What We’re Listening To: February Picks
NYCountry Swag’s “What We’re Listening To” playlist highlights the wide range of our team’s favorite songs and artists when it comes to the country music genre. At the end of the day, we are all fans first with a passion for country music and are eager to share with you all what we’ve got on repeat each month.
Find below each of our team member’s favorite songs and why in our February picks. Then be sure to give our Spotify account a follow and listen to our favorite tracks!
Pick: “Love You Like I Used To” – Russell Dickerson
Songwriters: Casey Brown, Parker Welling, Russell Dickerson
It’s been nearly two and a half years since we got new music from Russell Dickerson, but the wait is finally over and “Love You Like I Used To” surely doesn’t disappoint. The sweet love song in honor of Dickerson’s wife Kailey is exactly what was missing in country music today. We have the new love songs, the break-up songs, the cheating songs, but what about the songs that praise a love that only gets better and better. I love how the opening lines could lead you to believe the song may end differently, but as you get closer to the chorus you’re hit with the idea that the love isn’t like it used to be, it’s even better, creating a picture-perfect idea of what every relationship should be, stronger with time. The song has powerful lyrics paired with a radio-friendly beat and I can already picture fans across the country singing this song back during RD’s live shows.
Christina Bosch, Managing Editor
Pick: “What I’m Leaving For” – Lady Antebellum
Songwriters: Laura Veltz, Micah Rayan Premnath, Sam Ellis
As a mom, this song really struck a chord with me the first time I heard it. It doesn’t matter what industry you work in when you have to leave the house each day, you miss your children terribly. I was instantly brought to tears with lyrics like “And it kills me that I gotta go / Couldn’t do it if I didn’t know / That every time I’m walking out that door / You know what I’m leaving for”.
By pursuing my dreams, I am becoming a role model for my son, to chase after what you love and that hard work will pay off.
Lucie Bernheim, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Southern Accident” – Caroline Spence
Songwriters: Caroline Spence
The days are getting longer as we approach spring, and one of my favorite things to do when it’s nice enough is take long walks through the city listening to music. I love the alternative, more singer-songwriter side of country, especially when taking these walks. Caroline Spence’s “Southern Accident” is one I’ve had on repeat for the past month. It’s a song written solely by Spence about her childhood and how it’s nothing like her significant other’s.
It’s thoughtful but really hopeful. The build-up is a slow burn; it starts off with just an acoustic guitar and adds elements like a slow kick-drum and a gliding electric guitar solo. Her voice is stunning as she tells her significant other that while she may be a little skeptical about love, she’s willing to give it a try. “Honey I’m doubtful/Honey I’m hopeful/Honey I’m a handful/But I’m a hand you can hold onto” she sings on the chorus. This season of life feels very transitional, and it’s the perfect song to listen to when reflecting on all these changes.
Dylan Bestler, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Asphalt” – Hot Country Knights
Songwriters: Brett Tyler, Jim Beavers, Jon Nite
I was shocked the first time I heard this song. I thought ‘wow, the Hot Country Knights put out a sad, serious song.’ Then I read the lyrics over and I understood the real meaning. As an avid Dierks Bentley fan, I’m going to love anything he puts out, but even as a comedy song, it’s extremely witty and well-written. The whole song is a play-on-words and at first listen, it may seem like the singer just loves driving on the open road but in reality, he’s chasing something else. There are eight different butt jokes that are cleverly thrown into the lyrics, that when tied together with the music video, make it such a hilarious, enjoyable track. I love this whole bit and I’m anxiously waiting to see more from the Hot Country Knights.
It ain’t my fault / It’s that asphalt / Yeah, it calls out my name and I’m gone just like that/ I don’t really care if it’s curvy or flat / I could stay, but there’s always a “but”
Kristina Callahan, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Best Night Ever” – Chase Rice
Songwriters: Chase Rice, Chris DeStefano, Matt Jenkins
When I first heard Chase Rice tease this song on his Instagram, I knew it’d be one of my favorite songs. It tells an intimate, personal and fun story about a special night. The lyrics are extremely catchy and you get a look into his world as they paint a vivid image.
“Never seen you so beautiful, darling // Running through rain in the dark, best night ever // Then you pulled me in hard under that pole barn // Oh my God, it was the best night ever”
I think most people can relate to having a specific memory or night ingrained in their mind and this song speaks to that.
Jeremy Chua, Contributing Writer
Pick: “It Won’t Always Be Like This” – Carly Pearce
Songwriters: Carly Pearce, Natalie Hemby, Sam Ellis
Coinciding with the Big Machine Records artist’s sophomore album release week is my choice for this month’s team picks– “It Won’t Always Be Like This” by Carly Pearce. This poignant song speaks to me so much right now, after being hit with a big life/educational/college curveball and detour. The lyric that resonates most? “I had big wings but didn’t have a sky / Just a front-row view of everybody flying high / Waiting for my time.” I believe this vulnerable lyric must have come from a place of doubt, fear and disappointment, something that perhaps writers Pearce, Natalie Hemby and Sam Ellis personally drew from. While I’m excited to hear CP2 in its entirety, I have a good feeling this song will be a standout and favorite for me, and anyone else who’s on a journey to chase their passion-fueled dreams.
Erin Crosby, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Drunk Again” – Nick Wayne feat. Hannah Ellis
Songwriters: Emily Shackleton, Joe Ginsberg, Nick Wayne
Nick Wayne has been on my playlists for years, though somehow I am only just realizing how truly gifted of a singer-songwriter he is. I watched Wayne and Hannah Ellis on IGTV during their Bobby Bones Show visit a few weeks ago and ever since I’ve been hooked on the way their voices merge and flatter one another. “Drunk Again” is a new release from Wayne that includes background vocals from a rising female country artist, Ellis. It coincides with the “Tequila” by Dan + Shay theme whereas alcohol is a reminder of a romance gone wrong, though this new track contains a more desperate heartache that is amplified with the Nashville native’s earthy rasp and a bit of a more stripped-down production with piano as the sole instrument heavily present throughout.
Alexa Ebner, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Life Of the Party” – Ingrid Andress
Songwriters: Ingrid Andress, Jason Yik Nam Wu, Jesse “Babyface” Thomas
I’m so excited that Ingrid Andress is finally releasing new music in anticipation of her upcoming album “Lady Like” on March 27th. I love how honest and raw her songs are – she shows her fans that she’s really just like all of us. In her new single, “Life of the Party”, Andress plays the role of a fun, carefree party girl masking her emotions. In her NYC live show at Rockwood Music Hall in October 2019, the singer-songwriter previewed this track with the audience among other songs that will be on her new album. She shared with the audience this song is about her struggling through a breakup, and how she’d hide her pain and pretend everything is okay. This is a relatable song, showing that no matter how one appears on the outside, you never know what struggles they are facing. I love the passion and intensity in Andress’ voice and how she’s 100% real with her fans through the lyrics. There is a perfect balance of an upbeat tempo with somber undertones – mirroring the dual nature of the song’s meaning.
Julia Grubbs, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Both” – Ingrid Andress
Songwriters: Derrick Southerland, Ingrid Andress, Jordan Schmidt
Molly Holmberg, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Thinking ‘Bout You” – Dustin Lynch
Songwriters: Andy Albert, Dustin Lynch, Hunter Phelps, Will Weatherly
“Thinking ‘Bout You” by Dustin Lynch is a song that I have been playing nonstop since he released his latest album, Tullahoma, earlier this year. The song features Lauren Alaina’s vocals and is the perfect nostalgic song for anyone who has had a past relationship they cannot get out of their head. Reminiscing on a past love, the lyrics read “Don’t be sorry for callin’ me up out of the blue, I was was just thinkin’ ’bout you”. The song would appear to be a slow ballad although upon first listen it is upbeat and has a melody that gets you singing for months to come.
Briana Lopez, Contributing Writer
Pick: “I Do For You” – Dillon Carmichael
Songwriters: Dillon Carmichael, Jimmy Melton
Dillon Carmichael is an artist that I recently came across this past month. His song “I Do For You” co-written by him and Jimmy Melton made me fall in love with his music.
The lyrics mixed with the soulful upbeat music makes for a great track with a sweet gesture behind it. The song is all about changing up the things you do for the person you love.
Carmichael begins the song by naming all these things that he’d never do.
“I don’t take phone calls when I’m fishing/ I don’t do weddings and I don’t do dishes/ I’m not gonna sit in the front pew/ I don’t go to the mall on Saturday/ I never felt the call to spend my time that way/ But I’m proud to say I do for you”
As if the song couldn’t get better, it most certainly does, especially with the sweet ending in the last verse.
“Trim my beard up/ Put a suit on/Pick a preacher/ Pick a love song/ Never thought I’d see the day I say “I do”/ I do for you”
If you’re looking for the perfect love song that is full of fun, love, and meaning then this one is definitely a contender!
Nicole Piering, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Nobody But You” – Blake Shelton feat. Gwen Stefani
Songwriters: Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne, Ross Copperman, Tommy Lee James
My pick of the month is “Nobody But You” by Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani. On paper, the two make absolutely no sense together, musically or otherwise. He’s Blake Shelton, all Oklahoma country, and she’s Gwen Stefani, all California cool and No Doubt swag. Somehow, however, they manage to use their differences to create magic, as evidenced on this duet, and it works. Really well. I absolutely love this song and I’ve had it on repeat since it was released.
Michal Pietrzak, Contributing Writer
Pick: “Whiskey Kinda Night” – William Michael Morgan
Songwriters: Adam Woods, Doug Johnson, Warner Tamerlane
I hope this song is just a tease of the new album because it’s amazing and the video clip is beautiful (glimpses of the bar are the reason why I want to go to the USA and drink a beer or two in that kind of bar) and he hasn’t released an album in four years. Soft and slow sounds make this song perfect at least for me. He sings about the pain/regret of losing someone you love especially if you’re the side which messed things up, so he drinks to get through the night that’s the reason why it’s whiskey kind night. I don’t know how, but a line like “It ain’t a buzz from a rum and coke” subconsciously convinced me to buy a rum and coke.
“It ain’t a buzz from a rum and coke/ A Miller Light? Yeah right, that’s a joke/ It can’t touch this heartache inside/ No, it’s whiskey kinda night”
Pick: “Forever To Go- Chase Rice
Songwriters: Casey Brown, Geoffrey Warburton, Jordan Minton
“Forever To Go” is my monthly pick for February because, of course, it’s the “month of love”. It’s a great song that shows marriage is more than just a honeymoon phase. It shows that even if you and your significant other have been together for years, your love can continue to grow each day.
I’ve loved MacKenzie since I saw her perform in all-female writers round a year ago. Her newest release depicts a situation we’ve all been in: when we think we are over someone until we see them with someone else. Feelings are complicated, and no matter how much you think you’ve moved on, seeing your ex out with someone new can make every the most confident person jealous. You second guess yourself, you start making comparisons, and it’s natural to notice yourself acting pretty crazy. The lyrics are simple yet relatable, and it’s a total earworm!
“I thought that seeing other people was something I wanted / yeah I think I hate it if I’m being honest / It kills me to see you with somebody new / Thought we should see other people ’till I started seeing other people with you”
Erica Zisman, Contributing Writer
Pick: “My Person” – Spencer Crandall
Songwriters: Kelly Archer, Lalo Guzman, Spencer Crandall
This month, my song pick came by happenstance. I was watching Sabina’s (Tyler Rich’s wife) Instagram stories when she posted this song by Spencer Crandall called “My Person.” I could barely hear it, but I knew it sounded good. I immediately went to Apple music, looked it up, and fell in love with the love song.
“My person / My heartbeat / My slow dance / My Sunday morning sippin’ on coffee / In bed / My know-when-you-know best friend / The stealin’ / of my t-shirts / My reason for speedin’ home from work / My saving grace / My everything / I’ve never been more sure that you’re / my person”
I learned later on that Tyler Rich has a playlist on Spotify with all his current favorite songs, and this was one of them! Spencer Crandall is a rising country artist I have yet to hear of, so It was cool discovering a new artist with a fresh sound. “My Person” is super relatable and honest, and although love songs are not usually my jam, it deserves the recognition! I wouldn’t be surprised if this tune became someone’s wedding song!
Listen to our picks on our “What We’re Listening To” playlist on Spotify and be sure to give it a follow, so you can catch our monthly updates.