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HARDY Shares HIXTAPE: Vol. 2 “Hometown Boys” ft. Dierks Bentley & Matt Stell

HARDY shares first taste of HIXTAPE: Vol. 2 with new song, “Hometown Boys,” featuring Dierks Bentley and Matt Stell. Take a look below as we dig into the track.

HARDY and Bentley are becoming quite the team. The two recently joined forces on Bentley’s fun bar tune, “Beers On Me.” Now, the two come together once again along with Matt Stell for the very first taste of the highly anticipated collaborative project, HIXTAPE: Vol 2. “Hometown Boys” is all about nostalgia and the friendships that have stood the test of time. Even though they are beyond their glory days, they still drink together, send each other fish pics, and reminisce on all of their past football games and dirt road shenanigans. Stell takes the first verse and chorus, followed by Bentley, and then HARDY closes it out, singing the final bridge and chorus.

“Still wild as a whiskey shot // Straight out the bottle in a parking lot // Man, I got a lot of love ’cause I wouldn’t be me without ’em // ‘Bout time somebody sang a song about them hometown boys”

HIXTAPE VOL. 1 contained ten songs, including the number one smash hit, “One Beer” with Lauren Alaina and Devin Dawson, and featured seventeen different artists. VOL. 2 ups the ante, with fourteen songs and an impressive collection of 33 artists, such as Ashland Craft, Brantley Gilbert, Brothers Osborne, Chase Rice, Chris Lane, ERNEST, Jake Owen, Lainey Wilson, Morgan Wallen, The Cadillac Three and many others. Unlike the first project, HARDY’s vocals will not appear on all tracks; only six. VOL. 1 was very popular among fans and was essential to launching HARDY’s career as a singer. Now a star in the industry, anything HARDY is involved in is must-listen material.

“I am beyond excited about this release,” HARDY states in a recent press release. “I think it’s really the first one that’s going to truly introduce what HIXTAPE is all about, how it can take on a life of its own, and just be the first original Country mixtape with all different artists. I think the songs are great and everybody involved from the singers to the songwriters to the Big Loud family are some of my favorite people in the world. I’m just happy to be part of such a cool project and I have really high hopes for it.”

HARDY is still riding the success of his debut album, A ROCK, with the current single “GIVE HEAVEN SOME HELL” slowly rising up the charts. He is currently supporting Jason Aldean on his Back in the Saddle Tour. For tickets, head to his website.

hardy-hometown-boys

The first single from HARDY’s collaborative project ‘HIXTAPE VOL. 2,’ “Hometown Boys” is out now featuring Dierks Bentley and Matt Stell.

Fans can join our Weekly Round-Up e-newsletter here, for the latest in country music and more news and announcements about future HIXTAPE releases.

To keep up with HIXTAPE, Follow Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

“Hometown Boys” is available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released tunes on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.

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beers-on-me

Dierks Bentley, BRELAND & HARDY Collaborate on “Beers On Me”

Dierks Bentley teamed up with rising stars, HARDY and BRELAND, on new drinking song, “Beers On Me,” available now, July 29th, on all streaming platforms. Bentley, HARDY, BRELAND, Ross Copperman, Luke Dick, and Ashley Gorley all contributed to the writing and producing of the track. Keep reading below as we dig deeper into the new song.

After “Gone” marked Bentley’s 20th number-one hit last month, the star surprised fans by finally releasing a new track. “Beers On Me” is a fun, bar sing-along for everyone who had their heart broke, has been stressed at work, or are finally ready to celebrate and put this past year and a half behind us. To the great pleasure of the crowd, the singer offers to pay everyone’s tabs. Bentley takes the first verse and choruses, while HARDY and BRELAND provide backing vocals and take the second and third verses, respectively. BRELAND brings trap to the track as he talks/raps his verse.

Come on down // swing on by // Bring whatever’s been on your mind // Locals on tap / and bottles on ice // livin’ on feel-good standard time // My card’s on the bar // you’ve got nowhere to be // If you don’t come through // buddy, that’s on you // ‘cause the beer’s on me

BRELAND opened for Bentley on his first few shows back, and the two quickly became friends. Although he and HARDY will not be joining Bentley on his tour of the same name, he will have the support of Riley Green and Parker McCollum starting August 13th in Salt Lake City, Utah. The tour hits the New York area at Jones Beach on September 24th. For tickets, head to his website.

Join our Weekly Round-Up e-newsletter here, for the latest in country music and more news about future Dierks Bentley announcements and releases.

To keep up with Dierks Bentley, follow him on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

To keep up with HARDY follow him on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

To keep up with BRELAND, follow him on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

“Beers On Me” is available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music‘ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.

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Subscribe to our Weekly Round-Up here 
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and all things country music in the New York metro area and beyond!

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Brantley Gilbert, Toby Keith, HARDY: “The Worst Country Song Of All Time”

Brantley Gilbert joins forces with Toby Keith and HARDY on “The Worst Country Song Of All Time,” available now, June 18th, on all streaming platforms. Take a look below as we dig a little deeper into the new music.

There are few things better than a star-studded collaboration in country music. Social media blew up when fans found out that Brantley Gilbert was going to join forces with the legendary Toby Keith and one of our favorite rising stars, HARDY. The three extremely talented men officially dropped a song today that they never thought they actually would. “The Worst Country Song Of All Time” is officially out.

The idea all started when HARDY threw out the title at a write with co-writers Gilbert, Hunter Phelps, and Will Weatherly. Although all the men took it as a joke, they started throwing out line after line. Eventually, a song formed. “We were listening to the demo after we finished it, and I said to HARDY, “Man, if we get a wild hair and decide we’re actually going to cut this, would you be cool with cutting it with me?,” Gilbert shares of his collaborator in a recent press release. “I’ll never forget, he looked at me and he said, ‘Absolutely.’”

“I hate beer and honky-tonk women // And I don’t eat deer and I can’t stand fishing // I don’t know the words to Family Tradition // Folsom Prison or Walk The Line // And I think sweet tea is overrated // And all dirt roads were made for paving // Yeah this is the worst country song of all time”

Clearly, the men had something, when they received a seal of approval from Toby Keith, who is also featured on the track. “The Worst Country Song Of All Time” is one of those songs that only these trio of guys could actually release. It pokes fun at all the stereotypical ‘country boy’ things and flips it on its head. With some killer one-liners and a catchy beat, the song is a bop for sure!

We hope this collaboration will lead to even more collaboration between the talented men. Until then, make sure you jam to this one!

Brantley-Gilbert-The-Worst-Country-Song-of-All-Time

Brantley Gilbert joins forces with Toby Keith and HARDY on new song, “The Worst Country Song Of All Time”, available now, June 18th

Fans can join our Weekly Round-Up e-newsletter here, for the latest in country music and more news about upcoming Brantley Gilbert, Toby Keith, and HARDY announcements and releases.

To keep up with Brantley Gilbert, follow him on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

To keep up with Toby Keith follow him on  Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

To keep up with HARDY follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

“The Worst Country Song Of All Time” is available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released tunes on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.

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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!

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HARDY Releases Cover of Puddle of Mudd’s Song, “BLURRY”

HARDY’s new cover of Puddle of Mudd’s, “BLURRY” is available now, May 21st, on all streaming platforms. Take a look below as we dig a little deeper into the song.

Tapping into his Rock influences, singer-songwriter and one of our favorites, HARDY, decided to release his own version of “BLURRY” with a lyric video to go with it! First made famous by rock band, Puddle of Mudd, “BLURRY” is one of those songs that every music lover has heard at least once. HARDY’s version commemorates the 20th anniversary of the track, releasing under Big Loud Records Rock/Alternative imprint, Big Loud Rock.

HARDY has always been one of those artists that we believe can sing anything, and this cover proves it. Tapping into the grittier side of his voice, the singer shares the angst that we all feel when we listen to the song. It will be interesting to see how country music fans relate to this side of HARDY.

“You could be my someone // You could be my scene // You know that I’ll protect you // From all of the obscene // I wonder what you’re doin’ // Imagine where you are // There’s oceans in between us // But that’s not very far”

HARDY has always been open about wanting to collaborate with artists across different genres, so we’d love to see more killer collaborations from him, as we anticipate a possible new volume of Hixtape. Until then, fans can look forward to HARDY performing this cover live, when he opens for Jason Aldean on the ‘Back In The Saddle Tour 2021’ this summer.

HARDY's new cover of Puddle of Mudd's, "BLURRY" is available now, May 21st, on all streaming platforms

HARDY’s new cover of Puddle of Mudd’s, “BLURRY” is available now, May 21st, on all streaming platforms

Fans can join our Weekly Round-Up e-newsletter here, for the latest in country music and more news about upcoming HARDY announcements and releases.

To keep up with HARDY follow him on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

“BLURRY” is available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released tunes on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.

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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:

BREAKING: Jason Aldean Announces 2021 Back In The Saddle Tour

Jason Aldean has announced The Back In The Saddle Tour kicking off this Summer 2021. Check out the full list of dates below.

Joining Jason Aldean on tour will be show openers, HARDY and Lainey Wilson.

The show hits the tri-state area on Friday, August 6th at PNC Bank Arts Center and on Saturday, August 7th at Jones Beach Theater and we’re getting you early access tickets to the show! Use our presale code: SWAG beginning on Thursday, 5/20 at 10AM-10PM!

For all other tour dates, tickets go on sale to the general public on Friday, 5/21 at 10AM ET at jasonaldean.com.

Join our Weekly Round-Up e-newsletter here, for the latest in country music and more news about future Jason Aldean shows and releases.

Check out the dates below for the full list of shows…

JASON ALDEAN: BACK IN THE SADDLE TOUR 2021 DATES:
08/05/21    Virginia Beach, VA – Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater at Virginia Beach
08/06/21    Holmdel, NJ – PNC Bank Arts Center
08/07/21    Wantagh, NY – Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater
08/12/21    Cincinnati, OH – Riverbend Music Center*
08/13/21    Pittsburgh, PA – The Pavilion at Star Lake
08/14/21    Philadelphia, PA – BB&T Pavilion
08/19/21    Raleigh, NC – Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek
08/20/21    Charlotte, NC – PNC Music Pavilion
08/21/21    Atlanta, GA – Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood
08/27/21    Orange Beach, AL – The Wharf Amphitheater
08/28/21    Orange Beach, AL – The Wharf Amphitheater
09/09/21    Rogers, AR – Walmart AMP
09/10/21    Dallas, TX – Dos Equis Pavilion
09/11/21    Houston, TX – Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion presented by Huntsman
09/16/21    Spokane, WA – Spokane Arena
09/17/21    Seattle, WA – White River Amphitheater
09/18/21    Portland, OR – Sunlight Supply Amphitheater
09/23/21    Sacramento, CA – Toyota Amphitheatre
09/24/21    Mountain View, CA – Shoreline Amphitheatre
09/25/21    Irvine, CA – FivePoint Amphitheatre
09/30/21    Phoenix, AZ – Ak-Chin Pavilion
10/01/21    Albuquerque, NM – Isleta Amphitheater
10/02/21    Denver, CO – Ball Arena*
10/07/21    Peoria, IL – Peoria Civic Center*
10/08/21    Kansas City, MO – T-Mobile Center
10/09/21    St. Louis, MO – Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
10/14/21    Charleston, WV – Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center
10/15/21    Cleveland, OH – Blossom Music Center*
10/16/21    Birstow, VA – Jiffy Lube Live
10/21/21    Charlottesville, VA – John Paul Jones Arena
10/22/21    Greenville, SC – Bon Secours Wellness Arena
10/23/21    Lexington, KY – Rupp Arena
10/28/21    Estero, FL – Hertz Arena
10/29/21    West Palm Beach, FL – iTHINK Financial Amphitheatre
10/30/21    Tampa, FL – MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre

*With Lainey Wilson and TBA

Jason Aldean Back In The Saddle Tour

Photo by Justin Mrusek

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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!

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Robert Counts Releases “What Do I Know” Featuring HARDY

Robert Counts re-released his debut radio single “What Do I Know” with HARDY, available now March 5th on all streaming platforms. Take a look below as we dig a little deeper into the track.

Back in December, we introduced you to one of Sony Music Nashville’s newest singer-songwriters, Robert Counts, in one of our Swag Spotlight features. The budding musician had just released his debut single, “What Do I Know” to country radio, a song he wrote with one of our favorites, HARDY, and the talented, Jake Mitchell. Today, Counts and his label are re-releasing the jam this time and shaking things up a bit by adding HARDY to the song.

“What Do I Know” is one of those songs that you just know is meant for radio. Counts came out swinging with this tune, introducing fans to his country roots and his knack for songwriting. Of course, it is obvious that HARDY had a hand in the songwriting. Similar to HARDY’s songs “UNAPOLOGETICALLY COUNTRY AS HELL” and “WHERE YA AT” off of his debut album A ROCK, “What Do I Know” is just an extension of his songwriting genius.

“Say what you think / Think ‘fore you speak / Don’t kill nothin’ that you ain’t gonna eat / You learn from the dirt what the street can’t teach / That backward philosophy / Hell, it still means a lot to me / But what do I know?”

Robert Count’s “What Do I Know” ft. HARDY is available everywhere now, March 5th

Robert Count’s “What Do I Know” ft. HARDY is available everywhere now, March 5th

The twosome take turns singing the verses before they jam out together on the last chorus. In a post on Instagram, Counts shares “This song is really about how some of the simplest pieces of advice you get growing up, especially as a kid in the south, tend to stand the test of time and be pretty solid words to live by even as an adult.”

We’d say that that is a pretty good summary of all that the song has to offer. Congrats to Counts and HARDY on the awesome tune!

Fans can join our Weekly Round-Up e-newsletter here, for the latest in country music and more news about future Robert Counts and HARDY releases.

To keep up with Robert Counts, follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
To keep up with HARDY follow him on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

“What Do I Know” is now available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.

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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:

CRS 2021 New Faces Showcases – The Full Recap

This year, CRS (Country Radio Seminar) looked quite different from years past. We weren’t all gathered at the Omni Hotel in Nashville celebrating the incredible people and artists that make the country genre so popular. Instead, we were in our respective homes or offices, watching on laptops across the country. The virtual CRS however did allow for a spectacular chance to network with radio programmers, personalities, media, and people involved in all facets of the industry. 

New Faces CRS 2021

Each year at the conclusion of this great seminar, five rising talents take the stage for a one-of-a-kind showcase called New Faces. Here at NYCountry Swag, we cherish the new artists that we choose to champion and so many of the artists who were nominated and voted for tonight are not new to our followers however they are just on the verge of their superstar careers. 

 

HARDY kicked off the night of performances with songs from his debut LP, A ROCK including “BOOTS”, “UNAPOLOGETICALLY COUNTRY AS HELL”, and his first number one song as an artist “ONE BEER”. He was also grateful to be able to perform his current radio single, a song for anyone who is missing someone they have lost called “GIVE HEAVEN SOME HELL”. His signature grit and energy was the perfect way to showcase his talent for anyone who already wasn’t a fan. Learn more about HARDY and check out an acoustic session from his last trip to New York City in our video above. 

Next up was Matt Stell who not only performed his back-to-back number-one singles “Prayed for You” and “Everywhere But On” but also included a video package that surely brought the audience to tears featuring his proud mother. Stell’s mix of rock and country and his stage presence absolutely earned him a spot in the five artists featured. Check out our Swag Session with Matt Stell in the video below.

Tenille Arts, one of our 2021 Artists to Watch, showcased her vocal prowess and catchy lyrics with tracks from her most recent album including “Everybody Knows Everybody”, and her current top 15 radio single “Somebody Like That”. She also performed her latest release, “Give It To Me Straight” and her personality and her talent glittered just like her gorgeous hand-decorated guitar. 

Travis Denning was up next, his performance of his first number one song “After A Few” and his next radio single “ABBY” was electric, and he even dazzled attendees with a brand new song, “I’m Gonna Love You”. Denning joined us for a Swag Session in New York City. Revisit the interview and performance in the video below.

 

To close out an already remarkable evening of live music, Ashley McBryde, a current GRAMMY nominee brought her delicate vocals and honest storytelling to the stage. Starting her set with songs from her first album that put her on the map “Girl Goin Nowhere” and “A Little Dive Bar In Dahlonega” she told the story of her journey so far in the industry. “One Night Standards” and “Martha Divine” from her current album Never Will showcased the magic she can bring to a room.

While we anxiously await the return of concerts and live music, it’s a positive thought to know that when we do all gather again, country artists have written and recorded some amazing music for us during this past year. 

Fans can join our Weekly Round-Up e-newsletter here, for the latest in country music and more news.

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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!

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Best Country Albums of 2020 – Our Favorite Picks

As this crazy, unprecedented year finally comes to a close, the one thing we could all find solace in was music in 2020.  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 2020.  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.

Best Country Albums of 2020 - Our Favorite Picks

Best Country Albums of 2020 – Our Favorite Picks

Find below each of our team member’s favorite albums and why in our 2020 best country album picks.

 

Stephanie Wagner, Founder

Pick: Southern Symphony – Russell Dickerson

Although the album has only been out a few weeks, I would be lying if I said I haven’t been playing it on repeat nonstop since its release. It’s one of those albums you can listen to over and over again and each time fall in love with a new song. This was one of the records I was looking forward to most this year and I’m so glad that in a year of uncertainty, this new music from Russell Dickerson has made its way out into the world. I can not wait to see songs from this project performed live!

Honorable Mention:  Southside – Sam Hunt – When I think of the early days of quarantine, I think of this album and listening to it on repeat night and day. It’s full of jams, relatable lyrics, and clever twists that made it easy to listen to over and over again.

 

Christina Bosch, Managing Editor 

Pick: The Other Side – Cam

Cam

Throughout this unprecedented and unpredictable year music has been healing and also very painful to listen to. Missing live music and the way our old life played out was something I had to come to grips with early on in the pandemic but each time a new album was released, I fell deeper and deeper in love with music and was able to really focus on my favorite part of the country genre – the lyrics.

Picking a favorite album of 2020 was nearly impossible. Three different albums were constantly playing throughout the year, the first half of the year was Nightfall by Little Big Town, then came my favorite singer-songwriter HARDY with A ROCK. Both of those albums were chosen by two of our writers so finally, released at the end of October was Cam’s sophomore project, The Other Side.

Cam’s impeccable vocal ability blew me away from the moment I first heard her sing but with this second project, she proves her power in this genre. Each song tells a different story from heartbreak, divorce, growing older, and a love that is envied by all. “Happier for You”, “Redwood Tree”, and “What Goodbye Means” are highlights but even choosing three songs to showcase was hard. I am so glad that “Diane” is getting a second life on this project as well after being released back in 2017.

For any fans of real country music that tells a story, The Other Side will instantly become a favorite for years to come.

 

Lucie Bernheim, Contributing Writer

Pick: The Dream – Hailey Whitters

2020 has felt like multiple years rolled into one. Between a global pandemic, civil unrest, and ultimately, vast unpredictability, the true silver lining has been the incredible music released over the last 12 months. This year has produced some of my favorite works of all time, two being Brett Eldredge’s risk-taking Sunday Drive, which I got to review in July, and Hailey Whitters’ magical and brilliant The Dream. Choosing between these albums was hard because they are both my favorites on different ways, but when it came down to it, I had to choose Hailey Whitters’ The Dream.

The Dream is a dream album. It’s cohesive and gorgeous, insightful and witty, heartbreaking and hopeful. “Dream, Girl” and “All The Cool Girls” have a real groove and mystique to them, making them standouts. “Janice At The Hotel Bar” is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of song. I remember where I was when I first heard the song, walking in Central Park, so moved I had to stop. I immediately played it for my parents and my sister. Lyrically, it’s incredible, as is any story-song written by Whitters and the unparalleled Lori McKenna. “Paris in the spring of 1973/She said if there is a heaven, that’s where I’ll be”.  Something about the delivery and production makes it incredibly evocative, with Whitters’ reverbed vocals and a shimmering acoustic guitar gliding you along. It’s the kind of musical moment you never forget.

It’s hard to encapsulate what music has meant to me this year. “The Days” gave me the closure I needed to end my senior year of high school; “Heartland” and “Janice At The Hotel Bar” got me through my first semester of college. Whenever I hear this record, I will always be transported back in time to 2020, a year that even if we try to forget, we never will. I can’t wait to see what Hailey Whitters does next.

 

Dylan Bestler, Contributing Writer

Pick: Southside – Sam Hunt

With all live shows being canceled this year, we needed artists to drop a lot of new music to fill the void and get through quarantine. Luckily, country artists delivered and we got a ton of great albums from Luke Bryan, Kelsea Ballerini, Dustin Lynch, Brett Eldredge, Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, Carly Pearce, Chris Stapleton, and many others. My favorite was Sam Hunt’s Southside.

Hunt covered a lot of themes on this record. Being that his last album was released five and a half years ago (which could’ve been another reason why I loved Southside so much), he had a lot of stories to tell. His songs are very personal to him, but are general enough where others can relate as well.

If you want to dance and have a good time, “Kinfolks” and “Hard to Forget” are great tailgate anthems. If you want to get in your feels and maybe even cry, “2016” and “That Ain’t Beautiful” are for you. “Young Once” and “Sinning With You” paint great pictures of young love if you want to reminisce on your youth. There is a song for every type of emotion on this record which makes it so versatile and relevant.

Honorable Mentions: A ROCK-HARDY, The Lemonade Stand-Tenille Townes, The K Is Silent-Hot Country Knights.

 

Kristina Callahan, Contributing Writer

Pick: Tullahoma – Dustin Lynch

Remember a time when artists put out albums, did press about the new record, and maybe even have an album release party? It seems like that was a lifetime ago. Dustin Lynch put out Tullahoma, his fourth studio album, right before the Covid-19 pandemic hit and let me tell you, I can still listen to it front to back nearly a year later. The album is named after Lynch’s hometown of Tullahoma, Tennessee, and is a central theme throughout the album from running into an ex-girlfriend at the Circle K in “Thinking ‘Bout You” or singing about momma’s fried chicken in “Dirt Road.”
I grew up on a dirt road dreaming ’bout making a name // And getting out of dodge and the same ol’ same // Graduate and settle down, man I was out of that town // Now I catch myself rewind and reminiscing // ‘Bout a small town girl and mama’s fried chicken // I can taste it right now // Let me tell you I’m proud
 
Lynch sings about his hometown in a way that so many that grew up in the small towns can relate to: driving down backroads, having everything remind you of an ex, and memories with some of your best friends. I think that’s why I love this album so much, it’s relatable and simple. When Lynch can finally perform these songs live in front of thousands of fans, I have no doubt they’ll be crowd favorites.

Jeremy Chua, Contributing Writer

Pick: Rollin’ On – Jesse Daniel

If your knowledge of country music relies solely on what’s played on country radio, you probably wouldn’t have heard of Jesse Daniel. But, if you listen to country radio and also keep up critics’ reviews, you would have heard the buzz about the California native. Though Daniel released his debut album back in 2018, it is his sophomore (and latest) effort that caught the ears of many. Rollin’ On is a throwback to the warmth of classic country, whilst also giving a nod to the Bakersfield sound made famous by icons like Buck Owens and Dwight Yoakam.

The twelve-track project boasts plenty of fiddle, steel, mandolin, and all your favorite traditional country elements. Sometimes, you hear the phrase “my life is a country song” tossed around in lighthearted humor. But Daniel’s life truly is a country song. He’s lived through poverty, drugs, substance abuse, jail time, rehab and more. This roller-coaster journey is on full display in Rollin’ On. “Champion” boasts a story of overcoming odds, “If You Ain’t Happy Now (You Never Will Be)” is a timely reminder of true contentment, while the rollicking title track celebrates the adventure of life everyone is on. Like classic country? Like authentic songwriting? Like a record with impeccable production? Then Jesse Daniel’s Rollin’ On is definitely for you. Look out for him in 2021! This album is just the beginning for the rising country star.

 

Erin Crosby, Contributing Writer

Pick: Lady Like (Deluxe) – Ingrid Andress

This “More Hearts Than Mine” singer-songwriter and piano ballad enthusiast did not only release LadyLike, her debut record, in a time when the word quarantine was still freshly coming off the tongue like a foreign island that protrudes its way onto the coast, impacting the nation in more ways than could have been anticipated. But, Ingrid Andress followed up with a deluxe edition just six months after the collection itself.

LadyLike (Deluxe) deepens and expands a presence of the crisp, lovable yet heartbreaking sentiment that exceeds an already palpable sense of her artistry in the original album. A stripped-down and honest production is only accentuated in the follow-up project with a rearranged tracklist that is said to tell the story in the order that it occurred. Each song acts as a chapter of Andress’ life whether it highlights emotional distress or an attempt at a real relationship, though intentions vary throughout depending on where you left off in the story. LadyLike (Deluxe) acts as a true representation of modern ideologies of romance while not closing the curtain on inner frustrations and insecurities along the way.

 

Caleigh DeCaprio, Contributing Writer

Pick: kelsea– Kelsea Ballerini

There were a few albums that I found myself playing on repeat this year, including The Speed of Now Part 1, What you see Ain’t Always What You Get, and Diplo Presents Thomas Wesley, Chapter 1: Snake Oil. But when it came to what album got me ~through~ this year, it was kelsea.

Too many of these songs felt like Kelsea wrote them just for me. I’ve never heard a song that was so lyrically perfect for me before I listened to “club”. Seriously if you know me, this song is my anthem. I had already loved “homecoming queen?” and “la” because of how vulnerable and relatable they were and when I heard the full album, I felt the very same way about “overshare”, “half of my hometown”, and “a country song”. I related so strongly to these songs to the point that I felt I could have written them myself. (not that I could have done that, but you know what I mean).

The artistry in the songwriting and production of this entire album is a pure example of a true and rare talent. No matter what song you come across on this record, it will be some of the most vulnerable and honest music you have heard. Ballerini shares her highs and lows and everything in between. It’s not that common for an artist to be so open and forward about their struggles with anxiety and introversion, especially this early on in their career, but Ballerini showed that side of her and then some with this album.

My heart hurt for her when this album came out the week the world shut down. I wanted her to get to play these songs live and receive all the glory she deserved for this beautiful work of art. However, the way that she was able to spin that negative into the reimagining of the very same songs on ballerini in order to give herself the chance to re-fall in love with these songs was extraordinary and a lovely example of music that would not exist if it weren’t for this year’s events. The re-imagined ballerini album just made fans understand even more how much love she had for this collection of songs.

The pair of albums was meant to show that there are two sides to every story and every person. Understanding that we all have more to us than what is seen on the surface is an important and beautiful lesson that we can take away from these albums and this year. When the day finally comes for Kelsea to play these songs on tour, I will be the first one in line to see it.

Julia Grubbs, Contributing Writer 

Pick: Starting Over – Chris Stapleton

2020 has been a certain kind of year, so I was looking for something that told a complete story. As soon as I heard Starting Over, I knew it captured everything I was feeling about how the year had gone: some of the anger, some of the resentment, some of the just getting up every day for a brand new day that looked very similar to the one before. While Stapleton always manages to speak truth to listeners in ways no one else can, this year we needed comfort and assurance unlike any other that we will make it through this. “Cold” is one of my favorites, using his iconic tone and lyricism to hit raw emotion. “Starting Over”, just like the title of the album, reminds us that through this journey, we can still learn and grow, find moments of joy, and serves as a reminder that we must accept what has happened, and use that as a pivotal moment for the path forward.

 

Nicole Piering, Contributing Writer

Pick: Nightfall – Little Big Town

My favorite and most listened to album of 2020 was easily Little Big Town’s Nightfall, which came out in simpler pre-pandemic times back in January. In fact, their phenomenal concert at the Apollo was my last taste of live music this year, so at least I went out on a high note.

Although not as single-heavy as some of their other releases, Nightfall is truly a cohesive masterclass in harmony. With standout songs such as “Sugar Coat,” “Questions,” and “The Daughters,” this album is one I’ll be listening to through 2021 and beyond.
Pick: My Gift – Carrie Underwood
Whether or not you’re a religious person, this album is absolutely stunning. We needed something positive to come out of 2020 and the first ever holiday project from the queen of country definitely delivered. From gorgeous covers of Christmas classics like “O Holy Night”, “Mary Did You Know” and “Joyful Joyful” to new original songs like “Let There Be Peace” and “Sweet Baby Jesus” the album truly has something for everyone. Underwood’s voice shines on the power ballads and the softer hymns alike, and you can hear her emotion and faith come through every song.
My personal favorites off the album happen to be the two collaborations: “Hallelujah” with John Legend and “Little Drummer Boy” featuring Underwood’s son, Isaiah. Curling up with hot chocolate and a blanket and listening to My Gift has been my weekend routine since it came out in September, and I’m definitely going to be listening to these songs well after the holiday season.

What a year wild ride 2020 has been. While it was so strange not going to any concerts, new music from many great country artists certainly got me through. While this was a tough decision to make, my favorite album of 2020 had to be Granger Smith’s Country Things (Both Volumes). It just gives you such perspective to live in the moment and enjoy the little things. This was such an important message for 2020 as while we may not have gotten to enjoy the big events, we got to enjoy those moments with our loved ones we may not have gotten to if we had a year of our normal, busy schedules.

 

Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer

Pick: A ROCK – HARDY

If there is one thing that got me through this year, it was music. As 2020 comes to a close, I could not be more grateful for country music! With that being said, my favorite record of 2020 has to be HARDY’s album, A ROCK.

I am completely in love with everything HARDY does as a singer, a songwriter, and a performer. He continues to exceed my expectations and delivers music that I relate to, enjoy, and want to share with my friends and family. HARDY’s ability to craft lyrics is a skill I’ll never get enough of. Moreover, his record is a cohesive masterpiece that tells a full story from start to finish.

Songs like the title track, “A ROCK,” “GIVE HEAVEN SOME HELL,” and “SO CLOSE” are all so different, yet distinctly HARDY.  Time after time, the singer-songwriter and superstar in the making proves that he has an IQ high above the rest when it comes to creating a captivating song and full-length project.

I truly cannot wait to see what he does next. Also, it is an added bonus that HARDY gave us all a live concert via streaming to celebrate this record. Even through the screen, I could feel how amazing the record truly is and will be when performed in front of a live audience; hopefully next year! Congrats to HARDY and his team for delivering a badass and unique record to an ever-growing fanbase!

Honorable Mention: Jordan Davis Self-titled EP

 

How do our favorite picks match up to yours? Let us know what music you’ve had on repeat in 2020. Already anticipating new music in 2021? Check out our list of albums to expect in the new year here.

 

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SHOP THE HERO COLLECTION

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.

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HARDY, Ashley McBryde and More Announced as 2021 CRS New Faces

Earlier today, Country Radio Seminar (CRS) officially announced the CRS 2020 New Faces of Country Music Class of 2021.

The CRS New Faces of Country Music is one of the most coveted showcases of the weekend that spotlights five emerging artists that have achieved significant success in the country genre. This year, Tenille Arts, Travis Denning, HARDY, Ashley McBryde, and Matt Stell were honored with the title.

New Faces CRS

 

For three years in a row, our team has had the pleasure of attending Country Radio Seminar (CRS) in Nashville, where country music and radio industry gather to exchange ideas, check out new talent, and celebrate the country music genre. Although the 2021 seminar will be virtual, members of the country music and country radio community will still come together through technology to celebrate the year in music.

We highlighted Travis Denning back in 2018 when he was just hitting the scene and Matt Stell back in 2018 and was our first Swag Session in 2020. Watch both performances and interviews below.

We’ve also championed HARDY since he started releasing his own music as an artist/songwriter. His album Hixtape Vol. 1 made our 2019 Albums of the Year and we’ve loved watching his career explode.

CRS 2021: The Virtual Experience will be held Tuesday, Feb. 16, through Friday, Feb. 19.  The New Faces of Country Music® Show closes out the event on Friday, Feb. 19. 

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SHOP THE HERO COLLECTION

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!

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HARDY’s “One Beer” Earns Him His First Career #1 Single as an Artist

HARDY’s “One Beer” featuring Devin Dawson and Lauren Alaina has hit the top spot on the charts this week, earning him his first number-one single as an artist.

One of our favorite songwriters and artists in country music, HARDY, just scored his first number one as a recording artist with “One Beer”. We fell in love with the song long before it was chosen as a single and are so excited to see it land in the top spot! Check out our Swag Session below, where we talk to HARDY about all of the incredible touches that the song has to offer. With several number ones as a songwriter under his belt, the talented artist can officially celebrate another major feat with “One Beer”!

The song, “One Beer” features fellow country musicians, Devin Dawson and Lauren Alaina on the track. The story-telling, yet catchy tune, depicts a situation where a young couple finds their lives changing with a surprise pregnancy. Despite the specific nature of the song, “One Beer” is captivating and electrifying. New York fans definitely agreed as they sang along to every word of the song back in 2019, when the singer performed an acoustic version of the track during his NYC show, shortly after its original release.

It was in that breathtaking moment that we knew the song was something special. A little over a year to the date, we all get to celebrate “One Beer” at the top of the charts. We honestly cannot champion HARDY enough! He truly has got what it takes to become a bonafide superstar! His debut album, A ROCK is a masterpiece that leaves fans wanting more and more. Check out our Up Close & Virtual Interview below, where we chat with HARDY about the record. Congrats to HARDY, Devin, Lauren, and their teams on this incredible accomplishment!

Fans can join our Weekly Round-Up e-newsletter here, for the latest in country music and more news about upcoming HARDY announcements and releases.

To keep up with HARDY, follow him on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

“One Beer” is available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released tunes on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.

 

—————

SHOP THE HERO COLLECTION

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: