New York’s Country 94.7’s Inaugural Stars and Strings Recap

New York's Countur 94.7


New York country fans are some of the most enthusiastic music fans out there, and if Stars and Strings in Brooklyn proved anything, it’s just that. Announced in early October was RADIO.COM, New York’s Country 94.7’s inaugural “Stars and Strings” event at Barclays Center, with a stacked bill featuring acts Sam Hunt, Dustin Lynch, Chris Janson, Blanco Brown, Runaway June, Gone West, and Matt Stell.

Stars and Strings Matt Stell


The place was already packed when Matt Stell opened the show. He performed his recent #1 “Prayed For You”, and the entire arena was lit up as he sang the tune. He also played his new single, “Everywhere But On”. Blanco Brown was next, and he got the crowd going with his danceable “The Git Up”, a song that’s all about having a good time, which is exactly what the night was intended to do. He had great energy, warming up the crowd so that when it was time for Dustin Lynch and Sam Hunt, they were ready.

Stars and Strings Blanco Brown


Third, was Gone West, Colbie Callait’s new country group. They blew the audience away with their stunning four-part harmonies, singing songs like “What Could’ve Been”, currently about to crack the top 30 on country radio, and the self-titled song “Gone West”. They also performed Callait’s hit “Brighter Than The Sun” which was a really fun surprise, and the audience sang back every word.

Stars and Strings Gone West


Rising stars Runaway June took the stage next, singing their hits “Buy My Own Drinks” and “Wild West”, as well as new jam “Head Over Heels”. They recently finished a tour with Carrie Underwood, where they played Madison Square Garden, and they recently broke a record previously held by SHeDAISY. “Their song went Top 5 on country radio, and it’s the first top 5 by a female trio for the first time in 15 years!” Radio host Jesse Addy told the crowd excitedly when introducing the band. “Everybody who requested this song, thank you, and sing along,” band-member Naomi Cooke yelled at the end of their set.


Stars and Strings Runaway June


Chris Janson was fourth, and he got the crowd moving with songs like “Buy Me a Boat” and “Good Vibes”, and it seemed like the entire arena was dancing. preparing them for the two remaining sets. He also covered Billy Joel’s “Piano Man”, which was very fitting, seeing as he was in the Big Apple playing to a sold-out crowd.


Stars and Strings Chris Janson


It was like a revolving door at Barclays Center – literally – the stage revolved for each act to make things go efficiently as possible and to get each act on stage when they’re supposed to. There was almost always someone performing; it was like a mini-music festival.

Dustin Lynch


Dustin Lynch was next, and he took the arena by a storm, opening with fiery song “Seein’ Red”. He performed a slew of hits from his first three albums, including songs like “Ridin’ Roads” and “Mind Reader”. But perhaps the most poignant moment of the night was when Lynch went into 2012 single “Cowboys & Angels”, a song written about his grandparents’ love story. “We gotta celebrate them being married 63 years this past week,” he told the audience, smiling. “This week, my granddad had major surgery… he’s in the hospital…” he stopped mid-sentence, choked up. “If you could sing this last chorus extra loud for him and me, that’d be great,” The audience sang as loud as they could, clearly moving Lynch, as he stepped back, wiping away tears. “You guys continue to change our lives because you believe in our music, and we love you for that. Thank you.” He ended his set with monster hit, “Small Town Boy”, to which the audience loved.

Sam Hunt Stars and Strings

The audience was abuzz waiting for Sam Hunt to take the stage, as it had been over two years since he last stepped foot in New York City. The roars from the audience when he took the stage, opening with “Leave The Night On” was absolutely deafening. During his opening song and “House Party”, he ran around the arena, trying to interact with as many fans as possible. He performed 8 songs off his debut album, Montevallo, including “Ex To See” and “Take Your Time”. One of the most special moments of the night was when Hunt sat down at the piano to perform his vulnerable song “Make You Miss Me”, completely stripped down. It was like you were back in the writer’s room with him.

“We traveled the country playing our music. Back then, we didn’t have any money. We were flying by the seat of our pants,” Hunt told the crowd before playing Billy Currington cut “We Are Tonight”. “I got a call and found out that [Currington] recorded our song and put it out as a radio single. I also put out the song on my mixtape. So thank you to Billy, wherever you are.”

Hunt also performed his new single, “Kinfolks” for one of the first times, and thanked country radio for supporting him and this song. He also played a yet-to-be-released song from his upcoming sophomore record “Sinning With You,” a guitar-driven ballad about the beginning of his relationship with his wife. To hear the unreleased track check out our post below.


Before he closed out the night with record-breaking “Body Like A Backroad”, Hunt performed “Break Up In A Small Town”, an intense song about how tight-knit small towns can really be, especially when you break up with someone. After he sang the bridge of the song, he sang, “Hannah Lee I’m on my way to you, I don’t know what I’mma say to you, but I know there ain’t no way we’re through”. The audience got quieter, knowing that he was about to go into the emotional track released right before he and his now-wife were engaged, aka “Drinkin’ Too Much”. He sang the chorus of the song acapella with just his band harmonizing, and it was one of the few times during his exciting set that people were quiet, listening to him sing the personal ballad.


Sam Hunt


It was a night filled with some of country music’s biggest stars, and there was a lot of love and gratitude in the room. It was clear that each artist felt incredibly grateful to be supported by country radio and country music fans. It was a celebration of the past year and a nice reminder that music can connect 19,000 strangers.


To keep up with Sam Hunt, make sure to follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

To stay up to date with Dustin Lynch, make sure to follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

To follow Chris Janson, check him out on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

To keep up with Runaway June, follow them on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

To stay up to date with Gone West, make sure to follow them on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

To follow Blanco Brown, check him out on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

To follow Matt Stell, check him out on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.



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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New York’s Country 94.7 Announces Stacked Line-Up for Inaugural ‘Stars And Strings’

On Friday (Oct 11), local country radio station, New York’s Country 94.7 introduced a brand new event for New York Country fans, “Stars And Strings”. Teasing the event all weekend long with on-air announcements and several posts across social media, the beloved radio station left the line-up up to imagination, leaving fans guessing who could be filling the seemingly seven spots on the show.

At precisely 7:10AM this morning (Oct. 14), country radio personalities Kelly Ford and Jesse Addy broke the highly anticipated news. The December event will include music from rising artists Matt Stell, Gone West, Runaway June, and Blanco Brown. Additionally, Chris Janson and Dustin Lynch will take the stage and finally, country music superstar Sam Hunt will headline the show. The show marks Sam Hunt’s first stop in New York City in over two years with his last NYC show being his sold out show at Madison Square Garden back in September 2017.

The event takes place on December 4th at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. Tickets will go on sale on Friday, October 18th. Grab your tickers here and for more information, visit:

Be sure to sign-up for our Weekly Round-Up here so you don’t miss any ticket giveaways, meet & greet contests, upcoming events and more!

To keep up with New York’s Country 94.7 follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.




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!

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Sam Hunt is Back with Brand New Song “Kinfolks”

Sam Hunt Kinfolks

After a hiatus from the music industry, Sam Hunt is back with a brand new song, “Kinfolks”, which made it’s world premiere today (October 10th). The award-winning singer-songwriter co-wrote the new track with Zach Crowell, Jerry Flowers, and Josh Osborne and it will officially impact country radio on Monday, October 14th.

Hunt has been teasing the new music all week on social media, and sonically, “Kinfolks” channels the signature R&B infused country that he has perfected over the years with smash hits like “Body Like A Backroad”, “Ex To See” and “Leave The Night On”. The story unfolds of wanting to bring a new relationship home, maybe for the first time, and introduce them to everyone you love who has been there from the start.

“When I think of ‘kinfolks,’ when I think of that phrase,” says Hunt in a press release, “I think of my family, but also I think of my people back home – beyond family. It’s my buddies who’ve been a part of my story from the beginning. I’ve made a lot of new friends and met a lot of new people who are important to me since I’ve moved away, but that core group is still my core group. It’s like that old saying, ‘you can’t make old friends.’”

Hunt is currently in the studio finishing up his latest project which can be expected in the new year. “Kinfolks” follows a teaser of music that the multi-platinum selling premiered “Sinning With You” during his Bud Light House Party Tour in Calgary on September 19th.

To keep up with Sam Hunt and new music announcements, follow him on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook.

“Kinfolks” is available where 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.



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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and all things country music in the New York metro area and beyond!

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He’s BACK! Sam Hunt Debuts Brand New Song “Sinning With You”

Sam Hunt catapulted to superstardom with his debut Grammy-nominated album, Montevallo back in 2014. Two years later, he released the record breaking hit song, “Body Like a Back Road”, which sat at the top of the charts for 34 weeks. Since that? — Nothing. We have not heard much from the singer-songwriter, leaving the country music industry and fans everywhere stumped.

In June 2019, Sam Hunt broke his silence leaving fans in suspense when he took to social media to post a cryptic message including just a few emojis and a countdown, leading fans to believe that new music was coming. However, upon completion much to everyone’s disappointment (except for maybe those in Canada) Hunt announced he would be a part of the Bud Light House Party Tour in Calgary on September 19th.

Months went by and still no word from Sam Hunt until that House Party Tour came which aired live on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Hunt tells the crowd that new music will be coming in about a month and fans can expect the new record in the early new year. About 50 minutes into the set of finally hearing that familiar voice, the superstar told the packed out room, “for the folks that are listening at home, I wanted to play something from the new record. It’s kind of chill and slow. If y’all will humor me, I’ll play that and then we’ll go out with a bang.”

Hunt started the song alone with just him and the acoustic guitar as the rest of the band slowly joined in on the delicate track and officially debuted the future release, “Sinning With You”. Check it out in the video below on the 53-minute mark.



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




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!

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and all things country music in the New York metro area and beyond!

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Sam Hunt Returns With A “Big” Announcement

Country singer-songwriter, Sam Hunt has been living a quiet life lately, as it’s been over a year since he released his newest song, “Downtown’s Dead” or posted on social media. Lately, Hunt has been emerging at festivals across the country, including Stagecoach, Off The Rails Country Music Fest, and Country Jam, making fans wonder if he would drop new music and regain his country music stardom.

Hunt unexpectedly took to his Instagram stories last night (June 18) with an obscure countdown, which included four emojis of a house, mic, beer, and a cowboy leading fans to believe that new music was coming. As the announcement grew closer and the countdown finally ended, the ‘big’ news was revealed. Much to fans disappointment (except for maybe those in Canada) the superstar announced he will be a part of the Bud Light House Party Tour in Calgary on September 19th.

Fans were quick to take to Twitter to share their feelings…




Apparently, today is not the day that Hunt will return with new music, but for future announcements fans can keep up with Sam Hunt, follow on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.



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Old Dominion Raises $40K+ for Charity with Star-Studded Line-Up

Sam Hunt with Old Dominion's Matthew Ramsey, Photo By Mason Allen

Sam Hunt with Old Dominion’s Matthew Ramsey, Photo By Mason Allen

Last night (Sept. 18.), Old Dominion sold out and electrified the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville for their special headline show: “An Evening With Friends.” The concert raised a total of $40K for charity, with half of the proceeds benefiting the Opry Trust Fund and the other half benefitting the Ryan Seacrest Foundation.

In a recent press release, Old Dominion frontman and 2017 ASCAP Artist Writer of the Year Matthew Ramsey said, “What an unforgettable night. The Nashville community has given so much to us. Our lives have changed in ways we could never have imagined – so we felt like this show at the Ryman was a great way to start giving back. There was so much love and music and history swirling around. We are beyond proud to be able to raise money and help those who need it – along with help from our friends!”

Kenny Chesney surprised Old Dominion and Fans, Photo By Mason Allen

Kenny Chesney surprised Old Dominion and Fans, Photo By Mason Allen

By “our friends”, Ramsey is referring to the superstar lineup that joined them including Kenny Chesney, Kelsea Ballerini, Sam Hunt, and Michael Ray for show-stopping renditions of fan favorites. Chesney surprised the band on stage and had them play “Save It For A Rainy Day,” which was co-written by Old D’s Matthew Ramsey and Brad Tursi and hit #1 for three consecutive weeks. Kelsea Ballerini also joined the band to duet the band’s #1 single “Written In The Sand” and her single “I Hate Love Songs,” co-written by band member Trevor Rosen. Michael Ray then followed and performed his latest energetic single “The One That Got Away,” penned by Ramsey and Rosen. Lastly, Sam Hunt performed two songs with the band that included the #1 single “Make You Miss Me,” as well as “Ex To See,” both of which were co-written with Hunt by Ramsey.

Kelsea Ballerini (left) and Michael Ray (right) with Old Dominion's Matthew Ramsey, Photo By Mason Allen

Kelsea Ballerini (left) and Michael Ray (right) with Old Dominion’s Matthew Ramsey, Photo By Mason Allen

Old Dominion kept the party going and performed 19 additional songs during their 120 minute set covering all of their #1 hit singles and fan favorites including two brand new unreleased songs “Make It Sweet” and “Smooth Sailing.”

A place like Nashville’s legendary Ryman Auditorium is hallowed ground. After selling out arenas across the U.S. and Canada on the winter leg of their “Happy Endings World Tour,” the band checked the iconic venue off their bucket list before they pick back up on the fall leg of their arena tour. The run is set to kick off on Oct. 4 in Knoxville, TN at the Knoxville Coliseum.

Check the list of dates below and get your tickets on sale now, HERE.

Oct. 4               Knoxville, TN                           Knoxville Coliseum
Oct. 5               Glen Allen, VA                         Innsbrook After Hours
Oct. 6               Rochester, NY                         Main Street Armory
Oct. 11             Amarillo, TX                            Amarillo Civic Center
Oct. 12             Las Cruces, NM                       Pan American Center
Oct. 13             Albuquerque, NM                   Balloon Fiesta Park
Oct. 25             Atlantic City, NJ                       Hard Rock Atlantic City
Oct. 26             University Park, PA                 Bryce Jordan Center
Oct. 27             Roanoke, VA                            Berglund Center
Oct. 31             Dublin, IE                                 Whelans
Nov. 1              Belfast, IE                                Empire Music Hall
Nov. 3              Liverpool, ENG                        O2 Academy 2
Nov. 4              London, ENG                           O2 Shepherds Bush Empire
Nov. 5              Bristol, ENG                             Trinity
Nov. 6              Manchester, ENG                    Academy 2
Nov. 8              Birmingham, ENG                   O2 Institute
Nov. 9              Glasglow, SCT                          Queen Maragaret Union
Nov. 10            Glasglow, SCT                          Queen Maragaret Union
Nov. 29            Estero, FL                                Germain Arena
Nov. 30            St. Augustine, FL                     St. Augustine Amphitheatre
Dec. 1              Winston-Salem, NC                 Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Dec. 6              Toledo, OH                              Huntington Center
Dec. 7              Huntington , WV                     Big Sandy Superstore Arena
Dec. 8              Grand Rapids, MI                    DeltaPlex Arena
Dec. 13            Bismarck, ND                          Bismarck Event Center
Dec. 14            Fargo, ND                                Scheels Arena
Dec. 15            Duluth, MN                             AMSOIL Arena


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NYCountry Swag’s Favorite Concerts of Summer 2018

Favorite Concerts Summer 2018

Christina Bosch: The Fest Featuring Brown and Gray, Mitchell Tenpenny, Russell Dickerson, and Dustin Lynch

This summer as Managing Editor for New York Country Swag we attended at least one show a week, sometimes two or three.  Narrowing my favorite concerts to one was a hard decision but as a big fan of rising artists, I think one of the greatest experiences we had was attending The Fest out on Long Island.  The lineup featured Brown and Gray, Mitchell Tenpenny, Russell Dickerson and Dustin Lynch.  Over the past year, we have seen each of these artists perform separately whether it was a Live Swag Session like we did here with Brown and Gray or Mitchell Tenpenny or catching Dustin Lynch at Playstation Theatre or Russell Dickerson at his sold-out NJ show.

Seeing them all on one stage was truly incredible, their unique talents and the different vibe each bring to the country music genre made for the perfect night of music.  Between Brown and Gray’s summer hit “Top Down” to Dickerson’s venue-wide sing-a-long to his latest single  “Blue Tacoma” the audience was loving these rising artists and the smash hits they are releasing.



Stephanie Wagner: Mitchell Tenpenny at Mercury Lounge

As Christina mentioned, we had the incredible opportunity to see so many amazing shows this summer. One of my favorite things to do with this company is to support rising artists which is what makes Mitchell Tenpenny’s Mercury Lounge show my favorite show of the summer.

We first worked with Mitchell back in December when we did a Live Swag Session in the heart of Times Square. This was before he had a song on the radio and before his record deal with Riser House/ Sony Nashville. I had been a fan of his since the first time I heard his music, so I was excited to work with him that day. To see how hard he has worked and watch his debut single hit the Top 20, makes me so proud of the artist and person he is. Tenpenny sold out his Mercury Lounge show two weeks before the date, which is a huge accomplishment for a new artist on a NYC play. There was a special sense of magic in the room that night catching Tenpenny’s performance while the packed house sang back every word to his hour long set. You only get to experience your ‘firsts’ once, so being in the room to experience Tenpenny’s first sold out headlining NYC show is a memory I will treasure.



Favorite Concerts Summer 2018

Crystal Fenton: Trip Around the Sun Tour Kenny Chesney

Seeing Kenny Chesney live has LONG been on my bucket list, so naturally, the Trip Around the Sun tour was my absolute favorite concert of summer 2018. Plus, with Old Dominion & Thomas Rhett as openers, even a multi-hour rain delay at MetLife stadium couldn’t damper (see what I did there?!) the vibe of No Shoes Nation. The show was amazing from start to finish. What a perfect & appropriate way to close out the summer while kicking off September, my birthday month where I’ll take another trip around the sun myself; My first Kenny show definitely won’t be the last!  For a full recap and more photos of the Metlife Stadium show, click here. 



Favorite Concerts Summer 2018

Photo by Matthew Paskert

Molly Holmberg: Jake Owen, Chris Janson, and Jordan Davis

Jake Owen has always been the barefoot blue jean icon in country music and when he takes the stage, he embraces that. During his “Life’s What You Make It” tour this summer he came out barefoot every night and ready for a party. Playing hits like “Good Company”, “Beachin’”, and even a mash-up between Eight Second Ride / Mountain Music / Tennessee River / Dixieland Delight, he puts on a show.

With opening acts Chris Janson and Jordan Davis, the night gets started with a kick. By the time Owen steps foot on stage, the fans have been on their feet the past two hours and are ready for more. The 37-year-old’s big smile with a loose and carefree attitude brings so much life and energy to the stage. He comes to not only entertain but to have a good time with the fans. He is engaging, charismatic, and an overall nice guy. His concert puts you in a feel-good mood by the end of the night. So if you are looking for a great concert, Jake Owen’s is definitely worth every penny.

Owen is putting out music that is real country. And real country is the reason Jake Owen’s future keeps looking promising. Check out his latest party song single “Down To The Honkytonk” here.



Favorite Concerts Summer 2018

Nicole Piering: The Bandwagon Tour Featuring Tenille Townes, Little Big Town, and Miranda Lambert

When it comes to summer in New York, Jones Beach is undoubtedly the best place to see a concert. While I attended quite a few this year, my favorite show of the summer was definitely Little Big Town and Miranda Lambert’s “The Bandwagon Tour.” For one, it was great to see these two superstar acts play at Jones Beach, but even better, the set they did together was electric. While both Lambert and LBT played their own shows, they also combined forces into an epic super-group for a 40-minute set that included some of their biggest hits and some incredible covers. “Boondocks” is always one of my favorite songs to hear live, and their joint covers of “Goodbye Earl,” “Say My Name,” and “Let’s Go Crazy” were all phenomenal. I’d love to see other acts join forces and make shows like this more popular in the future.  The full recap of The Bandwagon’s Jones Beach tour stop here.



Favorite Concerts Summer 2018

Nicole Sellati: CMA Fest

This year I was lucky enough to attend the music event of the summer, CMA Fest! This was easily my favorite week of the year! The week was jam-packed with amazing artists, going from concert to concert with no stopping. Some highlights for me were going inside to the fan fair as well as attend the fan parties of Michael Ray and Luke Bryan. These were the events I was looking forward to the most while in Nashville, getting to see the artists up close and personal in an intimate setting. Luke Bryan’s fan club party was in celebration of 10 years of the Nut House where he got to play an acoustic set, performing songs he hasn’t in years. CMA Fest as a whole was amazing but if I had to choose my favorite night at Nissan Stadium I would say Sunday was hands down the best. The last night had all my favorite artists starting with Brett Eldredge, Cole Swindell, Thomas Rhett, Dierks Bentley, Florida Georgia Line, and closing the night was Luke Bryan. It was a night I never wanted to end and thanks to Luke Bryan he made it last a little longer. He was just getting warmed up and ended up playing for over an hour closing out the best concert of my summer. CMA Fest was as perfect as I imagined and I can’t wait to be back next year!



Favorite Concerts Summer 2018

Shanna Vitaliano: Ashley McBryde at Taste of Country Music Festival

My favorite concert of the summer was seeing Ashley McBryde at Taste of Country Music Festival in Hunter Mountain, NY on June 9th. Ashley has an infectious personality onstage. She is down to earth, extremely humble, and her stage presence along with her sense of humor had every festival goer’s attention. Her incredible songwriting ability shined through during “The Jacket” and powerful voice captivated all during “American Scandal.” It was my first time seeing her live after being a fan of her album Girl Goin’ Nowhere and I look forward to seeing her again. Her next show in the NYC area will be December 5th at Gramercy Theatre, grab your tickets here.


Favorite Concerts Summer 2018

Danielle Tornatore: Sam Hunt and Kane Brown in Atlantic City

I attended almost twenty concerts this summer but my favorite had to be Sam Hunt and Kane Brown at Atlantic City BeachFest on July 1st. There are so many reasons why this was my favorite show, one being, I got to road trip there and back with two of my best friends. It’s about two and a half hours each way from us so we were able to make some great memories together. Between jamming out to some great music, sharing stories and just making each other laugh, it was overall a great trip. The day this show got announced, we knew we had to go. We’ve seen Sam Hunt together multiple times, but we had yet to see Kane Brown and he is one of our favorites. We missed Kane when he played at Irving Plaza in New York City in 2016 so we knew this was our perfect opportunity. It was literally 100 degrees out that day and the show was on the actual beach, toes in the sand and all, and despite the heatwave, both guys put on an incredible show which made me admire them even more. Myself, along with the rest of the crowd, were sweating. So much. But the two of them somehow made everyone forget about the weather and just get lost in the music. In the middle of Kane’s set, most of the sound equipment went out from the intense heat but he kept the show going and that is one of the many reasons why I am a huge fan of his. Sam was jumping all around the stage, as usual, during his entire set and maintained his high energy the whole time. It honestly was a day I will never forget and another memory I’ve gained with my best friends.



Favorite Concerts Summer 2018

Erica Zisman: CMAFest (Lee Brice at HGTV Lodge)

Public service announcement: Go to Country Music Association Fest (CMA Fest) in Nashville, Tennessee at least once. Although there are a ton of wonderful concerts held in New York, especially those good ole’ country shows at Jones Beach Amphitheater on Long Island, CMA Fest is a once (or more if you’re lucky) in a lifetime experience for any country music lover. The four-day festival combines some of the biggest names in country music, such as Florida Georgia Line and Thomas Rhett, with new artists and up and coming artists, like Dylan Scott and Morgan Wallen, into a musical extravaganza. The event is packed with free shows all day long, free shows at night, and the ticketed Nissan Stadium line up.

I was able to experience CMA Fest for the second time this summer. One of my favorite free venues is the HGTV Lodge, which is an intimate venue that gets you up close and personal with an artist, while the singer performs acoustically. I was able to see Lee Brice perform, for the first time in June. Hearing some of his hits: “Drinking Class”, “Love Like Crazy”, and his most recent single, “Rumor”, live and stripped down, was one of my favorite concert moments of the summer. Brice was extremely charming, poised, and humble; despite, his major success and even opened the doors to extra fans, who were unable to get into the lodge, due to it being over capacity. Being able to relate to Brice’s songs, but also, Brice as a human being was a really special moment for me and my friends. It was a “concert” I will never forget.




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What We’re Listening To: August Picks

We recently welcomed a team of writers to the NYCountry Swag Squad. With that, we’re excited to introduce a new monthly feature with our “What We’re Listening To” playlist, where we will highlight 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: “Drunk Me” – Mitchell Tenpenny
Songwriters: Jordan Schmidt / Justin Wilson / Mitchell Tenpenny

Mitchell Tenpenny’s “Drunk Me” is easily one of my favorite songs out there right now.  We were fortunate enough to hear the song back in early February when Tenpenny performed it live at CRS.  The song puts a unique twist on a typical heartbreak song.  Where most associate heartbreaks with getting drunk, Tenpenny goes the opposite route with the idea that someone would need to get sober to stop thinking about the other person, because “Drunk Me” can’t stop thinking about you. 

Pairing the powerful lyrics with Tenpenny’s voice is key in highlighting the emotions on this track.  It’s catchy, it’s relatable, it’s emotional, it’s everything you need in a hit song.”


Christina Bosch, Managing Editor 

Pick: “Somebody’s Daughter” – Tenille Townes
Songwriters: Tenille Townes / Luke Laird /  Barry Dean

“For my very first pick, there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to choose Tenille Townes.  I went back and forth between two of the songs she released on her Living Room Worktapes but finally landed on “Somebody’s Daughter”.  In big cities like New York and Nashville, homelessness is an absolute epidemic and every person reading this piece or listening to music, in general, has experienced what Townes’ expresses in her latest single.  Waiting for the light to change, to escape the awkward stares that the man or woman on the corner gives, while holding their cardboard sign.  Instead of looking away, the songwriters tell the tale of curiosity, how did this person end up here when they were probably just like us growing up.   Reminiscing on a made-up past for the woman in the shaggy clothes just wanting a couple of dollars, Townes’ brings light to a dark situation that we all encounter, but does it in a way that country music sorely needs right now.

“Bet she was somebody’s best friend, laughin’ / Back when she was somebody’s sister / Countin’ change at the lemonade stand / Probably somebody’s high school first kiss / Dancin’ in a gym where the kids all talk about someday plans / Now this light’ll turn green and I’ll hand her a couple dollars /  And I’ll wonder how she felt when no one caught her / She’s somebody’s daughter”

I am always a fan of the drinking songs that we can enjoy at tailgates and raise a glass to, but when a song and a songwriter come along that really tugs at my heart, I will always choose the raw, real side of country music.”


Nicole Bochinis, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Tequila” – Dan + Shay
Songwriters: Dan Smyers / Jordan Reynolds / Nicolle Gaylon

When I first heard “Tequila” by Dan + Shay I knew it was going to be a huge hit. I have been a fan of them since their Where It All Began days and to see the success and growth they have experienced is truly amazing. Being able to watch and listen to the duo take the CMA Fest stage for the first time ever was something I will never forget. To hear every single person in the stadium sing “Tequila”, the debut single off of their third studio album, was incredible and seeing their faces was priceless. “Tequila” is one of those songs that you just want to drive around with your friends, windows down, and sing at the top of your lungs. Songs like that are the reason I fell in love with country music. There is just something so special about a song that showcases so much talent and Shay’s vocals are truly incredible. “Tequila” is not just the song of the summer, it is the song that will be listened to year after year.”


Kelly Cunningham, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Home and a Hometown” – Hannah Ellis
Songwriters: Hannah Ellis / Mark Trussell / Nicholas Wayne

“”Home And A Hometown” by Hannah Ellis describes my life in a nutshell. Ellis coming out with this track was perfect timing for me.

“One I wanna make it, One I wanna make proud / No matter which one I’m leaving still wanna turn around”

These lyrics could not be more accurate in my life as it is right now. I’m constantly going back and forth from New York to Nashville. It’s comforting knowing I’m not the only one who feels this way. The story behind her lyrics and how she sings it with such emotion is why Ellis is going to be a game-changer in country music.”


Taylor Felvey, Contributing Writer

Pick: “I Can’t Breathe” – Parker McCollum
Songwriters: Parker McCollum / Micky Braun 

“Perhaps I’m biased, but the song I love in 2018 comes from Texas native, Parker McCollum. From the opening chords of the guitar to first keys of the piano there is a sound so welcoming and somewhat familiar.  I couldn’t stop listening.

McCollum draws you in with his raspy voice making you believe in every word he sings. The song is his explanation of his love of being torn between two things – her and the road. But the road keeps calling.  “I’m on the road missin’ home / missin’ the road while I’m home”

He sings about loving and leaving and hoping what he’s doing is enough to keep her. One of the lines sings “I can’t believe you think I’m lyin’ / what are you not buyin’” – take one listen to the soul and the pleading in McCollum’s voice and not only will you buy it, but you’ll have the song on repeat guaranteed!”


Crystal Fenton, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Get Along” – Kenny Chesney
Songwriters: Josh Osborne / Ross Copperman / Shane L McAnally

“I love, love, love Kenny Chesney–his music, his vibe, his love of the sea and island life!  It’s hard to pick a favorite song; “Get Along”, off of his latest album Songs for the Saints, really resonates with me.  When I heard him say the song’s message is one of taking negative energy and turning it positive, I loved it even more!  This is an intention I am always trying to practice; there’s good in any situation, experience, event or person.  It’s said attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure, so why not make life one big, happy adventure of love and good energy?!  That is what I hear in this song and in Chesney’s voice and why I love it so much!”


Molly Holmberg, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Caught Up in the Country” – Rodney Atkins
Songwriters: Connie Rae Harrington / Jordan Mark Schmidt / Mike Walker

Rodney Atkins’ infectious “Caught Up in the Country” roped me in at first listen.  It is his first single in four years and features the Fisk Jubilee Singers who add their hand clapping and foot stomping to the song for a new kind of rhythm.  “Caught Up in the Country” talks about the best parts of country living: being outdoors with endless dirt roads and surrounded by countless stars in the sky.  The words hit me directly as it reminded me of my time living in the country and the beauty of it all.  Between the dirt roads to the house, green fields surrounding me, and the clearest nights, this song captures it, making me feel as if I was there just by listening to the song. 

 Atkins says “When I heard ‘Caught Up in the Country’ I just felt like the two things had to come together. It doesn’t sound like anything I’ve recorded or released before and that also excites me.”  This song feels like an anthem when it comes on with my friends and family, singing it as loud as we possibly can! While I may not live in the country anymore you can always find me going back to and caught up in it all.”


Nicole Piering, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Why Can’t She” – Adam Craig
Songwriters: Adam Craig / Jon Nite / Matt Rogers

“It was nearly impossible for me to pick my favorite song of 2018 thus far, but as I scrolled through my Spotify playlist listening to some contenders, I kept going back to Adam Craig’s “Why Can’t She.”  In my mind, this song is everything that a great country song should be.  It tells a powerful story, it has a strong hook and music, and Craig’s vocals are among some of the best in the business.  He seriously conveys all of the song’s emotions and sings the heck out of it.  I was first introduced to country music by a Rascal Flatts concert in the early-2000’s, and that era of country music is definitely my favorite.  This song wouldn’t sound out of place during that time period, which makes me love it all the more.”


Nicole Sellati, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Downtown’s Dead” – Sam Hunt
Songwriters: Josh Osborne / Sam Hunt / Shane L McAnally / Zach Crowell

“Downtown’s Dead” by Sam Hunt is one of my favorite songs of the year so far.  It’s one of those songs you can’t help but get stuck in your head and after waiting for what felt like years Hunt finally released a new hit single in May.  I’ll admit when I first heard the song I thought it was interesting, but after playing it again I really started to love the vibe “Downtown’s Dead” gave off. The song is different from what plays on country radio and I could see the song branching off to a more pop-friendly radio station.  “Downtown’s Dead” has a more modern take on country music than Hunt’s older music.  I love when artists take risks to change up their sound and this song makes me excited to see what comes next.”


Danielle Tornatore, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Must’ve Never Met You” – Luke Combs
Songwriters: Jonathan Singleton / Luke Combs / Robert Williford

“There have been countless great songs released in 2018 so far, but there is one in particular that has stood out to me; “Must’ve Never Met You” by Luke Combs.  This song was part of his deluxe version of his previous album This One’s for You, released in 2017.  There is something about this song that gets me pumped up from the second it starts, from the initial drums to the mini guitar solo.  I relate to this song on a personal level, the lyrics are so well written. The clichés he uses in this song are so accurate when you meet somebody that is so special to you, you just cannot seem to get over them.  This song is just incredible overall and I hope Combs will add it to his concert setlist in the near future.”


Shanna Vitaliano, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Most People Are Good” – Luke Bryan
Songwriters: David Fraiser / Ed Hill / Josh Kear

“When I listen to “Most People Are Good”, off Luke Bryan’s latest album What Makes You Country,  the lyrics take me back to growing up without a care in the world. It is easy to get lost in our day to day busy life, where time can pass us by too quickly.  This song creates a sense of simplicity in life, and an optimistic outlook in believing in others with every verse. It reminds us that even with all of the negative news going on around us, there are still people in this world with good intentions.  I love this song because the lyrics are a breath of fresh air as it speaks to loving your mother and accepting everyone for who they are.  It is the perfect reminder to put aside our differences and appreciate our time here on earth.”


Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer

Pick: “Leaving New Orleans” – Jordan Davis
Songwriters: David Fraiser / Jordan Davis / Lonnie Fowler

“I fell in love with the relatable stories and real-life feelings, at the heart of country music several years ago; however, Jordan Davis and his debut album, Home State recently reignited my passion for all things country music.  One of my favorite songs off the album- and this year (so far) is “Leaving New Orleans”.  It embodies the art of story-telling and incites emotions in the listener, all wrapped up in a feel-good melody with an unmatchable cool vibe.  I have been lucky enough to witness Davis’ magic, as he acoustically played the song, for the first time, with less than 50 people present.  These are the little moments I live for- bearing witness to country music magic from up and coming artists, who find a way to pull at your heartstrings and make you feel a part of their story.  I encourage any music lover to give “Leaving New Orleans” a listen.”



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Luke Bryan and Sam Hunt Break Records + NYCountry Swag Tailgate…

A busload of NYCountry Swag Fans Head to Luke Bryan + Sam Hunt at MetLife Stadium

A busload of NYCountry Swag Fans Head to Luke Bryan + Sam Hunt at MetLife Stadium

The humidity and sun beating down didn’t stop Luke Bryan’s fans from packing out Metlife Stadium this past Saturday.  New York Country Swag headed to the New Jersey venue by the busload, bringing 50 fans from Rockaway Beach to tailgate and get to experience the record-breaking concert “What Makes You Country” event.  The lineup included four absolute powerhouse country artists: Morgan Wallen, Jon Pardi, Sam Hunt and finally headliner, Luke Bryan.

As the fans filed in from their tailgates, Morgan Wallen performed his huge single “Up Down” and Jon Pardi sang songs off his critically acclaimed album California Sunrise including “Heartache on the Dancefloor” and “Dirt on my Boots”.

Next up, Sam Hunt took the stage opening with his latest “Downtown’s Dead” then played all of the songs from his album Montevallo. He also took time to slow things down, grabbing a guitar and playing some old school country music acoustically. He closed his hour long set with “Body Like A Backroad”, to which every single person in the audience was singing along.



Finally, as the sun set, Luke Bryan took the stage with a pyrotechnic show as well as fireworks, opening his set with “Country Girl (Shake It For Me).  Bryan entertained for nearly two hours, at one point even rolling a giant cooler onto the stage and throwing Miller Lite beers out to the crowd.  It was the largest stadium crowd he has ever played for and his energy and vocal ability thrilled New York and New Jersey fans, singing songs from all of his albums that have gotten him to where he is today, a total superstar.

As if the spectacle wasn’t enough, he closed with “Rain is a Good Thing” before coming back for a two song encore. As the final song came to a close, like magic the skies opened up and rain droplets covered the crowds as they cheered and walked to their cars or buses on a total high.



Catch the What Makes You Country tour as it makes its way across the country.  For tickets and more info click here.



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!

+ Follow our country music adventures on InstagramTwitter & Facebook:

NYCS First Impression: Chris Janson’s ‘Everybody’

Chris Janson's Everybody

Released today, Everybody is Chris Janson’s highly anticipated sophomore album.  For fans, the title says it all, everybody will find something to love on this record even if it is just an appreciation for the hard work and incredible stamina Janson pours into his craft.

“I’m so proud of my new album and happy to share a full preview of it so people can hear the depth and diversity of the music,” said Janson in a press release regarding giving fans a chance to hear the album early. “With this album you really get a sense of who I am. No one could ever question if it’s real or not, or if I’m really this guy. I lived all these songs, I wrote all these songs and they all come from an absolutely real place.”

Co-writing all 12 tracks on the project, Janson has a hand in telling his story the way he wants to.  Whether it’s fun songs like “Who’s Your Farmer” or the debut single “Fix a Drink” or a more serious note like “Bein’ A Dad” and “Drunk Girl” his true personality shines through.

While the radio-friendly, “Out There”, and “Name On It” have the potential to be huge hits for the singer, “Our World” sounds like it was specifically recorded for Janson’s live set, featuring his signature harmonica skills and will be the perfect sing-along for fans.  Most recently opening for Sam Hunt at Madison Square Garden the crowd came out in full force singing to all of Janson’s hits.

When Janson sings love songs such as “Eyes For Nobody But You” you can feel that he actually lives those emotions.  During his energetic live set, he takes time to slow things down and tell the story of the first night he met his wife, their journey together and the true sentiment of love that they share.  As a songwriter, “Bein A Dad” is a standout track, highlighting the true feelings wrapped up in being a parent.

“It keeps me young, it takes me back / it makes me cry it makes me laugh / it’s what I do it’s why I breathe / my flesh and blood, my legacy / it’s the hardest and most rewarding job I’ve ever had, ain’t nothing like bein’ a dad.”

Overall, Everybody cohesively sums up the type of artist Janson is striving to be.  By putting his marriage, his family and his love for music at the forefront of his album he attracts different types of country music fans.

Tune in alert: Don’t miss Chris Janson performing “Fix A Drink” on LIVE with Kelly and Ryan next Tuesday, September 26th. To catch his incredible live set check out