What We’re Listening To: April Picks
NYCountry Swag’s “What We’re Listening To” playlist highlights the wide range of our team’s favorite songs and artists when it comes to the country music genre. At the end of the day, we are all fans first with a passion for country music and are eager to share with you all what we’ve got on repeat each month.
Find below each of our team member’s favorite songs and why in our April picks. Then be sure to give our Spotify account a follow and listen to our favorite tracks!
Pick: “Maybe We Will” – Noah Schnacky
Songwriters: John Harding, Noah Schnacky and Ilya Tvhinski
“This month I’m listening to Noah Schnacky’s, “Maybe We Will”. Right from the beginning of the track, the opening instrumentals automatically give you a beat you can sway along to. The story in the lyrics paints the picture of two friends who could potentially be more and creates an illusion of what could happen if it all works out.
“‘Cause we might be each other’s / Last first kiss / This could be the story / That we tell our kids”
The line “last first kiss” is what really gets me. The brilliantly crafted lyric depicts that maybe this first kiss they share could very well be their last first kiss. The song goes on to illustrate the couple’s future together – a house on the hill, a story they can tell the kids, maybe it won’t work out… but maybe it will.
I’m such a fan of Noah Schnacky and of this song, along with his first release “Hello Beautiful”, if those two songs are any indication of what’s to come from this talented young artist, then I think we are going to be hearing his name in the country music world much more often.”
Christina Bosch, Managing Editor
Pick: “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” – Brooks & Dunn feat. Midland
Songwriters: Ronnie Dunn
Growing up listening to ’90s country, I have always been a fan of Brooks & Dunn. Their songs are timeless and for as long as I can remember, “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” has been a staple song throughout my life, I even danced to it at my wedding (wearing cowboy boots of course). When I saw the tracklist for their latest album, REBOOT, I was ecstatic that fans, especially New York City country fans who may not otherwise know of the best selling duo of all time, now would learn to appreciate their incredible stories and catchy songs because some of their favorite current artists are featured on each track.
Midland lending their incredible talent and unique country sound to “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” is a no brainer, in fact, each of the collaborations were perfectly picked. Without changing or updating what already is considered a classic, the reimagined song breathes new life into the line dancing friendly tune. When you listen, just try to “heel-toe-do-si-do-”
Dylan Bestler, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Some Of It” – Eric Church
Songwriters: Eric Church, Jeff Hyde, Clint Daniels, Bobby Pinson
“My favorite song off his latest album Desperate Man, “Some of It” is a serious, yet catchy tune in which Church talks about how lessons are learned. Some you read about, some you learn from mistakes, some come from breakups and some come with age.
“And none of it ever comes easy / A bunch of it you maybe can’t use / I know I don’t prob’ly know what I think I do/ But there’s somethin’ to / Some of it”
This song is relatable to everyone because there is always something to be learned from the past. I think about high school when I listen to this song because high schoolers take in so much information and go through so many experiences that, looking back on them, were pretty much useless. However, some moments, some mistakes, some things will always stick with you because of that lesson learned. Those experiences, big or small, will leave a lasting impression that will influence you for the rest of your life. There is definitely something to be said for some of it.”
Nicole Bochinis, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Beautiful Lies” – Jana Kramer
Songwriters: Bruce Wiegner, Jana Kramer, Joshua Tangney
” “Beautiful Lies” is just one of those songs that makes you feel all of the feels. I have been a fan of Jana Kramer since her One Tree Hill days and man, I forgot just how good her voice is. As everyone knows, Jana has been through a whirlwind the last few years and this song shows you exactly what she was feeling through it all. If I had to describe this song in one word it would be ‘chills’. It’s one of those songs that just makes the hair stand up on your arms. I am so happy that she released this song and I am looking forward to more new music from her.”
Jeremy Chua, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Fat Kid” – Austin Jenckes feat. Lori McKenna
Songwriters: Andrew Dorff, Lori McKenna, Neil Mason
” “Nostalgia”– that’s the one word that best encompasses and describes this song. We all have felt, at some point in our almost-picturesque life, like outliers. We may be happy with our choices, but something unsettles us about a certain aspect of it. This is when Austin Jenckes’ emotional delivery gets credits for it, along with the honest writing of Lori McKenna (who sings harmonies) and Neil Mason (of The Cadillac Three). Personally, “Fat Kid” resonated with me because it aches the heart in the best way possible. The one lyric that struck me was: “That summer before your senior year, you lost a damn good friend. / And finally on a Sunday morning, you learned how to say Amen.”
This song is an anthem you’ll have to hear for yourself. If you’re the cool kid, you have more in common with the outcasts than you know. And if you feel like an outcast, look deeper– you’re more than that. Your uniqueness makes you special– so, so special.”
Julia Grubbs, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Rivers” – King Calaway
Songwriters: Bruce Feelder, Olly Maryland, Ruth-Anne Cunningham, Teddy Geiger
“If you haven’t heard of King Calaway, you are truly missing out. This newly formed group of six fun-loving and insanely talented men recently released their first EP on January 25th. I went to their debut concert in NYC, courtesy of New York Country Swag, having never heard any of their music, and immediately knew they were a force to be reckoned with. I’ve been unable to get “Rivers” out of my head, playing it nonstop, and recommend it to all my friends, country-lovers or not.
All six of the band members sing and the resonance of their voices together just sounds so right; not to mention the amazing rhythms that take front and center at times during the song. The guitar solos make you jam out while listening, and it’s a truly empowering song to have in your headphones while walking around the city. They truly just love to perform, sing, and play, and it’s evident in this song.
“I know where we belong / I know where we feel free / And it goes on and on, like rivers to the sea”
If you want a song that just makes you want to dance, this is the one. I can’t wait to hear more amazing things from them.”
Molly Holmberg, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Mr. Lonely” – Midland
Songwriters: Cameron Duddy, Jess Carson, Josh Osborne, Mark Wystrach, Shane McAnally
“The last year or so I have found myself really liking the more Texas style of country music including artists like Aaron Watson, Parker McCollum, Jon Wolfe, and Midland. The trio just came out with their newest single “Mr. Lonely,” the first song off their second album, and I loved it upon first listen. The upbeat tempo with the old school guitar riffs makes for a dance hall song. The lyrics instantly transport you back in time right into their music video, with jukeboxes, dusty floors, and swinging doors. The powerful twangy vocals on this track hit the nostalgic spot that these types of songs create. If any song of theirs has the potential to become their next hit, its “Mr. Lonely.” ”
Abby Kaye-Phillips, Contributing Writer
Pick: “My Side of the Fence” – Dan + Shay
Songwriters: Benjy Davis, Shay Mooney
Tricia Murdy, Contributing Writer
Pick: “One Man Band” – Old Dominion
Songwriters: Brad Tursi, Josh Osborne, Matthew Ramsey, Trevor Rosen
“Been flyin’ solo for so long / nobody singing the harmony” is how this catchy new tune from Old Dominion opens. This one is a bit slower than what we’re used to hearing from the group, but it’s just as catchy and lyrically amazing. This song resonated with me so completely. After being single for 7 years and really coming to terms with being alone, I finally met someone wonderful. “And I found you like a melody. You were singin’ in the same key as me.”
It really put into perspective that while I was okay alone, I did hope to find someone to complement me. This song is beautifully written and I am sure many people will be able to identify that desire for a partner whether it’s to share a song, a stage or a life with. I expect this one to be just as big a hit as all their songs have become!”
Nicole Piering, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Keeping Score” – Dan + Shay feat. Kelly Clarkson
Songwriters: Dan Smyers, Jordan Reynolds, Laura Veltz
“Since the release of Dan+Shay’s self-titled album last June, I’ve been basically obsessed with “Keeping Score,” their collaboration with Kelly Clarkson. After seeing the trio perform it at this weekend’s ACM Awards, the song has soared back to the top of my playlist. When it comes to world class vocalists, Clarkson and Shay Mooney are in a field of their own, going note for note throughout this track. Yet, they never overshadow each other, and the result is truly a delightful duet.
With a seize the day message focused on not worrying about “keeping score” of things that don’t matter, the song is a relatable ballad with an exceptional hook and an even more exceptional vocal performance. “Keeping Score” is poised to be another huge hit for Dan + Shay if it’s released as a single, and based on the buzz from their ACM performance, it most certainly should be.”
Olivia Reese, Contributing Writer
Pick: “In Between” – Scotty McCreery
Songwriters: Frank Rogers, Jessi Alexander, Jonathan Singleton, Scotty McCreery,
“The first time I heard “In Between” by Scotty McCreery was when the album Seasons Change came out. It immediately became my favorite song on the album as the lyrics are so relatable to me. The concept of being between different types of phases in life, cultures, interests, and geographic regions is extremely applicable to my life and this song perfectly sums it up. “I’m a little bit of bottle cap / Little bit of pearl snap button down shirt / Little bit of big city concrete / But a lot more small town dirt.” “
Nicole Sellati, Contributing Writer
Pick: “We Make Our Own” – Smithfield
Songwriters: Ben Stennis, Jennifer Fielder, Seth Mosley, Trey Smith
“After getting to see the talented duo Smithfield perform live for the first time last week at Joe’s Pub, their new EP has been on repeat. Every song on the EP is great but the title track “We Make Our Own” has been stuck in my head all week. I love its catchy uptempo beat along with what the song symbolizes for the duo. They made their own path with not only this song but the entire project.
“Those were the nights, they have no tomorrow / Yeah they went on and on and on / Just like the tires on a ’95 Bronco / Nobody to slow us down” “
Julia Singer, Contributing Writer
Pick: “I Hope” – Gabby Barrett
Songwriters: Gabby Barrett, Jon Nite, Zachary Kale
“When I first heard “I Hope” by Gabby Barrett being played on the radio earlier this month, I was immediately intrigued by her strong voice and powerful lyrics. This emotional song reveals honest feelings about Barrett’s hopes for her ex’s new relationship. By listing instances that many would define as “relationship goals,” such as:
“I hope you’re both feeling sparks by the end of the drive / I hope you know she’s the one by the end of the night / I hope you never ever felt more free Tell your friends that you’re so happy / I hope she comes along and wrecks every one of your plans / I hope you spend your last dime to put a rock on her hand / I hope she’s wilder than your wildest dreams” . Barrett then combats these by singing: “And then I hope she cheats / Like you did on me”
I’m always down for another strong female being played on country radio, and “I Hope” provides all the sass and realness that country music thrives on. After placing on the last season of American Idol, Barrett is now out making herself a name in country music and I am so here for it.”
Danielle Tornatore, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Neon Moon” – Brooks & Dunn feat. Kacey Musgraves
Songwriters: Ronnie Dunn
“It’s a little embarrassing to admit, but as a country music fan, I’ve never listened to Brooks & Dunn until they began releasing songs from their newest album Reboot. I know it’s crazy, but I am so thankful they collaborated with a bunch of newer country artists for this record, to spark the interest of myself and I’m sure many other people who also have not been avid listeners of theirs. I love every single song featured on this album, but my favorite has to be “Neon Moon.” Kacey Musgraves is just one of my favorite people for many, many reasons; one being, of course, her unique, incredible voice. I love the whole vibe of this song, the lyrics are relatable and inviting.
“Oh, if you lose your one and only / There’s always room here for the lonely / To watch your broken dreams / Dance in and out of the beams / Of a neon moon”
I will for sure be listening to more of Brooks & Dunn from here on out!”
Shanna Vitaliano, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Every Little Honky Tonk Bar” – George Strait
Songwriters: Bubba Strait, Dean Dillon, George Strait
“This month, I have been listening to the fun, feel-good song “Every Little Honky Tonk Bar” by George Strait. Strait co-wrote “Every Little Honky Tonk Bar” with his son Bubba Strait and Dean Dillon, and released it as his first single off of his new album Honky Tonk Time Machine. When listening to the song, I am immediately transported to a small Texas bar with people line dancing and enjoying the night. The musical instruments of the fiddle and the guitar along with Strait’s country twang create easy, enjoyable listening. Lyrics such as “The jukebox plays Hank, ‘I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry’, dance floor holds the folks trying to forget who they are, that’s what happens in every little honky tonk bar,” capture the joy of the nightlife in a two-steppin’ honky-tonk and I am loving it!”
Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Cover Me Up” – Morgan Wallen originally by Jason Isbell
Songwriters: Jason Isbell
“Every time I listen to a Morgan Wallen song, I am instantly hooked- I still listen to his debut album If I Know Me straight through on a pretty consistent basis. He’s one of the new country artists I’m most excited about, which leads me to my April song pick, Wallen’s cover of Jason Isbell’s track, “Cover Me Up.”
I’ve been in love with his version of the song since he recorded it on YouTube a few months back. It’s one of those covers that feels authentic to an artist; despite, not originally being their song. “Cover Me Up” and its poetic lyrics show off Wallen’s vocal range, rasp, and vulnerability in a more mature and developed way. It completely excites me for a future record and more new music from Wallen. I can’t wait to see how his sound continues to develop, and I hope to hear more deep, personal, and tender songs from Wallen in the future.”
Listen to our picks on our “What We’re Listening To” playlist on Spotify and be sure to give it a follow, so you can catch our monthly updates.
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