our mind off of something. This song makes me want to let go of all of the negative energy, have a great time with the people I love and let loose, because even though it may not make everything perfect, or get you all the way over it, as he says, “Every little bit helps!”

Shanna Vitaliano, Contributing Writer

Pick: “1, 2 Many” – Luke Combs
Songwriters: Dan Isbell, Drew Parker, Luke Combs, Tyler King

Just like the rest of the country music world, I can’t get enough of Luke Comb’s new albumWhat You See Is What You Getso for my song of the month I had to go with one of my favorite tracks on the album, “1, 2 Many.”  Legends Brooks and Dunn join Combs for this honky tonkin’ good time drinking song that is incredibly fun to listen to. “1, 2 Many” could easily be the next bar anthem to get the crowd going, with the catchy and clever chorus, “About half-past 10, I’m half-past tipsy/ And quarter to 12, man I done had plenty/The countdown’s on when the first beer hits me/5-4-3-2-1, too many.”  You’ll definitely want to raise the volume when you hear this song!

Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Better Together” – Luke Combs
Songwriters: Dan Isbell, Luke Combs, Randy Montana

I normally like to choose songs by rising artists for this feature, but this month I had to pick a song off Luke Combs’ sophomore record What You See Is What You Get. Each song is deserving of this playlist, but my current favorite is the heartfelt “Better Together.” As usual, I gravitate towards one of the more lyrically-driven, emotive song off the record. Although the track is simple in the nature, the expression of love is undeniable. It is always incredible to me, when an artist can string together words to express an emotion, especially one as pure as love for your partner.

“Some things just go better together and probably always will / Like a cup of coffee and a sunrise, Sunday drives and time to kill / What’s the point of this ol’ guitar if it ain’t got no strings / Or pourin’ your heart into a song that you ain’t gonna sing / It’s a match made up in heaven, like good ol’ boys and beer / And me, as long as you’re right here.”

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.



The Hero Collectionby 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.


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!

+ Follow our country music adventures on InstagramTwitter & Facebook:

What We’re Listening To: October 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 September picks. Then be sure to give our Spotify account a follow and listen to our favorite tracks!




Stephanie Wagner, Founder

Pick: “Drink About Me” – Brett Kissel
Songwriters: Ben Stennis & Matt Rogers

Ever since we hosted Brett Kissel for one of our latest Swag Sessions, I’ve been listening to his song “Drink About Me” on repeat. I love the way the lyrics talk about the memories of a past love and with each and every drink it can take you to a different moment with that person and wonder if they think about the same things too. 


Christina Bosch, Managing Editor 

Pick: “Getting Good” – Lauren Alaina
Songwriters: Emily Weisband

When I first heard Lauren Alaina’s new single, “Getting Good” I immediately resonated with always looking ahead to the next thing, instead of taking a look around and appreciating where I am at this very present moment. I love this wave of new music from female artists just singing about real life, not relenting about a man, rather focusing on things that men and women can relate to. I especially relate to the lines about worrying about her parents dying and the anxiety that so often overcomes me.

“I’m afraid of both my parents dying / I call my dad, he answers right away / And I didn’t hear a word ’cause I was thinking
 / About what hasn’t happened yet but will someday / And we hang up the phone before I know it / I’m crying over the conversation my fear took / I’m thinking once I learn to soak up every moment / I’ll realize my life’s already good”

In my life, knowing that so much has changed over the past few years, I try to constantly stop and smell the proverbial roses. I have always loved Lauren Alaina, since the moment she stepped in front of the judges on American Idol back in 2011 and with each release, I fall more and more in love with her voice, her personality and specifically her flawless songwriting.


Lucie Bernheim, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Trying To Let Her” – Ruston Kelly
Songwriters: Kyle Jacobs, Ruston Kelly, Joe Leathers

My playlist always changes when the weather does, and now that it’s fall, I’ve been listening to Ruston Kelly’s debut album, Dying Star, on repeat. Kelly leans more on the alternative side of country music, or as he calls it- “dirt emo”, but I love everything about it. The story is thought-provoking, and while autobiographical, it’s universal. I also love the production;  it’s simple, yet beautiful, and the three-part harmony gives me chills.

“So, do you really wanna live like this forever / She’s trying to love you, boy / Why don’t you let her?”


Dylan Bestler, Contributing Writer

Pick: “The City” – Chase Rice
Songwriters: Chase Rice and Chris Destefano

Chase Rice put on an incredible show on Friday night at the Playstation Theater where he debuted a new song for us called the “The City” that will be on his next album. I’m not sure if I can pick an unreleased song but it’s been stuck in my head since and I can’t wait for him to release it so I can play it on repeat. It cannot go on our playlist yet but you can check it out an acoustic version on his Instagram page.

We were higher than the moon / hanging over lights on Broadway / as the band played / Baby let’s take/let’s take it to the city


Kristina Callahan, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Heartbeat of a Small Town” – Travis Denning
Songwriters: Chris Stevens, Rhett Akins, Travis Denning

When I listen to this song, I’m immediately thrown back to growing up in my hometown in Upstate New York where every Friday in the fall was all about high school football.

“Friday night, home team, marching band // Whole crowd stomping in the stands // You can hear them pads popping a mile away”

I think any song that can take you back to great memories growing up is something so special. I’ve been a fan of Denning’s other songs he’s released like “After a Few,” “David Ashley Parker from Powder Springs,” and “Tank of Gas with a Radio Song.” While still up-and-coming, I can’t wait to see what this Georgia boy has coming up next.

Julia Grubbs, Contributing Writer 

Pick: “Coming Down the Mountain” – Mipso
Songwriters: Libby Rodenbough

With the fall chill in the air, and New Yorkers gearing up for Thanksgiving, Christmas, winter, don’t forget Halloween!, I’m taking full advantage of the sweater weather to listen to chill country music in preparation for the changing of the seasons. I’ll light my Honeycrisp Apple candle from Trader Joe’s and throw on this easy tune by Mipso. I’m totally into the Indie-Country mashups these days, where you can’t place the music in any particular genre, but it just makes you feel good.
Her voice eases any tension you might be holding and encourages a slowing down so appropriate for this time of year. Imagine watching the leaves fall with this in the background, and you’ll get what I mean. The harmonies also sit well, further relaxing you into a casual ‘sit on the porch with your coffee’ mood. I think we all need a bit more slow-moving songs in this fast-paced society, so let Mipso give you all you need to gather round the people you hold dear and just breathe. If you have the chance to listen to this in the mountains, then you’ll really catch the essence of the song.

Autumn Haile, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Newport” – Kylie Rothfield
Songwriters: Kylie Rothfield

Although Kylie Rothfield toes the line between pop and country, her ethereal songwriting is what fits her so effortlessly into the Nashville music scene. It also happens to be what made me fall in love with her song, “Newport.” While “Newport” isn’t one of her newest songs, it’s one that recently caught my attention because of the wistful atmosphere and the emotional reminiscent sprinkled throughout the lyrics. It captures that feeling you get when you look back on a moment you didn’t realize was important until long after it was over.  Her talent with words and melodies makes listeners feel every ebb and flow of the melody, which is perfect for a song that reminds me of being close to the water with someone I love. From the very first listen, I was hooked on her voice, her sound, and her talent. I still feel you holding me / I still feel your love / We always have Newport, babe / Our escape from the world that we don’t understand / We always have Newport / and We left something there that we’ll never get back

Molly Holmberg, Contributing Writer

Pick: “A Road and A Radio” – Charles Esten
Songwriters: Charles Esten and J.T. Harding

This month I have been listening to Charles Esten’s “A Road and A Radio.” This song embraces the free spirit that an open road brings and listening to your favorite, nostalgic songs with friends, or just simply driving to clear your mind. The song channels an upbeat rock in roll toon with such ease to sing along. Esten mentioned in a press release, “It would be nice to think that maybe when somebody out there, in an attempt to get away from it all, decides to get ‘a song turned up’ and ‘a ragtop down,’ this just might be one of the songs they turn up.” I can definitely say that I have turned this one up more than once while driving with friends.


Nicole Piering, Contributing Writer

Pick: “The Father, My Son, and the Holy Ghost” – Craig Morgan
Songwriters: Craig Morgan

My pick for the month of October is Craig Morgan’s “The Father, My Son, and the Holy Ghost.” Released in late August, the song was given much-deserved attention thanks to a viral campaign led by Blake Shelton. With the help of Shelton and some other famous friends, including Ellen Degeneres, Carson Daly, Kelly Clarkson, and Hoda Kotb, the song climbed to #1 atop the iTunes’ all-genre chart. Unlike many other viral hits, Morgan’s song is a meaningful and powerful proclamation of faith and love, written in the wake of tragedy. Morgan penned the track after the passing of his son three years ago in a drowning accident, and it’s sure to give you chills. “I know my boy ain’t here, but he ain’t gone,” He sings, and it’s a message that anyone who’s ever lost someone can definitely relate to.

Pick: “Right Where I Left It” – Cole Swindell
Songwriters: Cole Swindell, Cole Taylor, Michael Carter
My pick for October is “Right Where I Left It” by Cole Swindell. The latest song to come from Cole Swindell’s new EP, Down Home Sessions V, might be my favorite from the EP so far.  It’s a great reminder that no matter how old you get or how far you move, your home town is always going to be there. Growing up in a small town in South Jersey, I know that’s true.

Shanna Vitaliano, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Let It Roll” – Midland
Songwriters: Jess Carson

I have been listening to “Let It Roll” by Midland since I saw them kick off their tour last month in New York City.  Penned by Jess Carson, it is a wordy track that reels you in with the authentic feel of strong country roots.  Midland sticks with their undeniably incredible distinguished style as “Let It Roll” tells a story of being in awe over someone.  It is a great song to play while on a long drive with an easy-going chorus, “So let it roll/Out of your soul/And we’ll fly down the road/See how high we can go/And let it ride/Like the tumblin’ dice/When you flash me those eyes/Girl, I’m out of my mind.”  “Let It Roll” has a twangy, laid back vibe that showcases what Midland is all about.

Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer

Pick: “One Beer” – HARDY feat. Devin Dawson and Lauren Alaina
Songwriters: Hillary Lindsey, Jake Mitchell, HARDY

This month I knew exactly which song I was picking for my song of the month almost as soon as I heard it. My pick is HARDY’s song “One Beer,” featuring Devin Dawson and Lauren Alaina. First off, the entire concept of HARDY’s record “Hixtape Vol. 1” blows my mind and excites me for more music from him, but this song is for sure stand out off the record.

“A Boy and a girl and a three on a tree / K-I-S-S-I-N-G / First comes lust, then a shotgun marriage / Six month’s later come a baby in a carriage / You know what, y’all? You know what, y’all? / The whole thing started with some alcohol / The whole thing started with some alcohol.”

“One Beer” is innovative, oddly relatable, and storytelling at its finest. It paints the picture of a young couple, who find out that they are having a baby, which clearly changes the course of their lives. “One Beer” is the modern day “There Goes My Life” by Kenny Chesney. From the clever wordplay to the killer vocals by the collaborators to using a baby’s heartbeat as an instrumental, HARDY created a masterpiece with this track. I’ll always be a sucker for some creative and heartfelt lyrics, so I cannot wait to see what HARDY brings to the table next with his song-writing craft.


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.



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.


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!

+ Follow our country music adventures on InstagramTwitter & Facebook:

What We’re Listening To: September 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 September picks. Then be sure to give our Spotify account a follow and listen to our favorite tracks!




Stephanie Wagner, Founder

Pick: “She’s Mine” – Kip Moore
Songwriters: Dan Couch, Kip Moore, Scott Stepakoff

“This month, I’m listening to Kip Moore’s latest release “She’s Mine”. In typical Kip Moore fashion, the song is a bop paired with meaningful lyrics. On first impression, the title of the song may lead you to believe that it’s just another country love song, but upon further listening, Moore lays out the idea of searching for that love and questioning the endless possibilities of where she might be. I love that so many ideas and questions are asked in this song, suggesting that love could literally be anywhere.”


Christina Bosch, Managing Editor 

Pick: “Bluebird” – Miranda Lambert
Songwriters: Luke Dick, Miranda Lambert, Natalie Hemby

Miranda Lambert has already released several songs that will be on her new record, Wildcard which is out later this fall and while I have truly loved each of them, “Bluebird” is definitely a favorite and a song I’ve had on repeat this month. Sonically, the song is sweet, simple and an easy listen but it’s the lyrics that are relatable while also being specific to Lambert’s current journey.

“Yeah, I’m a keeper / I keep digging down for the deep / Like the records I’m playing, they might keep you waiting / But you know I’m gonna play em for keeps”

The line above specifically spoke to me, I always gravitate towards meaningful lyrics, songs that move you and make you think. Lambert has always had a way with words, especially when she teams up with hit writers like Luke Dick and Natalie Hemby. I am so looking forward to the rest of the Wildcard album to see what else the songstress has up her sleeve.


Dylan Bestler, Contributing Writer

Pick: “He Went To Jared” – HARDY & Morgan Wallen
Songwriters: Michael Hardy, Morgan Wallen, Chase McGill

“There’s nothing better than a fun, upbeat, breakup song and in my opinion and this track fits that category perfectly; it’s a straight-up banger. HARDY and Wallen share their stories about how their rough, southern, blue-collar lifestyle wasn’t enough for their girls as they lost them to rich, classy, clean cut guys.

“He went to Ole Miss, I went to work / He pushes paper, I push the dirt / He’s got that clean cut, drivin’ him a clean truck / I’m just sittin’ here with a beer and my jeans tucked”

I love how good of friends Morgan Wallen and HARDY are. Their friendship and similar music styles make them a great duo for songwriting and performing. These guys have already topped the charts as either artists or songwriters and will continue to do so for a long time. “


Julia Grubbs, Contributing Writer 

Pick: “Front Porch” – Joy Williams
Songwriters: Emily Shackleton, Joy Williams, Lize Rose

“I don’t have much time to just relax around the house, but when I do, Country Coffeehouse is one of my favorite Spotify playlists to throw on, especially in the beginnings of fall. More of an indie-country sound, these songs create the perfect mood for the incoming chill. I love this relaxing song by Joy Williams, with the peaceful violin, wringing vocals, and the rhythmic guitar to settle me in and slow down from the craziness of New York City. She talks about coming home, back to where you’re welcomed, no matter what has happened.”

“If never you find what you’re looking for/ Come on back to the front porch / Say my name through the screen door…Whatever you’ve done, it doesn’t matter / ‘Cause darling we’re all a little splintered and battered”


Autumn Haile, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Weeping Willow” – Ruston Kelly
Songwriters: A.P Carter

“As a child, I spent a lot of time with my grandmother, who was raised in the desolate landscape of Alabama back in the 1950s. Growing up alongside her, I was exposed to old-school country music like Patsy Cline, Hank Williams, and The Carter Family. So, when Ruston Kelly, one of my favorite modern-day country artists, covered the heartbreaking “Weeping Willow,” originally made famous by The Carter Family, it made my entire summer. This somber track about pining for unrequited love is grounded in modern production while tipping its hat eloquently to the creators of the past. Ruston’s perfectly affected vocals, layered harmonies, and aching emotional timbre bring this tragic track to life. It’s been on repeat, which probably isn’t great for my mood but definitely feeds my soul.”


Molly Holmberg, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Lonely If You Are” – Chase Rice
Songwriters: Chase Rice, Lindsey Rimes, Hunter Phelps

“This month I have been listening to Chase Rice’s new song “Lonely If You Are.” I think Rice is one of the most underrated artists, granted he hasn’t put out an album in two years, although Lambs and Lions is filled with gold. Finally garnering more airtime with “Eyes On You” and now with “Lonely If You Are,” his music is really starting to pick up the traction it had with his Ignite The Night album. It opens with the acoustic guitar and fades into a steamy romantic situation. This song is his way of letting the girl know that he will be there no matter what time of day or night it is.

“You could have your hair down, all curled up on the couch / And the quiet ain’t loud enough / It could be A.M. or P.M. / It could be middle of the week or the weekend baby / It ain’t too late or too far / Just call me ’cause I’m lonely / If you are, if you are”

“Lonely If You Are” is a complete hit and I would love to see it go Number 1.”


Abby Kaye-Phillips, Contributing Writer 

Pick: “Dream You Never Had” – Thomas Rhett
Songwriters: Ashley Gorley, Jesse Frasure, Rhett Akins, Thomas Rhett

“I love how country singers tend to write about their own lives, even if we as listeners can’t necessarily relate to their exact experience. “Dream You Never Had” is a beautiful tribute to Thomas Rhett’s wife Lauren, who fell in love with him before he was famous, and has stood by him through it all, even though it may not be the life she pictured for herself. Being under the spotlight can be tough, and this song thanks her for putting her dreams aside to let her partner shine, and it’s really powerful. When the song first came out, other artists were commenting on how true the sentiment was, and knowing that this is how many artists feel about their husbands and wives gives us as fans an inside look into the real lives of the stars we love.

“I know it’s been hard / I know it ain’t easy / Oh, but I couldn’t do one show without you / Oh, baby, believe me,/ Crowds have been crazy / But baby, I’m missing you bad / Just wanna say thank you for living this dream / I know you never had”

Pick: “Never Grow Old” – Houston Bernard Band
Songwriters: Houston Bernard, Mary Lynn Haller
“Life can get crazy and sometimes you just need that reminder to have fun and stay young. As hard as it may be, adulting will get easier and there’s no need to stress about it.”

Tricia Murdy, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Leaving Love Behind” – Zac Brown Band
Songwriters: Clay Cook, Coy Bowles, Jimmy DeMartini, Phil Hanseroth, Tim Hanseroth

“Zac Brown Band spent the summer covering the US on The Owl Tour. I got to see this amazing show this summer at PNC Bank Arts Center. They played a few new tracks that will be included on their upcoming studio album. “There’s some really personal songs on here,” Brown told CNN about the upcoming new album. “Sometimes life can be challenging in facing things that are hard, and music has always been my therapy. It’s been my way to make it through a lot of things, so I’m blessed to be able to do that. You always get to hear about our lives in the music that we put out – lots of diversity on this album.” This one titled “Leaving Love Behind” was by far was the best. It was so emotional, so raw that it had me in tears. It was announced last year that Zac Brown and his wife of 12 years were separating and hearing him pour his heart into this tune, you could feel the pain the artist has been going through.

“I believe, yes I do, that everything we lose will be a gift in time, but the hardest part is leaving love behind.”

This song is so relatable to anyone who has been through a painful experience, whether that be a breakup, a loss, anything. I’m not even sure what in my heart the song was pulling on in that moment, but just listening to Brown pour his heart out with those words was enough to melt even the iciest of hearts.”


Danielle Tornatore, Contributing Writer

Pick: “homecoming queen?” – Kelsea Ballerini
Songwriters: Jimmy Robbins, Kelsea Ballerini, Nicolle Galyon

“Whenever an artist releases such a vulnerable and relatable song like this, it holds a special place in my heart. Kelsea truly knocked it out of the park with this one; accepting your flaws and not being afraid to admit that everything is not perfect, though they may seem it on the outside. Songs like this are why I love country music so much.”


Jaclyn Tracy, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Remember You Young” – Thomas Rhett
Songwriters: Ashley Gorley, Jesse Frasure, Thomas Rhett

“I have always been a fan of Thomas Rhett but I never really took the time to listen to all of his songs, including the more low-key ones that are not on the radio. After seeing the title “Remember You Young”, and knowing how deep Thomas Rhett’s music can be, I was definitely curious to give it a listen.

After listening to it just once and reading through the lyrics, I was almost brought to tears. This song carries such an interesting and sentimental meaning. A lot of times in our daily lives we are so caught up in work, obligations and just being extremely busy that we often forget about the young person we once were, full of imagination, hope and innocence. The song talks about always being able to bring yourself back to those times when you were a child, or in college having some of the best times of your life, and even references his wife, daughters and some of his best friends and family.

I am obsessed with this song and have been playing it over and over again after hearing it, and am now encouraged to listen to more of his most recent album Center Point Road, and hear what other meaningful and amazing songs are on this album waiting to be heard by country music fans like me.”


Shanna Vitaliano, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Catch A Cold One” – Jake Owen
Songwriters: Jon Nite, Josh Thompson, Justin Ebach

“As the summer quickly comes to an end, for my pick this month I decided to go with Jake Owen’s song, “Catch A Cold One.” This track was written by Jon Nite, Josh Thompson, and Justin Ebach and it is a song about fishing with your grandfather, reflecting on life, and accepting that when things may not always seem to be going right – keep a positive attitude.  “Catch A Cold One” is refreshing in a sense that it reminds us all that even if “you can’t always catch a break or a big one,” not to worry because “you can always catch a cold one.”
One of my favorite parts of the song is the second verse when Owen reflects on his grandfather’s advice and sings, “Yeah, I didn’t get it then, but I sure do now / It’s kinda up to you how it all turns out / Life ain’t always pinewood docks and blue skies / Every time I reach down in the ice / I can still hear him from the other side.”  “Catch A Cold One” is a feel-good, laid back, country song with a subtle message that we can all relate to.”

Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Still Our Town” – Josh Kerr
Songwriters: Jordan Minton, Josh Kerr

“This month I’m loving songwriter, turned solo artist, Josh Kerr! He recently released two songs, “Still Our Town” and “Oklahoma.” The former is my pick for this month. I love how relatable the track is. Kerr depicts how places that use to feel like yours, now feel like it belongs to your ex because of all the memories that were made there. It’s a simple concept, but Kerr delivers the message in a new and innovative way. Also, the beat is super catchy, which only adds to the enticing tune.

“I used to have it all to myself / Every street light, every stop sign / Country line to county line / Now you’re in all the parts that I love / Every inch and every corner / Every song on the radio.”

I love songwriters, and I’m especially loving watching talented songwriters release their own music. Go download “Still Our Town!” I can’t wait to see what Kerr drops next.”

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.



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.


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!

+ Follow our country music adventures on InstagramTwitter & Facebook:

What We’re Listening To: August 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 August picks. Then be sure to give our Spotify account a follow and listen to our favorite tracks!




Stephanie Wagner, Founder

Pick: “Slow Down Hometown” – Brandon Ratcliff
Songwriters: A.J Babcock, Brandon Ratcliff, Peter Good, Shane McAnally

This month I’m listening to Brandon Ratcliff’s latest release “Slow Down Hometown”. The track just officially came out a few days ago, but our team heard it a few months back during his intimate set in New York City with Sofar Sounds.

The song is written as a love letter to your hometown and is completely relatable to anybody who has grown up in that small-town environment. That feeling of growing up and moving on, there’s a new generation of kids running the town and making their own memories. It’s a point of life you think you’re never going to hit until you do.

“Didn’t think you could go on without me // Thought these streets revolved around me // But I outgrew you, couldn’t hold me // Never thought that you’d outgrow me too // Used to think that I hated you // Now I wonder what I’d be if I stayed with you”

Whether leaving for college or a career or just a change in a new city, “Slow Down Hometown” is the perfect song to sum up those feelings of leaving “home”.


Christina Bosch, Managing Editor 

Pick: “Mothers” – Thomas Finchum
Songwriters: Andy Skib, Thomas Finchum, Catt Gravitt

Thomas Finchum’s latest release grabbed my attention from the first time I saw the title. As a new mom, “Mothers” highlights the important job that I have and so many face each day, raising boys to be good men. With the sweetest voice, melodically the track is simple and showcases Finchum’s songwriting skills.

“Mothers do your best to raise ’em up, try not to hold ’em down, they’ll come around / Mothers, let ’em go you can let ’em fall, and if they hit the ground they’ll figure it out / Yeah, sons learn the world from their fathers, they’ll get even farther if they learn how to treat a lady, love a girl from their mothers”

“Mothers” is a testament to hoping that the world can change and that these boys that we are raising will one day respect women the way that they respect and love their moms. The bond between a mom and her son is extraordinary and as “Mothers” comes to a close, the line “Do your best to raise them up” repeats over and over, like a prayer and a plea.


Dylan Bestler, Contributing Writer

Pick: “What I Can’t Put Down” – Jon Pardi
Songwriters: Bart Butler, Brice Long, Jon Pardi

“An old Pardi song but a good one. In “What I Can’t Put Down”, he sings about things he tried for the first time and couldn’t let go since, like cigarettes, his girl, playing music and Jack Daniels. I think it’s funny how Pardi’s third single back in 2014 was one about his hankering for Jack Daniels and five years later in 2019 is singing about breaking up with the whiskey in one of his latest songs “Me and Jack”.

Pardi opened his set at Jones Beach with this track and it was the first time I really listened to it. Ever since then, I’ve had it stuck in my head. Pardi was the artist that got me into the traditional sounding country music and I’m very excited for his upcoming album.”


Julia Grubbs, Contributing Writer 

Pick: “Where Were You” – Eli Young Band
Songwriters: Josh Osborne, Luke Dick, Matt Jenkins

“As I’m trying to get in my last moments of summer, but gearing up for fall, I feel this song has the beats to keep you moving, but it’s not quite “summer party” vibes, serving as the perfect transition song to a season with a bit more chill. We all know our own stories, but how well do we know the significant moments that made other people who they are? These lyrics prompt the listener to reflect on their own past, and maybe initiate some curiosity to get to know the people around them a little deeper. When you finally found yourself, where were you?”


Molly Holmberg, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Me and Jack” – Jon Pardi
Songwriters: Bart Butler, Jon Pardi, Luke Laird, Rhett Akins

“Jon Pardi’s new single “Me and Jack” was the song this month that totally made me replay it over and over again. The similarities between this song and most of Johnny Cash’s really hit the mark with what Pardi was trying to accomplish. The chorus is full of reasons why he hates Jack and makes for such an easy relation for anyone listening. “Me and Jack don’t get along no more / He’s high up on the shelf while I’m lyin’ on the floor / He makes me do things I’ve never done before // He makes me cuss, he makes me fight / Don’t know what I did last night / Should’ve left his ass at the liquor store / Naw, me and Jack don’t get along no more.” With fiddles and steel guitars, Pardi continues to showcase himself as one of the few that are keeping traditional country mainstream these days.”


Abby Kaye-Phillips, Contributing Writer 

Pick: “First Last Name” – Madison Kozak
Songwriters: Claire Douglas, James Slater, Madison Kozak

“It’s rare that a song gives me immediate chills the first time I hear it, but that happened with “First Last Name”. I first heard the song at a female writer’s round in Nashville, long before it was released, and you could hear the entire room getting choked up by the time she hit the first chorus. Country music has a lot of great father-daughter songs, but this ballad is a beautiful testament to the bond a girl has with her dad, and how it’s irreplaceable. Even once you’re married, you never forget where you came from, and your father will always be your first last name.

“He’s the son of a salesman / A short glass old fashion / How’s your car been running lately / Call your mama when you get home safely / He’s sawdust and stain / My heart, my John Wayne / My first last name”

Pick: “All Nighter” – Cole Swindell
Songwriters: Ashley Gorley, Cole Swindell, Jon Nite, Ross Copperman

My August pick is “All Nighter” by Cole Swindell. I don’t think that it’s a secret that Swindell is my favorite artist, so when a new song comes out, it is always on repeat. With summer already almost over, “All Nighter” is the perfect reminder to soak up every minute you have with your loved one before going back to reality with school, work, etc.

We still have three songs to go for the new Down Home Sessions EP, and I can’t wait to see what is in store.


Tricia Murdy, Contributing Writer

Pick: “The Good Ones” – Gabby Barrett
Songwriters: Emily Landis, Gabby Barrett, Jim McCormick, Zachary Kale

Gabby Barrett’s second single is a very different tone and a tune than her first one “I Hope”. She went from scorning a lying cheating ex to appreciating the current love in her life. She wrote this song about her American Idol co-star turned fiancé, Cade Foehner. It’s always nice to hear a country song that’s straight from the heart, positive and not about heartbreak. This is one of those songs.

“You’ll know him when you see him/By the way he looks at me/You’d say he hung the moon/I’d say he hung the galaxy/Nobody does it better/Oh the way he pulls me in/I’ve known a couple bad ones/But they all led me to him/He’s one of the good ones.”

It’s about that real true love that makes you understand why it never worked out with anyone. Can’t wait to see the future love songs that come from this beautiful relationship her and Foehner have!”


Nicole Piering, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Workin’ On The Whiskey” – Trisha Yearwood
Songwriters: Dave Thomson, Jessica Mitchell, Patricia Conroy

“There are few artists who can convey a song like Trisha Yearwood. On “Workin’ On the Whiskey,” Yearwood belts her way through the torchy track, proving that she’s still one of country music’s most powerful voices. Her performance here is absolutely stellar, truly telling the tale of a woman dealing with lost love by “workin’ on the whiskey.”

“I start seein’ things I shouldn’t see/ And wanting things I shouldn’t be/ And wrestlin’ with the memory/ That won’t let me go,” Yearwood belts. “I’ve tried and tried to give you up/ But once you’ve had the strong stuff/ Nothin’ else will be enough, so I’ll be/ workin’ on whiskey.”

Following in the footsteps of the single, “Every Girl in this Town,” this song is a preview of Yearwood’s forthcoming album, Every Girl, (due out August 30), and I couldn’t be more excited.”


Sara Schonmann, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Three Chords & The Truth” – Chase Rice
Songwriters: Chase Rice, Jon Nite, Ross Copperman

“Late songwriter Harlan Howard has written countless songs for notable country artists. He famously noted that “Country music is three chords and the truth.” After being a country fan for quite some time now I truly believe that is the case. Chase Rice brings this claim to life with his track, “Three Chords & The Truth.” The chorus takes listeners to the reasons why people do certain things such as, “Why we break up, fall back in love/ Why we roll around in the bed of a truck/ Why we all stop and hear that one.” It then wraps up with Rice noting, “We get lost in a song or two/ The world don’t move and all I need is you/ And three chords & the truth.” The country star’s intention for listeners to take away through this track is to appreciate the simplicity of country music. The simplicity of country music also has an intense impact it has on people’s lives which is being highlighted through Rice’s song. This genre of music makes its listeners feel an abundance of emotions with the ease of only three chords on the guitar and the raw truthful lyrics of country songwriters.

After just returning from a vacation from Nashville, Tennessee (the heart of country music) I can attest that country music can bring people together from all over the world. Meeting individuals throughout Nashville tours from the north, south, east, and west of the continental U.S. surprised me. However, this was not as surprising as the Australian and European country music fans that filled up the back of a Nashville tour bus and cheered as loud as they could at the Grand Ole Opry. There is no doubt that country music connects individuals all over the globe. The unity of this genre of music has solidified the power of ‘three chords and the truth.”


Christine Sellers, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Hotel Key” – Old Dominion
Songwriters: Josh Osborne, Matthew Ramsey, Trevor Rosen

“I recently heard Old Dominion’s song, “Hotel Key” on my local country station. It’s a fun and upbeat track and I can’t help but sing every word of the chorus. The guitar and percussion sounds on the track are also great and really add to the song’s fun vibe. I’ve had this song on repeat for the last couple of months and I am excited to start checking out more of Old Dominion’s music.”


Danielle Tornatore, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Anything She Says” – Mitchell Tenpenny feat. Seaforth
Songwriters: Mitchell Tenpenny, Mitchell Thompson, Tom Jordan, Jordan Schmidt, Andrew Albert

“Mitchell and Seaforth are two of my top favorite artists at the moment, so when they announced that they were collaborating on this song, I nearly lost it. It was such an unexpected collaboration but turned out to be one of my absolute favorites. This song is very Tenpenny-esque, from the opening guitar notes to the overall beat and tempo. Seaforth’s incredible vocals are a huge contribution to this tune and only make it better. It has such a chill vibe and is definitely a song I can jam out to all year round. The warm-hearted lyrics add something even more special to the song’s essence, speaking about how the guys would do absolutely anything to make their prospective women happy.

“I would wreck all of my plans / Drive until we hit the sand / Catch a sunburn while she tans / I would do, I would do / I’d do whatever she likes / Give her Christmas in July / She ain’t gotta tell me twice / I would do, I would do anything”

As if this collaboration wasn’t exciting enough, hours after the song’s release, the guys announced a tour together! I cannot wait to hear this song live when the “Anything She Says Tour” comes to New York City in December.”


Jaclyn Tracy, Contributing Writer

Pick: “I Wish Grandpas Never Died” – Riley Green
Songwriters: Buford Green, Lendon Bonds, Riley Green

“This month, my pick is “I Wish Grandpas Never Died” by Riley Green. From the second I saw the title of the song I was hesitant to listen to it because I knew it would definitely be really emotional. When I finally listened to it I realized that it was much more than a song about wishing your grandparents never had to leave you. It’s a song about all things country & small-town living. He talks about every porch having a swing, every Monday morning feeling just like Friday night & high school home teams never losing. I love this song so much because it left me feeling the opposite of what I expected, hopeful about some people in our world still wanting simple living, actually enjoying life in the present and living without being on our cellphones every minute.”

Shanna Vitaliano, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Southern Babylon” – Ashley McBryde
Songwriters: Ashley McBryde, Tommy Collier

“Last month, Ashley McBryde released her live performance of “Southern Babylon” in Nashville and I was instantly intrigued and captivated by the conspiratory track.

McBryde wondered “Where do musicians go when they die?” and “Southern Babylon” tells the imaginative story of just that. McBryde’s version of the afterlife is not in heaven or hell, it happens to be in purgatory for musicians. “Southern Babylon” is a bar with a neon sign and a tab that’s already open. It is a place where she can grab a guitar and play forever with the band upstairs and references classics like “Devil Went Down to Georgia,” and “Hotel California.”

I was immediately drawn to her unbelievable songwriting ability and imagination. I also think it’s incredible how McBryde answered a question she’s wondered about in just over four minutes with a little rocker’s edge and sultry flair.


Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Single” – Lacy Cavalier
Songwriters: Johnny Dibb, Lacy Cavalier, Lauren LaRue

“I have been loving Lacy Cavalier since she released her song “Cheating On U” back in November. Her unique swagger mixed with her ease in creating emotive and relatable lyrics drew me to her music. The songstress recently released her newest EP k i’m done, and while I love every song off of it, the first song, “Single” stands out the most to me.

I decided to pick “Single” for my song of the month because it’s so honest, raw, and catchy. I feel like everyone can relate to an ex getting a new significant other so quickly after your relationship ends. Cavalier sings the words that I think we all have wanted to say to an ex. Truthfully, I would have picked the whole record for my favorite of the month because it tells a complete story from start to finish, and I so appreciate that in a collection of songs. I’m loving the girl-power that is becoming so prevalent in country music right now, and I hope to hear a lot more from Cavalier in the future!”


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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What We’re Listening To: May 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 May picks. Then be sure to give our Spotify account a follow and listen to our favorite tracks!




Stephanie Wagner, Founder

Pick: “Tell Me How” – Teddy Robb
Songwriters: Aaron Eshuis, Blake Chaffin, Teddy Robb

“This month I easily chose Teddy Robb’s “Tell Me How” as the track I’ve got on repeat. I first heard the song nearly six months ago when one of our writers covering his Nashville show sent me a video clip of the song. I immediately was hooked on the lyrics.

“Tell me you’re okay / Tell me you made it through / Tell me you’re over me / You don’t think about me and you / Tell me you can sleep at night / Tell me your happy now / Tell me you’ve moved on / Then tell me how”

The first time I heard that ending on the chorus, “Then tell me how”, it blew me away. Keep in mind, I didn’t know the name of the song at the time I was sent the clip and totally did not see that coming! It’s definitely one of those songs that tugs at the heartstrings. I’m pumped that it has finally been released and the world can hear more of this talented rising star, Teddy Robb!”


Christina Bosch, Managing Editor 

Pick: “Graduation Day” – Madison Kozak
Songwriters: Chris Stapleton, Jesse Frasure

“Who knew that two dudes could write a song that is so relatable for females, however, I guess songwriting geniuses Chris Stapleton and Jesse Frasure can write about pretty much anything. Madison Kozak is a newcomer to the genre but the second I heard this song, I knew I would have it on repeat for a long time. A senior at Belmont University in Nashville, Kozak dropped this song on her graduation day about being done with a loser.

“Boy, you wrote the book on heartbreak school /  had a Ph.D. in making me your fool  / now you’re callin’ me crying /  I wanted to say ‘Congratulations, boy, it’s graduation day’.”

If the killer lyrics and beat don’t make you fall in love with the song, the ‘shoop sha doops’ certainly will.”


Dylan Bestler, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Rival” – LANCO
Songwriters: Brandon Lancaster, Tripp Howell

“I liked this song the first time I heard it On The Horizon on Sirius XM but I fell in love with it when the band released the music video. The video brought the song to life and helped me understand what it was really about.

Being an athlete my whole life, I was always one for appreciating underdog stories and songs. The video displays a group of individuals bashing through a wall with negative phrases written on it to show that anyone could overcome hate, discouragement, and doubt. At the start of my junior year, I was taken off the 4×400 meter relay team; the head coach thought his new recruits were faster than I was. Being taken off the relay was the motivation I needed to push myself harder. By the end of the season, I had the second fastest 400 time on the team and was the lead-off leg on the relay that set the school record. I recently added “Rival” to my workout playlist and I suggest y’all do the same.”


Nicole Bochinis, Contributing Writer

Pick: “That Old Truck” – Thomas Rhett
Songwriters: Julian Bunetta, Kamron Kimbro, Ryan Tedder, Thomas Rhett

“I have been a fan of Thomas Rhett since the beginning. From It Goes Like This to Tangled Up to Life Changes and now to Center Point Road, I am so proud to call myself a fan and supporter of such a talented artist. Rhett has really changed the style of music that he has been putting out throughout the years but after hearing “That Old Truck,” his roots are showing more and more for his forthcoming album. As the month is coming to an end, my excitement for Center Point Road is growing especially because I get to attend a special album release event during CMA Fest.”


Jeremy Chua, Contributing Writer 

Pick: “Her World or Mine” – Michael Ray
Songwriters: Brett Beavers, Travis Denning, Jamie Paulin

“A story that some, if not many of us, have resonated with at some point, “Her World Or Mine” is Michael Ray’s 3rd single following the No. 1 “One That Got Away,” off his sophomore record, Amos. I remember going through something similar just about when clips of Ray performing this song live went online. I heard it and thought to myself, “this is my story man.” It narrates the story of what goes on after a breakup, and how completely opposite both parties feel.

“One of us moved on, one of us got stuck / One of us is drinkin’ just for fun, one of us drinkin’ to get drunk / One of us sleeps good, and one of us hates to face the night / Just depends if you’re talkin’ about her world or mine”

Following the success it’s seen on Spotify and Sirius XM’s The Highway, I sure am glad the label and his team are moving forward with this ballad as the next radio single. It is a bold move to choose it over an uptempo, but this song, one of the sophomore album highlights if you ask me, certainly showcases the vulnerable, more emotional side of Ray both as a performer and individual. If anything it should, and I hope it does, get him his 4th career #1.


Kelly Cunningham, Contributing Writer 

Pick: “Backseat Driver” – Robert Counts
Songwriters: Matt Willis, Nicolette Hayford, Robert Counts

This track was cut by William Michael Morgan back in 2016, but Counts’ own version is tough to beat. I just heard this track on The Highway Sirius XM and it caught my attention right away. Counts’ voice is a perfect mixture of country-soulful that gets you attached. It’s about leaving home and moving onto something new but never forgetting where you came from. It has a freedom feeling. It’s definitely a perfect summer road trip song.
“Drive like the devil / When you see an open highway / And let off that pedal / When a good view steals your breath away / Take a left if it feels right / Roll your windows down at night / You may get lost but you’ll be alright / There’s a bible on the dash / And a map tucked in the door / I can’t be your backseat driver anymore”
He was just recently signed by Sony Music Nashville in January and only released two songs. I can’t wait for what’s to come for Counts.


Julia Grubbs, Contributing Writer 

Pick: “No Saint” – Lauren Jenkins
Songwriters: Ingrid Andress, Lauren Jenkins

“Ever since I heard this song when Lauren Jenksins opened for The Wild Feathers, I’ve been listening to it nonstop. The gravelly texture of the opening line catches your ear, and the strong lyrics pull you in. She tells the story of needing to forgive someone who wronged her, and the Bible tells her to, but she just can’t do it yet. You can tell she’s wringing herself, not knowing what else to do.

“I fell from grace, I can’t be saved, it’s a long way up from here / I fell from grace, I ain’t no saint, it’s a long way up from here”

With a somber tone and a little bit of resentment still present, this problem was never resolved. The other person walked away as if by saying sorry, they were free of all guilt. She knows it’s not that simple, and can’t get out of this dark place. Her vocals come from a genuine place that everyone listening along can feel the pain and most likely relate. This is a great song to sing along to and to pull at the heartstrings.”


Molly Holmberg, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Some People Do” – Old Dominion
Songwriters: Jesse Frasure, Matthew Ramsey, Shane McAnally, Thomas Rhett

“Well, the band has outdone themselves yet again, putting out yet another hit song “Some People Do.” I am always a sucker for a slow ballad but this one really struck a chord. “Most wouldn’t forgive what I put you through, but I’m here tonight hoping some people do.” It sings about a situation very similar to one my best friend was in a couple of months ago with her boyfriend, so naturally, I felt this song deep down.

I believe the vulnerability of the lyrics and the simplicity of the instrumentals really speak to the volume of this track. The whole band has amazing talent as songwriters and if their past is any foreshadowing of the future, don’t be surprised when you see “Some People Do” on the top of the charts. This was definitely an easy pick for this month and I cannot wait to see what the guys do with this song.”


Abby Kaye-Phillips, Contributing Writer 

Pick: “Drinking Alone” – Carrie Underwood
Songwriters: Brett James, Carrie Underwood, David Garcia

“One of the reasons I was most excited for Carrie Underwood’s new album, “Cry Pretty” last fall was because she always includes at least one track that is out of the box. This time it was “Drinking Alone”, and I’m obsessed!! It’s rare that a country track crosses into the bluesy, sultry, jazzy territory, but this one does it in the best way. It tells a story, it pulls you in, and it sounds nothing like anything else she’s ever done. It’s definitely the song I’m most looking forward to seeing later this year on the Cry Pretty Tour 360.”
Pick: “Beer Never Broke My Heart” – Luke Combs
Songwriters: Jonathan Singleton, Randy Montana and Luke Combs

Tricia Murdy, Contributing Writer 

Pick: “The Ones That Didn’t Make It Back Home – Justin Moore
Songwriters: Justin Moore, Paul DiGiovanni, Chase McGill, Jeremy Stover

“This is the latest single from Justin Moore and one that resonates so strongly with anyone who has lost someone. The first few times I heard it I had to turn it off because I couldn’t handle the emotions it was invoking in me.

Several years ago I lost a good friend – he was killed in Afghanistan while fighting in the US Army Special Forces just 2 months after his 30th birthday. He was a locally known and respected hero and was loved by everyone that knew him.

The whole town shut down, the whole town showed up, sang Amazing Grace and watched a slideshow of his 22 years. There was laughs and there was tears. And that preacher talked about sacrifice and traffic stopped for them Cadillac lights.”

Those lyrics took me back to the day his body was brought home and a parade was held through town. People lined the streets waving American flags and showing their respect and admiration for one that didn’t make it back home. This song is a ballad, a tribute and pays homage to those heroes near and far that paid the ultimate sacrifice. If you haven’t heard it yet, you must check it out. But maybe grab a tissue first.”


Nicole Piering, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Wallflowers & Weeds” – Blake Shelton
Songwriters: Ivy Walker, Jason Gantt, Scott Stepakoff, Sophie Walker

After seeing tons of previews for the animated film, Ugly Dolls, I decided to check out the movie’s star-studded soundtrack. With the voices of Kelly Clarkson, Nick Jonas, Janelle Monae, and Blake Shelton featured in the flick, I had high hopes for the music and was not disappointed. While there’s the expected powerful pop from Clarkson and Jonas, there’s a hidden country gem on the soundtrack by Shelton.

Entitled “Wallflowers and Weeds,” the track is dedicated to embracing what makes you just a little weird, as “wallflowers and weeds are beautiful, too.” On the song, Shelton admits that “sometimes the hardest work is loving what you’re working with.” Although the song is from a children’s movie, the theme of embracing your imperfections is truly universal and carries through to the songs on the soundtrack.

Although Shelton has been getting praised for his recent single, the dark and brooding “God’s Country,” “Wallflowers and Weeds” is a much lighter tune that you’re sure to be singing along with after one listen. After all, “Roses are red/ Violets are blue/ Nothing out there as rare as you / Throwing caution to the wind/ Like a dandelion wish blowing wild and free/ Roses are red/ Violets are blue/ Wallflowers and weeds are beautiful, too.”


Olivia Reese, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Good Vibes” – Chris Janson
Songwriters: Ashley Gorley, Chris Janson, Zach Crowell

Summer is right around the corner and “Good Vibes” by Chris Janson is the quintessential feel-good summer song. Lyrically it focuses on living life to the fullest, enjoying the moment, and appreciating what you have; to see the bright side in everything and not let anything bad or roadblock get in your way. “I ain’t tryna hear the negative (nope) / I’m just tryna change the narrative / Hell, it’s simply imperative / And we all have a damn good time.” To me, it is the perfect driving with the windows down and beach song, with a wonderful positive message, which will definitely top my summer playlist this year.


Danielle Tornatore, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Good and Gone” – Seaforth
Songwriters: Gordie Sampson, Josh Miller, Mitchell Thompson, Thomas Jordan

“My pick this month was hands down the easiest and quickest decision I’ve made thus far as part of the NYCS team. Seaforth’s debut EP Love That has been on literal repeat for me since the initial release. The second I heard this particular track, I replayed it about twenty times that night and could not get enough. It contains the two things I love most in a song; heartbreaking lyrics masked by an upbeat tune, essentially making it a breakup jam. I’m still listening to it at least five times a day and I hope to hear it live when I see my new favorite duo at CMA Fest next month.”


Shanna Vitaliano, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Heaven Bound Balloons” – Granger Smith
Songwriters: Granger Smith, Andy Albert, Jordan Schmidt

“If anyone is looking for a good cry, give Granger Smith’s new song “Heaven Bound Balloons” a listen. The first time I heard it I had chills, as Smith sings about his kids writing messages on balloons to their grandparents that have passed away.

In the chorus Granger sings, “We wrote we miss you and we love you’/ Told him things are great down here / We spelled it out and sent it up / And we watched it disappear / Sometimes I guess you gotta see it to believe it / ‘Cause right then I knew those blue sky prayers were getting through / When we let go of those heaven bound balloons.”

“Heaven Bound Balloons” is an emotional and easily relatable track, one that speaks right to the heart of losing someone you love. Smith has an incredible way of writing lyrics that really pull you in and hit home.”


Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Leave Her Wild” – Tyler Rich
Songwriters: Chris DeStefano, Jon Nite, Tyler Rich

This month my song pick came so easily to me. The second Tyler Rich released “Leave Her Wild,” I fell in love with the song- not to mention the “first look” video elevates it completely. The message of the song is what I love so much. It’s about not trying to change the person you fell in love with because they should always be authentic to themselves.

The title “Leave Her Wild,” is such a beautiful sentiment that I relate to on a deep level. I sometimes feel that I am a free spirit that has to conform to meet society’s standards, and I appreciate that though a love song, I am able to connect with Rich’s song in a different way.

“Don’t tame her, try to chain her / The second you do, you’ll break her / Don’t dull that shine that caught your eye / ‘Cause you’re afraid somebody will take her / She ain’t a dial you just turn on and off / She ain’t found, but she ain’t all that lost / If you’re gonna love her, if you’re gonna love her / If you’re gonna love, leave her wild”


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.



Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC & Beyond!

Subscribe to our Weekly Round-Up here 
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The Country Songs That Are the Soundtracks Of Our Lives

As music lovers, the NYCountry Swag team and our writers have decided on songs that sum up their lives. We each picked a song that could be the soundtrack to our lives and explained why.

Soundtracks Of Our Lives

Stephanie Wagner, Founder

Pick: “Family Tree” – Caylee Hammack
Songwriters: Caylee Hammack, Gordie Sampson, Troy Verges

Caylee Hammack’s debut single, “Family Tree” is a song destined to be on everyone’s life soundtrack. The song gets real deep and personal, exposing all of the quirks of the people closest to Hammack, her family.

The chorus of the undeniably catchy tune is what makes the song most relatable “Real life can get real funny / We got more love than we got money / Some swing a little higher / Some’ll just hang low / A few of us are on fire to get out / And some just wanna stay home / but it don’t matter ‘cause our roots run deep / Ain’t nothing gonna shake our family tree”

Every family has their differences, but at the end of the day, no matter what, family is family. Through every chapter, through every phase of life, there’s one thing that doesn’t change and that’s your family tree. In the words of Caylee Hammack, “Through thick and thin, hell we’re still kin at the end of the day.”


Christina Bosch, Managing Editor 

Pick: “Stand” – Rascal Flatts
Songwriters: Danny Orton, Blair Daly

This song on Rascal Flatt’s 2006 album Me and My Gang has come through for me in some of the most difficult times of my life. It is an anthem for perseverance, finding the strength and power to move past life’s hardships and stand.

“‘Cause when push comes to shove / You taste what you’re made of / You might bend till you break / ‘Cause it’s all you can take / On your knees you look up / Decide you’ve had enough / You get mad, you get strong / Wipe your hands, shake it off / Then you stand”

The image of being on your knees, praying for the courage to face whatever life throws at you and then gaining that courage, resiliency and then standing up and making it through has always stuck with me. After losing a close family member when she was very young, I heard this song a few months later at CMAFest, my very first trip to Nashville, and it was given a whole new meaning. I even went the next day and got “Then you stand” tattooed on my hip. It is a song that will always give me peace and a reminder of how strong you can be.


Dylan Bestler, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Homegrown” – Zac Brown Band
Songwriters: Niko Moon, Wyatt Durrette, Zac Brown

A simple song about how Brown loves the town where he grew up. I always loved this song because of how my town sounds like his. I have lived in the small town of Williston Park, NY my whole life and I would not have wanted it any other way.

When I was growing up, summer was centered around our little league. Me and the friends I have had since kindergarten would spend our days at the pool and our nights at the field; the two were only separated by a fence. After the games, we’d roam around our town’s mile radius with nothing to do but time to kill.

Our travel baseball team, the Williston Park Patriots stayed together for eight years. After a one year hiatus, we got almost the whole team back together to play slow pitch softball under the same team name. We even got our old coach to play with us. I love everything about Williston Park and am so proud of my roots.


Jeremy Chua, Contributing Writer 

Pick: “Riser” – Dierks Bentley
Songwriters: Steve Moakler, Travis Meadows

This song was the first song I thought of when I heard the phrase “soundtrack of your life.” “Riser” is, as I call, my life anthem. Even before its release, when I watched clips of Dierks Bentley performing it live on YouTube, I resonated to it. This was the one song some of my closest friends loved, including a dear big brother from Church. We used it to close one of our youth sessions and, when he passed suddenly, this same song helped me cope with the loss. The lyric “when I don’t know what I’m doing and can fake it, I’ll pray to Jesus who rolls away the stone” always hits home with me. As cheesy as it sounds, “Riser” really pushes me in the best way possible, to rise above every adversity with country music and the Good Lord by my side.


Julia Grubbs, Contributing Writer 

Pick: “I Hope You Dance” – Lee Ann Womack
Songwriters: Luke Bryan, Luke Laird, Rodney Clawson

This song encourages exploration, growth, and fighting to reach your dreams. Even while working hard, you can’t forget to live in the moment and just dance. As a dancer, hearing this song helps me remember why I do what I do, and continue to keep pursuing my dream and enjoy the journey.

“I hope you never lose your sense of wonder / You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger / May you never take one single breath for granted / God forbid love ever leave you empty handed / I hope you dance”


Abby Kaye-Phillips, Contributing Writer 

Pick: “Every Storm (Runs Out Of Rain)” – Gary Allan
Songwriters: Gary Allan, Hillary Lindsey, Matthew Alan Warren

I feel things very intensely, which is great when things in my life are great, but not so good when things are hard. When everything feels like it’s going wrong in my life it’s easy to think it will stay that way, but this song a great reminder that no matter what, there is always a point where things get better.


Rebekah Milsted, Contributing Writer 

Pick: “Fast” – Luke Bryan
Songwriters: Larry Bastian, Patrick Alger, Garth Brooks

“Sixty seconds now feels more like thirty / Tick-tock, won’t stop, around it goes / Tick-tock, won’t stop, around it goes / Sand through the glass sure falls in a hurry / And all you keep trying to do is slow it down, soak it in / Keep trying to make the good times last as long as you can / But you can’t, man/It just goes too fast”

“Fast” by Luke Bryan is my pick because life truly does go by fast, one minute you were in college living with your best friends and now you’re coming up on your second year of marriage. The song teaches you to live in the moment and enjoy what’s in front of you.


Tricia Murdy, Contributing Writer 

Pick: “Unanswered Prayers” – Garth Brooks
Songwriters: Larry Bastian, Patrick Alger, Garth Brooks

If I had to choose a country song that sums up my life, something that really defines me… it would be “Unanswered Prayers” by Garth Brooks. This is a timeless classic but still resonates with me every day. There are so many moments where I wanted things to go a certain way and prayed for the outcome that I desired. Things didn’t go the way I wanted and at the time I was disappointed or sad and questioned everything. I can’t even count how many times I’ve referenced this song to someone when things weren’t going how they wanted or even in my own life where I’ve needed to give myself a pep talk. It’s not always easy in those moments to understand why things don’t go the way you planned or the way you want. It sometimes takes months, sometimes years to really become clear to me why things didn’t turn out the way I’d wanted in that moment. Things worked out the way they were supposed to – the way God intended them to, not necessarily how I thought they should have.

“Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers / Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs /  And just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care/Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers”

Always in hindsight, it has been abundantly clear why it didn’t pan out how I wanted it to and in those moments, I am beyond thankful for those unanswered prayers. Maybe when you have those moments and you want something so desperately, just think about those lyrics and have faith your situation will work out just as it’s meant to.


Nicole Piering, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Life Ain’t Always Beautiful” – Gary Allan
Songwriters: Tommy Lee James and Cynthia Evelyn Thomson

When I began listening to country music, the first concert I ever attended was Rascal Flatts at Madison Square Garden, with Eric Church and Gary Allan as openers. It was during that show that I first heard Allan’s “Life Ain’t Always Beautiful,” written by Tommy Lee James and Cynthia Evelyn Thomson.

While the song may seem sad initially, the more you listen to it, there’s a bittersweet quality that has stuck with me ever since I first heard it. Through good times and bad, it’s a song and a set of lyrics that I’ve always gone back to, making it the perfect song for the soundtrack of one’s life. Here, Allan reminds listeners that “The struggles make you stronger/ And the changes make you wise/ And happiness has its own way of takin’ its sweet time.” His voice is full of gravelly emotion on the tender ballad, as he sings one of my all-time favorite lines from any song, “Life ain’t always beautiful, but it’s a beautiful ride.”


Olivia Reese, Contributing Writer

Pick: “American Honey” – Lady Antebellum
Songwriters: Cary Barlowe, Hillary Lindsey, Shane Stevens

“American Honey” by Lady Antebellum is one of my all time favorite songs. It was always very relatable to me, as I grew up at a house on the edge of town in a more rural area surrounded by corn fields.  Across the street from my very long driveway was a church, with real bells, that would ring every morning and the line

“She grew up on a side of the road/Where the church bells ring and strong love grows/She grew up good/She grew up slow/Like American honey” stood out to me from the first time I heard the song. Now that I’m older I frequently think about living there and sometimes wish I could go back, “There’s a wild, wild whisper
Blowin’ in the wind/Callin’ out my name like a long lost friend/Oh I miss those days as the years go by/Oh nothing’s sweeter than summertime/And American hone,” which has given the song a new meaning, to me. 

Mikayla Sauber, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Don’t Blink” – Kenny Chesney
Songwriters: Casey Beathard, Chris Wallin

“Don’t Blink” by Kenny Chesney is a song I relate to because I am starting to realize just how fast life goes by. It seems like yesterday I was a little kid helping out on my family farm and now I’m finishing my last couple weeks of sophomore year of college.

Every part of the song speaks to me but the part which sticks out the most is “Best start putting first things first / Cause when your hourglass runs out of sand / you can’t flip it over and start again / take every breath God gives you for what it’s worth / Don’t blink.”

I try my best each day to live by these lyrics as life continues to fly by faster than we even know. You need to live in the moment, follow what is most important to you, and don’t wish, or blink, your life away because one day you’ll be wondering where your time went and realizing you blinked it away too fast. You think you have all the time in the world to do your desires and dreams, but you never really know how long you have, and you have to take each moment for what it’s worth.


Julia Singer, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Dime Store Cowgirl” – Kacey Musgraves
Songwriters: Kacey Musgraves, Luke Laird, Shane McAnally

I may not be from Golden, Texas, but I would consider Kacey Musgraves’, “Dime Store Cowgirl” to be the soundtrack to my life. This is one of the songs that made me fall in love with country music and reminds me to stay grounded and true to myself, regardless of where life takes me. No matter what I’m going through in life, putting this song on instantly cheers me up. This song helps me be able to appreciate all of the adventures I’ve been on in life, while also remembering my hometown– and the people and places that made me who I am. “It don’t matter where I’m goin’ / I’ll still call my hometown home.”  “Dime Store Cowgirl” is one of those songs that I can always count on to brighten my day and remind me to think of the important things in life.


Shanna Vitaliano, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Livin’ Part of Life” – Eric Church
Songwriters: Eric Church, Liz Rose, Walt Wilkins

The song that I chose for the soundtrack of my life is “Livin’ Part of Life” by Eric Church.  This song has been a staple on my playlist for as long as I can remember.  It reminds me not to take life too seriously, and to take some time to relax and enjoy the simple things in life: such as lounging on a front porch enjoying the breeze or going fishing.  It is easy to get caught up in our day to day life, so I feel this song is the perfect reminder to stop worrying about the long “to-do” lists and to leave your troubles behind.  As Church says in the song its time to “kick back and get high, on the livin’ part of life“.


Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer

Pick: “This One’s For The Girls”
Songwriters: Aimee Mayo, Chris Lindsey, Hillary Lindsey

My favorite songs are the ones that give me the words to what I’m going through or what I’ve been through – those songs that you have a personal connection with. Martina McBride is one of those artists that sings those types of songs. “This One’s For The Girls” is one of the songs that I have had on replay for several years and almost always fits the stage of life I am in. It is definitely a song I would label as the “Soundtrack to My Life.”

“This one’s for the girls / Who love without holdin’ back / Who dream with everything they have / All around the world / This one’s for the girls.”

Those lyrics are some of the most touching lyrics because it reminds us all that it is okay to be a dreamer and to give life everything you have, even when facing adversity.


Cover photo courtesy of UMG Pressroom and Photo Credit: Anthony DAngio


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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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Deep Album Cuts: Songs That Were Never Singles, But Should Have Been

Here at NYCountry Swag we still love to listen to albums all the way through, hearing the intricate details of what an artist and their teams decided when making a full-length album.  Artists sometimes write or listen to hundreds of songs before narrowing it down to just 10-14 to finally make it on the album, so we think those songs, even though they don’t become radio singles should be recognized. Although each of our writers found it extremely hard to pick just one, here is a list of each of their favorite deep album cuts.

Stephanie Wagner, Founder

Pick: “Faith When I Fall” – Kip Moore
Album Title: Up All Night

“This was hands down one of the hardest picks we ever had to do for a piece. As I started thinking about the song I would choose, so many of my favorite tracks came to mind that were never released as singles. After making a list, ultimately I realized I had about 5 or 6 Kip Moore songs written down. In my opinion, Moore is one of the most underrated artists of all time. He’s truly one of the most entertaining performers, an incredible songwriter,  and gifted musician. Give a listen to any song on any one of his records and it’s immediately clear how much heart and soul he puts into everything he does. Go to his show and every single fan is singing back every word to every song, not just the singles. “Faith When I Fall” has easily become one of my favorite songs and one of my favorite parts of his live show. The heartfelt lyrics beautifully illustrate the desire to need someone to have faith in you when things are tough and just trust that they will get better. 

“Give me love when I ain’t got nobody // A little hope when I ain’t got none at all //
Give me light up ahead on the journey // Give me strength when I’m standing // And faith when I fall” 

Moore’s sweet instrumentals paired with his distinct vocals add emotion to the track. The song depicts a familiar and relatable scenario whether in a relationship, in your career or in life in general. Everybody needs somebody to have a little faith in them.


Christina Bosch, Managing Editor 

Pick: “Village’ – Cam
Album Title: Untamed

I know each writer has said it, but this was the hardest song to decide on. As I am writing this I am going back and forth between 7 different songs that I love, that have touched my heart in different ways and have never seen radio play. Ultimately, the song that started this idea for this blog piece is the one I decided to go with, “Village” by Cam. The track closes out Cam’s debut full-length album and is told from the perspective from someone who is no longer alive. Whether or not you chose to believe in an afterlife, I certainly do and this song touches every fiber of my being. Losing a cousin when we were both 2o years old, I choose to believe that she is in heaven, watching over me and cheering me on during all of my big accomplishments.

“I know it feels like I have let you down, but I’m still around / Cause your whole heart’s a village, and everyone you love has built it /  and I’ve been working there myself /  That’s where I’ll be, with a front row seat, to watch you live your life well” 

Her angelic voice carries over the notes, telling the story of reassurance as well as demonstrating a love that is everlasting. For anyone who has lost someone, longing for their presence in your life, take a listen here and try not to smile.


Dylan Bestler, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Learned It From The Radio” – Thomas Rhett
Album Title: Tangled Up

How to live, how to love / Everything I need to know / I learned it from the radio

“This song puts an emphasis on how important music is to us; it helps us cope with things that are going on it our lives. Rhett mentions different situations like dreaming big, working hard, chasing girls and writing music, claiming all of his success came from listening to music. It was the radio that told him what to say to that girl, how to work hard and achieve his dreams.  

Being able to relate to a song or an artist can help you learn and get perspective of your own life. It was Kane Brown’s song “What Ifs” that motivated me to ask my friend of four years out on a date. After saying no, she listened to the song and decided to give me a chance because “what if”. We’ve been dating ever since. Just goes to show the impact music can have on people.

Tangled Up is stacked with hits and is my favorite Thomas Rhett album thus far. With the amount great songs this album has (plus the ones from the deluxe album) it was unlikely “Learned It From the Radio” was going to become a radio hit. In my opinion, this song was not only one of the best songs on the album, but one of the best ever put out by Thomas Rhett. “


Nicole Bochinis, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Can’t Get You” – Old Dominion
Album Title: Happy Endings

“Old Dominion has a lot of hits that you hear on the radio and are classified as singles. However, “Can’t Get You” is one of the most underrated songs from their album Happy Endings. This song is probably one of my favorite songs to hear live and I was really happy when they added the live version to the album. A studio version of this song would not do it justice. It’s one of those songs that gets you so pumped up when you hear it live, that you never want it to end. Now let’s not forget about the Matt Ramsey wiggle that takes place during this song and the amped-up introduction of the band in concert. Definitely one of my favorite moments during their performance. I know we will probably never see this track as single, but that will never stop me from loving it as much as I do.”


Jeremy Chua, Contributing Writer 

Pick: “Leaving Nashville” – Charles Kelley
Album Title: The Driver

“This song hits home for anyone chasing a dream, whether in the music business or not, whether in Nashville or not. Charles Kelley sings with a tear in his voice about the pains of chasing this beautiful yet painful dream, the highs of getting a cut from an artist, and the lows like “throwing up in parking lots all by yourself” and being commodified as a songwriter. I remember hearing this song back in 2015 in NYC when Kelley was headlining his “The Driver” tour to promote his debut solo album of the same title. Even before the album was released, he performed this song at his show, and you could hear pin drop in the room. I looked around, and people were visibly captivated by this song. That’s when I knew this song was more than just a song. For me, my heart ached as “Leaving Nashville”  spoke to me in more ways than one, and continues to even today. There are some songs that are pure album cut gems, and this song is one of them.”


Kelly Cunningham, Contributing Writer

Pick: “If I Know Me” – Morgan Wallen
Album Title: If I Know Me 

“If I Know Me” by Morgan Wallen. This track has been my favorite cut ever since his album dropped. I’ve been telling everyone how obsessed I am with this track and how surprised I’ll be if it doesn’t get picked for a future single. It has that “roll the windows down” kind of melody. if he ever puts this track as a single, it’s definitely a summer hit. Wallen’s album is full of hidden songs that I think deserve to be heard on the radio in the near future.

Molly Holmberg, Contributing Writer

Pick: “I Worship The Woman You Walked On” – Ronnie Dunn
Album Title: Tattooed Heart

“People say the Brooks and Dunn were not successful as solo artists once they split and I beg to differ. Ronnie Dunn’s Tattooed Heart album is pure gold and one song that I love that never made it as a single is “I Worship The Woman You Walked On”.  The song is from a man’s perspective who loves a woman that just got out of a bad relationship. The man calls out the woman’s ex-lover in the song, blaming him for her broken heart. “I hold her at night, ’til she’s satisfied. Oh, I try to right all you did wrong. I worship the woman you walked on.” Doesn’t every woman want a man like this? The lyrics stand strong alone, although Dunn’s powerful vocals behind them have made this song one of my favorites.”


Nicole Piering, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Green Bananas” – Jake Owen
Album Title: Easy Does It

“Green Bananas” is a deep cut from Jake Owen’s second album, Easy Does It, the follow-up to Startin’ With Me. While the album’s biggest radio hits were “Don’t Think I Can’t Love You” and “Eight Second Ride,” it’s “Green Bananas” that holds a special place for me as one of my all-time favorite album cuts. Co-written by Owen, Jimmy Ritchey, and Bob Regan, “Green Bananas” is an ode to living in the moment and seizing the day. According to Owen, the song is a true story about a real boat by the name “Green Bananas,” which reminds listeners to celebrate the fact that life is short and that we should live it while we’re still able to. “So I don’t buy green bananas/ Well I don’t play the lottery,” Owen sings on the twangy mid-tempo tune. “Right now’s all I’ve got going/ Yeah and that’s just fine for me/ And I don’t own an umbrella/ If it rains, I’m gonna get wet/ So I don’t buy green bananas/ ‘Cause I don’t plan that far ahead.”


Olivia Reese, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Crazy Dreams” – Carrie Underwood
Album Title: Carnival Ride

My all-time favorite deep cut and one of my favorite songs is “Crazy Dreams” by Carrie Underwood. It was immediately one of my favorite songs on her album, Carnival Ride, the first time I listened to it. I love how upbeat and optimistic it is, with a great relatable message, yet not too serious. It’s a great song to jam out to, for those “dashboard drummers” and “air guitar players,” but is genuinely encouraging for everyone not to give up on their dreams no matter how difficult they may seem, because “There’s a lot of wonder left inside of me and you / Thank God even crazy dreams come true.


Nicole Sellati, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Machine Heart” – Kelsea Ballerini
Album Title: Unapologetically

“From the moment I first heard Kelsea Ballerini’s sophomore album, Unapologetically, I instantly fell in love with her song “Machine Heart.” I love the way Kelsea tells a story through her lyrics, she is so honest with her emotions, giving everyone a song that they can relate to. It’s one of my favorite songs off her album, that I wish she would have made a single so those who may not have listened to her entire album can hear how vulnerable she is with her music. “Machine Heart” is the perfect song to heal a broken heart.”


Danielle Tornatore, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Second Wind” – Maren Morris
Album Title: Hero

“This song has meant so much to me since the very moment I first heard it back in 2016. Maren Morris’ entire HERO album means more than words could ever express, but this one song, in particular, has gotten me through some tough times. The message being told through these lyrics is so powerful, I can always turn to this song whenever I’m doubting myself or facing a difficult situation. It’s taught me to believe in myself and never give up, only come back stronger.

“Say what you want about me / Your words are gasoline on my fire / You can hate me, underestimate me / Do what you do cause what you do don’t phase me / Just when you think I’m at the end / Any second imma catch my second wind”


Shanna Vitaliano, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Big Day In A Small Town” – Brandy Clark
Album Title: Big Day In A Small Town

I was first introduced to Brandy Clark when I saw her open for Jennifer Nettles on “The ‘That Girl Tour’ in 2014, and again in 2016.  Clark is an extremely talented songwriter with a witty way of singing about the ups and downs of life we all experience.  She does a great job at depicting real-life drama and events in her song “Big Day In A Small Town” and adds humor to lighten it up.

Working in Manhattan, I would listen to it and smile and wonder what it would be like living in a small town especially with lyrics: “There ain’t no mall, no waffle house/but there’s always something to talk about/around here, somebody shot a deer/ somebody’s getting married or buried, or carried away/ if the sun goes up, and the sun goes down/its a big day in a small town.”

Back on June 10th, 2016 Brandy Clark released her second album Big Day In A Small Town, and although the title track “Big Day In A Small Town” was never released as a single, it is one of my absolute favorite songs by her.”


Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Why” – Rascal Flatts
Album Title: Unstoppable

“Oftentimes, the songs that really showcase an artist’s talents are the deep album cuts off a record, the songs that don’t make their way to the radio or sometimes, not even to live performances. I went back and forth trying to pick a song for this segment, considering songs by Eric Church and Jon Langston, before I settled on Rascal Flatt’s song “Why.”

This ballad is a deeply heartbreaking and raw track. The painful lyrics express feelings stemming from a life ending too early. I first discovered this song nearly ten years ago, at a time, where my town and peers needed it most. Although it’s not a happy song or a tailgating song, it is one of those songs that will comfort you when you most need it or speak for you, during trying times, when you can’t formulate the words. I’ll always be a lyric girl at heart, and this song opens up dialogue for an important conversation on mental health and the residual effects.”


[Cover Photo by Ron Elkman / USA TODAY Sports]


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What We’re Listening To: February 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 February picks. Then be sure to give our Spotify account a follow and listen to our favorite tracks!




Stephanie Wagner, Founder

Pick: “Rockin’ All Night Long” – Adam Hambrick
Songwriters: Adam Hambrick, Kelly Archer, Pete Good 

“I am currently obsessively listening to Adam Hambrick’s “Rockin’ All Night Long”. Right from the get-go the song creates a nostalgic feeling referencing Don McLean’s “American Pie” in the opening lines. Setting the tone for the track, the first passage references the early days of young adulthood when life was all about chasing good times leading into the chorus: “Bloodshot eyes, watch the sunrise / Sleep when you die, phase of life / It’s a full heart falling hard / Singing songs to her in the dark / Drinking up every moment til it’s gone / Just rockin’ all night long.”

The song moves through the next phase telling the story of meeting the love of your life, “giving in to what your heart wants” and once again enjoying that time of your life of being in love and appreciating those late nights together. PLOT TWIST – the final chorus leads to Hambrick becoming a father, sitting in a rocking chair, rocking his sweet baby girl all night long. “She’s the best reason I’ve ever had…. For those bloodshot eyes…” I know, I know… CHILLS. The song is so sweet and unexpectedly emotional. The story it tells is what everybody wants and/or can relate to and that’s what country music is all about.”


Christina Bosch, Managing Editor 

Pick: “Lady Like” – Ingrid Andress
Songwriters: Derrick Southerland, Ingrid Andress, Sam Ellis

“I wasn’t sure which song to pick this month and then last night the NYCountry Swag team attended a showcase with a new songwriter artist, Ingrid Andress.  Andress was recently signed to Warner Music Nashville and released her very first song today.  She shared last night before singing her debut single, “Lady Like” that the song is about not fitting gender stereotypes. “Just because I never wear a dress and just because I never brush my hair, doesn’t mean I’m less of a woman,” she explained. Watching her sass and unapologetic way of telling her story, I fell in love with her as an artist and this debut single will absolutely be a fan favorite.

“Controversial, so outspoken, I’ve been told I’m not ladylike / but I’m a lady like woah / I could bring you to your knees / Get you kicked out the Garden of Eden / Untameable, unframeable Mona Lisa oh / Kiss you like a whiskey fire / Turn around leave your heart in a riot / Lipstick in a cigarette pack on the dash / I’m a lady like that.”

I’m so glad that she released this single so I can share the song with everyone that I know and I can’t wait to see how many people love it as much as I do.”


Dylan Bestler, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Living” – Dierks Bentley
Songwriters: Ross Copperman, Jon Nite, Ashley Gorley, Dierks Bentley

“When I first got into country music, “Somewhere on a Beach” was on the radio constantly, so immediately Dierks Bentley was one of my favorite artists. His most recent album, The Mountain is great for all country fans because it has songs of the new style of country such as “Women Amen” and traditional, bluegrass type songs such as “Travelin’ Light” featuring Brandi Carlile.

One song that stands out to me on that album is “Living”. Its message, “just because you are alive and breathing doesn’t mean you’re truly living” speaks to me. It makes me want to do more with my life; be adventurous and take chances! Bentley describes how the world is a beautiful place and you should appreciate every moment this life gives you and make the most of it.”  

“Some days you just forget what all you’ve been given / Some days you just get by / Yeah some days you’re just alive / Some days you’re living”


Nicole Bochinis, Contributing Writer

Pick: “If My Heart Had a Heart” – Cassadee Pope
Songwriters: Hannah Ellis, Matthew McGinn, Josh Kerr 

“When I first heard “If My Heart Had A Heart” by Cassadee Pope, I instantly loved it. Singing about heartbreak is never easy but it’s such a relatable topic, that I myself can relate to. I have been a fan of Pope since her Hey Monday days and it has been an honor to watch her grow over the years. From Hey Monday to The Voice to her debut album and now to her sophomore album, it’s amazing to see the growth she’s had and how her voice has matured. There is something so special about her voice and it makes me so happy that the world gets to hear it. I’m so excited to see what the future holds for her.”


Jeremy Chua, Contributing Writer 

Pick: “These Walls Talk” – Josh Martin
Songwriters: Marla Cannon-Goodman, Reid Isbell, Josh Martin

“This smooth, country, blues-leaning song is pretty much unlike much you hear on the radio today. I remember it playing randomly on my Spotify shuffle and as soon as I heard the chorus, I had to check the title and singer of this song. That’s when you know the song you’re hearing is really good. It’s got the perfect instrumental storm to make it a compelling track that follows through the protagonist’s push-pull love and heartbreak, through the personification of the walls that surround the couple. Josh Martin is an independent artist, but with writing, vocals and the overall work of art like this song, it won’t be long till power players in Nashville take notice of him!”


Kelly Cunningham, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Keep It Simple” – James Barker Band
Songwriters: Gavin Slate, James Barker, Todd Clark, Travis Wood

“James Barker Band just released this new single in January and it’s their catchiest single yet. They pushed boundaries with this track but its one that’ll be stuck in your head for days. It’s an upbeat mood of the well-accomplished image of Friday night fun. This is certainly one of their future hits.”


Molly Holmberg, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Raised On Country” – Chris Young
Songwriters: Cary Barlow, Chris Young, Corey Crowder

“When I first heard “Raised On Country”, I thought it was going to be just another anthem to country music as many artists are releasing similar songs. Although, upon first listen, I was hooked. I love the references to such iconic country singers like Joe Diffie, Alan Jackson, Willie Nelson, and George Strait, that like Young, I grew up on. It certainly resonates well with listeners due to its nostalgic ’90s vibes and memories of the old days. The song is a celebration of the country music we were all raised on whether it was on our own or through our parents and the incredible lyrics that draw you in while the catchy beats will get stuck in your head. I believe that “Raised On Country” will continue climbing the charts and possibly be Young’s 12th number one song.”


Nicole Piering, Contributing Writer

Pick: “I’ve Been Good” – Cassadee Pope

“When Cassadee Pope released her new album Stages, it was clear that the singer-songwriter was showing a more personal and vulnerable side of herself. While the album is full of gems including “If My Heart Had a Heart,” it’s the closing track, “I’ve Been Good,” that’s truly a standout. The song paints the portrait of someone painting on a brave face, while they’re dying inside. “I’ve been good at looking people in the eye, saying ‘I’ve been good,'” Pope sings after revealing the heartbreaking truth that deep down she’s struggling. She reveals that she’s “been good at drinking whiskey” and “staying busy,” but doing everything except dealing with her own heartbreak. The song is somber yet realistic, the candor in its delivery breathtakingly refreshing, and I can’t get enough of this record.”


Olivia Reese, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Cool” – Rachel Reinert
Songwriters: Davis Naish, Melissa Fuller, Rachel Reinert

“Cool” by Rachel Reinert, has been a jam of mine since it was released last year. It is a laid back tune reminiscing of a relationship ending and coming back together again. “Never thought we’d get back to/The way we used to be when we were cool/We been love, we been hate/We’ve been hurt, but we made it” It has a one of a kind summer sound, perfect for when the winter blues hit and you want a taste of warmer weather. As a long time fan of Rachel Reinert, I was definitely very excited about this single and it didn’t disappoint.”


Nicole Sellati, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Speed of Love” – Florida Georgia Line
Songwriters: Brian Kelley, Jordan Schmidt, Tyler Hubbard

“Luckily last week I got the chance to attend two of Florida Georgia Line’s album release day events for Can’t Say I Ain’t Country, and ever since then I’ve had their album on repeat. One of my favorite songs on the album is “Speed Of Love,” because it is fast-paced while giving off the ultimate country vibe. It’s one of those songs that you just have to get up out of your seat to move around to. Though they did not play it at the iHeart Country Album Release Party last week, hopefully, it will be added to their upcoming tour setlist!”


Danielle Tornatore, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Swerve” – Florida Georgia Line
Songwriters: Brian Kelley, Tyler Hubbard, David Garcia, Josh Miller

“When I listened to FGL’s new album, Can’t Say I Ain’t Country, this song stood out to me immediately. It’s one of those upbeat jams that the guys are known for, but there’s something a little different about this one. It has a little bit of rock n roll flair to it, with hints of other genres blended in which makes it one of my favorite songs ever from Tyler and BK. I was lucky enough to hear it live the very first time they played it at their iHeartRadio album release party last Friday and it made me love it a hundred times more. It’s such a feel-good song that you can’t help but dance to. I can’t wait to hear it live again this summer at Jones Beach!”


Shanna Vitaliano, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Die From A Broken Heart” – Maddie & Tae
Songwriters: Deric Ruttan, Jonathan David Singleton, Maddie Marlow, Taylor Dye

“For this month, I chose Maddie & Tae’s “Die From A Broken Heart” because it is real, raw, and heart-wrenching.  It is a song that can easily take us back to a time in our life when we’ve gone through a devastating breakup and you don’t think things will ever get better.  It is during that broken time when you lean upon those closest to you, especially your Mom and Dad. Lyrics such as “Hey Momma, how do you get a red wine stain out of your favorite dress? /Black mascara off a pillowcase?/Cure a one-too-many headache?” are just a few relatable things that remind us of a time where we couldn’t fathom being without a person you love.  “Die From A Broken Heart” expresses immense vulnerability and after listening all the way through, we are all reminded that things will eventually be okay because we can turn to prayer and to our loved ones for support!”


Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Velvet Elvis” – Kacey Musgraves
Songwriters: Kacey Musgraves, Luke Dick, Natalie Hemby

“With so many talented country artists and awesome songs being released daily, it has become harder and harder to pick my favorite song of the month. After all the buzz around the now Grammy winner, Kacey Musgraves, I decided to listen to her entire record, Golden Hour straight through just before the award show aired. I was truly captivated by her unique sound and lyrical ability, and completely understand why everyone is raving about her artistry. One of the songs that stood out to me off the album was my February song pick, “Velvet Elvis.”

The song is truly unique with its phrasing and rhythm, which I find refreshing and innovative. I was hooked from the first verse, “All I ever wanted / Was something classic / A kind of love song that goes on till the end of the time.” Additionally, she has gotten me more and more excited about all the wonderful female artists in the country genre. Musgraves is a one-of-a-kind talent that I encourage everyone to take a chance and listen to.”
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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Subscribe to our Weekly Round-Up here
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