As summer 2018 comes to a close, our team of writers have each chosen a song that they loved to listen to this summer, whether it was a song they heard at a concert, had a special moment with a special someone, or a song they listened to while driving around with their windows down.
Check out our picks for the best songs of Summer 2018, then be sure to give our Spotify account a follow and listen to our favorite tracks!
Stephanie Wagner: “Blue Tacoma” – Russell Dickerson
“My favorite song of summer 2018 has to be “Blue Tacoma” recorded by Russell Dickerson who co-wrote the tune with Casey Robert Brown and Parker Welling. These are the same songwriters who brought you Dickerson’s very first single and first number one, “Yours” off his debut album. His second single to country radio is once again a love song, but this time with being carefree, driving down the beautiful coast of California. The picturesque lyrics make for the perfect ‘sing at the top of your lungs’ vibe and makes you want to turn the volume up to 11. It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of Russell Dickerson after working with him on our very first event and then some, but being able to finally hear this on radio makes it one of my favorite songs of summer 2018. ”
Christina Bosch: “Top Down” – Brown & Gray
“I first heard this song in the dead of winter wearing a giant coat waiting for my car to heat up and thinking to myself, I can not wait to roll my windows down this summer and have this one on full volume driving to the beach. Brown & Gray, a duo made up of Kaci Brown and Sam Gray told NYCountry Swag about their inception as a group during our Live Swag Session in December and since then they have traveled the country together performing at festivals and concerts promoting their debut EP. “Top Down” is the quintessential summer song perfect for tailgates and the wind in your hair.”
Nicole Bochinis: “All to Myself” – Dan + Shay
““All to Myself” by Dan + Shay is one of those songs that I could have on repeat all day and never get tired of. I first heard it during CMA Fest in Nashville at their album listening party. This song is one of my favorites off of their self-titled album Dan + Shay, however, it didn’t mean as much to me until I met my boyfriend. It was one of the first songs we heard while driving around with the windows down. I looked at him and said “This is our song.” Since then, we listen to it every time we are driving and sing at the top of our lungs. This song is not just my favorite song of the summer, it is hands down one of my favorite songs ever.”
Kelly Cunningham: “If I Know Me” – Morgan Wallen
“”If I Know Me” By Morgan Wallen was my song of the summer. Even though his whole album is golden, this title track caught my attention. When I first heard it when his album came out, I knew it’d be something special. It shows his southern roots with a mix of rock. It also has that catchy, upbeat melody that would be perfect for his next single.”
Taylor Felvey: “Must Be the Whiskey” – Cody Jinks
“When you think of a summer country hit, nothing says summer more than a song about drinking! “Must Be The Whiskey” is a song recorded by Cody Jinks an ex-metal rocker turned country rocker. It tells the story of a lover battling with why his relationship is over and what was real to begin with. Was it love? Was it lust? Or was it the whiskey? You can’t go into a bar in Fort Worth, Texas without hearing this song from native Texan Jinks. Once you hear the hook you’ll find yourself humming and singing it all day long “I’ve been drinkin’ to remember and drinkin’ to forget / I got “I love you” on my mind, I got Jim Beam on my breath”.”
Crystal Fenton: “Talk You Out Of It” – Florida Georgia Line
“”Talk You Out Of It” by Florida Georgia Line is my favorite song of the summer. It’s got such a cool, sexy, unusual (for Florida Georgia line) vibe that conjures up (in my mind, anyway) sultry summer nights, plus the seductive tones of Barry White/Luther Vandross. Summer is all about turning up the heat and this is the perfect song to make you want to chill out, pop a bottle and call that special someone to come over, immediately.”
Molly Holmberg: “Downtown’s Dead” – Sam Hunt
“It had been 15 months since Sam Hunt had released music following his megahit “Body Like a Back Road,” which came out in 2017. Fans were anxiously waiting for new music from the superstar who seemed to disappear. After wiping clean his entire Instagram account, the singer/songwriter solely focused on marketing his new song with pictures of what appears to be a Spanish inspired town. Warm tones, desert vibes, and desolation were prominent, leaving fans up for interpretation.
Hunt released his new single “Downtown’s Dead”, just in time for summer – which for me was an automatic download after just one listen. The chorus has an unforgettable catchy tone and the flow of the music will make you want to put it on repeat, without even realizing it. Hunt has always given his songs a great storyline, this one included, making people want to listen to the very end. “Downtown’s Dead” depicts the story of a girl leaving and now nothing seems alive without her. Despite being in the midst of clubs with strobe lights and house music, the feeling of emptiness is depicted with the lines “Everywhere I go looks like the place to be I see people that I know and I feel like there’s no one here but me.” As a country/pop crossover, this is just the song to add to any playlist.”
Nicole Piering: “Tequila” – Dan + Shay
“For Dan + Shay, “Tequila” was a huge hit, and their first multi-week number one, but for me, the song was one of my most played and also provided one of my favorite concert moments of the summer. The duo opened for Rascal Flatts at Jones Beach in July, and while their entire set was a memorable one, it was “Tequila” that truly stood out. There is nothing like witnessing an entire crowd sing along to every word in a song, and that’s exactly what happened at this concert. In fact, it would’ve been possible for Shay Mooney to stop singing and hold the microphone out to the audience for the entire song, but he didn’t, joining the crowd in the epic singalong. Forget beer and whiskey in 2018, this year was truly the summer of “Tequila.”
Nicole Sellati: “Fan Girl” – Michael Ray
“After seeing Michael Ray perform “Fan Girl” five times in one week it quickly secured its spot as my favorite song of the summer. There’s something about his energy onstage that transitions into his music and this song in particular. I love the fact that it’s such a catchy upbeat song that fits perfectly with the passion fans feel when watching their favorite artists on stage. When he sings, “You give me that front-row feeling, screaming with my hands up / walk in the room and everybody stands up / you got my heart singing whoa-oh-oh-oh”, it tells the story about being a fan in that moment. As an artist, he was able to turn the table on himself showing that he truly understands what it’s like to have the passion us fans have. Because of this “Fan Girl” is one of my go-to songs to blast while driving, along with the rest of the album Amos!”
Danielle Tornatore: “Shoot Me Straight” – Brothers Osborne
“There were hundreds of songs on my playlist this summer and choosing just one to be my soundtrack of the past few months was a difficult decision. But, the one I could always put on whether I was getting ready to go somewhere, in the car, laying by the pool, or just hanging out in my room, was “Shoot Me Straight” by Brothers Osborne. This song is THE definition of a jam and even makes for a great tailgating song. The lyrics are great, I love when metaphors and similes are used in songs instead of being straightforward about a situation, which is ironic considering the message of this particular song. And don’t even get me started with the four minute guitar solo. Genius and insane are a few words that come to mind when trying to describe how amazing it truly is. As if I didn’t love this song enough, they recently released a hilarious music video for it and my love grew even more. I cannot wait to see and hear the song live next month when these guys open for Dierks Bentley at Madison Square Garden.”
Erica Zisman: “I Was Jack (You Were Diane)” – Jake Owen
“One of my favorite parts about country music is how the songs really become an anthem of your life! “I Was Jack (You Were Diane)” by Jake Owen is certainly one of those anthems. I especially enjoy the collaboration of musical inspiration the writers and Owen took from singer John Mellencamp’s previously recorded song.
I became enamored with Owen’s song, after heading to CMA Fest 2018, and meeting (by happenstance), one of the songwriters, David Ray. Besides being a great singer himself, (Bonus- check out his infectious song “Light It Up”) Ray helped co-write this number 1 single and could not be more humble about it.
The song is the perfect reminder that the innocence from our pasts help shape who we are now. Also, the music video is super fun and nostalgic. “Kind like those songs that saved our souls.””
Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC!
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!